Tag Archives: website

How to add hand-drawn elements to your site using Pixlr.com

Sometimes it’s nice to add a personal touch, for example your own handwriting, to your website or other digital media, such as photos. There’s a great instruction post on Skillcrush that guides you how to do this on Photoshop, but even if you don’t have Photoshop, it’s easy with the free web-based Pixlr.com:

1. Draw or write a message on a blank piece of paper

2. Take a photo and download it/email it to yourself

3. Go to Pixlr.com, open Pixlr Editor Advanced, go to File, and open the image. You can resize it under ‘Image’ and ‘Image size…’

4. Go to ‘Layer’ and select ‘New layer’


5. In the ‘Layers’ toolbox on the right, unlock the original layer (double-click on the lock symbol) and then select that layer by holding your mouse over it, clicking and dragging it up so that moves up in the layers toolbox. It’s now placed above the new layer

6. Use the Wand tool (third from the top in ‘Tools’) to select the white area


7. Delete the white area by hitting ‘Delete’ on your keyboard (or go to ‘Edit’ and select ‘Cut’)
8. The white area will now be checkered grey and white, which means it’s transparent. Keep doing this until all the white areas have been removed. You might need to use the ‘Eraser’ tool to get rid of any extra bits

9. Save as a .png file and voila!

You now have a hand-drawn element that you can incorporate into your website design! Check out the Skillcrush post to see examples of how they’ve done this. You can still see some dots where the white hasn’t been completely removed, so I would spend more time on fixing that up. But here’s my (almost) final .png image that I can now use:

Hello there

A cool idea is to incorporate hand-written components onto images, or use elements in your website background.

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Why written content is not dead (but video is awesome)

A few weeks ago I attended a Sydney Business Month presentation titled ‘Video Killed the Written Website’. It was run by Claire Stretch, Producer, and Brendon Stretch, Creative Director of Filmstretch. Claire and Brendon specialise in video production. Their presentation was very good and the insights they shared valuable. They shared great ads such as DollarShaveClub.com’s comical ‘Our Blades are F***ing Great’,

Nike’s compelling ‘Find Your Greatness’,

and the odd but attention-holding American DirectTV ad, ‘Don’t Have a Grandson with a Dog Collar’.

They showed us how the art of film has evolved over time, and just how much can be going on behind the scenes of films. Just check out the final scene of Hugo to get an idea:

By the end of the session we had an understanding of how much work is involved in all phases of video creation and digital post-production.

I’m not here to argue that video isn’t brilliant – when executed well. In an age of digital ADD, video is critical in engaging audiences. From advertisements to film, video educates, entertains, enlightens, informs and moves us in ways that a page of words cannot.

There are people (like me), however, who still enjoy reading a well-written article. Sometimes when I follow the link on a tweet I’m disappointed that I’m being taken to a video instead of a concise and smart piece of writing. I like the puns, the innuendo, the big words, the flow. I value the effort that has gone into creating a piece that makes me laugh, cry, learn, or just keeps me glued to the screen.

Sometimes, Internet services aren’t always fast enough for video. Also, not everyone has mastered the art of video, or has the budget to do it well. Great words coupled with relevant images or infographics can capture attention and inform adequately in many situations.

The crux: In many instances, video isn’t an option and many people still appreciate clever, entertaining and/or compelling written content that has been carefully crafted.

Yes – crappy written content is most certainly dead, but excellent, relevant, timely, useful written content is not.

 

Some pieces of writing that have held my attention lately:

This simple yet warming blog post about rice on The Patterned Plate

This recent post by a straight man about how he was ‘defriended’ over the wedding of his gay brother

Aleksandar Hemon’s gripping and devastating piece about his daughter’s plight with a brain tumour on The New Yorker

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