Geeking Out For Teen Tech Week

People and places of Virginia Village

Teen Tech Week is March 4th - 10th. As it gets closer, I want to highlight some of the neat things you can do with the programs installed on the public PCs at your local branch, starting with some image editing in a program called GIMP.

GIMP is free software for manipulating images and is installed on all of our public PCs. You can find it in the Start menu under Utilities.

It is a very robust, powerful program that you can spend a lot of time getting to know. (See the documentation and some tutorials at gimp.org/docs.) What I want to share with you is a very simple and specific procedure: creating an animated gif like the one at the top of this post.

The pictures I used for this example are of some faces and places you'll see around the Virginia Village branch library. I took them myself with my iPhone, so they are blurry and not that great. Whether you transfer your images from your camera or phone like I did, or download them from your facebook or email, you'll need to have them saved on the computer in order to proceed.

Once I had my pictures saved to the desktop, I fired up GIMP from the Start menu and selected "Open as Layers" from the File menu. (The process from here to the end can be seen on a screencast I recorded, if you'd like to see a visual.) After selecting all the images, I could see them loaded up in the Layers dialog window to the right. And that's basically all the work there is to do! Those layers are the frames of your animation. Change their order if you want. They'll play sequentially from the bottom up.

If you want to see your animation in action, open up the Filters menu, find Animation near the bottom, and click on Playback. This new pop-up window will allow you to preview the image.

I recommend, before saving, going back into Animation in Filters and clicking "Optimize for Gif." Then you can save your file to the desktop to be uploaded somewhere.

When you're saving, or "exporting", you'll want to be sure that you save the image as an animation, and you'll also have the opportunity to specify how fast--in milliseconds--you want your animation to play. (The dizzyingly fast gif posted here is playing at 150ms per frame.)

So play around with GIMP and with the computers. And share your creations with us! Comment here, or if you post your new image to twitter, mention DPL Teens (@denver_evolver) or @denverlibrary so we can see it!

And, by the way, don't worry about your pictures being accessible to others after you end your session. When you log off, the computer will reboot and erase any files that may have been saved to the computer.

Have fun geeking out!

Comments

Thanks for the tutorial, I can't wait to try it out!

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