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Topics - vlastimil [ switch to compact view ]

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1
N.A.N.Y. 2015 / NANY 2015 Release: apng2gif and webp2gif
« on: December 31, 2014, 08:24 AM »
NANY 2015 Entry Information

Application Nameapng2gif and webp2gif
Version 1.0
Short Description Batch-convert animated PNG and WebP images to GIF
Supported OSes Windows
Web Page a bit more about the software
Download Link apng2gif.exe and webp2gif.exe
System RequirementsNothing special, just Windows 2000 and later
Version History1.0 for apng2gif and webp2gif.
(The other 4 conversion tools -apng2webp, gif2webp, gif2apng and webp2apng - were available since summer.)
Author https://www.donation...tion=profile;u=27425


Description
Check out these 3 animated pictures (actually 2, because I cannot upload a .webp as an image apparently - despite the png extension, it is a WebP).

campfire.gifcampfire.png

I bet you can't. That's because the companies behind the 3 most widely used internet browsers are unable to reach a consensus about what file format should web designers use for simple animations. There is GIF, but that is limited to 256 colors, the compression is not stellar and it does not support full alpha. Then there is animated PNG introduced in Firefox years ago. Adopted by Opera, but who cares now, right? Chrome did not want to lag behind, but for reasons unknown to me and apparently many others, instead of adopting animated PNG, they created their own format WebP. Firefox (of course) refused to adopt WebP. Internet Explorer (as always) plays dead and does not care about innovation, so neither animated PNG nor WebP is supported.

So, here we are. If you want to have a small animation with more than 256 colors or full transparency channel on your web page, you are in trouble. You can either give up on the quality side and just use GIF. Or, if you absolutely want the best quality, you can prepare 3 separate files and pick the right one on the web server depending on the web browser used by the visitor (you can also do it on the client side with javascript, but eeek).

Here, webp2gif and apng2gif come to help you. If you decide to use for example WebP as the primary format for your graphic assets, you can use webp2gif to quickly generate GIF alternatives for all WebPs.

The tool(s) can scan all files in a folder and convert them. There are ways to skip already converted files so you can re-run the same command after you have made changes to your animations and it will convert just the changed/added files. It can also skip all non-animated images.

Either command line switches or hacky renaming tricks can be used to adjust the behavior of the tool. More info on the home page (or just ask in this thread).

Features
Converts animated images in PNG or WebP format to GIFs for those conservative Internet Explorer visitors to your website/blog.

Planned Features
Open to suggestions.

Screenshots
Command line tool, so nothing to see here.

Usage
Installation
Not needed.

Using the Application
You can either use it from a command line or you can drag and drop files or folders on it.

Uninstallation
Delete it.

Tips
Rename it, put it on the desktop and drag and drop folders with animations on it.

Known Issues
All issues are still unknown.


2
N.A.N.Y. 2015 / NANY 2015 Pledge: apng2gif and webp2gif
« on: December 18, 2014, 02:03 AM »
Hi all,

The web-designers among you already know that using an animated asset in your web page design is a pain. We have GIF (supported by all browsers, but limited to 256 colors and 1bit transparency), animated PNG (supported by Firefox) and animated WebP (supported by Chrome).

If you actually want to have an animation with semi-transparency (smooth edges, something appearing or smoothly changing from one thing to another thing, ...) on your web page, you have a big problem. You have to serve different files to each browser.

Earlier this year, I made some command line tools for batch-converting gifs to animated pngs and webps and now I am thinking the opposite direction may actually be more useful. The scenario I am imagining is this:
* you create your animations in WebP or animated PNG using full colors and smooth transparency
* you run a command that coverts all WebP or PNG files to GIFs and places them into the same folders <- that would be the NANY
* you use browser-specific CSS hacks (or PHP) to serve the right files for the user's browser
* profit (max. quality of your design for as many people as possible)

So, what do you think, is it worth doing? Would you use it?

3
Living Room / Game (& reviews) industry's silent scandal
« on: September 02, 2014, 07:42 AM »
So, have you heard yet about Zoe Quinn and her little escapade and the massive sh*tstorm it turned out to be in the last two weeks?

