3 Web Tools for Images, Video or Design

By Andrew Lock | Posted September 30, 2011


Andrew Lock

Jing

If you're familiar with Camtasia, the software that lets you record actions on your computer screen, you'll love Jing.

If you're not familiar with Camtasia, it's a piece of software that captures everything you do on your computer screen for a specified time. It's like a digital video recorder for your computer screen. If you've ever bought a software tutorial, chances are it was created using Camtasia.

Now, the downside with Camtasia is that it's not really fast or easy to use. There's a learning curve to it that puts a lot of people off. Also, it's not really suitable if you want to just record something quickly to send to someone else, perhaps to show them a new feature on your computer, or to send instructions to an outsourced staff member.

This is where Jing enters the frame. Jing is a software app by Techsmith, the same company that makes Camtasia. They've produced a quick-and-dirty type of small business software that's really amazing.

This software barely needs instructions; it's so easy to use. You simply drag a rectangle around the area you want to capture on the screen, click start, and it'll record your movements on screen, as well as your voice through a microphone connected to your computer.

Jing instant screen shots and screencasts
Jing makes it easy and quick to create screenshots and screencasts.
(Click for larger image)
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As soon as you stop the recording, it'll upload the video to TechSmith's own network and copy the URL of the finished video onto your clipboard: ready for you to paste into an email, for example. You have to see it to believe how useful this tool is, everyone I've shown it to has fallen in love with it instantly.

ColorSchemeDesigner

While designing Web pages, computer applications or house interiors, we need to find good color scheme — a set of colors producing the best impression. For every tint there are colors it can coexist with, and those it can't. Some combinations are uncomfortable, or disturbing — while others are pleasant.

ColorSchemeDesigner generates color schemes of several types. Every scheme is based on one (base) color, which is supplemented with additional colors making together the best optical impression — using one of the authentic algorithms.

FixPicture

The name gives it away, doesn’t it? You probably own some kind of image-editing software such as Photoshop, Corel Draw etc, but there are times when you’re traveling and away from your computer that it’s useful to have access to a free online application.

Obviously the functionality of FixPicture.org doesn’t compare to the full-featured image editing software apps, but that’s part of the appeal, honestly. It does a few things very well. After you’ve selected the image you want to edit (from your local hard drive or from a Web site URL), you can resize, crop, rotate, make a mirror image or adjust the brightness/contrast etc.

There’s also an ‘effects’ tab with auto presets such as ‘auto levels’, ‘auto contrast’, focus, blur, grayscale, emboss etc. The other nice feature about the site is that there are two ways to access the interface – an html version and a flash version. I found the flash version to be easier to work with (and a lot more attractive), but I guess the html version is probably more compatible with a wider range of browsers. Once you’re done editing, you export the image to your hard drive.


You'll find lots more small business marketing tips and resources from Andrew Lock in our Small Business In-Depth series, Lock in Your Marketing Resources.

Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical small business marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."

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