One of the World’s Largest Photoshop Images

The amount of time that it took to put together this art piece, a true feat of digital mastery, is almost unfathomable. How much time? Try 4 whole years! And this was no side project – the artist, Bert Monroy, worked full days on it as if it was his full time job. All that time to create this one image. The amount of dedication necessary to succeed with this project is really incredible.

The image (the largest Monroy has ever created) was unveiled at the Photo Plus Expo in New York on October 28, 2010 as a work in progress and now it makes its world debut as a finished product. The image has led to the beginning of a tour that will reach New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, giving Monroy a chance to showcase his talents and share some of his tools and techniques during a one-day seminar in each city. The seminar is being called, “The Making of Times Square: Live!” Straightforward and to the point, hopefully a trait that he will continue into his lectures.

On to the image: What makes it so special? Well, for starters, there are absolutely no real images used in the virtual painting. Everything was created within the Photoshop program. Altogether, the image is compromised of almost 3000 individual Photoshop and Illustrator files. To create the hyper-realistic look, Monroy had to use over 500,000 layers and an image size of 60 inches by 3oo inches. Combined, all of the images make up a panoramic photo that takes up 6.52 GB on a hard drive, after it’s flattened.

Within the Times Square scene, if you are well informed, you can see a few of the imaging industry’s biggest players like John and Thomas Knoll (the founders of Adobe Photoshop) standing in the main foreground. He also did his best to include people from his own group of family and friends, standing amongst some of the most famous landmarks in that area.

For more information and a closer look at the image head on over to Bert Monroy’s website.

Create an Instant Photo Gallery with DropMocks and

I am a camera

I am a cameraSometimes, people like to make things a little more complicated than they need to be. One of those things is creating an online photo gallery.

Most people when they want to post their photos online will turn to Flickr, Picasa, or Facebook. There’s nothing wrong with any of them, but sometimes you just need a quick and dirty way to post your photos online.

And two services, DropMocks and, allow you to do just that. Let’s take a peek at both of them.


DropMocks is incredibly easy to use. Just navigate over to the site, open your computer’s file manager, and then drag and drop your photos into your browser’s window. Depending on the number and size of photos that you dragged and dropped, they can take anywhere from a minute to several minutes to upload.

Uploading files to DropMocks

Once your files have been uploaded, you’re given a URL which you can share with your friends and family.

As for the gallery (called a mock) itself, it’s quick and dirty. But it works. You get a basic carousel. The image you’re currently viewing is in the center of your browser window, and thumbnails appear to the left and right. Click on a thumbnail to bring that photo to the front.

A DropMocks gallery

While you don’t have to sign in to DropMocks, you might want to just so you can manage your mocks. You can sign in using a Google Account, and from there edit your mocks or delete them. works a lot like DropMocks. Again, you can just navigate over to the site and drag and drop your photos into your browser window. You can also upload files the old fashioned way using a file selection dialog box. Once your uploads are finished, you’re given a URL to share.

A gallery in minus
A gallery in

The interface is a bit more cluttered than with DropMocks. And instead of the carousel effect you get a slider effect. But people who visit your URL can download all of the images in a gallery in a zip file.

Like DropMocks, you don’t need to set up an account with to use it. However, you might want to do that if you need to manage your galleries.

Managing galleries in minus

On top of that has a number of tools that make it easier to work with the site. There are desktop uploaders for Windows, Mac, and Linux; mobile applications for Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone 7; and Web browser extensions.

minus Android mobile app

If you’re using one of the desktop or mobile uploaders, don’t upload one photo at a time — will create a gallery for each image.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, you just need a fast and simple way of putting your photos on the Web for your family and friends to see. Both DropMocks and do just that. They’re easy to use and are a very efficient way to get your photos online.

Photo credit: ilco

For Your Consideration: Simple Desktop Wallpapers

In the digital workplace, it is common for the worker to be given a personal computing machine for performing productive work.  As a matter of fact, it is almost guaranteed that if one works in the corporate environment, they will be staring at a company owned monitor being operated by a company owned mouse and keyboard.

Now, I know what you are thinking: all this talk of corporate ownership may put your computing individuality on the rocks.  But do not fret!  For even a change in desktop wallpaper can tell the working world around you that this machine is all you, and no one else.

Fortunately, the internet has you covered.  The website is called Simple Desktops, and it is a community driven site created and monitored by Tom Watson for the sole purpose of giving people the option of downloading simplistic, yet thoughtful images for personal use on their computer desktops.  As one starts to browse the site, it becomes clear that excessive flare is not needed here.  Simple colors, simple shapes, and simple themes do just as good to craft the right desktop image.  Here are a few Simple Desktop examples to get the point across:

Is that Sicily?

Not only are these desktop wallpapers beautiful, but they also are easy on the eyes and appropriate for any environment that the computer will sit in (personal or corporate).  And if you feel that you are up to the task of creating one of these wallpaper wonders yourself, there is a Simple Desktop submission page to give your image a chance to go public.  Otherwise, just stop on by from time to time and browse what other people have crafted for your consideration.

Sometimes the best work is done with a simple design based on careful planning.  Why shouldn’t your desktop wallpaper reflect that as well?


Dramatic Before and After Aerial Photos of Japan

The New York Times recently created an amazing mashup using before-and-after aerial photos of the destruction in Japan. The article contains over a dozen images taken from regions in Japan that were impacted by the recent earthquakes and tsunamis.

