Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Making Gifs using Website Applications

Let's Make Gifs: Using Websites

Following up the last post, I figured I would show how to make gifs online without the help of any fancy software.  The website I'm using is the same one I mentioned in my previous post, Make A Gif.

As you can see, the website is fairly straight forward, just click to add pictures, or even make a gif from a YouTube video or webcam pictures.  For now, I'm just going to click add pictures.

For comparison's sake, I'm going to use the same series I used in the previous post.

Once you have your photos uploaded, you can arrange them in the order you like.  For things like my tiny drawings, you can't really tell the differences between the frames, which could be problematic in some cases.

Now you can choose animation speed, size, category, etc.  There are two things that stand out in this window.  First off, there's not much you can do as far as customizing speed--you can set the delay, but you can't set different delays for each frame to add impact.  Further, the only way to make your images smaller is to crop them, so you had best have them at the size you want to make your gif BEFORE you upload them here.  The other big thing is that by creating a gif on this website, you automatically upload it onto the website for everyone to see.   While this isn't really a big deal, for those who want more privacy in their internet life, this concept might be a little troublesome.  

Once you click "create your gif," the website creates it for you, and BAM, you have a gif.

Let's Compare:

The gif from Make A Gif is on the left and the Photoshop gif is on the right.


Here the speed is notably different, and so is the background color.  This is because the original files have a transparent background.  Photoshop can keep this mostly intact, but Make A Gif cannot.  Try clicking on the gifs and dragging them to the right to see the difference.

However, otherwise the quality isn't too different.  So if you don't have fancy CS6, and don't mind having your gif uploaded on some random website, you don't have anything to lose! 

For other sites that allow you to make gifs, try:

Free Cloud Storage!

by Peter Carmichael

Have you ever wanted to save something online and access it somewhere else, on a different device? Or maybe back up your important documents or favorite pictures somewhere safe, without the nuisance of carrying around a flash drive or external hard drive? Welcome to cloud storage! Many web services now exist offering free storage on the cloud, that is accessible anywhere you can logon! Here are just a few of the most well-known below, check them out!

SkyDrive is a cloud storage system through Microsoft that offers 7GB of free storage with every Microsoft account. If you use skype, outlook, Xbox, or other Mircosoft services, you likely already have a Microsoft account and access to SkyDrive.  All you need is your username and password! Creating a new account is easy too; simply go to the Sign Up Now option, provide a username and password, and select create account.

When you save files to SkyDrive, you can access them from anywhere with an internet connection, with any device. The desktop app will also allow you to upload entire folders at once instead of individual files one at a time. An extra 20GB of storage can be bought for 10$ a year. Go here to sign up for SkyDrive!

Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage space that is accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection. Every Google account comes with access to Google Drive. In fact, every Whitman account already has their own Google Drive! To access simply enter your Whitman username and password when signing in.
By downloading the Google Drive desktop (or mobile) app, your Google Drive will automatically sync with your devices and allow you to edit and create documents and other files from anywhere. Google Drive also allows you to share files and documents with others and edit them simultaneously.  If you ever run out of space, an additional 100GB can be purchased for 60$ a year. However, do be careful, as while SkyDrive supports and allows you to edit word documents, Google Drive likes you to convert to a Google Doc for the most seamless editing.
Go here to access your Drive!

Sporting the same functionality as SkyDrive and Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive offers 5GB of free storage with every Amazon account. It requires an internet connection, but by downloading the desktop or mobile app, your files will automatically sync with and be accessible on all your devices. Downloading the app also allows you to upload whole folders at once instead of individual files. Go here to sign up!

Like all the services listed above, Dropbox offers 2GB of free storage and allows for easy sharing of documents and files between users. Go here to sign up!

Monday, January 20, 2014

3 (Free) Websites That Will Make You Love Pokémon Again
By Justin Rose
If you’re enrolled at Whitman College right now, you likely grew up during the golden age of Pokémon. When the first games were released in 1996, they caused an international sensation that has not abated to this day. While there are now 718 creatures to catch instead of 150, Pokémon is still just as fun as it was when we were younger. But it does cost money to play the games, something we as college students notoriously lack. With the most recent generation clocking in at $39.99 for the game and the Nintendo 3DS at around $200, that’s a significant drop in the bucket. But if you want to relive your childhood and battle monsters and gym leaders once more, here’s three free websites you can use that won’t cost a cent.
#1: Play All The Classic Pokémon Games At Playr.org
If you’re looking to start a new Pokémon adventure, look no further than Playr.org, a free site in which you can play the first two generations of Pokémon games on your computer. This includes first-gen games Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, and Pokémon Yellow, as well as the second-gen Pokémon Silver, Pokémon Gold, and Pokémon Crystal. The controls are simple and in no time you’ll feel like you’re playing on a Gameboy Classic once again. The best part? If you take the extra minute to register for an account, you can save your progress and play your game on any computer. Another interesting feature is the “Saves” tab, which allows you to pick up other Pokémon Trainers’ journey wherever they saved and play with the teams they built. If you get bored of Pokémon (impossible, I know) there are also classic games like Mortal Kombat and Super Mario Bros Deluxe to play.
#2: Battle for Free With Pokémon Showdown
At risk of revealing myself as a huge Pokémon nerd, I love Pokémon Showdown. With an intuitive interface and two-second account registration, it’s absurdly easy to start battling. Using the TeamBuilder feature, you can start a team from scratch and alter their stats, items, and moves to fit your tastes. With an active server of about five to ten thousand trainers online at any given time, you’ll never be without someone to battle.  If you don’t have time to meticulously build that perfect team (I know I don’t), just sign in and select the Random Battle mode. You’ll be assigned six random Pokémon and pitted against another trainer in their same predicament. No matter which mode you choose (there are over 40 and counting), winning battles will increase your rank. The more you win the more experienced players you face. For a quick battle to break the monotony of studying, or to test your wits against other seasoned veterans, Pokémon Showdown is a slam-dunk.

#3 Everything There Is To Know About Pokémon Is On Bulbapedia
I know you just read that title and thought, “Okay, not EVERYTHING there is to know”. But you’d be wrong, and here’s why. Largely considered to be one of the most active Wikipedia communities, Bulbapedia is a huge sprawling community that is constantly updating and adding new information. Pokémon has changed a lot since 1996, and this is a one-stop shop for information. Whether you’re curious about what the new generations of Pokémon look like (they have ones that are piles of trash and ice cream cones now) or want to know what’s up with Ash and the television series (he’s still 10 years old somehow), this is the place to go. If you’re battling with the games, there is also a lot of very useful statistical information to help form a powerful team.