This is the 14th post in the “30 days to using the best of the web’s free tools for educators” series. Be sure to subscribe to the Teacher Challenge blog by RSS, like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter to keep up with future challenge posts as they are published.
In this teacher challenge you will:
- Be introduced to the simple free image editor PhotoFiltre
- Download and install PhotoFiltre
- Use PhotoFiltre to carry out simple edits on images
- Share PhotoFiltre with your students (if this is possible in your context) so they can use it for editing
- Complete one (or more) of the challenge activities
Introduction to PhotoFiltre
We, and our students, all need to edit and manipulate images at some point. There are many image editors we can use to do this. However most of these are quite complex to learn and are also often only available at a relatively high cost. PhotoFiltre is both simple to use and free to download. From my perspective the main advantages are these:
- Small (4MB) so I can keep a copy on a USB drive to put on any computer at need – useful if you don’t have the access to download and install executable files on school/college computers due to organisational restrictions;
- Free to download and use for private and education purposes so it can be installed anywhere without licensing issues;
- I can recommend it to colleagues and students who can then use it without incurring cost; and also without large download time – significant in our infrastructure poor region;
- My often not very tech savvy students, and sometimes colleagues, find it easy to use;
- Simple short user guide – mostly written in plain comprehensible English
- Quick to open and to access the tools I (and many others) use most frequently
- Handles a good range of image formats
Ability to carry out simple image editing quickly is very significant in making our images “fit for purpose”. This is particularly important in: any online publishing context; in email where large files may exceed Inbox restrictions; when large files take excessive time to download from websites; where image size on the page is important; or when storage capacity is limited.
Download install and use PhotoFiltre
1. Photofiltre can be downloaded from here, just follow the steps to download and install.
2. Open PhotoFiltre – explore and experiment with the tools. Here are some of the ones that I use most and examples showing how I use them and the effects of some of these on images. The first three tools are the ones that I use regularly every day. These may be a good place to start your exploration.
a) Paste as new image
I use “Paste as new image” a lot for handling screenshots and when I am writing “How to” guides. That is how I produced this image:
ii) Hover mouse over “Paste as new image”
iv) “Paste as new image”
v) Crop the image (see later in post)
vi) Save the image (I usually use “png”)
vii) Insert the image into a preferred application for adding your information or “how to” steps around the image. For me this is usually PowerPoint.
viii) Add text, etc
ix) Group the image and all the additions
x) Copy the group
xi) “Paste as new image” into PhotoFiltre again
xii) Save the image
xiii) Resize the image (see later in this post) for the context where you intend to use it.
xiv) Save again with a new name – I usually use the same base name with “resize” or “small”. For me keeping the original at its original size is important in case I need to resize again for a different context.
b) Simple cropping of an image
|Once I have a screenshot or any other image open the most likely edit I will want to do next is to crop the image to capture the part I want for my purpose.|
c) Resizing an image
For me the way that I can easily and quickly resize an image is probably the most important feature of PhotoFiltre.
Resizing by reducing the number of pixels is probably the quickest and easiest way for most of us to reduce the size of the image file.
Making sure that your image is the right size for purpose is critical. When you import an image into a document and reduce the size within the document this has no effect on the size of the image in terms of file space. For example if you have a 60KB text document and you insert a 500KB image your document file size will be 560KB. Even if you reduce the visible dimensions of the image within the document your file will still be 560KB. This has impacts on download time and inbox capacity.
Experience will tell you what sizes work best for you in your own context. However as a rough guide I make icons around 120-150 px wide and the same high. Full width images in my blog are 500px wide which is OK with the theme I use but may be too wide for some, 400-450 is probably safer!
d) Various “Adjust” tools
Although I use most of the other PhotoFiltre tools far less frequently than the three above I do occasionally use some of the image enhancement and colour adjustment ones to create the sorts of effects shown in the examples below.
There are a variely of other tools but far too many to include all of them in this post. Despite the lack of layers I have used PhotoFiltre to combine images into a simple montage and to construct the banner image for my blog. As I said earlier I usually save images in “png” format and I find that the option for a transparent colour that is available in this format can be useful for placing images in the background of slides.
What you have seen in this post is very much my personal take on using PhotoFiltre in my own context! So I would encourage you to take what you find useful, discard anything I do that you think is irrelevant, and above all to explore and find out if this image editor suits you and/or your students!
If you are interested in a little more on PhotoFiltre we had an Edublogs Fine Focus webinar on the “how to” in the middle of 2010. I posted the overview and recording link in a blog post as usual.
The final part of this post is the challenge “bit”. If you have time please do one or more of the following:
1. Leave a comment on this post about: how useful or otherwise you feel that PhotoFiltre may be for you and/or your students and how you think you or they may use it in the future.
2. Share (either with a comment on this post, or through your own blog with a link from a comment here) how you might use, or have used PhotoFiltre in a teaching/learning context.
3. Use PhotoFiltre to edit one or more of your own images – post about the process on your blog with the “before and after” images – link from a comment here so that we can all take a look.
4. Have your students use PhotoFiltre in a teaching/learning context post on your blog (with a link from a comment here) about their and your experience.
We hope you and your students have great time “playing” with PhotoFiltre, an look forward to hearing from you about your experiences.
About the Author
Jo Hart is a lecturer in Literacy and Numeracy (with some IT) in the public Vocational Education and Training sector (TAFE) in western Australia.
She is also the regular host of the weekly Edublogs webinars which you can learn about in the slideshare below!