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Friday, July 27, 2012

Give Your Image a Transparent Background with Gimp

What can you do when you need to get rid of that pesky white background of an image?

You can edit the image's Background Transparency in Gimp. Find out more about this free application in my post on Open Source Software.

On the Menu Bar go to File > Open.

This will open the Open Image Window.

Select your file and click Open.

Then go to Layer > Transparency > Add Alpha Channel.

On the Toolbox select the Fuzzy Select Tool.

Then click on any piece of the image's white background and hit the Delete Key of your keyboard.

A checkerboard background will appear. 

This is the transparent background.

You will now be able to place the image on your own colored background.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Have You Considered Open Source Lately?

So you want to make a flyer and you think you don't have the application necessary to create it. You need to have a closer look at Open Source Software. What is it?

Well, without getting too technical, Open Source Software is software developed by an open community of developers in to be used by anyone free of charge. It is called the Open Source Initiative, developed in response to the cost of using commercial software. Of course it did not start off as a big thing, but now it would seem that Open Source has gained more acceptance from the general public. I will discuss a few Open Source applications, namely Inkscape, OpenOffice Draw, Gimp, and Scribus.

Inkscape is a Free Vector Graphics Editor similar to Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw but without the noticeable drain on your machine. The Inkscape program which is smaller and faster than its rivals, is capable of producing high value work. Many use it to create Vector Graphics like the images found in the Open Clip Art Library and Clker, which I explain in detail in my Blog post about Copyright Free Vector Clip Art.

I have used Inkscape for years to design flyers and other print material for myself and my clients. You too can learn how to create a flyer with a few free Inkscape Tutorials from the FlyerTutor website or download from dozens of Free Templates. You should also download a copy of the Inkscape program here.

Apache OpenOffice Draw is a part of the Apache OpenOffice Suite which also comes bundled with Apache OpenOffice Writer, Base, Calc, Impress, and Math. Apache OpenOffice Draw is the Open Source equivalent to Microsoft Publisher. You can create professional looking documents with this Open Source Application. You should download the Apache OpenOffice Suite here.

Gimp is an Open Source Free Image Manipulation Program similar to Adobe Photoshop. I use Gimp to edit (scale and retouch) the free clip art images that I use on the FlyerTutor website. I haven't used it much but it is an awesome program. It can be used to create graphics for websites, give images transparent backgrounds, create or edit artwork, etc. As is common with all the other Open Source applications, Gimp has a much faster load time than Adobe Photoshop because of its small size. This makes it extremely efficient and super fast. You can download Gimp here.

Scribus is an Open Source Free Page Layout application similar to Adobe InDesign. It is great for newsletters, brochures, and newspaper style articles. I used this program a few years ago and found it to be a bit of a hassel. It has since been updated and I'm looking forward to seeing what's new especially since someone recently suggested it for flyer design. So look for a blog post on Scribus soon. You can download Scribus here.

Some of the many benefits to using Open Source Software:
  • Never stress about upgrading again - check for updates and download freely
  • No serial numbers required
  • Never use outdated software because of an expensive upgrade
  • Never get hooked on trial software that you are unable to purchase later

Breakdown of Prices

Commercial Software Open Source Alternative
Adobe Photoshop - $699Gimp - Free
Adobe Illustrator - $599Inkscape - Free
Corel Draw - $599Inkscape - Free
Microsoft Publisher - $139.99OpenOffice Draw - Free
Microsoft Word - $139.99Scribus - Free
Adobe InDesign - $699Scribus - Free

One thing you can do for the Open Source Community besides continue to use their valuable software, is to spread the word. Let your friends and family know what Open Source is and what it can do for them. 

For those of you who would like to go a step further, DONATE. The websites for the applications that I have detailed each have a Donate button. To find out about the Open Clip Art Library and Clker, you can read my post on Open Source Free Clip Art

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Copyright Free Vector Clip Art Anyone?

