How do I add 3D-effect text on a photo?

For a title slide or the cover photo of an album, you might want the title set in an attractive, 3D-effect text superimposed on a photo. How can you create that without an expensive special purpose application? Here is a method that uses Paint, a tool you already have on your computer. 

Load your photo into Paint. With the Text tool (see illustration) draw a text box starting approximately in the upper left position of the intended text. imageimage

The text box will resize when you release the mouse button. You will now see a dashed box in your photo and the Text Tools ribbon opens. Type your title.image

The Text Tools in Paint

imageAs long as you keep your pointer in the text box you can modify the text and the text box. There are resizing handles on the box – you know you can resize when the pointer changes to a double-ended arrow shape. You can select the text by dragging the pointer over it. You can change to any font on your computer. The font size box shows sizes from 8 to 72. You are not limited to these sizes. Just type in the size you want, even larger or smaller than the shown range, and the font will be changed to that size (note the size in the illustration above – it is set to 90).

The text will be set in the Color 1 selection. For 3D-effect, shadowed text, select the darker, shadow color. Position the text box to place the text. When the pointer is placed anywhere on the box outline, except near the resize handles, it changes to a four-headed arrow indicating that you can drag the box to another position. When you are happy with the text, font, and placement, click anywhere outside the text box. The text is now set. If it isn’t right, click Undo (or Ctrl+Z) and start over.

Next set the top color, normally a lighter shade, and open another text box and retype your title. Don’t worry about alignment, you can drag the text and place it precisely. image

Drag the text box to position the text just the way you like. When you are satisfied, click anywhere outside the text box.

There are applications that can do a nicer job, but for shadowed text, Paint is easy and probably just as fast.

Lagniappe

(A lagniappe, pronounced “lan-yap”, is a small extra given to a customer at no charge, mostly in Cajun country.)

imageIn Paint the selection of color is more flexible than you might think. There is an array of twenty colors to choose from. To set the color click the color number, Color 1 is the main one, Color 2 the “right-click” color, then click the box with the desired color. If that does not provide you with the exact shade, click Edit colors. imageThis opens an Edit Colors window. Here you have a wider selection of fixed colors and an opportunity to define custom colors. In the larger area you reposition the mark (drag it) to define the hue and saturation – color and intensity. The vertical slider control sets the luminance of that color. You can even enter numeric values in the fields to define the color. Click Add to Custom Colors and the specified color is added and will appear in the bottom row of color boxes. Click OK to complete the color selection.

When you open the Edit Colors window the color presently set as Color 1 will already be set in the custom area. I find this particularly useful when I want a lighter or darker shade of a particular color. The luminance control can be used to select the shade without affecting the hue or saturation. Remember that the Color picker tool (the eye-dropper in the Tools area) can be used to pick a color from any place in a photo. This color can then be adjusted with Edit colors. Neat!

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© 2011 Ludwig Keck

How do I send pictures by attaching to email rather than using Photo Email?

Windows Live Photo Gallery together with Windows Live Mail provides “Photo Email” for sharing pictures in an efficient and pleasant way. I described the feature a while back (links below). But sometimes you might want to send pictures as attachments to an email.

Steps for sending photos as attachments

In Windows Live Photo Gallery, select the photos. imageClick the text part (or the down arrow) of the Photo email command. On the little drop-down menu click “Send photos as attachments”. See the illustration here.

Next you will be offered to specify the image size to be sent. The default size is 1024 by 768 pixels (the maximum dimensions, if an actual dimension is smaller that will be retained). You can select Original size or several other sizes.image

After you have clicked the size you want click Attach.

Your default mail client “new message” window will open with the photos already shown as attachments.

If Windows Live Mail is your default client, it will come up with the Photo Album Tools tab active and showing that the photos are attached. You have the option of changing to a photo email instead of sending them as attachments.

imageThe Live Mail “New message” window permits you to change from photo email to the attach method even if you started out specifying the photo email option.

The “paper clip” icon in the “Album style” group specifies “attach”. Clicking on any of the other styles makes the email a photo email.

The illustrations here show the options in the Photo Album Tools tab. image

To make the tab visible click on the photo layout in the message area of your email.

NOTE:

When sending pictures as a photo email or by attachment, the Windows Live Photo Gallery “publish” options are not applied. Any metadata in the image files will be retained in the photos and sent to the recipient.

If you do not wish to share such data remove it from the file before sending it.

Also see: Set Photo Gallery to remove sensitive data from photos prior to uploading.

 

On the recipients side

The recipient of the email with photos attached gets the message and all theimage attachments. That is the time-consuming and often annoying aspect of attachments, since they are downloaded to the recipients computer before the recipient can see the email.

In Windows Live Mail, attached photos are shown by small thumbnails (except for very large files). To save the attached photos the recipient can right-click and select the appropriate action.

 

When using Hotmail in a browser, similar thumbnails are displayed. imageThere is a download option shown on each, or all the photos can be downloaded as a zip file.

There is a nice viewing feature called “Hotmail active view” which permits viewing the individual photo, or a slide show of all attached photos. This allows the recipient to see and enjoy the pictures without having to download them.

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You may wish to also see my post Photo Email–from Photo Gallery to Friend’s Inbox or my article at Microsoft based on that post: Explore Windows – Photo Email.

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How do I replace the DSC prefix on my photo file names?

Most “Digital Still Cameras” assign the file names of the photos in this format: “DSC_nnnn.xxx”. The “nnnn” is a four-digit number and the “xxx” the file type, often “JPG”, but it can also be another extension. For example for Nikon “raw” files the extension is “NEF”. The first four characters can be changed in some cameras, but most just set the “DSC_” prefix.

