#2 in General a Puffin?? Info in Shadows

village-jim-grooms_John puffintransblog I started reviewing the footage from the General to find information on what might have been saved when things blew up. I think it was a plan from the start – who to trust?

Looking at the video – I was able to slow it down enough and see the shadows – look at #2 as his shadow reveals!! and there seems to be some invisible fairytale puffins in the room as well.

Truth in the shadows

Background process:

  • Clipped out frame from The General video
  • Imported into Photoshop
  • Deleted background within circle cut out
  • Used Eliptical marquee tool and rounded out edges of cut out to make it smoother
  • selected with quick select tool
  • Select>Modify>Contract 2 pixels
  • Modify>Refine edge>smooth and contrast
  • Cleaned up #2 with Select>Modify>Contract>Refine Edges
  • Added gray background layer to fill hole
  • Used Rochelle Lockridge”s find of the aristocrat puffin – selected and filled with one color of gray and added noise to create shadow – copied and added to working file
  • Used Transform>Perspective to create shadow
  • Added layers with fairy puffins and lowered opacity
  • Exported and saved as jpeg

AND THEN  – my own mind’s critic kicks in! Needed the context of #6 and the setting! So added it in. 🙂 just went back and instead of erasing all in the circle – I lowered the opacity after cutting it out and then futzed with making it fit in the circle.

Truth in Shadows 2

Seeing Forest Folk x7!

Multiply Photo

puffintransblogIcelandic Week at the Bovine County Fairy Tale Festival seems to be causing multiple sightings of wee forest folk! Cousin Ron has hinted that we are not alone in Bovine County – but I am seeing more elves, fairies, and gnomes than terrestrial beings so far.

This is a visual assignment from the ds106 assignment bank. Multiply Yourself. I decided to multiply a Gnome named Boo (wonder if he is related or knows MamaBoo?) He is a playful guy popping out of the garden with a hearty laugh.

I had to set the scene. Set the camera on a tripod so it wouldn’t move and then place Boo in different places. Since he is a little stiff – I could only pose him at different angles of direction and depth from the camera.

After getting some shots, I uploaded to Photoshop and loaded them as a stack so that they all went into the same project file and at the same size.

From there it was selecting one as a base and then using the selection tools to cut Boo out and then cut the backgrounds placing him with the base photo in place. Since he is mostly in the foreground there was not as much detail in layering needed.

Another reason for choosing this assignment was to see how it might be useful in creating a fairy garden tour….still have that on my mind and bubbling.

I think I might teleport over to the Village and see if any of the forest folk have been in the gardens….


Gnomes, The Moon and The Porch

Iceland FairyTale Week

It is visual assignment week in #burgeron106 and it is Icelandic week as well. That means, gnomes, elves, fairies and more.

The poster could be “design” because it is a poster- but I used my own photos to create it. (well – except for NanaLou’s porch)

I used a shot of the moon off my deck. I have tried for moon shots for a long time and this one is a step up in starting to understand the settings on my camera.  It is from the fall – but it also forced me to get my camera out again and actually use it over my phone.

Moonin' - almost there! Spooky!

From there I decided to learn how to use the external flash and remote I got for Christmas this last year.  I used it once and could never get it to work again – packed it away.

remotes flash

I spent about an hour trying to get the flash to fire when I took a picture – nothing worked and I have about 200 pictures of only black to prove it! Searched the Internet and everything said “not a problem – works easily – not difficult”…….hmnnn……..after a few more tries I finally figured it out! I had put the receiver on backwards!

Problem solved.

I use the external flash in one hand and hold it at different angles as I shoot to get different effects. I have some Tom Clark Gnomes that I collected years ago and have since moved to the basement with the former collections of things and thought they would make good subjects. More on how I shot the pics as the next products are completed.

Once I had the picture and lighting I liked – I cropped it and added it to the poster.

So while it looks like a design assignment – I am focusing on the visual and photography – and pictures telling a story. 🙂



Fail of Webbing Fairy Tale News

puffintransblogWeb Assignments – Week 1 Summer 2015

Nanalou has a newsletter…….and she wanted it embedded into the family story blog. She used an email service that gave her a good choice of templates and ease, but still very basic. NanaLou went through a lot of hoops to present her information to the rest of the family at the level she is known for – but way too much work on detail things when she could be spending the time on sharing her other talents.

This prompted me to identify this as my web assignment. While it is not telling a story of Holland Fairy Tales – it is a #ds106 tangent of which to pursue. More on the Holland fairy tales later – I did dive into them and enjoyed the tales!