If not, go ahead and search for youtube for 'quinnspiracy' or just her name. Or start for example from https://www.youtube..../watch?v=pKmy5OKg6lo and click your way through the ton of material there is now.

The worst thing is, I do not know what game review site is at least a bit trustworthy. I was a visitor on firingsquad, but that ended years ago, later I liked gamespy, but that is now closed also. Most of the other popular sites are publishing propaganda articles, nobody seems to concern themselves with professional journalism ethics or just common sense.

V.

(you may find https://www.youtube..../watch?v=EqtPB94LyPA funny, but only after you know what was happening)

4
Developer's Corner / Looking for the best widget for numeric input
« on: April 25, 2013, 03:41 PM »
Hi guys,

I have a problem, I cannot design a good control for numeric input and I need your help. Look at these concepts I have drawn - they suck.
The classic Windows controls are marked by 0, possible alternatives are marked 1, 2, 3, 4.

number-control.png

My goal is to have a widget for numeric input that:
1. works with keyboard - at least as good as the "classic" edit box with spinner
2. works with mouse - quickly adjust value by dragging something/clicking somewhere; ideally, it should be possible to somehow specify "good" numbers like 100, 10, 5, etc. with mouse (imagine doing that with a normal slider - it is not trivial to select exactly "30" if your slider goes from 1 to 100)
3. works with touch input - areas that need to be touched must not be tiny
4. looks good - good presentation of current value, simple design without too many distracting or eye-hurting details

My question: Do you know a program with a great widget for numeric input?

Thanks for all opinions.

5
Announce Your Software/Service/Product / RealWorld Paint 2013.1
« on: March 21, 2013, 11:16 AM »
Hi coders,

a new version of my freeware image editor is here. This time, the big new feature is vector layers. There is also a new tool called Shape that is similar to the Pen tool in Photoshop (= allows you to create arbitrary shapes from Bezier arcs). There are also a couple of simplifications in the user interface, which should lower the sensory overload new users may experience.

My goal for this version was to make the software usable for semi-professional logo designing and I have a good feeling about it. While it is no Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator, the results you can get from it are often good enough. I also improved the .psd codec - it now understands vector masks in Photoshop files and can import them as vector layers.

Here is a screenshot showing my adaptation of Hally's Robo Cody. It consists of a couple of vector layers with layer styles applied and the shading is in a separate raster layer.

editing-cody.png

I have no video showing the latest version in action, but here is one I recorded few months ago with a beta version: http://www.youtube.c.../watch?v=VMjtuKnwZyU More tidbits in my blog.

Download at the usual place: http://www.rw-designer.com/image-editor
You can pick an installer (digitally signed for the first time) or a portable version. No adware ;) !

6
N.A.N.Y. 2013 / NANY 2013 Conditional Pledge: Simple picture gallery
« on: October 16, 2012, 05:03 AM »
Hi all,

I am not sure whether this is the right project for NANY or whether it would be useful for anyone at all. So, I pledge to finish this project only if there are 3 people, who pledge to use it. If I cannot find those 3 people in the next month, I'll come with another idea for NANY.

The "Simple picture gallery" (to be named properly) is a set of few PHP scripts for people, who want to run their own small online photo gallery. I know that this is hardly original and there are numerous ways how to present your photos online right now, but let me tell you why I decided to do this. My grandmother started painting after she retired some 20 years ago and during the years, she painted over 100 pictures. This year, we decided it would be nice to have her work presented online. I was searching for a suitable script that we could use, but find nothing that really fit. The free solutions were usually crappy, overcomplicated or hard to navigate. So I (with a little help) made my own script that is:
  • Easy to install - no database required
  • Easy to maintain - pictures are added/deleted via dropbox (but this is a bit hacky right now)
  • Accessible - my grandmother is in her eighties and can navigate the site just fine
  • Pictures are priority, everything else is a distraction
You can check out the gallery in action right now at http://www.linetova.cz/ (best viewed in Chrome, but any decent browser is fine).

