When we are young, we learn about the world through pictures and words.
Children’s books are filled with many colorful and beautiful pictures. However, as we get older, we leave the pictures behind. We are taught that words are more noble, more clever, and more powerful.
Pictures are childish, and should be left behind with our childhood stories and our old comic books.
The social internet however, has made pictures popular again.
Suddenly, everyone is sharing not just words, but pictures, video, and other media. In fact, pictures and video generally receive more web article traffic than just plain words.
Thus, the common wisdom now, with respect to web articles, is to
“Break your text up with pictures, so that your words are in smaller chunks, and do not overwhelm your readers.
Break your text up with pictures, so that you keep your readers interested enough to read your words.”
Why Create Pictures?
While it is a good thing that pictures are an integral part of online writing again, they are unfortunately still second class citizens.
Pictures are added mostly as an after-thought; as an enticement or distraction to the reader rather than as part of the writer’s story. Pictures are merely traps or devices to trick people to stay on a web article, so that they might click on ads.
Perhaps this is because of the history of words and pictures, but it turns out that our views on pictures have not really changed at all.
Creating Your Own Pictures
When I write my web articles, I usually think of the content in both words and pictures, so I create both of them together. I find that switching back and forth between the two makes the entire process a lot of fun, and helps with my creativity.
While it is possible to find a great variety of free pictures today, it can be difficult to truly get pictures that express all that you want, and that form a cohesive and integrated mood with your words.
Why create your own pictures?
- You get full control over the content of the picture.
- You can create a cohesive theme around your web articles because the pictures express a unified mood and style.
- You produce more original and compelling content, and differentiate yourself from others.
- You have greater expressive capability.
- You get to have more fun.
Creating Pictures Option 1
Edit or combine free pictures.
The simplest way to add some originality and personal expression into your pictures is to download a free picture, then add your own content or finishing touches to it. You can also combine multiple pictures together to create something new and interesting.
Adobe’s Photoshop CS* gives you a lot of flexibility and image editing options. The picture layering system within Photoshop enables easy integration of multiple pictures and effects. Initially, it may take a longer time to learn the Photoshop user interface, but that is well worth the effort. Photoshop CS* comes at a very high price, but it will give you the best capabilities to create compelling new content by combining together existing old pictures.
For a much cheaper alternative, consider using GIMP. GIMP is a free picture editing, composition, and authoring package that has similar functionality to Photoshop. Installing GIMP may require some technical expertise, and its user interface may not be as polished as that of Photoshop, but consider that there is a big difference in price between the two.
If you are only interested in making smaller picture edits, such as resizing, cropping, or color adjustments; then Photoshop Elements may be appropriate. There are also a variety of lower priced or even free software that will allow you to do this.
Note: Make sure that the licenses associated with your free pictures allow for personal edits.
Creating Pictures Option 2
Draw your own pictures.
This method of picture creation gives you the most flexibility. You can draw whatever you can dream of.
However, drawing requires a fair amount of technical skill. For me, my drawing skill does not even come close to matching the pictures I imagine in my mind.
I very much enjoy art, and I do sometimes pick up pencil and paper to sketch, but I only do it as a hobby. It takes a lot of time, study, and commitment to be able to draw well, and I am still far away from that worthy goal.
Creating Pictures Option 3
Photograph your own pictures.
With digital cameras, taking photographs has become easy and convenient. Some digital cameras even allow you to capture short video clips. All you have to do is point and click.
Once you are done with your photo taking session, simply remove the memory card from your digital camera and stick it into your computer.
Before purchasing a digital camera, make sure that the memory card standard used by the digital camera is also supported by your computer. Alternatively, most digital cameras come with a USB or FireWire connection for data transfers. This also works well, but data transfers may be a bit slower.
One of the most challenging aspects of photography is finding the right content, at the right time, and with the right environmental conditions. Some types of content may just be unavailable or difficult to capture based on your location. Other types of content including historical content or science fiction and fantasy objects may be totally unavailable for capturing.
Creating Pictures Option 4
Create virtual 3d-pictures.
Here, you assemble a 3d-scene on your computer, then take virtual photographs of that scene. Other than drawing the entire picture yourself, this option offers you the most flexibility of content, and requires the least amount of technical knowledge.
There are many easy-to-use 3d graphical packages (Daz Studio, Poser, and Bryce) that allow you to quickly construct 3d scenes on your computer in a short amount of time. You do this by adding various pre-made 3d-objects into a scene, and then posing them.
In addition to the ready-made 3d-objects, there are also ready-made poses, backgrounds, sexy dresses, and lighting; so all you have to do is decide on the content that you want, and put it together using the ready-made building blocks that you have at your disposal.
Virtual photography is a combination of all the other picture creation techniques. It gives you flexibility and quality of content without requiring any advanced drawing skills. It allows you to point, click, and capture a scene in very little time.
Unlike real-world photography, you have perfect control of picture angle, lighting, and object positions. You also have total control over the objects and the environment, so you need not worry about how a gust of wind, movement of clouds, or a stray cat may mess up your perfect picture.
If you want to capture historical scenes or visions from the future, you can easily do this by downloading historical and futuristic 3d-models and adding that to your scene.
In short, virtual photography allows you to create very compelling, original, pictures, with very little training and in very little time.
The disadvantage is the associated price tag. Poser currently costs about $100 US, and there may be added costs for buying new and compelling 3d-content. However, you can start by getting some of these free 3d models.