Vertical Response – great free tool, but limited in features – doesn’t print to PDF, doesn’t archive. The work around is to use the View Online link and post it as a text link where ever you want others to access it. Not a bad solution -but I also found that NanaLou did that and the page that comes up is a registration page. This might explain the 50% open rate (which in marketing circles is pretty darn good – usually success is marked at 30%). Vertical Response support tickets had a similar request in its logs and this was the answer:

Jaime (VerticalResponse) 

Hi there Laura,

While we do not generate a link so that you can archive older newsletters on your website, we do have a workaround. In order to generate the link,  you will have to insert the “View Online” link into your email. It is normally added by default. If it is not there, you can add it to a text box by using the “Insert” drop down menu on the right hand side and selecting “Hosted Version Link”. Once you’ve launched the email to your recipients, click on the View Online link and copy the URL in your browser’s address bar. This is the link that you can put onto your website. Please ensure that you are only doing this with launched emails as it will not work with test emails. Feel free to let me know if there is anything else I can do for you!


Jaime W.

Verticalresponse Support

The first thing I did was try and find a URL that would go back to the newsletter without having to login. I found one, but also wanted to make sure it did work and just was not accessing because of cache or other things on my machine. I found it was working by using another computer in the house and someone elses profile. I then created a shorter url for the link because it was way too long!! I am not sure if Vertical response stays consistent with its URLs – we will see. Nanalou – I did update the links in your post so that others did not hit dead ends.

The Burgeron site is also using WordPress.org and not a self hosted version so plugins are at the mercy of WP. This made finding solutions more difficult as the subscription is set up to help maintain security and is not as open to plugins.

Tried iFrames – but WP.org scrubs those out and makes it irrelevant. I searched the available widgets and no luck – nothing that would allow embedding another site or html. Suggestions were to create a new page. I tried that and came up with nothing usable.

PDF conversion didn’t work either and is not supported by VerticalResponse.

I have been working around with my Google account for this site so thought I would try for the Burgerons. Using Google Drive and docs is coming along nicely and was worth a shot.

Trying to get the newsletter as formatted with active links proved difficult. I could import and put things in a Google Doc but Copy and paste loses formatting from the template for the newsletter. It also smashed columns together. If it was a little different that would have beennewsembed2en okay – but it was more like a cut and paste that was like spaghetti on a barn – some stuck and some didn’t. It didn’t meet quality criteria.

Even though it didn’t look quite right – I wanted to find out if it would embed and actually work if it was a GDoc. I titled it and then went to File>Publish to Web and chose embed. I copied the code and pasted it into WP – it worked! Great scroll bar and you can also resize the window of the embed in the code for different purposes. Filing that one for sure!


It still did not solve Nanalou’s issue. I tried Google slides, and draw – neither accepted the template features where they looked good enough to consider a solution.

I also tried taking the source code from the newsletter and pasting it in as text to see if it would replicate. It added a whole load of text and the newsletter. Might work – but to putzy for a solution.

newsembed  Copying and pasting the newsletter itself added extra lines and table features that would be a bear to go through and delete.

So at this point – I have spent a good amount of screen time and futzing. I have come up with a better handle on using Google for embed into WP and if info is created in Google first to look good, that will be a solution.

Also did come up with the ability to use the links for accessing the Vertical Response newsletter. Creating a standard Newsletter header or graphic to hold the newest link and another going back to an archive of links might be a good solution and still add some visual.


Nanalou created a Pinterest page to give a visual for the newsletter. On that path I found this in the support logs. I don’t think it would have saved anytime or hoops – but it is what is available by the tool support.

Hi there Mel.

To better assist you, may I ask what format your poster is in? i.e JPG, GIF, PNG. If you do not know, you can right click on the image and select properties. A window should pop up displaying the file type. As long as it is in one of the image formats I listed above, you should be able to use our Social tool to create a social post. Here are step by step instructions, along with a video tutorial, to walk you through the process: http://helpcenter.verticalresponse.com/articles/VR2/Create-a-Social-Post/

I don’t have a product that came out of this web assignment, but it was time to spend on solution finding and trying new things out within tools and systems so that I can apply.

Holland Week:

Thanks to NanaLou, Cousin Ron, and Sappho with work on Holland fairy tale history and creating. I am at this point on the consumable end of fairy tales over creating them. The resource links of stories has been great to use. I find I read and enjoy them and then remember I was supposed to be looking at how they are constructed, the style and flow etc. Instead – I have been purely enjoying them as a good story.

Reading the stories and seeing what others are creating is also helping in my support work on the Bovine PR Department team. Sappho had mentioned in a post that if Prisoner106 had a badge shouldn’t the Burgeron’s and the Fairy Tale Festival. This took me on the path of creating an animated GIF badge and with the support of the family a usable outcome came out of the efforts. It is great to have others give that gentle push to reach a little farther. Thanks Family!