This gallery is for people, who want to present a limited amount of carefully prepared pictures to the audience. There are no folders and I do not intend to add them in the near future.

The gallery definitely NOT the right solution for people, who shoot hundreds of photos with their digital camera on every vacation and need a place to dump them to never be seen again.

So, are there 3 people, who would be interested in having such gallery on their web sites? If yes, please reply to this thread - I really need those 3 pledges and I will actually want your websites with photos to be ready and working on Jan 1st so that people can see the script in action and everything is smooth.

7
Developer's Corner / businessofsoftware conference livestream
« on: October 01, 2012, 08:02 AM »
Hi all,

the Bussiness of Software conference is starting right now (and will be continuing tomorrow and the day after that) and they have a livestream ready if you register at http://businessofsoftware.org/

I have watched the talks last year and they were definitely worth it. Recommend 100% for every software author.

V.

8
Living Room / What web sites would deserve more attention?
« on: September 29, 2012, 04:08 PM »
So, anyway, because Google kicked my web out of AdSense (they have probably upgraded one of their automated filters and I had a Chuck Norris icon on my web :'( - see also this topic posted by Renegade https://www.donation...ex.php?topic=32381.0 ), I have decided to run a series of free promotions (placing banners where the ads used to be) on my web and draw a bit of attention to worthy internet places.

The place that came to my mind first was DonationCoder and I have posted banners pointing here on my web. I would like to switch the promoted web site every few days and I am looking for suggestions. What web sites would deserve a bit of free promotion? If you know a perfect candidate, please leave a reply here or on my blog http://www.rw-designer.com/entry/883

Thanks...

9
Developer's Corner / newsletters - how to do them properly
« on: August 10, 2012, 06:56 AM »
Hi all,

I am considering starting a newsletter for users of my software. After years of mainly coding, I find myself a bit disconnected from the users and it seems like newsletter is still a popular format.

So, what are the biggest obstacles I am about to face? Is it even worth it? I have email addresses of people who have created an account and kind of opted-in to receive news (it was opt-out many years ago), but I have never sent a single volume email so far.

Mouser runs a successful newsletter so I would welcome his advice as of course anyone's who is running a newsletter now, was doing it in the past or even considered doing it.

Thanks,
V.

10
Living Room / The most persistent scammer
« on: July 20, 2012, 06:45 AM »
Hi all,

the internet if full of spammers and scammers and one of the best things we can do is to ignore them and focus our energy on more positive things. That's what I usually do, but I got dragged into this awkward situation concerning fake software awards (if you are not familiar with that topic, read for example this classic blog post by Andy Brice).

What is different in my case is the persistence the of people behind this particular fake award. If you feel you can deal with a bit of moral greyness today, go read about my year-long experience with fake awards.

What baffles me is the amount of people, who fall for this fake awards scam. Even these days, even software developers :-[, who should be familiar with how the web works. So, fellow programmers, how many fake awards are you displaying on your web sites? Did the people, who gave you that 5-star rating at least install your software?

V.

11
Developer's Corner / Dealing with UAC in portable tools
« on: February 27, 2012, 06:54 AM »
Hi all,

I am not sure if addressing UAC issues in Vista and Win7 interests many of you, but I have finally bitten the bullet and implemented saving to UAC-protected folders in my tools. In the end it was not so hard, but it was not trivial either and it is easy to get stray away while looking for the easiest solution. If you decide you want your software to save to UAC-protected locations (after the user confirms that dreaded dialog box) instead of displaying an error message, you may find my latest blog entry with code snippets useful: http://www.rw-designer.com/entry/531

V.

12
N.A.N.Y. 2012 / NANY 2012 Pledge & Release: Image Grid
« on: December 30, 2011, 12:13 PM »
NANY 2012 Entry Information

Note: a screencast has been prepared by kyrathaba

Application NameImage Grid
Version 1.0
Short DescriptionTurn multiple (equal sized) images into one large image
Supported OSes Windows 2k, XP, Vista, 7
Setup File [url=http://download.rw-designer.com/1.0/ImageGrid.exe]ImageGrid.exe
System Requirementsnothing special, just mouse & truecolor display
Author Infohttp://www.rw-designer.com/image-grid
DescriptionThis tool allows you to take several smaller pictures and create one big image with all the smaller pictures arranged in a rows and columns.

