I said I would write up the process of creating the header for the hub so that you might be able to do something similar in your own blogs if you so wished. Here goes.
Once we had the photos taken on the iPad I wanted them available to me on my laptop for editing. I did this by enabling automatic uploads from an iPad App called Dropbox. Everytime I take a photo or video on the iPad it’s automatically uploaded to my Dropbox account. Dropbox also allows me to have special folders on each computer I use and synchronizes each folder every time a new file is uploaded.
[the dropbox icon which sits in my systems tray at the bottom right of my screen]
Once a file is in a Dropbox folder I can also access it by signing in to the Dropbox website. So, not only is this a great way of getting photos off the iPad and onto my laptop without hooking them together with a cable, it’s also a great way of automatically backing up my files. Every time I work on a piece of writing that I’ve taken from my Dropbox folder (no matter which computer I’m using) I know I am working on the latest version.
Next stage was to edit each photo. I used http://ipiccy.com/ a great online photo editor that doesn’t even ask you to register before you can use it. Simply go to the site, upload a photo from a folder on your computer and start editing. My edits were simple: I cropped most of the photos to improve the composition and added a text box with a # phrase.
The idea of a collage had been discussed in class so a quick Google search for ‘#wordpress headers photo collage’ led me to a YouTube video that explained how to use Picassa 3 to do it:
I decided to use the suggestion because I know how time-consuming it can be to try and compose photos using complicated photo-editing software. Even a relatively simple, free and very good photo editing platform like pixlr takes time to use well. So I decide to try Picassa. It’s a quick, free to download and easy to set up. Once I’d installed it I imported the pictures we’d taken and which I’d edited.
Picassa shares many functions with Flickr – you can use it to share and organise photos over the web. However, it also has more sophisticated editing functions including the possibility of creating collages. Here’s a short screencast showing how I used a folder of photos (these were some landscape photos I did in Cheshire a couple of years ago) to create a collage in Picassa. It’s 4-click simple.
[The screencast was created with Screencastify, an add-on to the Chrome browser]
Once I had created the collage for the header in Picasso I exported it onto the desktop. Now I needed to get it into WordPress as a header.
Normally this process is very easy because WordPress themes generally have the option to change the header image in the dashboard under Appearance:
If you’re using WordPress.com for your blogs this is what you’ll see together with the option of choosing a new image from your computer which you will be able to crop to the correct size in the dashboard itself.
Unfortunately, the theme which we use in Communication Activism, Fashionista doesn’t enable the easy inclusion of a header image without hard coding, and I didn’t want to get into that with all the problems it can cause with the site being viewed on different screen sizes. So instead I used WYSIWYG Widgets a plugin that allows you to create widgets with images just as you would create posts or pages. The widget I created included the image I’d made with Picassa re-sized to 980 x 141 pixels – the size of the header container in the theme. Once placed in the header, the widget showed the image I wanted and I was done.
I’m not great at graphics. I’m pretty hopeless at colours, but I think the header, as it stands, does represent a little of what we’re about on the course.