08 January 2013


Pardon me for making an obvious observation, but Google surely has invaded the desktop.  Most people still think of Google as the search engine, some people even use Google Doc (or is it Google Drive now?), and Chrome the web browser is quite popular.  What convinced me to dig up the topic again is that Google's online photo-editing app is not bad.  I've been using Google Plus' sync function to get photos off my Android phone.  The photos are stored with my G+ account and are available to Blogger etc.  How convenient.  Since most of my friends are in Facebook and not in G+, any photos I want to share in Facebook I would still need to first download them to the host computer (in my case, my MacBook Pro).  In the past, in the case of a cartoon photo, I would use Comic Life to add text, speech bubbles, etc.  I know, I don't use Comic Life to its full potential, as my cartoons are usually one-panel, sometimes not even the frame is needed.  But I never got comfortable with Desktop Publishing apps, even one as simple as Swift Publisher.  I can also use Photoshop Element to add speech bubble and such, but that's an overkill, especially when Comic Life is better suited for the task.

The online photo-ed app at photos.google.com really did the job for my MulchFest/No-Pants cartoon.  My needs were simple - crop, add speech bubble (or thought bubble, to be exact), then some text.  I am sure some casual computer users will find the interface unwelcoming, merely because it is different from the typical desktop app's.  I have no trouble though.  It's just a matter of clicking on the various tools and see what they can do.  Under Decorate I found the speech bubble I wanted, almost.  Ideally, there should be something that denotes electronic text.  The thought bubble works for me, but I am sure some day I will need to show what a character sees on a computer monitor or a tablet screen.  Such bubble should be rectangular and its tail should be zigzag-like, somewhat like the lighting symbol in Gatorade logo or Pikachu's tail.  I was impressed with the various options available for adjusting texts.  Color, font size, orientation, even different typefaces, not bad at all.  I would love to see some dingbat fonts though, as I love them symbol fonts a bunch.  It is somewhat annoying though, that if you need to separate the lines with a hard return.  In other words, if you type your text without pressing Return or Enter, you'll have one long line of text.  I am sure future version of the software will improve.

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