Tag: disabled gamer

Gamani GIF Movie Gear 4.3 In-Depth Review:

Gamani GIF Movie Gear 4.3 In-Depth Review:

Social media has grown in importance and significance as the years have gone by, with memes being used to share popular culture and trending topics. Gone are the days of 8-bit (256 colors) simple graphics of the early 1990’s, replaced with 24-bit/32-bit true color images that show HD movies and TV clips of today. Such changes have required file formats to evolve, and animated icons and images are no different. As PNG image formats have supplanted GIF for web images, so too APNG format has began to replace animated GIF’s. Trying to find a qualified program that accomplishes this that is easy to understand, use, and is reasonable priced, is a fairly narrow field. The cream of the crop can be found in Gamani Productions GIF Movie Gear, which supports both the legacy GIF format and the aforementioned APNG formats.

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This program has a very familiar interface that anyone who has familiarity with standard Win32-Bit/Win64-Bit applications can attest. Inset inside of the main window, you can see a sub frame, which allows you to open a file, add frames, or start the tutorial. As you can see, the main window has a toolbar, with File, Edit, Frame, Animation, View, and Help, common to an art program. The thrust of this program is to take a series of still images that you have already created/imported, and turn them into an animation, cursor, or icon. You can also break down an existing animation, and turn it back into individual still images. This program also allows you to blend/merge multiple animations into a single animation that is a hybrid of the originals. Above these options, you can make edits and palate changes to your animations.

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Breaking down individual elements of this program will allow you to better comprehend and understand how these files are created, and the nuances that go into producing professional-grade final images and animations. The tutorial will take you through some sample images, animations, and modifications. I have followed these steps that the program’s author outlines, and as someone who has minimal experience with making animations, I had very little trouble following the instructions. Anyone has any image manipulation experience, can do this with ease. I like how you can take a portion of an image that does not really change between frames and streamline the final animation, by just using the parts that do change. Bottom line, this program has an easy-to-follow, systematic approach that anyone can use.

You may be asking what does a program such as this might cost. The answer may surprise you, as it is only cost $29.95 USD. Many graphic design programs cost well above this price point, and cannot easily do these tasks, with the same ease. This price is for a single-computer license, and entitles you to tech support and extended customer service. If you need this program for corporate environments or multi-computer setups, you can request a price quote for bulk orders. I definitely believe this program is well worth the cost, and I can see putting this in to practice with both creating memes fir social media and potential animations on my blog website.  If you still are uncertain, you can try the program risk-free for 30 days, in a trial/demo version of the program. Check out this program and company and I know that you will agree that Gamani Productions and GIF Movie Gear are well worth your business. Buy this great program, and tell them I sent you. Until next time, keep on animating!

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Ashampoo Snap 9 In-Depth Review:

Ashampoo Snap 9 In-Depth Review:

My regular readers will know that I use screen captures, frequently, in my review and product highlights. I have reviewed programs from this software category before, but I wanted to revisit this area, due to some people needing to not only capture static images, but videos/clips. While so far I have not done video tutorials or instructional feeds, the potentiality of being able to do so may spark some creativity in my mind for future applications. Most capture programs that can do static captures or even use the alt-print-screen keyboard shortcuts, if you do not have capture software installed. However, Ashampoo and its software cadre of programs come to the rescue! The great program that takes the lead is Ashampoo Snap 9 and it is loaded with features for all capture duties.

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Screen resolutions are growing all of the time, with a new benchmark being 4K (2160P: 4,096px x 2,160px), becoming the top-tier for consumer and web media production. Most programs top out at 1080P, but not so with Snap 9. This great program can allow to you make screen captures and snaps of your desktop, browser, windows selection, and so forth. This is especially nice, if you are fortunate to have an ultra hi-resolution monitor/TV to work on and create clips. Even if you have a screen size and resolution that you are using, which does not match or too large for your final application usage, you can take this program and size it down for distribution; vital for streaming and downloading on non high-speed connections.

