Ask Rick Maybury 2013

  

 

Ask Rick 269 10/08/13

 

Round-About Method

Can you tell me if there is a way in which a circle can be put around a face in a group photograph?  Examples can often be seen in The Telegraph, such as the highlighting of David Cameron when a pupil at Eton!

Catherine Kirk, by email

 

Circle or elliptical drawing tools are a near standard feature in almost every image-editing program, including Paint, which is included with all versions of Windows. However, Paint is very basic and you will find that more sophisticated programs are actually a lot easier to use for this sort of job, as well as letting you do all sorts of other useful and interesting things to your photographs, including removing red-eye, cropping, removing unwanted people, objects and marks, correcting exposure errors and much, much more, but let us start with drawing a circle.

 

I suggest you use Photofiltre, which you can download from http://goo.gl/hkkFX, It is a freeware program and works in all versions of Windows. Once installed open the image you want to work on, place the mouse pointer over the subject’s face and gently rotate the mouse wheel. This will magnify and centre subject in the window making it much easier to position your circle, especially on a crowded group shot where each face will be quite small. If you are using a basic button mouse or a laptop touchpad I strongly suggest that you get a wheel mouse to use with this program, though at a pinch you can use the toolbar magnifying glass icons and scroll bars to achieve the same end. Next, go to the toolbar and select the Elipse drawing tool (circle icon). Put the mouse pointer at ten o’clock, relative to the subject’s face, click the left button and drag the pointer to the four o’clock position. Don’t worry if you make a hash of it first time, it gets much easier with practice. This creates a square containing a circle. If you are a little off-centre or it is out of position simply click into the middle of the square and move it to where you want it to go. Click and drag the sides of the box to change the shape. Once you are happy with it go to Edit > Stroke and Fill. Make sure the Stroke box is ticked; select the colour for your circle and set the width (try red or a colour that contrast strongly with the background and 5 to begin with and change as necessary). The last step is arguably the most important one. When you are happy with your changes go to SaveAs on the file menu and give your edited photo a new name, or append the existing filename with a 1 or 2, a or b etc. This will ensure that the original remains unaltered because once you click the OK to Save your changes the circle is permanently burned into the image.

 

 

Raw Deal For JPEGS

Is there a simple but effective program to convert RAW to jpeg?

Stanton D’Arcy, by email

 

RAW or unprocessed image files contain all of the information captured by a camera’s sensor chip. They can be very large, and strangely enough don’t look very good when viewed, but professional and serious photographers favour them, as they are the most flexible format when it comes editing, using high-end software tools. JPEG images are processed and compressed by the camera, which results in smaller files, and the loss of some detail and information, though for most users this is barely noticeable, if at all, at the highest quality settings. The simplest way to convert RAW images to JPEG files is to use an excellent freeware viewer program called IrfanView  (http://goo.gl/hiUVG). It can open the most common RAW formats, used by Canon, Fuji, Kodak, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax and Sony, which can then be saved in JPEG format. It also has the facility to batch convert files, if you have a lot of them. 

 

 

Root Cause

I have recently been gifted a Samsung Galaxy S4. It is my very first smartphone but I am wondering if I am lucky or unfortunate because it comes with masses of bloatware most of which I suspect I would never use. Is ‘rooting’ the phone the only way of uninstalling unwanted, manufacturer's apps? Is rooting as easy as it is made to appear on YouTube? A lot of these default apps contain permissions I would never normally agree to but which, it seems I am obliged to accept in order to use the phone.  Another reason I would like to remove them. Can you give some guidance on these matters?

Malcolm Brown, by email

 

Rooting is a relatively straightforward procedure that gives users of Android devices a high level of control or ‘root access’ to the device’s operating system and the software it uses, but there be dragons… First there is a risk that if it goes wrong your phone or tablet could be rendered useless, and you would get little sympathy or help from the supplier or manufacturer. Second, the rooting process can block potentially important updates and stop some apps from working; moreover, if you later decided that you want a deleted app you may not be able to get it back. Lastly, some manufacturer-installed apps are protected and cannot be easily removed, and deleting others may have unintended and unexpected sides effects. On balance, therefore, I would advise against it unless you know what you are doing, and are willing to accept the consequences. A bloated smartphone that works is preferable to one that that’s only useful as a paperweight… If you decide to go ahead and root your phone then there is a safer alternative to removing unwanted apps, and that is to freeze or disable them. It stops any app from working, solves your concerns over permissions and it is reversible. The best way to freeze apps is to use the Pro version of Titanium Backup, which costs £4.50 from Google Play but take the time to watch a useful You Tube video on how to use it at: http://goo.gl/RQmp9P.

 

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© R. Maybury 2013 2207

 

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