If you're like me and you dabble in any form of desktop publishing such as flyer design, then you've needed an image or two at one time or another. I don't know how many times I've asked this question of someone, "Hey where'd you get that image?" and the response has been Google Images. Even I will admit to doing this when I was unaware that many of these images are copyrighted. What's a copyrighted image? Well it is basically an image that cannot be used without the consent of its creator for commercial projects.

So since I could not draw to save my own life so to speak I had to come up with another solution to find really good Copyright Free Clip Art besides bugging my teenage daughter to draw them for me. A copyright free image is one that is free of any type of restriction. There are 2 Vector Clip Art websites that I frequently visit, the Open Clip Art Library and Clker.

Open Clip Art Library hosts 40,000+ open source free vector clip art images. What does that mean exactly? People submit their images for free from around the world so that those like myself can use them freely without fear of retribution. New images are uploaded to the site daily. You can download clip art in both SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and PNG  (Portable Network Graphics) formats.

You can also search for specific images by entering your search terms in their search box. Some search terms can produce pages of results. So if I search for "weddings", I can find some beautiful images.

The information next to each image tells the Image name, who designed it, the date it was submitted to the library, the number of page views it has received and how many people have added it to their favorites.

Images are also organized in special collections like vehicles, and in themes like Halloween and Summer. No attribution is necessary for any downloaded content. So spread the work about this great resource. It's Free!

Clker also hosts thousands of Free Vector Clip Art images. However images submitted can also be edited on the fly by other members and saved as entirely new images. I've seen dozens of variations of just one image alone.

Here's a sample of what a typical "flower" search produces.

Clker also allows you to Vectorize your images. What does this mean exactly? Well they have this special tool that allows you to upload photos and make them look clip art like so to speak. I've never used this feature as I don't particularly fancy this type of image, but you never know, you just might like it.

What I've always liked about both sites is that in searching for a particular image, you receive a plethora of  images in return, hassel free. As stated earlier, I use Vector Clip Art for my Free Flyer Templates and Flyer Tutorials on my Graphic Design site FlyerTutor.

So do you have a great resource for Copyright Free Vector Clip Art?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Where Can You Download Free Fonts?

So you're creating a flyer and you need some great free fonts at your disposal. What do you do? Did you know that you can download free fonts from the Internet and in just a few shorts steps you'd be able to use them in your Graphic Design program?

Over the years I've used many different websites for downloading free fonts. These fonts were added to flyers and other print materials for clients and personal projects like FlyerTutor - a free Graphic Design Website. I would like to recommend 3 of my favorites.

FontFreak has over 5400 fonts available. Their fonts are stored in alphabetical order which may not be such a great thing when you're looking for a particular type of font.

However I have always loved the manner in which the fonts are presented. Visually they stand out and you can usually tell just at a glance what will work for you.

View the license of each font to make sure you can use it on your project. When you can take some time to go through their huge collection.

FontSquirrel gives you hundreds of fonts to choose from. Their fonts are sorted into 18 Styles like Stencil, Grunge and Handdrawn, very useful if you are looking for a particular type of font but dont have much time to do so.

I've been using this site for just a few months. One of the reasons I keep coming back is because I have been able to find some unique fonts.

Their fonts are licensed for commericial use, so you can use them freely without having to constantly look over your shoulder because you broke some copyright law.

FontSpace requires that you sign up for a free account. Their fonts are not only available in categories, but you can also get them alphabetically or by year. Pick your fancy.

Fonts are available in Freeware, Shareware and Open Source License. I recommend always reading a font license as different designers want different things. Some want no recognition at all, others want to view their font in your artwork, and others want attribution for their hard work.

Fonts are available for both the Mac and the PC and generally come in compressed Zip format. After downloading your font you will have to unzip and install on your machine before being able to see it in the Font List of your Graphic Design Program.

Here is an example of a Free Computer Classes Flyer that I created using Free Fonts that were downloaded from FontSquirrel.

The Font used for the Title of this flyer is called Black Rose. It was designed by Bright Ideas.

The second Font used is called Desyrel. It was designed by Apostrophic Labs.

For more free graphic design help visit www.flyertutor.com.

Like my Fan Page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/flyertutor.

So what are your Free Font website recommendations?