Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fotojet Review 2017

In this Fotojet Review, I will share many of the useful features and functionality available in this free online graphic design platform.

I've been using Fotojet since September 2015 when it was just a Collage Maker. Since then, Fotojet has evolved a lot. Today, Fotojet is a robust and feature-packed graphic design software, collage maker, and photo editor.

I personally use it often for my graphic design needs, for creating social media banners and posts, for editing photos or just creating greeting cards. Fotojet is free to use, but it does have a premium features as part of their Fotojet Plus membership.

I've used both, the free and premium versions. So in this honest review, I will try and cover as much as I can, in terms of my firsthand experience using this online graphic design software. Apart from this written review, I've also created a Fotojet Video Review, which you will find further down below. In the video review, you will be able to see the Fotojet user-interface in action.

Fotojet: Graphic Design

In today's world of social media platforms, it's key to be able to stand out with your unique designs. Fotojet makes it possible to create unique and original social media covers and images for social media posts. If you're creative, you can create your own unique designs, from scratch, by starting on a blank canvas and using the many built-in tools that Fotojet offers.

On the other hand, if you're not too creative, you can use the many professionally-designed pre-made templates. Though these are pre-made templates, they can be fully customized so as to give them your own personal touch. They can be personalized with your own images and text very easily.

You can create Social Media Cover Photos, Headers, and Posts for popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr as well as Email Headers. See some example below.

You can also create posters, flyers, invitations, greeting cards, banner ads and so much more with Fotojet. You can even create your own custom sized design if you wish.

Fotojet Facebook Covers

Fotojet: Collage Maker

With the Fotojet Collage Maker, you can create cool-looking collages from scratch or use pre-made templates. You can even create collage greeting cards for any occasion like birthdays, anniversaries, and special holidays.

With the collage maker, you can not only make cool-looking 2D collages, but stunning 3D collages. They have several amazing-looking 3D collage templates that will help transform your pictures into a work of art. You can take a look at some of the examples of 3D collages that I made on this web page.

Apart from creating amazing 2D and 3D collages, you can also make Magazine Covers. Using the Fotojet Magazine Cover templates, you can put yourself on popular magazine covers like Time, Bazaar, Newsweek, Bride, Vanity Fair, Elle, Forbes, and many others.

With the Fotojet Collage Maker, you can also have a lot of fun. For example, you can create your own Mona Lisa photo, make yourself Superman, create a Wanted poster, and so much more.

Fotojet Photo 3D Collages

Fotojet: Photo Editor

One of the Fotojet tools that I use often is the Fotojet Photo Editor. Apart from the basic photo editing features like resizing, cropping, rotating and flipping, you can also apply premium effects and filters to enhance your images.

For example, look at this before and after image of the sunset picture that I took. I only applied the Shadow effect (under Selective Filters) to this picture and it made the original picture much more vibrant. You can also use the Auto-Enhance feature which is basically a one-click button that fixes your image.

There are several Advanced photo editing features that are part of the premium Fotojet Plus membership. You can apply sharpen, de-haze apply noise or a vignette effects to your pictures. But my favourite features in the Fotojet Photo Editor are the Focus, Color Splash and Selective Filters.

Fotojet Selective Filters (Before and After)

With the Focus feature, you can apply a radial blur or a tilt-shift to an image so as to to focus on a particular area of the image and blur the rest.

With the Color Splash feature, you can turn a color photo into black and white, and then apply a color splash only to a particular portion of the image giving it a really unique look.

With the Selective Filter feature, you can apply a variety of radial and gradient effects to your images like Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Temperature, Tint, and others.

You can also apply a variety of other effects like Black & White, Sepia, Vintage, Chromatic, and others. Additionally, you can apply overlays to your photos to give it a cool-effect like bokeh, light trails, hearts, light burst, paper, fabric, paint, grunge, and others.

All these photo editing features are easy to use and more importantly can help turn your images into a work of art. I'm still in the process of fully tapping into the features and functionality this graphic design software has to offer.

Fotojet Premium (Fotojet Plus)

Fotojet Magazine Cover
Fotojet is available for free, but they also have a Premium offering that includes access to premium templates, features and additional functionality. Fotojet Plus is their premium service which is available for US$2.91 per month (billed annually) or US$4.99 per month (billed monthly). You can upgrade to Fotojet Plus at anytime or cancel it anytime as well.

In the premium version of Fotojet, you will get access to an ever-growing and over 600 premium templates, over 300 premium clipart images, frames, overlays, photo effects, and so much more. Also, the Fotojet premium is ad-free and you will receive priority customer service.

