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Computing With Bifocals
by Nancy Carroll Gravley

A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....




I Got My Photos Back on a CD! Now What Do I Do?
July 21st

Every time new technology is presented to the general public I find myself thinking: “Humph -- I wonder how long they have known how to do that and why are we just now finding out about it?” I know it sounds cynical, but it goes back to the difference between the first time I saw a microwave used in a commercial establishment and when microwaves were finally available to rest of us. I was glad to finally have the convenience of that microwave, but I would have like to have had it much sooner! Today's column is reflective of that same phenomenon. I took in some film for developing the other day and was offered the chance to have it on a CD in addition to the standard paper format. I figure that publishers and other commercial enterprises have been able to get pictures like that for years. All that aside though, I thought you might like to know how to make use of photos that come to you on CDs now that we common folks have it available. We'll talk about using the pictures just as they are on the CD and then we will talk about making changes in them, such as removing red eye.

Each of the major photo companies offer this option now, and each one is a little different. The one I am working with today came from Ritz Camera. Your first step is to insert the CD in the appropriate slot on your machine. When it is loaded a new icon, resembling a CD, will appear on your desktop. (It is always possible that a company logo will appear instead, but just watch for the new logo or icon to pop up.) Double click on that icon and a new window will open. There may well be a number of items shown in the box. The one you want to open probably looks different from the others, probably a special icon of some kind. If you open the wrong thing, just close it by clicking on the box in the upper left hand corner. When I opened mine I saw a display of all the pictures I had had developed on one roll of film in what is called a thumbnail view. Around the edge of the screen were a number of boxes, each containing options. To quickly find out what those options are, go up to the top of your screen and click on the icon containing a large question mark. Hold it down and one of the options will be Show Balloons. Select it by moving the mouse to that name and releasing it. As long as you have Show Balloons selected you will get a text box next to anything you point to that tells you want the item does. You deselect balloons in the same manner.

If you double click on any one photo it will open on a page by itself and you can then copy and paste the photo into a document or you can save it as a separate document which will allow you to send it to someone else as an e-mail attachment. There are other options available, but they probably differ between different brands so I encourage you just to experiment. Keep in mind that so long as you don't actually save your photo there is nothing you can do to it that will be permanent.

At this point you have had options that are no better or worse than other ways you can get or send photos by scanning, or downloading them from someone else. However, there are other things you can do such as crop a picture, change colors in it, and even remove the dreaded red eye that shows up frequently in home photos. Some of the Photo CD packages from some of the different stores or chains may include software on the CD that can automatically remove redeye by clicking a button or two. Since many do not offer this kind of software, I am going to tell you how to do this with the shareware program called Garphic Converter. It is tedious, but it can be done. You can find a full discussion on Graphic Converter in the columns from December 23rd and December 30th, 1998.

So, lets remove some red eye. Once you conquer that you can do other things easily. At this point I know I will get mail from readers eager to share better ways to do this than what I am about to explain. Unfortunately, those other ways frequently involve expensive software, or are complicated. This process is not complicated, just tedious. If I get any easy solutions I will pass them on.

1. Open Graphic Converter by double clicking on it.

2. Click on the File Pull-down Menu and click on Open.

3. You will get a box with a pull-down menu at the top that tells you to select a file.

4. From the pull-down menu, select desktop. All the folders on your desktop will be listed. Click on the CD that contains your photos.

5. From the list of photos on the CD, select the one you want to modify. It will then open as a Graphic Converter document. (If you wish, you can save it at this point on your desktop or another folder so that you have a saved original in case you don't like the changes you make. Then, don't save it again until you are happy with your final product.)

6. You should see your photo and the tool box. If the tool box is not visible, go to the Picture Pull-down Menu and select Show Tool Box. Here is what it looks like.There are four parts of it that you will be using for this project, the eye dropper, the pencil, the magnifying glass, and the colored boxes at the bottom.

Graphic Converter Tool Box

7. Click once on the magnifying glass and move your cursor to the eye that you will be fixing first. You will notice that for each tool you use, your cursor will change into the icon of that tool when you move it anywhere on your picture. That helps you remember which step you are on. Click on the same spot 3, 4 or more times until you have a large image of just the eye. At this point you will see that the picture is actually composed of small squares of color that, together, make up the eye. All you have to do now is to change those blocks of color, one at a time, to the more appropriate shades.

8. Click on the eye dropper and then click on the first color that you are going to modify. When you do, you will see that exact shade reflected in two of the colored boxed at the bottom of the tool box.

9. Move your cursor to the smaller colored box and double click. You will get a color box that looks like this:


Color Box

10. In the top right hand corner are two boxes that are the same shade. You are going to manipulate the colors so that the bottom box changes shade. You do that by moving the bar for the red, green and/or blue. When you have the new shade you want then click OK and the color box will close. The two colored boxes on your tool box will now be the new color you have made.

11. Go back to the tool box and click on the pencil. Move your icon back to the single box that you are going to modify and click once. The small box should change color. I found this to be a very sensitive step and sometimes the wrong box will change color. If that happens, simply hit and Apple Key and the Z (also called Command-Z or even CMD-Z) and your step will be undone. Then try again. Change all the boxes that are the same shade.

NOTE: Don't try to remember the exact percent of shading that you change to achieve any one color. All you have to do to get back to it is to click with the eye dropper on the box and you will have it back again.

12. Repeat these steps over and over until you have changed the eye to a normal color. I didn't have any photos with red eye so for this example I changed brown eyes to blue. I took me a couple of tries to get shades that looked real.

Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

13. You can stop any time during this process and take a reality check. Go up to the Picture Pulldown Menu and click on Zoom and then on 100%. You will get the regular photo back and can judge your work. To get back to the work site, click on the magnifying glass again and enlarge the picture.

14. Use this same procedure to cover up any skin flaws.

15. Save your finished product as soon as you are happy with it.

Update

I recently recommended a great game called Hangman2000 (June 25, 1999). There is a new version out - 1.5 so make sure you download the most current version when you try it out.

If you have any tips, hints, or thoughts on these topics, make sure you write me so that I can share your thoughts with other readers.


Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions  for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping.   To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.


Post your comments below.
Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!

A Capacious Catalog Of Computer Tips

Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color, covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.

Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.


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