Personally, I will probably do not use this, but because several people requested tool like this, here it is. At this moment, I know it will be used to:
  • create custom wallpapers from photographs
  • create previews of multiple images for sites like deviant art or for designers' clients
  • create pictures for a printing service that only supports pictures of certain size and the client needs lots of smaller pictures
Screenshotsimage-grid-screenshot.jpg
Installationnone - 100% portable
Using the applicationRun the .exe, drag and drop images, save the result
Uninstallingjust delete the .exe
Known IssuesSince I was working on this 1 hour ago, I am sure, there are issues, but they are not yet known to me.  :o

13
Hi all,

first of all, I would like to thank all donationcoders, who helped with testing (https://www.donation...ex.php?topic=27867.0) and with picking the right name (https://www.donation...ex.php?topic=28144.0). After a long I hesitation, I decided to keep the RealWorld Paint name as many of you have recommended.

RWPaint is a free image and animation editor focused on bloggers and other people who work with pictures and animations online. Notable features include:
  • Support of layers with styles.
  • Import and export of .psd, .xcf, .pdn formats with layers and in case of Photoshop also with some styles (is there any other non-Adobe image editor that imports layer styles?).
  • Many drawing tools (pencil, image brush, rectangle, ellipse, lasso, polygon, flood fill), and photo-retouching tools (red eye remover, clone, shape-shifter (liquify-like) tool).
  • All basic image effects (shadow, fill, outline, bevel, glow, exposure adjustments, content-aware resizing, colorize, shift hue) and some less usual ones like displace or environment mapping. Plus a javascript interface for custom filter creation.
  • Decent gif optimizer.
  • Animation <-> filmstrip conversions.
  • And a cute splash:

RWPaint-splash.png

The splash was created entirely in RWPaint and can be easily modified, because it uses just a few simple shapes and a lot of layer styles. I'll be releasing a tutorial that explains how it was made during the next week.

Oh, and here is a download link: http://www.rw-designer.com/image-editor

Reading the recent topics here on DC, I should also mention a few possibly controversial features:
1) There are silent automated updates that are enabled by default (you can disable the in application options).
2) There is an embedded Internet Explorer control that displays latest news and allows downloading of plug-ins and media packs. In the process, it must (of course) contact the web server. If you do not like that, you can again choose a different start up page in application options.
3) There is a .msi installer and a .zip portable version (native 64-bit version coming soon, but it won't be able to use Photoshop-compatible plug-ins (cause they are 32-bit), so it is better to stick with the 32-bit version if you plan to user Ps plug-ins with RWPaint). The installer does not need admin rights if you select an installation folder that is writable without admin rights.

Edit: I am totally exhausted. Going to sleep...

14
Hi all,

I know I suck at naming my software, so maybe this time I should ask before making another bad decision.

The program is an image/photo/animation editor (I mentioned it in this topic, when I was looking for beta testers). Until now, it was called Paint.COM, which I thought was funny, but apparently it wasn't to some people. I decided to change it.

Here are some candidates:

RealWorld Paint - unimaginative, but fitting my other tools. Probably hard to remember.

Paint Quest - painting is an adventure, a holy quest :-). It has a gaming feel and could appeal to younger people. I was also thinking to eventually make interactive tutorials, where the users will be given tasks to fulfill, but that would not be done in the near future.

Paint++ - it seems there already is a software called Paint++, but it looks like 1:1 copy of the old Windows Paint and it is likely to die. So, the name is more or less still free. Would probably appeal to programmers.

Qaint - Q = P+1 or maybe Quaint (new English word I learned today, yay!). It sounds good to me, but I am unsure if I can become #1 in Google for the quaint keyword. People would probably misspell qaint. Also, the relation to painting is not straightforward.

P-Paint - short version of Portable Paint.

5Ps - Portable + 3 other adjectives starting with P + Paint.

or...

