Image Trace in Illustrator: turn photos into vector graphics with a few clicks!

Title Image. A bunny under a table sketched using image trace.

One of my favorite features of Illustrator, dating all the way back to Illustrator CS2 (when it was previously called Live Trace), is Image Trace.  Image Trace allows you to take a raster graphic (or bitmap graphic, if you’re more familiar with that term) and turn it into a fully editable vector graphic with just a few clicks.  It’s especially fun to use on photographs that you can then tweak as you like to create interesting works of art or incorporate into other vector graphics like logos.

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Web Design Resources

Coding with a warm beverage
Photo by Louis Llerena

It’s winter break. It’s cold outside. It’s the perfect time to snuggle up with a fire, your favorite furry friend, a delightful hot cocoa, a laptop, and learn how to create a web page!

Here are some resources to help get you started.

Accessibility

Color Schemes

File Comparison

Front-end Frameworks

Free Images

Icons

Learning

Web Fonts

Happy coding!

Reinventing the camera, one pair of Spectacles at a time

A social media app officially released in September of 2011 is now branching outside of the social media realm.  Originally called Picaboo, Snapchat is the second largest social networking app after Facebook.  You may or may not have heard of the company’s newest release: Snapchat Spectacles.

A model sporting a pair of Snapchat Spectacles

The spectacles are sunglasses with the addition of tiny cameras in the top two corners.  The camera lenses have a 115-degree curve and record 10-second video clips with the option to record up to three clips consecutively.  Once recording begins, the circular camera creates a ring of lights on its rim to indicate recording is in progress.  The glasses send the 10-second clips you shoot to your smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.  The battery in the glasses lasts about a day, while the lights on the rim of the camera act as a battery indicator.  The spectacles can be charged by putting them back in their case.  A fully-charged case can charge the glasses up to four times before needing to charge itself.

Snapchat Spectacles cost $129.99, but can only be purchased from these bright yellow vending machines called Snapbots.  Here’s another catch: Snapbots are only available at a given location for one day before they pack up and move. Luckily, Snap Inc. (as the company calls itself now) has created a website just for the spectacles where you can get hints as to where the next Snapbot pop-up will be.

You may want to check the site every 24 hours to discover a Snapbot and get yourself some Snapchat Spectacles before it is too late.

Sources:

  1. http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/10/13584488/snapchat-snap-inc-spectacles-vending-machine-snapbot-available
  2. http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/23/13039184/snapchat-spectacles-price-release-date-snap-inc
  3. https://techcrunch.com/gallery/a-brief-history-of-snapchat/
  4. https://www.rt.com/usa/367338-snapchats-spectacles-glasses-privacy/

What is IU DeviceNet?

Illustration of media device and remote control.

By now you’ve probably figured out how to connect your smartphone or tablet to the IU Secure wireless network. But what about your gaming console, Roku, or Apple TV? Those devices are not designed to connect to an enterprise network like the one at IU. That’s why UITS created the IU DeviceNet. IU DeviceNet is a wireless network just for media devices and gaming consoles in campus apartments and residence halls. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Appropriate Use

Use DeviceNet for devices that don’t support WPA2/Enterprise encryption, or don’t have a web browser. Some examples are:

  • Gaming systems such as Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, and Wii U
  • Smart TV, DVR, or set-top boxes such as Apple TV, Roku, TiVo, and DVD players
  • Other media devices that require Internet access

Inappropriate Use

IU DeviceNet is an unencrypted network. It won’t ask for your username and passphrase when you connect. Without encryption, any data passed between your device and the wireless access point could be intercepted by others. That’s why you should not connect the following types of devices to this network:

  • Laptop and desktop computers
  • Mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, iPads, and tablets)
  • Any computing device you use to send and receive personal or confidential data
  • Any device that can connect to IU Secure

Incompatible Devices

Some devices and services can’t connect to IU DeviceNet because network routers have access point (AP) isolation enabled. These include Chromecast, Apple Bonjour services, and wireless printers.

Making Purchases

On IU DeviceNet, exercise caution when online stores.  Don’t make transactions using credit card numbers or account passwords over DeviceNet unless you are using a connection encrypted by SSL/TLS or some other web security protocol.