You can check the Comparison Chart for Fotojet Free vs Fotojet Plus.

Fotojet: The Company

One thing I like about the developers, PearlMountain Limited, is that they are constantly listening to customer feedback and improving their platform. I've personally provided my own feedback and seen it implemented. Having said so, there are still things that can be improved, for example, I would like to have the ability to save my projects in order to edit them later, if and when needed. But I would definitely recommend Fotojet as a regular user myself.

Another good thing about the Fotojet, the company, is their customer servive. I've personally dealt with a few of their staff and have always received timely responses and have had pleasant dealings with them. Hope you found this Fotojet Review useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. And if you've used Fotojet, please feel free to share your feedback.

CREDITS: Fotojet logo and screenshots are copyright protected and used with permission. PearlMountain Technology Co. Ltd. | Images used in this article belong to the author or have been used with permission | Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo are trademarks, or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. | Other names and logos used in this video may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Explaindio Video Creator 3.0 Review

Explaindio Video Creator (EVC 3.0 PRO) the latest version will be released on October 4, 2016. It’s been in beta for the good part of 2016 and I’ve been fortunate to be an active beta-tester.

The new 3.0 version of this versatile video creator comes packed with a load of new features that I will highlight in this review. A ton of text and object animation options have been added to Explaindio giving you the flexibility to create professional-looking videos for your clients or your own business.

There are many video creators in the market, but Explaindio not only comes with a load of animation features, it also comes at an affordable price. Similar software in the market can be quite pricey, so it’s great to see a powerful video creation software that you can afford. Talking about the price, I thought it would be a good place to start off this review. So let’s dive right in:

How much will Explaindio 3.0 cost?

Currently, Explaindio 2.0 PRO costs $57 per year. When you maintain an active subscription of EVC 2.0, you will get Explaindio 3.0 FREE. However, at launch the price of EVC 3.0 (commercial version) will be going up to $67 per year (for the first week of launch) and thereafter, the price will be set at $77 per year. Therefore, if you get EVC 2.0 before launch, you can get it at the lower price of $57 per year.

Also, right off the bat, I’d like to inform you that there will be OTOs (One-Time Offers) on the Explaindio sales page during the buying process. The OTOs will include: (1) Monthly Template Club; (2) 3D FBX to ZF3D Converter; (3) 200+ 3D Intros/Outros; (4) 700 Transitions. The OTOs are all relevant offers, but you don’t have to buy the OTOs, unless you find them useful for your business.

If you’ve not yet purchased Explaindio, you can try it risk-free and take it on a 30-Day Test Drive. If you like it and find it useful, you can maintain your membership and will be charged $57 per year. If not, you can avail of the 30-day money-back guarantee. Also, like I mentioned earlier, you will get it at a lower price before launch. If you’re not satisfied, you can freely cancel your subscription before your trial period ends and request a refund.

What is the difference between EVC 2.0 and EVC 3.0?

Before I get into the comparison part of the two versions, if you watched my earlier Explaindio 2.0 Review and have personally used this video creator, you already know that it came with a lot of new features when compared to EVC 1.x. It was a whole new architecture with new features like Animation Points, Sketch-to-Video, Dynamic Zoom and Rotation of Elements, Solid Line Text Sketching and more.

Well, when you enter into the new world of Explaindio 3.0, you will be amazed by the new user-interface, functionality, and loads of new features. First of all, it has a whole new timeline that allows you to create simultaneous animations. It also allows you flexibility to control timing, speed and duration of the animation directly in the timeline. Like I mentioned earlier, EVC 3.0 comes with features galore, I'll list down below, some of the Key Features and then discuss them in more detail, in the following section:

  • Morph Animation
  • Preset Text Animations
  • Preset Object Animations
  • Simultaneous Animations
  • Animated Sketch Hands
  • 3D Animation Functionality
  • API Integration (Youzign & Pixabay)

The new Explaindio Video Creator also includes: UNDO and REDO buttons; and ability to Left and Right align text (in the text box). Imported and embedded MP4 videos no longer need to be converted to 24 fps. This will save a great deal of time and frustration because in EVC 2.0, you have to make sure that the MP4 videos imported in Explaindio had to be converted to 24 fps. Also, there was an improvement in the Image Sketch functionality, that is, the color fill image sketch.

Another improvement is that in EVC 3.0, we will transition from login to license keys. This will be more convenient to users avoiding the issue of the system detecting Explaindio on more than two computers.

