Playing with pictures~Introduction to Serif Craft ArtistBy Brenda Essig aka Zanymuse (Zanymuse) on February 9, 2012
|This program does 99% of what I need to have fun with images and allows me to complete many projects in a few minutes that use to require hours of tedious work. I have yet to find a program that is easier to use or is affordable, that will do 100%. I played with the free version of the program for several months and was impressed enough to purchase the full version. I find it to be extremely user friendly. They have wonderful tutorials available to walk you through every feature and there are a lot of features even in the free version. If they get around to adding cloning tools for blending and repairs they will have made me 100% thrilled.|
Why am I telling you about this program when there are so many photo manipulation programs out there? Why not PhotoShop or even the free Gimp program? Well, this one works on a visual basis that is easier to use with a much less demanding learning curve. It is fun and easy to use and gives you the ability to be creative with truly professional looking results.
What I use it for...creating banners, making cards for emailing or print, adding or embellishing images, layering images, creating transparent images, resizing and cropping, cutting out unwanted pieces, making adjustments to contrast, sharpening,lighten/darken, add frames, lettering, add shadows, adding textures and backgrounds, and digital scrap booking....phew...and that is just the tip of the iceberg!
I will not attempt to show you all the features of the program. They have great free video tutorials for that on their site. Instead, I will show you some very basic features for creating a banner.
To begin, I open the program and select the new blank project option, setting the size of my banner to 1200 px wide by 128 px ht. This allows me to layer my images onto the banner rather than cropping a slice from an image. I can then move it around and adjust the size of the image to find the section that looks best for my design.
I selected two images from the free image database here in the Playpen of Graphics. (Florida oranges by weeds and my own orange slice image). After saving them to my computer I uploaded them into the program.
By dragging the first image from the upload area onto the work surface I can enlarge or reduce the image by simply clicking on the corners and moving in or out. Once I have it the size I need I can then move it around until I have the section or slice I like. I can change the section selected at any time by simply clicking on the image again.
Next I drag the second image onto the work surface and click on it to resize it to meet my need.
By selecting the slice image and clicking on the cut out option I can quickly and easily remove the background of wood from the slice. I have 3 standard size erasers to choose from. I can also select a custom size/shape for detail work and set the amount of blur I want on the edges
Once I have removed the unwanted area I click ok and the image is displayed on my work surface without the background. I can drag it around for placement and resize it to suite my needs.
After I have my images arranged I can add text. The program allows you to use any font you have on your computer including any you may have added such as pictorial fonts. You can select the font size using the text tabs. You can also change the size by clicking on the the text and dragging the corners of the text area and you can move the text around just like an image. This makes placement and sizing of text visually quick and easy.
On the left, I have made the first word large and the rest much smaller in standard black. On the right I have used the effects options to give the text texture and color with the click of the mouse. I can experiment with the different effects options and can add a shadow to the text.
With 174 effects to choose from plus the ability to layer them and adjust the transparancy of the layers, the possibilities are staggering and a lot of fun to play with.
Another handy feature is being able to write text along a path. The path can be a shape selected from the shapes menu or a freeform line you draw yourself. The shape or line can be made thick, thin or invisible so only the text shows.
This is just a small sample of what this program can do. The banner I made here took me less than 4 minutes from start to finish. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate it a solid 9. If they ever add a simple cloning tool they will have a 10.
You can download the free version of this program HERE . While you are on their site take a look at their video tutorials. They are very well done and make learning the different functions easy.
|serif Craft Artist, software review|
|Interests: Love, Life, Laughter These are the important things in the human experience.|
I love learning and sharing. I enjoy life and laughter makes life enjoyable.
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