These images are interactive, so grab the blue slider in center to switch between the two images. The comparison is stark and really gives us perspective on how severe the damage in these regions really is.

[Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami]

How to Scale Images While Retaining Aspect Ratio in Paint.NET

Paint.NET is one of the best applications for editing images in Windows, and can do almost every standard task you’d do in the infinitely-more-expensive Photoshop. The best part? It is completely free.

The only downside is that it’s a little trickier to do standard tasks, so in this guide I’ll show you how to resize images while keeping their aspect ratios.

Scale Images While Retaining Aspect Ratio in Paint.NET

For this example, let’s say I wanted to add a Santa hat to President and CEO of Harley-Davidson, Keith Wandell. I first open his picture in Paint.NET, find a nice transparent .png of a Santa hat, and paste it into the image.

Dang, that didn't work at all.

As you can see, we have a bit of a scaling problem.  So I’ll now grab one of the corners of the rectangle surrounding the Santa hat to resize it…

This is going to be the worst Christmas EVER!

Without locking the aspect ratios (the relation between the width and the height of the image), it’s easy to stretch your image out of proportion.  That that simply will not do for this project!

So here’s the secret: To lock the aspect ratio while resizing an image, hold the Shift key and then resize the image. Now you can resize the hat and keep it looking just as it should!

Hooray, Christmas is saved!

Go forth now, young neophytes, and add Santa hats to the CEOs of the world!

Tag Your Friends’ Faces in Picasa for Easy Photo Organization

Picasa is a free application from Google that lets you easily edit and manage your entire photo collection.  Picasa offers many useful features like geotagging, web albums, and powerful-yet-simple photo editing (I love the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button).

One problem with large photo collections is that it can become extremely difficult to find pictures of specific people.  If I wanted to dig up a picture of one of my college buddies, I’d have to spend quite a bit of time skimming through photos, hoping the correct one pops up.  But with Picasa, you can use the fantastic Face Detection feature to tag your friends.

Face Detection works similar to Facebook’s photo tagging feature, except Picasa will automatically show you a list of unnamed faces for you to tag.  Once you’ve given them a name, you can easily find that person again in the future.

Picasa will automatically scan your photo library for your friends’ faces.  To start tagging pictures, click the Unnamed entry under the People section (this will say Scanning if it’s still identifying faces).

The Unnamed People album will contain a huge list of faces.  If you know the person, simply type their name into the Add a name box and press enter.  You will then be able to create a contact for that person (which can be reused whenever tagging photos).  If you don’t know the person, simply click the X to ignore them.

After you’ve tagged a few pictures, Picasa will begin suggesting photo tags for you.  Look for the orange question mark (?) next to a person’s name, then you can click the green checkbox if the tag is correct or the red X if it is incorrect.  I must have an easily-guessable face, because Picasa guessed me correctly in every picture.

The more photos you tag, the better Picasa gets at guessing faces.

After your pictures are tagged, you can use the buttons under the tagged person’s name to create slideshows and movies from their pictures.  The recently-released Picasa 3.8 includes a new feature called “Face Movies” which makes a slideshow that revolves around a single person’s face.  If you’re making a video for a wedding or birthday, this would be a killer feature to utilize.

Now if only there was only a way to integrate tagged photos in Picasa with people on Facebook!  Picasa is a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux.  [Download Picasa]

Image credit: Joe Ninety

Google Chrome: Quickly View Larger Facebook Pictures with Facebook Photo Zoom

Lately, I’ve realized how little I like clicking on things.  When opening programs, I’d rather type a command with my keyboard than open my Start menu.  If I need to open a file in a folder, I type the first few letters of its name and press the enter key.  So when I’m on Facebook, I’d much rather hover my mouse over an image to see the full size than to interact with that licentious mouse button.

The Facebook Photo Zoom extension for Google Chrome is a welcome relief to us mechanomusophobics (ok, I made that word up, but the roots are syntactically correct!).  To start using Facebook Photo Zoom, simply install the extension from its Chrome Extensions page and it will automatically be activated.

The next time you want to view a larger version of an image on Facebook, simply hover your mouse over it.  This works on both profile pictures as well as photos.

If you ever feel like turning Facebook Photo Zoom off temporarily, just press CTRL + SHIFT + Z or click the small photo button to the left of your Facebook chat bar.

Image credit: John Stansbury

Turn Your Digital Media into Web Video with Stupeflix Studio

French startup Stupeflix has just launched Stupeflix Studio which aims to turn your digital media into something more meaningful.  Stupeflix Studio lets you easily create web videos from your own pictures and videos to showcase your digital artwork, create scrapbooks, or send personal video greetings.

To get started, create a free account and you’ll be taken to the video creation page.  You’ll choose from one of three themes: Classic, Scrapbook, and Holidays.

Once you’ve chosen a theme, you can get started right away by uploading images and videos from your hard drive, Flickr, Picasa, or any web URL.

Stupeflix has a really useful web editor that allows you to customize your video and add a soundtrack using MP3s from your computer.

Once you’re finished customizing your video, you can preview your work or click the Export button to finish.

Unfortunately, the free version only lets you produce 1 minute of standard definition video, but you can purchase the full length high quality version (640×360) for $3 and the high definition version (1280×720) for $5.

You can check out my mindblowing holiday video, as well as some slightly better produced videos for the Classic, Scrapbook, and Holiday themes.

I’ve had a lot of fun with Stupeflix Studio so far and I think it has a great potential for people who want to share digital scrapbooks and photo albums but don’t want to buy professional software.