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Resolution aside, a standout of this program is the ability to use OCR text processing with your captures. No matter what languages that you might use in your projects, Snap 9 has support for seven languages (Japanese, English, French, German, Spanish, Turkish, and Russian). Being able to take your captures that contain text and either convert them to usable design elements or isolate them as editable and type-able font excerpts that you can reuse. I have had middling results with OCR before, but I am sure that you will find that Ashampoo’s results with Snap 9 to be great!

 

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For my readers, who might be growing in their skills with more advanced video-making tools, I am happy to report that this fine program has built-in support for major graphic design software suites and social media distribution. If you happen to use video editing software that is compatible with Adobe Photoshop and its file formats, Snap 9 has supports for all layers and objects. You can export to WBEP format and auto-sizing of the content for whatever destination platform or device you are optimizing for.

 

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Social media support allows you to share your captures on Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive, and Twitter. If you have an Ashampoo Web account, you can upload them to the service, and share links to your videos with unique links. If social network platforms are not your speed, Snap 9 can aid you in sending your e-mail, via a dedicated client or through a web-based email service. No matter what way you want to share with people, your clips and captures are going to be up to the task.

 

What does such a full-featured program such as this cost you? The short answer is $49.99 USD, for non-members of Ashampoo products. If you have purchased other products from them, you can pick this up for $24.99 USD, as a reward for customer loyalty. If you are a registered owner of a prior version, you can upgrade for $19.99 USD, also for previous purchases. Unsure if this program is for you, you can try the demo version out first.

logo_w10_comp_blueI know that once you try this, you will buy this without reservation. Ashampoo’s products are time-tested, blogger-approved programs are great, and they have stellar support to backup any issues that may arise. They get my unabashed endorsement, and your usage of them will only grow and grow. If you think of great Windows programs, think Ashampoo!

SoftOrbits Photo Stamp Remover 8.1 Review

SoftOrbits Photo Stamp Remover 8.1 Review

As a bit of an amateur photographer, who loves to shoot candid images of people, animals, and landscapes, I find myself having blemishes, tags, or photo-bombed entities that need to be removed. I have used cropping methods, or color alterations, but the results have been less than desired. While I have a B.A. and M.A. degree in Graphic Design, I focused on vector design for print media. As such, my photo manipulation training was something that focused on enhancing the rasterization of my vectors; of which I had already included the elements that I wanted in the final piece. The only tool that we were briefly exposed to was the “clone stamp” tool. My usage of that tool always seemed to create very discernible patterns that are easily seen and was very detracting. I always felt that my work would never get passed this issue, and wondered if a solution was out there to better address this issue.

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Fast forward to today, going from my college days, and arriving in 2016. This year, I had the fortune to discover SoftOrbits. This excellent company specializes in graphic design software that is nicely laid out to expedite your workflow and make doing complex tasks intuitive. One tool that they produce is Photo Stamp Remover, and it addresses this issue, perfectly. The interface presents you with a window that has the standard toolbar along the top, and a drag-in-drop/file browser button to select your image to clean-up/edit.

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Once you pick your image, you are presented with a toolbox that has various selection tools that allow you choose various parts of your image(s) for removal. You can pick a marker tool (narrow, rectangular objects), deselector tool (to remove a selection), rectangular selector (rectangles), free-form selector (you can draw any selection shape), color selection (choose by color), and the standby, clone stamper. Each has their merits and usage, and are determined by what you are trying to remove from your pictures.

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The sample image that I removed objects from comes from an old travel photo that I took in 2008. As you can see, the original version has distracting utility poles and a small enclosure along the roadway. In the after image, I have removed the previously mentioned objects, by a combination of all of the above tools. Now the finished product is much easier to focus on the main subject of the homestead in the background, and not be obscured by these lesser elements.

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In my brief experience with this tool, I can now say that this tool is far superior to the old ways that I did this, even with the inclusion of a “clone stamper” tool that I ended up using to do some final clean-up of the image. I can image that you, my loyal readers may think this tool is too niche for the general public usage. The truth is far from this reality, as you, will need this capability. Photo_Stamp_Sample01You can remove people from your images that you may no longer want in the images (ex-spouses/partners, deceased parties, strangers, and children; to protect minor’s identities), objects (business names, street addresses, props, etc.), and miscellaneous objects (time stamps, scratches, blemishes, etc.). The cherry on top is that you can do this without advanced graphic design training or skills.

