Don’t Worry. You Don’t Have to Be a Graphics Wizard.

We’ve had questions about making fancy graphics for Whitepoint scapes, because some scape and scene images are cropping up with text on them. And, sometimes they’re otherwise edited for a presentation-suitable style.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a graphic designer or photo editing wizard to author with Whitepoint.

As mentioned in an earlier post about scape and scene tour graphics, images for scapes and scenes usually work best in jpeg (if photos are included) or gif (if it is a pure graphic with fewer colors) formats with dimensions of 950 pixels wide by 550 pixels high.

But, what if you’re not a graphic design genius, and you just want to add some text to your photos? Do you have to buy and learn an expensive, time-consuming graphics program? The answer is no.

There are a number of free and easy-to-use programs that will help you get the job done and make more compelling scape and scene images:

  • Gimp – Best for power users or those with some graphics editing experience.
  • Skitch – Very easy-to-use. Best for very basic graphic manipulation and text editing.
  • Phoxo – Better for beginners and novices. Windows-only.
  • paint.net – Built on the old Microsoft Paint platform, so some graphics experience is good. Windows-only.
  • PhotoScape – Windows-only.

And, finally, since the above list was Windows-heavy, one more software package for Mac is worth keeping in mind if you’ll be doing a repeated – but basic – graphics work for your scapes. It does have a small cost though.

  • Acorn 4 – Better for power users on Mac. Not expensive, but not free.

There. That should be enough to keep you busy, huh? If you’ve got an idea of a program you like that isn’t listed here or another method for getting the photo editing job done, please comment or tweet us @WhitepointMobi.

Happy #whitepointing.

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“Get Started Authoring” Tutorial Now on YouTube

We’ve just started a series on YouTube to help walk new authors through using Whitepoint’s Authoring Panel.

The first installment, “Get Started Authoring”, is now live. It covers starting a new scape – whether personal or as a team – as well as nitty gritty details on private versus public scapes and building scapes on things with and without permanent addresses.

Please, drop by and subscribe. The Official Whitepoint YouTube Channel is now on 24/7 at http://www.youtube.com/WhitepointMobi. The next installment will cover editing of existing scapes.

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Now Available on Google TV!

The Whitepoint app on Android (Fly, release 2.25 at time of posting) is now compatible with Google TV.

We’ve confirmed that it looks and functions great specifically using Sony’s Google TV buddy box – the NSZ-GS7 – on a 40-something inch Samsung.

And, you can get an even better deal at Amazon on that box, when it was last checked. It’s a fun toy, and you don’t have to buy a brand new TV . . . though you could if you just had to.

If you own a Google TV or Google TV buddy box, just visit the Google Play Store and download the updated Whitepoint app. As always – it’s free.

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ScapeViewer and Browser Compatibility

We’re getting great results with ScapeViewer ™ in the latest browser versions. Previously, there were problems in older browsers, specifically Internet Explorer 8 and below.

Now, we have confirmed compatibility with Internet Explorer 8 – it isn’t our preferred experience, but it definitely works. If you have experienced trouble, we recommend that you update your browser. ScapeViewer makes extensive use of HTML5 and CSS3 capabilities for the intended experience, and these features are available in the latest browsers.

If you’re locked into an older version of Internet Explorer and are unable to update, we recommend downloading the latest version of Firefox or Chrome.

The following are definitely supporting ScapeViewer, and we’ll update this list as reports become available.

Internet Explorer 8 and above (Windows).

Safari 5 and above (Mac).

Chrome 25 and up (Windows / Mac).

Firefox 19 and up (Mac).

Firefox 3.6.28 and up (Windows).

Have you had a negative experience browsing with ScapeViewer? If so, let us know. Just email support {at} whitepoint.mobi or comment here.

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Important Android and iOS Updates This Week

You’ll now want to update your apps to at least 1.6 on Android and 1.2 on iOS. There is one critical update to database connectivity and some slight UI improvements posted this week.

Both are now available in their respective stores: Google Play for Android and the App Store for iOS.

Also be sure to check out this week’s ScapeViewer announcement – so many exciting developments in process and on the way.

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Introducing . . . ScapeViewer!

In addition to viewing scapes on our Android and iOS apps, wouldn’t it be nice if those tours could also be taken by your every day desktop user? According to feedback we’ve received, our users definitely think so. Enter the ScapeViewer ™.

