Excited by all of the megapixel goodness she has discovered over the last few days, my pal Molly continues to look for pictures she can use with her students. After learning how to use Search Tools in a Google Image search to zero in on large pixel pictures, Molly wanted to know if there’s a way to get high resolution images in Flickr.
I was delighted to tell my friend the answer to her question is, “Yes!” To demonstrate, I suggested Molly take a look at the USDA’s Photography Services Division site.
“I thought you were going to help me find megapixel images from Flickr,” she sighed.
I laughed. “All in good time,” I replied asking her to look at the USDA’s Photography Services Division site.
Molly scanned the page. “Oh, I see the link to the PSD’s Flickr account,” she said getting ready to click it and move on.
“Just a second,” I said, “The great thing about the USDA’s Photography Services Division is that all its considerable (700+) photographic images are in the public domain. You and your students can use and reproduce them without permission or fee. Free is good!”
Molly smiled and I continued talking. “In fact, there are many photographs and images maintained by the U.S. government that fall within the public domain.”
Molly was delighted to hear the news. Even so, she clicked the link and made her way to the PSD’s Flickr account and began looking through the images there. After she selected an image she liked, I directed her attention to the View All Sizes link in the upper right hand corner.
“When you click on that,” I explained, “you’ll have be taken to a page with different sized versions of the image that you may download. The larger versions of the images have better image resolution. I doubt that you’ll even need to resize them to be larger. This means that your students won’t be subjected to awful grainy pictures.”
My friend Molly is still looking for powerful images that she can use for instructional purposes. She knows that great pictures can enhance learning by making content more engaging, relevant, memorable, and ultimately, meaningful. Though Molly understands the efficacy of stopping by the Creative Commons Search site (CC Search), she’s hungry for more photographs, illustrations, and graphics. After reading yesterday’s post about the importance of looking for digital graphics with good image resolution, Molly now knows to pay attention to pixel count.
Molly knows that people use Google’s search engine to find images. In fact, she’s done so herself. Molly is well aware of all places at Google where one can switch over to an image search.
However, Molly wants to know if there are any quick tricks that she can use to make her Google image searches more productive. For example, when she’s searching for images of Charles Dickens and simply clicks one of the many links to Images, she gets any number of pictures.
Even so, Molly has to hover her mouse over a particular picture to discover the image resolution (number of pixels) for that image. In the example above she finds and image that is 311px wide and 400px. That image won’t be so pleasant to gaze upon if she has to increase its size. If Molly is looking for images with a lot of pixels this kind of search will take a long time. Ugh! If only there was a quicker way to find pictures with a larger image resolution.
Wait! There is a way to do that. Google’s Image Search allows Molly to look for pictures with a certain image resolution. This means she can get Google to return only those images of a particular pixel size.
There are only four steps to the process:
- Click on the Search Tools button.
- Look for and click upon the Any Size drop down menu.
- Choose a size. In this case, Molly wants digital images that are Larger than a specified size.
- Choose a specified size. Molly is going with 1024 px wide and 768 tall (Why? It’s because most 21-inch monitor screens can show images that are 1024 px x 768 px. If she’s going to be displaying images with a digital projector, she could look for even larger images with (*gasp*) even more pixels!)
After successfully using this technique, Molly will have her pick of digital images rich with pixels! The images have such great image resolution that it’s very unlikely she’ll need to resize them to be larger. This means that her students won’t be subjected to awful grainy pictures. They’ll marvel at how clear and impressive her images are!
I’m sure this handy trick for zeroing in on the biggest, best images will only server to whet Molly’s appetite for even more compelling images.
My friend Molly is always looking for powerful images as a prompt for rich discussions in her online class. She usually completes a quick Google search and finds pictures that look promising; however, when she stretches those images they become grainy. Her students are less than impressed. What a waste of time! Ugh! What if there was a trick that would help Molly find images that look great regardless of their size? There is a solution! Anyone who targets a search for high resolution images can find and use great graphics. Want to feel proud of the pictures you find, too? Here’s how to find great pictures every time: look for lots of pixels!
The images we see on a computer screen are digital pictures. These digital images are made of small squares, just like a mosaic tiles called pixels (a portmanteau word made from picture element). Generally, the more of those little digital mosaic tiles, pixels (abbreviated px), we have in an image, the clearer the picture will appear to us. We generally refer to this as image resolution. If we keep that in mind when searching for images we can find crisp looking images and avoid grainy graphics.
Suppose Molly needs a very sharp image of Charles Dickens (she teaches lessons about literature, after all). The first place I’d suggest she look is the Creative Commons Search site (CC Search). Why? In addition to leading her to high resolution images, CC Search will also help Molly identify a greater number of images she can modify, adapt, build upon, and use for commercial purposes. Though she could search through all kinds of places at CC Search, I’d guide her to select Wikimedia Commons as it’s a safe bet that the content there isn’t going to lead to copyright hassles.
After Molly’s search returns a few images, I’d draw her attention to the pixel count on each picture. An image that is 1,300 pixels wide and 1,852 pixels wide means that the picture has a total of 2,407,600 pixels! Wow! That picture will have a higher resolution which means more image detail.
The more pixels in an image, the better that image is going to look if Molly has to increase the image in size; however, given the size of the image, that’s pretty unlikely. An added benefit of choosing a higher resolution image is that the image will look good if she has to decrease its size.
In the past, even though she’s ferreted out a great image with great resolution, Molly’s made a mistake. She’s copied the thumbnail picture of the image she’s settled upon using. If all she copies is the thumbnail image of that great Dickens image, she’ll be disappointed. The thumbnail is only 84px x 120px, totaling a paltry 10,080 pixels–ugh! If she stretches that small resolution image out, she might get something like this:
Thankfully, Molly clicks on the thumbnail which is a link that takes her to the read-deal image with the higher pixel count (and better resolution). In fact the image she finally gets to is enormous. The high resolution image is so big that she has to decrease it in size. Here’s what her final image looks like compared the thumbnail. Much better, Molly!