Of course, you can change this by renaming the file. Doing that one at a time is not practical, so here is the procedure I use for doing “batch” renaming. I use a “Windows Batch File” to do this chore.

Creating a Windows Batch File

imageOpen Notepad and type in the Windows “command line” commands. See the illustration here. My first command starts with “REM”. That stands for “remark” and does nothing. It is just used to tell me what the batch file does.

The next command is “cd %1”. The “cd” part stands for “change directory”. This is old language dating back to the time before “folders” were called “folders”, they were “directories”. The command is equivalent to you clicking on a folder in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer. The “%1” part tells the command to use the “command line parameter” that was passed to the program. That sentence probably means nothing to you, don’t fret. You will see shortly how we pass the folder name to the batch file program – by just dragging it to the bat file icon.

The last line is “rename DSC_????.* LK6A????.*” Now here the first term is easy enough, “rename” means just that (you can also use just “ren”). This is followed by the name of the file (or files) to be renamed. The first part is clear enough. The question marks each stand for “whatever character is there”. There are four question marks to specify the four numeric characters in the photo file name. The period follows the numbers. The asterisk after the period says “whatever follows the period”.

Now the new name is entered. This is the same except for the first four characters. I use my initials followed by a “camera identifier character” (“6”) and that is followed by the letter “A” in my case. You can specify any four characters, no fewer and no more, or else the command will do “unexpected things”.

Save the file to your desktop, using Save as and giving it a name. I use “renameDSC”. imageSince you created it with Notepad is is just a plain text file, not a “batch program” yet. If the icon on the desktop shows just the name without an extension, reset the viewing options to make the next step easier: Open Windows Explorer (StartComputer). Click on Desktop (at the top in navigation pane). Click Organize then Folder and search options. In the Folder Options dialog click the View tab. imageFind the option reading “Hide extensions for known file types”. Click it to uncheck the box. Click OK then close Windows Explorer.

Now the extension of the file you created will be visible, it will say “renameDSC.txt”.

Click on the icon to select it, a moment later click on the name. This opens the rename box. image

 

 

 

 

 

Replace the “txt” extension with “bat”. The “bat” stands for “batch file” and imageindicates to Windows that it is a batch program. Press Enter. There will be a warning message. Click Yes to perform the rename operation.

You now have created a “batch program” and the icon will now show the “gears” image:

image

If you wish you can reset the option to hide the extensions of “know file types”. 

You can edit and revise the batch file by right-clicking the icon and selecting Edit – this opens Notepad. When you are finished save the file. It will remain a batch file, so there are no further hoops to jump through.

 

You are now ready to perform the renaming operation. You will find this fast and easy – now that you have a desktop program for doing so.

 

Renaming the DSC files

After importing your photos, open Windows Live Photo Gallery. Find the folder or folders of the new photos in the navigation pane.

image

Now just drag the folder name to your batch program.

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You will see the “Command prompt” window open momentarily and carry out your instructions. If you folder contains a small number of photos you might not even notice the operation. But take a look at the thumbnails. If you have the display showing the file names, you will see that they all have been renamed.

Do this for any other folder containing photo files that need renaming. It takes just a couple of seconds, but you do have to do it one folder at a time. You will find this quick and easy and fun to do.

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Is there a way to send SkyDrive albums as slide shows?

Yes, you can send links to existing SkyDrive albums or slide shows at any time. Here is the procedure:image

Sign in to your Windows Live account (live.com).

Go to Your albums.

Select the album you wish to share.

Click Share on the menu bar.image

Click Send a link on the drop-down menu.

This will bring up a window with an address entry box and a message box. Enter the recipients email address and also enter any message that you wish to accompany the link.

The dialog looks like this:

image

You can enter multiple addresses to send the link to any number of recipients.

NOTE: If your album sharing is set to Everyone (public) the recipients will not need to sign in with a Windows Live ID.

If the album is set to one of the other sharing options, the recipient will need to sign in using the email address, the one you use in sending the link, as the Live ID. If the recipient does not have that address set as a Live ID it can be done from the sign in page. 

The recipient receives an email with this type of message:

image

When the recipient clicks View album a browser window is launched and the slide show comes up.

If the slide show was prepared with Windows Live Photo Gallery > Slide show > Share slide show > SkyDrive a movie of the slide show will be uploaded to SkyDrive. This will be a “My movie.wmv” file created by Live Movie Maker. The email link will start the slide show and play it through.

If the link is to an album of individual picture files, the link will start with the first picture. The recipient needs to click the “play” button to play the slide show. See illustration here:

image

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How do I create a new SkyDrive album?

You can create a new album on your Windows Live SkyDrive a couple of ways. You can do it in your SkyDrive when you are logged in to your Windows Live account, or you can do it from Windows Live Photo Gallery. Actually there are some other ways, here I will discuss just how to create a new album on SkyDrive.

Log in to your Windows Live account: Start your browser and go to live.com. Your browser might have remembered your credentials and logs you in, otherwise you will see the log in page.image

  • Click Photos on the link bar at the top.image
  • Click Create album
  • Type the name that you wish to assign to the album. Note that “New album” is the default name, it is already selected (highlighted) so you can type right over it.
  • Pick who you want to share the album with. The default is Friends, but you can imagechange that by clicking Change.
  • Set the slider to the appropriate position for sharing. You can also share this album with people you specify in the area  below the slider. Sharing of albums and folders is described in more detail another post.

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  • Click Next. The album will be created. On the next page you have the opportunity to add photos to the album by dragging them from Windows Explorer or from Live Photo Gallery. That process is described in another post.
  • Click Continue to complete the process.

 

To see how to create a new photo album using Windows Live Photo Gallery see “How do I upload photos from Photo Gallery?”