The Green Screen feature which was available in EVC 2.0 PRO has been retired because it wasn’t feasible to keep it on due to technical reasons. But, there are free green screen software out there, for example, like Shotcut.

What are the new features in Explaindio 3.0?

One of the first things you will notice is that EVC 3.0 has a New Timeline. It is quite different when compared to EVC 2.0 because it makes SIMULTANEOUS ANIMATIONS possible in Explaindio.

This was one major feature that EVC 2.0 lacked, so it will open up a whole new world in terms of animation possibilities. While we are on the topic of animations, EVC 3.0 comes with Text and Object animations.

The preset TEXT ANIMATION option will allow you to animate text and create cool text animation effects. I really like this feature and I’ve tried various variations of text animations. One example of using text animation is creating animated quotes. With the preset OBJECT ANIMATION option, you can animate any object on the canvas like images, graphics, icons, videos, etc.  Combined, there are over 100 text and object animations included in EVC 3.0. Using these new text and object animations, you can take your video creation to a whole new level.

The new MORPH ANIMATION feature will allow you to morph any text or other objects on the canvas. For example, you can have text morph into an object and vice versa. Using this animation in your video creation can really help enhance and set your videos uniquely apart.

Explaindio already comes with SKETCH-BY-HAND functionality. This allows you to create engaging whiteboard animation videos that have become popular today. In EVC 3.0, this hand sketch functionality has been improved, making the hand movement more natural, rather than static. This makes the hand sketching look more realistic.

New functionality for ANIMATED 3D CHARACTERS and objects has also been included in the all new Explaindio.

3D characters in videos has been catching on and becoming more popular in mainstream marketing. With this new feature, you can also start leveraging by adding 3D animated characters and elements in your videos.

You will not be able to create 3D characters and objects in Explaindio, rather you will be able to import them into EVC and incorporate them into you videos. However, bear in mind that you can only import 3D characters and object in ZF3D format.

Finally, Explaindio 3.0 comes with API integration for Pixaby and Youzign. This will give you free access to hundreds of copyright-free and royalty-free images to use in your videos via Pixabay. Also, if you have Youzign Graphic Design Software, you can now access all your designs from within Explaindio via the Youzign API integration.

It's been said “If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is priceless.” Hope this gives you a glimpse into the video animation possibilities in the all new Explaindio 3.0.

Is it worth upgrading to EVC 3.0 PRO?

If you are still using EVC 2.0 STANDARD and want to take video creation to the next level, then I would highly recommend that you upgrade to EVC 3.0. If you already have EVC 2.0 PRO, then you will get EVC 3.0 FREE, as long as you maintain an active subscription.

As mentioned earlier, EVC 3.0 comes loaded with new functionality and features. That being said, you should expect a steeper learning curve when using the new Explaindio 3.0 Video Creator. The good news is that you will find many tutorials in the member’s area. Also, I’ve also created several EVC 3.0 Tutorials on my YouTube channel and will be adding more.

You can check my YouTube channel for my Explaindio Review & Video Tutorials.

There is no way that I can cover everything about Explaindio Video Creator in this review, but hopefully it allows you to make an informed decision whether to invest in Explaindio 3.0 or not. Video marketing has become a dominant force in today’s marketing world, so if you are not using video in your promoting your business, you are losing out a great deal. If you have any specific questions regarding EVC 3.0, please feel free to ask and I will do my best to respond to them.

Explaindio Video Creator logo and screenshots are copyright protected, used with permission | Commercial Rights to use videos & images used in this video production | Commercial rights to use other videos and animations

If you use the link above to purchase the product. I may earn a commission as a JVZoo affiliate. This recommendation and review is based on my firsthand experience using this product myself.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How to Install Cookie Notification Bar in Blogger

European laws have mandated that online publishers provide their EU visitors information regarding their use of cookies on their blogs, websites or apps. Additionally, you may need to obtain consent from your European visitors.

If you are using a Blogger blog, like this one I'm using here, Google has already added a notice on your blog to help meet these requirements. However, if you’ve made changes to your blog template, the notification may not be working properly.

Using your blog URL, you can check to confirm if this cookie notification is working properly on your blog. In order to do so, replace the “.COM” in your blog URL with “.CO.UK” or “.FR” and test it in your internet browser. If you don’t see a cookie notification, it means that the notification is no longer working. There are various free and paid tools online that can help you install a Cookie Notification Bar like the one you see below.