 

 

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You may be asking how much does this streamlined removal tool program may cost. The answer is $49.99 USD, which is very reasonable for any professional graphic design program. Many such programs run into the multiple hundreds for a single program, and into the thousands for a design suite.  Speaking of which, quite a few of their programs (including this one) can be had in a Design Studio Suite for $99.99 USD (Home) and $278.99 (Business), No matter what route you take to acquire this software, it is well worth your money and time invested in using this program. If you are still unsure if this software is for you, check out the demo version, and see for yourself. I know that you will like this program, and find it very valuable, along with all of their other programs on offer. If you think of needing valued-added graphic design software, keep SoftOrbits in your mind.

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iMobie AnyTrans In-Depth Review:

You may remember some months back, I did a review of iMobie’s PhoneClean. This fine product/tool you recall allowed you to sanitize/clean the junk files and leftover temp files stored on your device, eating up valuable space. While this fine tool does this in a fantastical fashion, the day-to-day management of your media files and apps has fallen to iTunes for both MAC and PC for years. Now iMobie has risen to this challenge, giving us a viable alternative that allows you to manage, transfer, upload/download files/apps in a simple, clean interface. Being able to have a drag-in-drop ability to import, export, add and subtract the various files that your iDevice can use. I know that being tethered to iTunes, with its ups and downs over the years has been bittersweet to say the least. Having a viable alternative to Apple’s flagship software suite is a breath of fresh air. Having familiarity with iMobie’s other great offerings allows people to jump into a refined GUI interface that is clean and very easy to systematically operate.

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Once the program is downloaded and installed, just fire up the software and you can begin the trial period, with its limitations, (but I feel confident that you will spring for the full program package, once you know the features/price point) and connect your iDevice(s) to start your untethering from iTunes. Keep in mind, the purchase price includes lifetime updates, and a two-tiered pricing model, which allows you to use the software on one PC (Single-User License – $39.99 – Sale Price) and the Family Edition ($59.99 – Sale Price). The price is going to increase to $59.99 and $99.99, respectfully on January 24, 2016. Either way, I know that you will have gotten your money’s worth.

 

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Once your device is connected/accessible, you are presented with a GUI menu that has a couple of tabs. You can choose between your iTunes library and your iDevice(s), and get an overview of what is in your library and what has or has not been transferred. Having this information is the basis of how to manipulate/manage the media files that are on your iDevices, your computer, and between iDevices, in a bi-directional fashion. A nice feature of this software is the ability to utilize multi-thread CPU’s to expedite this process and management of the various file type and apps, compared to iTunes (which seems to chug and drag, when you have a lot of files to update, sync, and transfer between devices).

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On the device tab, you are presented with some nice 1-click options that can streamline common tasks. You have the option of rebuilding/importing your media files from your iDevice into iTunes Media Library. This is especially nice, if your library has damaged or missing files, playlists, and ratings. A second option is to transfer the contents of your iDevice to your PC, for backup purposes and then make an archive of those files onto other HDDs or portable devices. Thirdly, you can move your files from one device to another, for the purpose of upgrades, sharing or migrating to a new device. Next, you can clone your device (1-to-1 copy) that allows you to get back up in running; a key option, if you have a hardware failure. You also can merge two devices into one, cohesive whole (so that you can have a unified media library on one device). This can take place, without erasing the files on the target device. Lastly, you can add files to your device, bypassing iTunes Media Library and the files already in on the device.

 

 

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As someone, who has never messed with playlists, being able to make, transfer, edit, and delete them seems intriguing in AnyTrans. I have always made sure that metadata inside each file is accurate (artist, album, and year, title, genre, artwork, etc.), so when I import files into iTunes, everything cross-checks and cross-references, copasetic. Usually, I just play my music, podcasts, and movies (to some extent), based solely on this metadata. However, my wife does use playlists, frequently. Being able to do this for her, between our devices will be a godsend. After you connect your device into AnyTrans, go to the Audio Button, click it, and soon you will shown a Playlist button, which will show you a divided window with the lists on the right, and songs on the left. It is very easy to comprehend, and follow if you use this option in iTunes.