Thanks for any opinions or suggestions.

15
Living Room / it's not Star Trek, it's Cosmic Journey
« on: September 19, 2011, 04:47 PM »
Hi all,

so, here is a html5 game made (mostly) by my brother: http://www.rw-design...r.com/cosmic-journey

If you liked the space shooter arcade games from the '80 and '90, you might like this. Be warned: it is hard.

Firefox or Chrome required (Opera kind of works, but CTRL+arrow switches tabs, so make sure you have only one tab open). IE probably won't work, IE10 might.

Enjoy.

16
Living Room / Looking for beta-testers
« on: September 05, 2011, 09:56 AM »
Hi all,

I'll be releasing a major update to my freeware image editor (now also simple animation editor) and I could use some help with testing.

More info here: http://www.rw-designer.com/entry/300
Serious, feedback-sending people only, please!

What's in it for you? Nothing! The software is free so I cannot give you a free-er license. Freeware sucks. ;)

Thanks.

17
Developer's Corner / Online icon archives should be more flexible
« on: April 13, 2011, 11:33 AM »
Hi all,

few days ago I read and enjoyed Renegade's post ( https://www.donation...ex.php?topic=26359.0 ) and his cheap art purchasing guide on his blog.

Though, I think things needs to be taken a bit further. The web is moving forward and online art archives should be more than just archives. Here is my attempt at providing for free one of the icon that Renegade showed as an example in his post. I have re-created it and made it more flexible: http://www.rw-design...e-icon/classic-web20

Now I am looking for more ideas from you. What pictures would you use on your own web site?

Thanks,
Vlasta

18
In my opinion, these are some the signs of a successful freeware (in no particular order):
1. If you show it to people, they will keep using it.
2. People will recommend it to their friends with similar interests.
3. There are independent blog posts about your software.
4. People are recommending your software on forums/facebook/twitter/...
5. People are requesting new features.
6. You already have plans for next version.
7. You get a good spot on Google for relevant keywords.
8. People are offering help/sending donations.
9. People are making tools that complement/extend your software.
10. You are surprised, what people are using your tool for.

I would like to know which of your freeware projects are you considering the most successful and why. And what lessons have you learned coding/extending/supporting the free software?

19
Developer's Corner / "competitive upgrade" - is it ethical?
« on: January 11, 2011, 05:02 AM »
Hi there,

just today I found out, my competitor is offering 40% discount to customers who already own my tool and he is calling it "competitive upgrade".

It is understandable that everyone wants as big market share as possible and providing an incentive to switch is not unheard of. But I still do not like it...

What do you think about the ethicality of such action? What would be your response if you were in my shoes?

I am considering returning the favor and offering "competitive upgrade" the other way, but maybe I should not.

Thanks for your opinions!

20
N.A.N.Y. 2011 / NANY 2011 Release: CardCreator
« on: December 09, 2010, 01:36 PM »
NANY 2011 Entry Information

Application Name Card Creator
Version 1.0
Short Description Make greeting cards from your photos
Supported OSes Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000
Web Page Card Maker
Download Link CreateCard.exe
System RequirementsNot much really, you only need Windows 2000 or newer, mouse & display :D.
Version History1.0 - it's a baby.
Author Vlasta


Description
A simple tool allowing users to combine several photos using a greeting card template and delight their friends.

Features
Make greeting cards from your own photographs.
  • click on placeholders in the template to add photo or drag and drop it from a file manager
  • move photo if it is bigger than the placeholder
  • use built-in or custom templates
  • save result as .jpg or .png

Planned Features
I'll wait for feedback, but I might:
  • direct printing support
  • "send to facebook" button
  • add custom text to the card
  • better template selection

Screenshots
card-creator-screenshot.jpg

Usage
Installation
No need. Single self-sufficient .exe

Using the Application
Start, add photos, save result.
Kind of short, so here is a guide for your non-programmer friends: http://www.youtube.c.../watch?v=rAZPmkgvlk8

Uninstallation
Delete it.

Known Issues
Don't feed it invalid templates or else...


