Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tagging and Uploading Photos: Introducing Flickr

Flickr is an online photo and video management application, used for editing, organising and uploading digital images online. It was developed by Ludicorp, a Vancouver-based company that launched this application in February 2004. In 2005, both Flickr and Ludicorp were acquired by Yahoo! Flickr has since undergone many changes in both appearance and interface. The latest version (Flickr Gamma) was launched in May 2006.

Flickr requires a Yahoo! account to sign in, and it’s a free and easy way to share photos with friends. When logging onto the website, you will be prompted to sign in with your Yahoo ID, or, alternatively, create a new Yahoo e-mail account to be able to log onto Flickr.

Upon loading, you will be greeted with your own personal Flickr page. There are also various upload choices available, both for beginners and for more advanced users. One can upload:
  • via the Flickr Uploader (available for both PC and Mac);
  • via iPhoto, Aperture, or Windows XP plug-ins;
  • via Flickr upload web page;
  • via email via various free third-party desktop programs;

Uploading Photos (through Flickr Uploader)

The easiest way to upload photos in Flickr is through its very own Flash uploader. When you sign in, you will see your Photostream on the top right hand side of the screen, and the Upload link on the top left. Click on Upload to start uploading your pictures in 3 simple steps: first choose your photos, then upload, and finally edit them. (After uploading, you will be able too see them in your Photostream – see above). When uploading, remember that you can decide who will see your photos: you can either make them public (can be viewed by anyone logging onto Flickr) or private (viewable only to those you choose).

Problems with uploading?

At times, you may not be able to work with Flickr’s flash uploader. This can happen for a variety of reasons: the most common being that you do not have the required flash plug-in or your Internet browsing security settings are set too high. If you do not wish or cannot rectify this, click on the basic uploader link which will let you upload your pictures in much the same way as you would send an attachment in an e-mail. Slow, but does the trick.

Tagging your photos

Once your photos are online, you may wish to tag them. Tagging a photo means giving it a sort of label or short description, so that you or other persons may be able to search for the photo more efficiently. To tag a photo, simply select a photo in your Photostream and click on Add a Tag (on the right hand side of the screen; just underneath your photo’s thumbnail.)

While up to this point, this process is similar to other tagging features available on other photo management applications, Flickr can then take tagging into a whole new level: it lets you select parts of the photo and tag different parts of it with different words. For example, if you upload a photo of a street lined with houses, you would be able to tag each individual house and perhaps input the name of the family who inhabits it. The same goes for group photos: Flickr lets you pin-point the individuals in the picture, one by one.

With Flickr, tagging becomes a visual process: the tagged parts of the photo will be encircled and the tags clearly visible on different parts of the picture, creating interesting compositions. This is known as adding notes. To add a note to an uploaded picture, simply click on the photo you wish to tag, and click on Add Note. You can drag the note around the required position on the photo, and you may also delete or edit it at a later stage.

Editing your photos

In 2007, Yahoo! announced its partnership with Picnik, a web-based photo editing application, and it was integrated into Flickr. By clicking on the Edit Photo tab, Picnik will open and allow the user to access its editing features. These include:

Basic editing: Lets you perform basic fixes to your photos, such as rotating, cropping and sharpening of a photo. Click on the Edit Tab;
Basic effects: Allows you add simple effects, such as Black and White, Sepia, Colour Invert, Tint, etc. Click on the Create Tab and then on Effects;
Add Frames: Lets you add novelty frames to your photos. Click on the Create Tab and then on the Frames Tab;
Advanced effects
: More advanced special effects, created by clicking on the Create Tab and then on Sandbox Tab.

Viewing your photos and sharing them with others

After you have tagged and edited your photos, you may wish to share them with your friends. First, click on the View as Slideshow icon in your Photostream, to see how your pictures will look on your friend’s PCs. Then, if you are happy with the results, click on the share icon (either in your Photostream or, if you are in Slideshow mode, it will prompt you to e-mail your photos to your friends at the end of the show). Basically, what your friends will receive is a link to your Photostream. Add your friends’ e-mail addresses (separated by a comma) or just copy and paste the link and use your regular e-mail account to send the link over.

For more information about Flickr and its many uses, click on the following links:

Monday, February 9, 2009


What is an Avatar?
An avatar is a graphical representation of oneself, or, in other words, a picture which represents the user. It can be similar in appearance to the user who created it; or it could be totally different, like an 'alter ego' of oneself. Avatars can be static or animated.

In Hindi, the word Avatar means...

"...the descent of a deity to the earth, in an incarnate form,
or some manifest shape..."

Most commonly, Avatars are used in Internet forums, social networking sites (such as Facebook or MySpace) or as e-mail signatures. More recently, users of Nintendo Wii have been creating 'Mii's' (Nintendo's version of Avatars) to represent the different players.

The simplest way to create an Avatar is to log onto websites which let you design, download and paste the graphics - all in a few minutes. Avatars can be saved by right clicking on the graphic and choosing "save picture as" (and saving like any other regular picture off the Internet) or else by copying and pasting the code (which is automatically generated by the website).

2D Avatars: DoppelMe

One of the most user-friendly freeware Avatar creators I came across is It lets you create a basic 2D Avatar and since the picture generated is a .Gif file, it can be uploaded practically anywhere.

Log onto, and sign in the first time you use the website. When you sign in, you will be asked to submit an active e-mail address. After registration, open your e-mail account (the one you used to register) and click on the activation e-mail. Now you are ready to start your Avatar! Choose whether you want your character to be male or female, give it different facial expressions and hair colour and dress him/her up as you fancy. When you are ready, save your changes and copy the picture by right clicking on it and saving it onto your hard disk. Alternatively, copy and paste the code onto your personal website, blog or social networking page.

3D Avatars: Voki

As with everything else, simple 2D (static) Avatars have evolved into animated,
talking graphical representations, again created with incredible simplicity but with amazing end results. One such 3D Avatar creator is Voki. To log in, go to

As with DoppelMe, sign in the first time you log onto the website and you will be sent an activation e-mail. Click on the link in the e-mail to start your new Voki.

Upon entering the website, one notices several differences from the previous 2D Avatar-generator: the main difference being, of course, that the graphics are animated! There is a much wider choice of characters to choose from: not just male or female, but even popular animals such as cats or dogs. Simply click on 'Customise Your Character' to start editing your character.

Backgrounds, too, can be either static or animated; and again there is quite an impressive array to choose from. And if the offered selection isn't enough, one can choose to upload a picture from the hard disk to use as a background picture.

Giving A Voice To Your Avatar

Perhaps the best feature of Voki is the ability to give a 'voice' to your character. There are various ways to do this: the simplest being typing the words and clicking on the Text to Speech button (the 'key' icon'). Voki will 'voice out' what you have written (and it lets you choose which character will read it out too). Alternatively, click on the record button (microphone icon) to record a simple .wav file to attach to your character or if you have previously recorded a sound, click on the open button to locate the file on your computer.

Since Voki creates animated Avatars, it is not possible to just copy the graphic; however it lets you copy and paste the code (you can even choose which kind of code you require; be it for Blogger, Wordpress, Hi5, etc). It also lets you share your Voki with friends by sending it in an e-mail link.

For more information about 2D and 3D Avatars, go to :