PNG(s) to PDF, the command line way

A quick tip for command line users: if you want to convert .png files to .pdf:

convert *.png filename.pdf

Simple! If you want to keep control of page sequence or specific files to convert:

convert page1.png page2.png page3.png filename.pdf

Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyways, the .pdf won’t be in vector graphics, so not scalable but that is because .png is not a vector graphics format.

Screencasting on Linux – recordMyDesktop

Doing a basic screencast in Linux is pretty easy. The package recordMyDesktop can be found easily on the repository of many Linux distros (including Ubuntu 9.04 that I use).

With this package you’re actually getting the backend recordMyDesktop which is written in C and the frontend developed in Python (gtk-recordMyDesktop or qt-recordMyDesktop).

The feature list is simple but that is all I needed for a quick screencast demo I had to prepare this afternoon:

  • record the entire screen or just a specific window;
  • record audio (with channel and frequency settings);
  • adjust fps;
  • include mouse pointer, “follow the mouse” recording, include window decoration (or not), and tooltips.

gtk-recordmydesktop

The closing added bonus, it records directly in theora / vorbis!

Recording is done with a simple click on the “record” button and than on the panel you’ll see an icon where you can quickly pause, resume and stop the recording. Easy and simple.

Task manager [Android]

I’m an follower of GTD. Probably not the best one, but at least I try to keep myself as organized as I can in the stream of neverending to-dos.

Which is why one of the first applications I searched for to install on my Android device was a good task manager to sync with RememberTheMilk. I was quite happy to find the open source app Astrid. The program does exactly what I need:

Asstrid Android task manager

Asstrid Android task manager

Syncing with RememberTheMilk is a breeze, the only problem is that all tasks go to my inbox and not the lists I have already defined. But, overall Astrid meets all of my demands 🙂

3D modeling with Blender

Blender is an open source, cross-platform 3D content creation program. This kind of stuff is way too off my league, but if you’re in to creating images and want to do some 3D work, Blender will surely be for you.

I’ve heard a great many things about this software. First and undoubtedly that it is feature rich and extremely resourceful. I’ve seen a lots and lots of work done on Blender and they look amazing. But, there is the other side of the world who says that Blender is useless if you want to be a real pro, mainly because the UI and standards it uses will not be the same as those found in other proprietary programs.

Blender example image

Blender's UI and example image

In my opinion, it is surely worth a shot specially for those that are starting out and interested to do this kind of work. If you’re smart and talented enough to do a nice 3D image or animation,  you’ll be smart enough later on to use that expensive software your company bought for you to use.

Want more proof that Blender is good? Check out the animated movie Big Buck Bunny, made entirely with Blender (download of the movie file is also available on their website):

Want to share with us your experiences with Blender? Please write them on the comments bellow.

Tip: Open eps files with Gimp

For the past few months I’ve been doing a lot of work editing images in .eps format. Since I really like my Gimp, I spent weeks trying to find a nice way to edit these images with this program, instead of running to Photoshop. Well, I was finally able to find a solution I now share with you.

The steps you’ll need to follow are actually quite simple:

  1. Download Gimp and install it;
  2. Download Ghostscript and install it;
  3. Go to the  /bin directory of where you installed Ghostscript
  4. copy all .exe files (may be 2 or 3) and paste in Gimp’s main directory (where gimp is installed);
  5. Start gimp and try opening eps files.

That should do it! If you’re on Linux, just make sure Ghostscript is installed, it should be easy to find in Synaptic for example.

Via: Gimptalk.

Inkscape version 0.46 released

Inkscape, everyone’s favorite open source vector graphics editor has just come out with its version 0.46. Inkscape logoFrom the website’s change log, a few highlights of what is new:

  • Paintbucket tool
  • Tweak tool
  • 3D Box tool
  • Live path effects
  • Color management
  • New SVG filters and UI
  • Native PDF and AI import
  • XAML import/export
  • Open Clip Art Library integration (import/export)
  • Stock patterns
  • Bitmap editing extension effects
  • Full on-canvas gradient editing
  • Engraver’s Toolbox in the Calligraphic tool
  • Touch selection
  • Dockable dialogs
  • Command-line access to verbs
  • Snapping made usable
  • “3D” / axonometric grid
  • Angled guidelines
  • Conversion of objects to guidelines
  • Significant speed and interactivity improvements
  • Hundreds of smaller features and bugfixes

Download it here. Enjoy!

Inkscape – vector graphics editor

Inkscape logoWhile Gimp can help you edit raster images (pixel graphics), Inkscape will help you edit vector graphics. The good thing about vector-based images is that you can resize it as you wish and it will not be distorted.

If you’re not a professional graphics designer most likely you’ll be able to use Inkscape and have it do everything that you need. No need to purchase the expensive Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw.

Inskcape window

Inskcape will handle several file formats such as: SVG, PDF, EPS, AI, and also JPG, PNG, GIF.  It’ll work on Linux, Windows, and MacOS X operating systems. Download it here.

Tip: Upload images from Gimp to Flickr or Picasaweb

Gimp upload to flickr and picasawebAs mentioned previously, Gimp is a very good open source program for your image editing needs. What is even better about Gimp is its plug-in structure which allows for a greater usage of the program.

One of these plug-ins, called GimpPublishr, will allow you to upload your images to Flickr or Picasaweb automatically. It is quite simple to use, to install it just drop the extracted files inside your Gimp plug-in folder.

The developers have written a pretty good setup tutorial on the project’s page with lots of helpful screenshots.

GIMP – Image editor

gimp logoHave you hear of Photoshop? Who hasn’t, right?! Although this piece of software is incredibly good, it is too powerful for the vast majority of users. Why spend so much cash on such software if you’re only using about 10% of its real functions?

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) handles image manipulations task extremely well. It works for the newbies who just want to resize or convert an image file, up to more advanced users who would like to build complex images. The main principles of image editing are present in GIMP (layers, channels, and a lot more that I haven’t even explored). Another nice thing about GIMP is that it works with plug-ins so you can extend its functions.

Here you can cut, paste, convert, retouch, resize, build images, and take screenshots of your desktop. You can even open and edit PDF files with GIMP.

gimp on windows

This program is quite simple to use, as long as you are familiar with some concepts of image editing.

You can download GIMP to use on your Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux machine. If you want to go mobile, download GIMP for portable apps.