I used a free online tool called Cookie Consent from SilkTide to install the Cookie Notification Bar which you can use on your blog or website. Watch the video tutorial below on “How to Install a Cookie Notification Bar in Blogger” Though, this tutorial is specific to Blogger blogs, you can use the same method to install the Cookie Notification Bar on other blogs or websites.

In order to better understand what you need to do as an on publisher, you can visit this website where you will find relevant information regarding the European Cookie Law. Depending on the type of information you collect from visitors on your blog, website or app, you may have to develop a customized Privacy or Cookie Policy.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

How to Manage Spam in Gmail

Google’s Gmail web-based email service, which is free to use, is one of most widely used and popular email services today. Apart from providing 15 GB of free storage space, it has a robust built-in spam-filtering system.

It is a community-based spam filtering system in which emails marked as spam, help other Gmail users, in terms of protecting them from future spam messages from the same email address.

When you first start using Gmail, it may take a little while until Gmail becomes more intuitive in terms of filtering spam messages.

Therefore, it’s important to take the time to mark messages as spam, create filters, identify email that was mistakenly marked as spam, and so on. In the video tutorial below, you will learn How to Manage Spam in Gmail, as well as how to use the smart spam filters.

All email messages that are marked as SPAM are stored in a “Spam” folder. It’s a good idea to check this “Spam” folder regularly because sometimes email messages that are not spam may end up in the folder. You can then use the option to mark it as “not spam”. Gmail automatically deletes the email messages in the “Spam” folder after 30 days.

In the above video tutorial you will learn:

  • How to block a sender?
  • How to report spam email?
  • How to create spam filters?
  • How to mark email as spam?
  • How to mark an email “not spam”?
  • How to edit filters and blocked senders list?

The Gmail spam filters are also a very effective way to deal with spam. For example, you can create a Gmail spam filter to delete email messages from a specific email address as soon as it makes its way to your inbox. Similarly, you can also use the Spam filters to mark certain email addresses as “not spam”. In essence, you are marking those email addresses as “safe senders”.

One of the other good security features of Gmail is that it automatically scans attachments in all incoming and outgoing email messages for viruses. Also, as a security measure, Gmail doesn’t permit emailing executable (“.exe”) files as attachments.

If you don’t have a Gmail email address, you can get one free here:

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Also, if you have any of your own tips on how to combat spam, feel free to share them.

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission | Spam images from Public Domain via Pixabay | Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo are trademarks, or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries | Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Say “Hello” or “Goodbye” to the New Google+

In November 2015, Google announced that changes were coming to the Google+ social network. They made a new Web version available for users with an option to switch back to the Classic version

Well, starting in September (I believe September 12, 2016), the Classic version will be put to rest and all users will be forced to the new Web Google+.

Since the new Web version came out, I’ve tried it, on and off several times. However, I mostly stuck with the Classic version for many reasons. 

For one, I prefer the smaller sized, two-column layout. Also, I found that when sharing posts, it was easier, on the Classic version, to add them to Collections. Most of my posts that include an embedded YouTube video, somehow have the thumbnail all skewed up. 

Google Hangouts will also be gone, being replaced with YouTube Live, but not via the Google+ platform. And finally, the new Web Google+ no longer has Events. It has been removed and we most probably won’t see it back. This has left  many Google+ users frustrated and I can understand why.

Well, it’s not all bad, if you can handle what’s left of new Google+ social network. You will now be able to post Photo Comments as well as include a link when responding to comments. There is a new Notifications Center which will be a full-screen notifications page which I believe will be further enhanced. 

If you have a wider screen, you will be able to display a 3-column layout. If not, you will see a 2-column layout which can be customized to a one-column layout, if you wish. Also, Communities will have improved capabilities, giving moderators more control to deal with spam and the like. 

You can check this Google+ Post from Luke Wroblewski for a full list of the New Web Features. Below is a video that highlights some of these key changes and gives you a look at the Classic version compared to the new Web version of Google+:

Back in May 2015, Google launched Google Photos and in August 2015, photos from Google+ were migrated to Google Photos. Earlier, in July 2015 they announced that Google+ would be decoupling from YouTube. From the outside looking in, it seems like slowly, but surely Google has been tearing Google+ apart. 

Google is known to abandon apps as it has done in the past. I spare you the details, but I’m hoping that Google+ sticks around. I know Google’s social network hasn’t really gone mainstream (so to speak) compared to Facebook. 

However, I do like using Google+ and was actually disappointed when they decoupled from YouTube. I found that interface between Google+ and YouTube very practical and useful, especially with regards to managing social interactions via comments on my Tutorials YouTube Channel.

