Thursday, September 30, 2010

Create Color Schemes Based on Photos Using ColorSuckr

Continuing with the theme of color... I have discussed online color pickers before (here and here), but a color extractor is a bit different. Let's say you already have an image that you would like to feature on a Web site, and you would like to create a coordinated color scheme.  ColorSuckr is an online tool that you may want to try.

The ColorSuckr site allows you to enter the URL of an image online, and the tools will automatically create a color scheme of samples using the 12 most common colors from an image, each accompanied by Hex, Web safe and RGB color codes.  Those wishing to explore further color combinations using the particular swatches provided can link to "Show color schemes," which takes them to schemes assembled by the community of users over at COLOURlovers.  Plenty of inspiration here to work with.

ColorSuckr also lets you search for Flickr images on its site.  For those wishing to use the tool often, ColorSuckr provides shortcuts to the process in the form of a bookmarklet, as well as a Firefox add-on that enables the process with a simple right-click.

Image: [With churches, Molde, Norway], from the Library of Congress (shown with color scheme from ColorSuckr), ca. 1890 to ca. 1900.  Available from Flickr's The Commons, with no known copyright restrictions.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Well Do You See Color?

According to X-Rite, 1 out of 255 women and 1 out of 12 men have some form of color vision deficiency.  Do you?  Take the Online Color Challenge, based on the official FM100 Hue Test by X-Rite.  You may be surprised by the results!  Of course, if you believe that you do have a deficiency in your ability to accurately see colors, have your vision checked by a professional.  Colors on computer monitors tend to vary widely.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Use Dropbox to Back up, Sync, and Share Your Files

I recently posted about the importance of backing up your files, where I cited the 3-2-1 rule for backups: three copies (primary and two backups), two types of media, and one copy stored off site.  Dropbox is a service that can help with this model, and it's free for up up to 2 GB.  Dropbox lets you easily back up, sync, and share files with others.

Dropbox creates a folder on your computer where you may place files that you can then make accessible from any other computer in the world, either to you exclusively or also to other people of your choosing.  When you change a file in this folder, it automatically changes the corresponding file housed on the Dropbox folder residing on another computer (imagine using this tool to sync your files between your home and office computers).

Use Dropbox as a tool for backup and you'll have at least one copy stored off-site on a Dropbox server.  If you additionally use Dropbox to sync your files on a computer at home and another at work, this gives you three copies in three different locations.  Add automatic backups operating on an external hard drive and you have a pretty secure system for your most important files.

ProfHacker has featured enthusiastic posts in recent months about how academics make use of Dropbox: see this one on using Dropbox for backups, and this one for using Dropbox for syncing.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NASA Joins The Commons at Flickr

NASA has just joined The Commons at Flickr, bringing the current number of participating institutions to 46.  As with all images in The Commons there are no known copyright restrictions, a fact worth noting whether you are a a scholar or creative artist.

The Commons' objectives are:

1. To increase access to publicly-held photography collections, and

2. To provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge. (Then watch what happens when they do!)

To enhance understanding and access to the images in The Commons, members of the public are encouraged to share their perspectives and even expertise by tagging images.  But as Flickr notes, "Any Flickr member is able to add tags or comment on these collections. If you're a dork about it, shame on you. This is for the good of humanity, dude!!"

Image: Spiro Agnew and Lyndon Johnson Watch the Apollo 11 Liftoff, 1969. Available from Flickr with no known copyright restrictions.