And while not directly a Holland fairy tale – I did work on walking out of my comfort zone and recording audio for Mama Boo and Christina Hendricks for a remix of the 3 Bears and Goldilocks. It was actually fun and may make the next audio of self be a little easier to add in a product. I also spent some time looking for first sound effects for consideration by the group.

A few daily creates thrown in for some exercising some creative muscles.

One week into the festival summer and it seems everyone is giving one and gaining many. Totally cool!


GIF a Badge – #Burgeron106

The summer of 2015 brings several groups in #ds106 coming together to make art.

Two of the groups are open groups: Prisoner106 and Bugeron106. there is also cross participation between the two groups (Villages).

Prisoner106 has set up as a more structured format after the #ds106 format and a calendar.

Bugeron106  is a revisit of the summer of 2014 and continues the story of the Burgeron Family of Bovine County who are now leading the Bovine County Fairy Tale Festival.

The two villages in addition to cross participation has also created some friendly challenges. Prisoner106 created a badge for blogs and has specific design elements. To meet the challenge, I worked on a badge for those in the Burgeron106 group. And of course since it is #ds106 it had to be GIF.

As the Bovine Fairy Tale Festival started to get off the ground, @RockyLou22 and @NanaLou had created a series of Puffins for the festival. Nanalou also organized the family by providing some focus points thru a Around the World of Workshops for each week of the summer so that members can align more easily in work together.

I decided since these images were an organizing part of the group that I would use them and not introduce new visuals. We are all involved in many things, and asynchronous collaboration can bring about confusion if too many things are circulating at once.

My first attempts were individual pics that would be used in frame animation in photo shop.

I was happy with the concepts and was really glad to have been able to create the puffin animation of it moving through the frame. The result was too spastic and more like a fast slide show than a GIF to me. It had about 60 frames and used frame animation in photoshop. There was futzing and putzing with each image by capturing it, scaling and cropping. The standards are high in the Burgeron106 and ds106  families so sloppy work was not acceptable by the PR department. More work was needed.

I have friend who shares access to her Lynda.com account for help when needed. Looking at Photoshop is overwhelming. So many available  courses and screen casts. They really show how complex PS can be. I hopped around and saw a few things to explore – but my brain was not in a place to go through the tutorials. I opted for some exploration, but maximizing features that I have found already.  I know there must be a way to do what I did, faster, smoother, and with good results.

I spent a day working with the images. The frame animation was a lot of duplicating and minor changes. I also had to do a lot of merging of layers as I added things.

The result was less than satisfactory – but a little better.  A shower and some lunch to clear the head, move the muscles, and fuel up and I went back again. This time I went back to some of the first GIFs I made as part of the open course a few months back. At that @cogdog – Alan Levine was facilitating the You Show in Canada and thru his blog I found a tutorial which used video in PhotoShop. I decided to try video editing to GIF instead of frame animation. This allowed for a smoother transition and motion.

I saved the ground work of the basic images of each section. I went to timeline and created a video. I set a work length so that I stayed within a certain time sequence so that the GIF didn’t become an actual movie in length.

Adding transition, changing opacity and putting in motion. All of this was done with pure abandonment and free will – no logic or system. Lots of do it and try to then undo it. Lots of saving versions to have something to go back to if steps did not work.

Once I thought I was close – I changed the video to frame animation so that I could tweak some parts and to try to cut frames that are not really needed as a GIF to cut back on file size. Doing that worked well – but I lost some layers and changing things after the switch caused more issues to correct – like losing the Holland graphic and key frames that didn’t translate smoothly. It did however get me to pare down even more which was good for design.

I went back to a saved version and this time did more timing within video. This was a little cumbersome at first – but actually made more sense to me than working with the frame animation with such a large number of frames. I was able to get some images resized and placed without losing or chain reactions. I am still not able to explain how – but my mouse hand found the rhythm and pattern to repeat.

This time I went to save for web right from the video. I found by paring down and making sure that layers that were not used deleted instead of just turned off helped make the file smaller. Saving as video did not create a larger file than animation – so it worked.

The last step was getting a font installed so that I had one that I liked more from a design point. I started on my laptop which has different fonts than my desktop. This was a risk as I had a good result and changing the font meant re-establishing a base layer composed of 5 merged layers. I made sure things stayed named the same and that the one layer remained as the foundation. The digital fairies were watching over me – and I got through it without an issue. Once I got those changed and put in – it was a save as for web and done. Whew!

For use by others I saved 4 different sizes and put them in a Google Drive for access.

and….to meet part of my Prisoner106 tasks – the bike is in the GIF to represent the Artists infiltrating the Village. 🙂

I think I will be seeing Dr. M at her tree house soon!

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