We can expect to see more changes in the coming months as feedback continues to pour in. Make sure to use the Feedback form, on your Google+ profile, to make your voice heard and hopefully Google will give heed to our feedback. 

It’s difficult to please everyone, but I’m hoping that Google+ remain a decent and use-able social media platform. So with everything said and done, will you say “Hello” or “Goodbye” to the new Google+ social network?

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission | Google+ Logo Used Under Creative Commons CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License | Firefox Logo Used Under Creative Commons CC Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License | Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo are trademarks, or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries | Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Snipping Tool Grey Screen Solved

The Snipping Tool is a really useful screenshot capturing application that is available in the Windows operating system. I've used it very often to capture screenshots or portions of images.

You can also use this screenshot tool to annotate. So once you've taken a screenshot, you can save the final output in various file formats like PNG, JPEG, and GIF.

I've used the Snipping Tool both, in Windows 7 and Windows 10. The new Windows 10 version has a "delay" option.

Anyway, lest I digress, the main purpose of this blog post is to provide a solution to the grey or black screen, when using the Snipping Tool. I can't remember when and how, but at one point when using the Snipping Tool in Windows 7, I encountered a grey screen and it wouldn't allow me to take any screenshots. Basically, it disabled this tool for taking screenshot on my web browsers as well as on desktop applications.

One solution I found was to close open browsers and it would allow me to take screenshots, however, if I wanted to take screenshots within the browser I would continue getting the grey screen. Initially, I thought it was my firewall or Norton Security software that was causing this issue, but that wasn't the case.

Ultimately, after doing some troubleshooting, I narrowed it down to Trusteer Rapport, which is a security software that adds an additional layer of online security to your anti-virus / internet security software. I downloaded Trusteer Rapport via one of my financial institutions.

Anyway, after digging into Trusteer Rapport and making some changes to settings, I was able to get the Snipping Tool working again, both on broswers and my destop applications. You can check the video tutorial below for step-by-step instructions on How to Resolve the Snipping Tool Grey Screen Issue.

This solution may not work for everybody, but those who use Trusteer Rapport will most probably find it helpful. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section below.

- Trusteer Rapport® is a registered trademark of Trusteer, an IBM Company.

- Snipping Tool is a screen capture utility available in Windows Vista and later versions.
- IBM® and the IBM logo are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in the United States, and/or other countries.
- Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo are trademarks, or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Music by Riot | Song Title: Red Sea | Source: YouTube Audio Library (For Use on Monetized Videos)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Amazon Introduces Amazon Tap Voice-Controlled Bluetooth Speaker

Amazon Tap and Amazon Echo Dot now join the Amazon Echo family.

Amazon Tap is a new portable, wireless, voice-controlled, Bluetooth-enabled speaker with which you can listen to music from various online streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and of course Amazon Prime Music.

You can also stream music directly from your phone. Amazon Tap is equipped with dual stereo speakers powered by Dolby providing 360 degree omni-directional sound.

Apart from being able to listen to music, it uses the Alexa Voice Service and can also provide you news updates, check the weather, order pizza, request Uber for a ride, and much more.

Amazon Tap is expected to give you up to 9 hours of battery life on a single charge. And when the battery is running low, you will be reminded in advance. Talking about charging, included with your purchase is a charging cradle, as well as a USB cable and adapter.

Optionally, you can purchase the Amazon Tap Sling which acts as a protective case as well as a sling to carry it along. The protective sling comes in six different colours: white, black, blue, green, pink, and orange. You can check the Amazon Tap in action in the video below:

Amazon Tap is currently only available in the United States, but I believe Amazon hopes to make it available internationally. Amazon Tap won’t be available just yet. It is expected to be released on March 31, 2016, at $129.99, but you can pre-order it at Amazon.

If you don’t yet have Amazon Prime Music, you can get it for a 30-day free trial. You can stream Prime Music on your phone, tablet, computer, Fire TV, as well as Amazon Echo.

On the other hand, the new Amazon Echo Dot is a smaller device only available to Amazon Prime members. It also uses Alexa Voice Service to provide you music listening pleasure over a range of online music streaming services.

Unlike, Amazon Tap, Echo Dot is equipped with far-field voice recognition technology and has seven microphones built into the device. Therefore, you can do a lot more with Echo like checking the news and weather, your schedule, setting your alarm, as well as controlling smart home devices like your thermostats, lights, and other connected devices. It’s priced at $89.99.