21
Living Room / antivirus false postives - let's do someting about it
« on: October 06, 2010, 05:45 PM »
Hi all,

I know it has been discussed here before - this problems with antivirus application (especially Norton Antivirus) are taking wild guesses and reporting problems that aren't there to users. Using pretty scary words like "malicious". And the users freak out. Block, Delete, Go away.

What happens? The user perceives the antivirus as their savior and the antivirus reputation goes up. They perceive the author of the accused software as a villain and are likely to never ever look at their software again. Some users, if they like the new application, decide to write to the author an email giving them a chance to explain it. But how many people would bother? It makes me angry each time I get such an email.

Let's do something about it

In my country it is illegal to hurt someone's business or good name by spreading lies and slander about them. In my opinion, this is exactly that. I am no lawyer, but I have no doubt these false antivirus reports have hurt honest people and caused monetary losses to commercial software authors or hurt the good name or brand of freeware authors.

I tried to communicate with Symantec in the past, but failed. They are not interested in this kind of talk, I did no even get an answer to my complaint. I am a small fish...

But if enough people join and cooperate, things can change. Let's start a facebook group or whatever is popular right now. Is there someone willing to lead? I'd like to participate!

22
Hi all,

new version of our freeware image editor is out. Paint.COM supports layers with styles, Photoshop .8bf plug-ins, scripted filters and more.

New version brings:
  • portability - all settings are local in portable mode
  • languages - application can be translated by ordinary users
  • tutorials - on an embedded web page
  • lasso, move and fill tools
paint-com-screenshot.jpg

Download from: http://www.rw-designer.com/image-editor

Enjoy,
Vlasta

23
Hello coders,

few days ago me and my brother have released 2 graphic applications:

paint-com-screenshot.jpg

RealWorld Paint.COM is a general purpose freeware graphic editor with simple user interface, but not so simple internals. Supporting layers with assigned effects, gamma-aware blending, Vista-glass-like effects, mouse gestures, sub-pixel precision, etc. As you might have guessed it is build on COM and does not require .net framework...

Download: http://www.rw-designer.com/image-editor

RealWorld Photos is focused on retouching of photographs and batch image processing (while of course having all the capabilities of its freeware sibling mentioned above). It can do lossless and partially-lossless changes to .jpg files and batch processing of photos can be done using droplets - just drag and drop files or folders on a desktop icon and all is done.

Download: http://www.rw-designer.com/photo-editor

Here is one of the retouching tutorials: http://www.youtube.c.../watch?v=iprByDAWr8U

Enjoy,
Vlasta

24
Announce Your Software/Service/Product / Picture Resizer 3.0
« on: April 15, 2008, 01:49 PM »
Hi all,

it may be of interest to some of you... this freeware tool of mine was updated yesterday with a couple of new features. The most notable is support for image aspect ratio change using image carving method - like on the image:

image-carving.jpg

Picture Resizer was designed to be extremely easy to use for newbie computer users, but it has a couple of unique features under the hood...

Download and more information at: http://www.rw-design...r.com/picture-resize

Enjoy,
Vlasta

25
Hello everyone,

I'd like to let you know that an application for photo retouching and batch processing developed by me and my brother has reached a beta stage and is available for download to anyone. The beta build will expire in 2009 and can be used for any legal purposes.

How does it differ from the rest of the crowd?

  • It can perform lossless JPEG operations - rotations, crops, canvas extensions, modifications like watermarking or red eye or scratch removing. Completely transparently - user needs to know nothing about it.
  • Powerful scripting+batch processing - use JavaScript to design your own operations - it is possible to use the native filters and drawing tools from scripts.
  • Extremely open interface - almost everything in the application is a plug-in, for example a drawing tool is a plug-in and any programmer can create their own drawing tool and integrate it - there are no internal hacks, everything that the built-in tools can do can also be done by a plug-in. And more...

I am looking for people to test the application and recommend improvements and also for people who would wish to develop a plug-in. While the final version will most likely not be open source, the core will be released as freeware and the goal is to have the most easily extensible and customizable image editor on the planet with no strings attached.

Enjoy,
Vlasta

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