Not sure how to get connected? Follow these instructions. If you need help, contact the UITS Support Center.

Making Annotations in Box Notes

box-icon

Box at IU is more than just a simple, secure way to store your files online. With Box, you can share files and folders and collaborate with classmates and colleagues. One useful tool for collaboration is the Box Note. Box Notes are easy to create, edit, and share, plus they have tools you can use to annotate note content.

When you highlight text in a note you have the option to strike through the text, add a note about the text, or make the text a clickable hyperlink. The people you’ve shared the note with can see your annotations and make their own. It’s a great way to communicate about the work you’re doing. The video below shows you how to complete each of these tasks.

Be sure to check out these other IT Training Tips Blog posts about Box at IU.

 

 

Software at IU – a quick overview

One of the perks of being an IU student, faculty, or staff member is having access to low-cost and no-cost software. This quick post will give you a rundown of what’s available.

IUware

Let’s start with IUware. Go to the IUware website to download software to your computer. The site will detect what operating system you’re using and take you to the appropriate page. Software is available for PC, Mac, and Linux. Browse software titles by category or use the search box to find what you need. When you’ve found your software, follow the download instructions. You’ll be prompted to enter your IU username and passphrase if you’re not already logged into the Central Authentication System (CAS). Some software requires a product key. You can find keys to products you’ve downloaded by clicking the Keys and Licenses link at the top of the page.

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8 Tutorials on Making Selections in Photoshop

Peacock being selected in Photoshop.

Making selections is a skill that all would-be Photoshop experts must master. It’s also something that can be accomplished using many different tools and techniques. This post points you to some tutorials illustrating various ways to make selections in Photoshop. The tool or set of tools you use to make selections depends on the image you’re working with and what you want to accomplish. You can really open up creative avenues by being adept at lots of different selection techniques.  And remember, to get good at anything, you have to practice!

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Getting Started with Web Hosting Services

Person coding on a computer.
Photo by Tirza van Dijk.

One of the questions that I get when teaching people how to code for the web is “How do I publish a web page?” The answer to this question isn’t as complicated as people think. In this post, I will explain the options for hosting a web page for folks at Indiana University. I will spend most of the post discussing how to host a page that is not affiliated with the university. Let’s get started!

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IT Training Certificate Series–Updated

Illustration of certificate ribbon.

Earning a certificate from IT Training is a great way to enhance your skills in areas like Microsoft Office, web development, and creating graphics.   Office 2016 is here, so we’ve updated some of the series workshops (note major changes to the Access series). The process is the same. You take a series of related IT Training workshops designed to build your skills in applications or topics in a comprehensive way! After you’ve attended all of the workshops in a series (within a one-year period), you’ll earn your certificate.

We offer certificates in five different areas, so you’re bound to find something to meet your needs.

Office 2016 Productivity (6 workshops)

We’ll introduce you to a variety of Microsoft Office applications and demonstrate ways make them work together. You’ll learn the basic skills for day-to-day office activities from creating a spreadsheet in Excel to creating a PowerPoint presentation. The required workshops are:

1. Outlook 2016: Managing Your Email
2. Outlook 2016: Calendar Essentials
3. Word 2016: The Basics
4. PowerPoint 2016: The Basics
5. Excel 2016: The Basics
6. Access 2016: The Basics

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Cross-Platform Keyboard Shortcuts in Office 2016

The good news for MacOS users is that support for cross-platform keyboard shortcuts in Office 2016 has dramatically improved; potential downsides include the cross-platform shortcuts are PC-centric, and may interfere with some default Mac OS key assignments you may be accustomed to using (e.g., switching between desktops, or Show Desktop). You can also make the Ribbon appear more like the Windows one by enabling the Group Titles*, which can make finding a particular tool easier, particularly if you are using our workshop materials in self-study mode.

To enable the Control key shortcuts for Office 2016 for Mac, the process is simple, but the labeling is less-helpful than many might wish. To enable the cross-platform shortcuts, Click System Preferences… -> Click Keyboard -> Click the Shortcuts tab, and then Click the “All controls” radio button. Closing the window will keep your changes.

When enabling the cross-platform keyboard shortcuts, the dialog box will look like:
System Preferences Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box, with All controls radio button selected
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