Tours Can Be Viewed On Desktops

Here’s how it works: When a scape is authored on Whitepoint, that scape is available immediately for viewing on our Android app, our iOS app, and anywhere the scape is linked up by the author using our ScapeViewer technology.

And, by “linking up” we mean simply adding to a web site a few lines of code that we provide. It is very simple. No Flash player. No weird add-on software to download. Just basic scripting.

This capability is perfect for real estate tours, office tours, product tours, and different types of support documentation – such as “getting started” guides (read more about those types of uses in our blog entry on Whitepoint as a content management tool).

There will soon be a number of examples of this technology at work, but one of the first uses is in delivering an office tour for a sports medicine and chiropractic facility.

Smarter Virtual Touring

We’re excited about this feature set because it makes Whitepoint an even more flexible and powerful framework. The problem with building what have often been called “virtual tours” up to this point has been the lack of interactivity with material. They’re often boring static lists of images, or in a best case scenario, a Flash presentation. They are usually painstakingly put together, then left alone and seldom – if ever – updated. Any web designer knows that they are a pain to deal with.

Whitepoint, on the other hand, provides an easy vehicle for updating and maintaining scapes – smarter virtual tours. And, when they’re updated, changes are reflected across the board in the different instances – across the apps and in the ScapeViewer implementation.

One change, in one place, is reflected immediately. Everywhere.

Need More Information?

Read more about linking your virtual tour to your web site with ScapeViewer.

Or, just reach out below with your questions.

 

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Whitepoint 1.6 for Android Available

We recently made some small changes and improvements in the latest version of the Android app, and it is now available.

Some people have reported successful automated updating of their app, and others have had to uninstall then install from the Play store. Not sure why that’s the case, but keep that in mind if you’re not sure that you’re running the latest version.

If you haven’t already, download the latest version of the Android app here.

 

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First Time Navigating the Whitepoint App? Try the Scape Demo.

We’ve loaded a demonstration scape to help those new to Whitepoint. This is perfect for first-time users and those who are wondering what one of those tabs in the top right corner does.

In the Whitepoint app interface, you can search “scape demonstration” in the top right corner in the search box.

Whether you’re using our Android app or our app for iOS, this will help you understand how to quickly get where you need to go.

Happy #whitepointing!

Updated July 20, 2016.

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Recommended Scape, Scene, and Whitepoint Image Sizes?

As a rule of thumb when authoring, bigger images work best for scene and scape images. The user experience tends to be best when they are rectangular – something like 960 pixels in width by 640 pixels high. It doesn’t have to be exact.

Because the display is big enough, photographic images taken with DSLR cameras can look very nice as scape and scene images.

Rectangular whitepoint images can also work, but because they have more limited constraints for display, square images will usually work best. Tall rectangular images can also work as whitepoint images. You can limit the width of whitepoint images to about 500 pixels and get great results. At 500 pixels wide, shoot for at least 500 pixels in height.

And, because of the smaller display area, camera phone shots work just fine as whitepoint images. They can also work in scape and scene images, but you may not get the effect desired. It really depends on your subject. The good thing is that Whitepoint authoring makes it easy to switch out and update images at any time now or later.

Finally, for all images, 72dpi will likely suffice – high resolution is not only unnecessary, it may even produce adverse effects in your display. Test and take a look at your subject on different displays. Don’t be afraid to test an image and switch it out or update it later.

Happy #whitepointing.

 

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JPEGs Versus PNGs as Whitepoint Images

Based on testing of PNG images used in authoring whitepoint images, we can recommend that you instead use JPEGs.

Here’s why: Because there are different opacities and transparencies at work in the display of whitepoints, there is no guarantee that PNGs will display as desired. We’ve seen  transparencies display as black, and greys do really weird things. Add to the equation rendering of the images across different mobile devices, and you’re better off going with JPEGs.

The same goes with GIFs – watch those transparencies. If you’re authoring and seeing strange behavior in the whitepoint image displays, try GIFs or PNGs without transparency if it is a logo or the image has a limited range of color. For more detailed photos – such as landscapes – use JPEG.

Nothing against PNGs. They’re great – just not always the best for whitepoint images.

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