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How to…make a Digital Silhouette

17 Jul

I’ve always loved silhouettes-they’re simple, elegant, and they always look like they took a very long time. But actually, as I’ve recently been discovering (I have a lot of time on my hands), they’re very simple. Almost too simple.

So this is a tutorial on how to make a digital silhouette using in my case GIMP, but I’m sure the principles are similar to Photoshop. I use GIMP because…well, because it’s free. It is a little more complicated than Photoshop, and requires some playing around until you’re sure how to use it, but it is worth it.

Anyway, for this tutorial I used a photo of Lanhydrock, a NT house in South England. Go, it’s lovely. And this silhouette isn’t the most sophisticated, but then you only need to know the rudiments.

So here goes.

1. Open the image you want to make a Silhouette of in GIMP. Open the layers box (in GIMP, press CTRL+L) and create two new layers: I called these “Fill” and “Shadow”.

2. Next, select the “Paths Tool” (the pen with squares on a line) from the tool box. Now, some people turn the zoom up to about 150-200% at this point, but I was doing it roughly so didn’t bother. Normally, probably a good thing, because what you do now is click around the shape you want to create a silhouette of. As you can see from the video link below, I did mine very basically, but the more effort you put in, the better it will be.

3. Once you’ve done this, press ENTER and the line will start flashing. Now click the “Selection from path” box at the side, before clicking “Fill” (the bucket). Make sure that your fill is set to “FG Colour Fill” (foreground) and that that’s black. Now, click your outlined shape. It might take a few seconds to fill, but hopefully it will!

4. Now right click on the newly blackened shape and go to “Select”, then “None”. Finally, go back to fill and switch the box to “BG Colour Fill” (background). Click on the background of the shape and there you have it-a silhouetted image!

How to Make a Silhouette using GIMP

Above is a link to the video I made to show the process. Please ignore the weird hum early on- wasn’t sure it was recording sound and thought that would be a good way to check. I don’t know, I may be missing human company too much.

And here is a silhouette I did of myself:
As you can see, a little extra caution wouldn’t have gone amiss, but it isn’t bad for a first attempt. Also, make sure you use a good photo-I was slouching in mine so I had to create a neck for myself (not that it went too badly…).


How to…successfully study

2 Jul

I won’t lie, this post is inspired a little bit by the many incredibly useful “Organize…Please” posts of The College Prepster. But, nevertheless, there are some things that I have found really help me to keep super organised (or at least, not drowning in paper), and I thought that this is the ideal place to share them!

#1 (And, interestingly, the most recent as well): Microsoft Office OneNote.

I’m not really an Apple girl-I love my iPod, but I just find Windows so comforting (I grew up in an age when computers were still kinda new, and it was the only software ever installed). And I can’t stand all the special opening animations and effects when all I want to do is open a document.

But despite my evident love of Windows, I never really noticed all the features it had given me. That is, until I was looking through my programs and noticed OneNote. And it is brilliant. I can use it to collect links I may need at a further date; to plan trips (it has been invaluable for planning Open Days, as well as comparing courses); to make huge, colour coded lists of things I need to buy…honestly, I can’t imagine being without it. And a major point for the forgetful teenager? You never have to save it, because it saves itself. I know.

Although having eulogised about it, I haven’t yet got used to its To Do feature, where you can cross off little boxes by tasks-although I love the concept, I can never remember to do it, and despite feeling like it, I don’t really do enough on the Computer to be able to note everything down. Nevertheless, OneNote is awesome, and it doesn’t get any credit. So here’s some; go use it.


#2 Google Chrome

I realise this is something of a departure from my previous post, but I love Chrome. The choice of themes, and sheer flexibility of the extensions you can install makes it absolutely perfect. Don’t get me wrong, Internet Explorer isn’t horrible-but I always feel something is missing. The main extensions I use are: AdBlock, StayFocused (allows you to limit the amount of time you’re allowed on a certain site or sites per day. Best frenemy ever), Google Mail Checker (so I don’t feel I constantly have to be going back and forth to check it and procrastinate in the process), the Amazon Wish List Adder (kept in constant use), and Google Tasks (which I mainly use for noting emails I have to reply to). Themes: at the minute Rebecca Taylor, but only because I wanted a change from Kate Spade-which is beautiful.

#3 Folders

Seems quite basic this one-until you see my locker. I have a folder for everything. History project folder? Tick. University information folder? Tick. Letters that need addressing? Tick.

You get the idea. But having everything I need in front of me whenever I need it is the best feeling! Although my arms do get tired;  I think it’s a fair price to pay. I do realise that I have just described the old fashioned version of OneNote-but some ideas are classic.