Now that Molly knows the secret to finding excellent looking images she’s on her way to quite a few rich discussions with her students. She can also teach her pupils how to track down better pictures for the multimedia presentations she wants them to create.
When I awoke yesterday morning there was a rumor bouncing around the internet that Adobe was giving away Creative Suite 2. Well, according to Adrian Kingsley-Hughes from Forbes, all that speculation was unfounded. I hope there aren’t a lot of people upset about this turn of events. If folks are heartbroken, they shouldn’t be. Although Adobe makes killer graphics software, there’s a great alternative to Adobe’s product that works on all computer platforms.
GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) does amazing work. This versatile application is powerful, has a consistently helpful community of users, and is FREE. In fact, GIMP has been free from the beginning. Rather than moping about Adobe CS2. Download and install GIMP and get started making and editing graphics with the satisfaction of knowing you can do it without spending a cent.
At some point or another, we’ve all been expected to create an explanation to help family, friends, or co-workers understand our ideas. We share facts and our expert knowledge only to be left with clueless or apathetic expressions. What a frustrating experience–ugh! What if we could easily learn to plan, create, package, and deliver explanations that convince others that our ideas are worth caring about? There is a handy solution! People who are picking up Lee LeFever‘s book The Art of Explanation can explain while they have a reason to smile. Want to feel good about delivering powerful explanations? Get this book!
I’ve been poring over The Art of Explanation by Lee LeFever and I thoroughly enjoy what I have read so far. The book is excellent! The content is a magnet for the reader’s attention. Mr. LeFever, Chief Explainer at Common Craft, consummately practices what he preaches. Beginning with the preface and continuing through the following pages, the author makes a compelling case for examining and honing our ability to craft powerful explanations. What makes LeFever’s work so engrossing is that he does a masterful job explaining what he suggests we do. In brief, the writer :
- gets us to acknowledge that better explanations are vitally necessary and serve to improve the world and subsequently our quality of life
- lets us know why crafting better explanations should matter to everyone
- creates a number of believable (contextual) narratives that help us see explanations from a new perspective
- links new ideas about and skills for explanations to situations/concepts we are familiar with
- helps us discern where (in our explanations) we should focus on explaining why or how
- summarizes what we have learned and moving us forward to the next steps we need to take
Moving through text, we learn how to differentiate words that are often–and erroneously–used interchangeably with the term explanation (e.g. description, definition, instruction, elaboration, report, and illustration). The author convincingly explains the importance of empathy in crafting and “packaging” effective explanations. LeFever makes the point that meaningful explanations help an intended audience clearly understand why they should care to know more about a given topic. He also helps us understand why we fail to properly explain our ideas and goes on to clarify how we can effectively plan our explanations.
I can’t wait to dive back into this book!
Want to know more about the fellow who is widely credited for inspiring the video explanation industry? Read Lee’s biography.
Intrigued? Buy the book!
I am grateful that my wife is so understanding. Though I am an insatiable bibliophile, she tolerates my frequent book buying binges. Even so, during my latest lapse into literary licentiousness, I promised my spouse that I would do more than just purchase, voraciously read, and toss aside my acquisitions. I gave her my word that I would dutifully blog about each of my books. Here are the books that I hope will help me become a little wiser.
- Lee LeFever’s The Art of Explanation: Making your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand
- Joel Katz’s Designing Information: Human Factors and Common Sense in Information Design
- Connie Malamed’s Visual Language for Designers: Principles for Creating Graphics that People Understand
- Vijay Kumar’s 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization
I’ll be posting my discoveries/insights here as I work my way through each book.
Today, Hayao Miyazaki, director, animator extraordinaire, and beloved guardian of imagination, celebrates 72 years of making the world a happier place. His works and the colorful characters that populate them are absolutely endearing. Watching a Miyazaki movie is like being allowed to step outside of (if only briefly) the chaotic reality where we usually reside. Our respite takes us to an alternate universe where beauty reigns supreme. During our visit in Miyazaki’s constructed world, we generally meet a strong female protagonist and explore themes such as the wonder of flight, the importance of nature, and the transition from childhood to maturity, and the power of kindness.
Miyazaki’s stunning works of cinematic art include:
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
- Castle in the Sky
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Kiki’s Delivery Service
- Whisper of the Heart
- Princess Mononoke
- Spirited Away
- The Cat Returns
- Howl’s Moving Castle
- Tales from Earthsea
- Secret World of Arrietty
Happy Birthday, Mr. Miyazaki!
The world became a little more grar-sa on this cee-met-o in 1916. That’s when Mr. Bulee “Slim” Gaillard first graced the universe with his unconventional presence. Actually, the date of Slim’s birth, his birthplace, as well as his lineage are still being disputed. What is known about this remarkable fellow is that he was one of America’s most innovative performers. Gaillard was something of a Renaissance Man. He was a clever songwriter, jazz singer, guitarist, and thoroughly mesmerizing pianist. For an entertaining sampling of Gaillard’s vocalese variations, drop by the Internet Archive’s collection of Slim’s collaborative tunes with Slam Stewart or listen to the embedded selections below.
Gaillard also constructed his own language, a lingo called Vout. Slim’s tongue-in-cheek speak is sometimes referred to a conlang or constructed language. Wikipedia has an engrossing list of constructed languages that features communicative creations of authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling. Also of interest is the Wikiportal devoted to constructed languages.
Note: The picture accompanying this post was constructed from an image that was originally posted to Flickr by Never Slim at http://flickr.com/photos/39989459@N00/371852605. The original image is licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.