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Another key feature of this fine suite of products is the ability to transcode your media. As I have highlighted in times past, native file formats that play on your iDevice are not as prevalent as those used on the web or desktop arenas. I know that my computer, over the years has used MPEG formats, then WMA, and now AAC for my audio. I have used VCD, SVCD, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MOV, and now MP4 for video. While I have the utilities needed to make the files work on my iDevice, natively, being able to add files, with AnyTrans, without needing a conversion is a breath of fresh air. I know that trying to sync large media files, even through a dedicated cable interface (in place of wireless) is a headache.

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I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to sync my media files, through iTunes, only to have files come up missing or orphaned. I have an older iPad (1st. Gen) and an iPhone 4, with older iOS versions, and keeping them current with my updated files flunks out frequently. Now having an alternative way to add and manage my files and apps will be a saving grace. This software’s strongest function falls solidly into this category, and it is the number one to buy this software, in this reviewer’s opinion.

I could go on and on about how this software will vastly improve you iDevice life, but the software speaks for itself. With the fine developer, iMobie at the helm, and the stellar reputation precedent set forth by their PhoneClean program, you know that you will not go wrong. You can purchase a Personal License for $59.99 USD or a $99.99 Family License that can used on all of you PC’s. As always, they have lifetime priority support and updates/upgrades for this program. Check out this fine offering from iMobie, and you will agree that this is a great addition to you fine library.

A Brief Interlude of 3D viewership for Disabled Media Consumers

I just wanted to drop in and let everyone know of a great set of software that will allow you to set the 3D parameters of the videos and movies you watch. As many people know, with a renewed focus of movies and TV shows in the cloud, the ability to have titles that well utilize our 3D HDTV monitors and TV’s is becoming a more complex system. Added costs and limited choices, with a bypass of 3D on many future 4K Ultra HD devices becoming a strong reality, based upon recent expos (like CES 2015), a dicey proposition. 

Software that will make getting our content in a 3D system that we can use in a manageable format a vital piece of our content viewing. This is especially important for those of us, who are disabled, as we may need to adjust the 3D effect of the movies we watch to better suit our vision and hardware requirements. To that end, I recently found a great set of software to make and view 3D content on a PC/HDTV easy and affordable. The website/company is called convert-to-3d.com. Their two products, 3D Video Player and 3D Converter works in tandem to make and view any Non-DRM video file or source in 3D. This software allows you to setup both anaglyph (Red/Cyan lenses) and passive/active HDTV (Real3D) standards.

As in many cases of software titles/suites that I have reviewed before, there are trial versions to try out and see if you like the results. However, for around $25.00 USD (with discounted upgrade prices on major updates) you can make and watch any video file, including your home movies in an immersive way. That is the cost of one 3D-Blu-ray movies, and you can have the same 3D effect on ALL of your non-DRM files! I have tried and gotten the full versions of both, and I think once you try it, you will get it as well. Until next time, roll the film … .

A Quick Note on My New Direction. . .

Just wanted to let my audience know that I am still on my quest for disabled gamer advocacy and focus, but I have bee held up with doctor visits, and the impending move of my brother-in-law, but fear not, I am keeping up with the scene, as it were. I am in the midst of my review of Magic 2015‘s Garruck’s Revenge Expansion, including changes to the pay-wall, card pool, and overall bug fixes, as well as watching the development of new game front-end choices for gamers of all stripes.

I do want to give a shout-out to one of my new finds, Cellar Door Games, and their support of universal access gamers, with their flagship title, Rogue Legacy.

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You can play on keyboard, gamepad, fight stick, etc.; so no matter how you like/need to play they have got you covered. .In this great Rogue-lite platformer, you try and best the enemies that plague your family. I won’t spoil it, nor my brief description can do it justice, but check it out. They are a great bunch of people, that stand by their products, fans, community, and gamers everywhere. Of even greater news, they have recently brought Rogue Legacy to the PSN, so now you can game this on PS3/PS4, and I bet even linking with your PS Vita, too! Tell them Condor-Wingman Sent you, and you will be pleasantly surprised! ‘Till next we meet again, Game-On!!!!.