Monday, September 03, 2012

Group Project

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or has me on BBM has probably seen my updates over the last couple of days regarding the group project we had for one of our courses at University. Today was the final day for hand in and I am so glad that the project is now done with.

Group projects aren't the easiest of tasks to get through, especially when you have difficulty communicating with your members as well as people who aren't strong at doing the task at hand. We were assigned groups for this project so a lot of us ended up being in a group with people that we weren't friends with and had never spoken to before.

While I understand that the point was to learn to work with "different" people (to emulate "the real world"), I do feel that it was a bit silly to do that when the project counted such a large portion of the final course mark (30%), especially if you ended up with people who didn't really care (not saying I did, I am saying in general). The whole idea behind group work is to work as a team and if you have members that don't care it makes it even harder to get things done.

Important stuff:
  1.  Decide who is going to do what part of the project and write it down. We had to do this as part of our documentation from the beginning but it was good to have a clear understanding from the start as to who has to do what.
  2. Set out intermediate deadlines for tasks and ensure that every team member is on track. If anyone is falling behind, immediately investigate why and decide there and then if someone must step in to help as not to delay the entire project.
  3. Communicate clearly between members. Use tools like Dropbox to centralise everything. We had to use Subversion and unfortunately I did struggle to upload to it via my laptop at home (my files ended up blank).
  4. Meet once a week to show each other progress and look at each other's work so that everyone knows what is going on.
  5. Know from the start what each person's section is meant to do and how it is going to integrate with the other sections. Write out general methods that are going to be needed for each class and keep each other updated on how they work and of any changes.
  6. Integration of the sections must be fully completed at least a week before the due date, if possible. Use the last week to iron out any bugs/issues and to complete documentation.
  7. Sort out any OBVIOUS issues from the beginning and if someone is struggling with a certain section, assign them to something else and assign another person that understands that section better to that section. I know that it is important for people to learn new things but if something like that is holding the entire group back it is better to rather get the code completed and then go back to explaining to everyone how it works and why.

Watermarking Photos Tutorial


One of my friends asked me to explain how I watermarked my photographs (particularly the Snow Day photographs) so I am going to write the steps that I follow.

What you need:
  1. Photoshop (I use CS4 but any version will do). GIMP is also a good alternative.
  2. PhotoScape
  1. Create a folder for all the photos that you want to eventually upload to your blog/Facebook page. Copy the photo you want to use into this new folder. I do this so that I am not working with an original copy in case I mess it up.
  2. In Photoshop (or GIMP), create a 1024x100 transparent document. I use 1024 because the eventual photographs I am going to uploaded are resized to 1024x768. The 100 height is just preference. Tweak these as need be.
  3. Fill the background with whatever colour you wish to use and set the opacity to whatever level you prefer. I have opacity set to 40%.
  4. Save this as a .png. I'll refer to this image as textbackground.png
  5. Open Photoscape. Select the "Batch Editor" option and drag the photos from your folder into the white space at the top. If you have portrait photos, don't add them as textbackground.png is going to mess up. You will do the portrait photos after.
  6. Choose your resize options on the right hand side (mine are set to Reduce the longer length, Long 1024).
  7. Under object, select Photo 1 and navigate to textbackground.png. Place it where you'd like it by dragging it on the screen over the photo.
  8. Under Text 1, type:
    [D], [T]
    [S], [F], [I], [FL]
    to get the options that I have on the Snow Day photographs. This information is found under the EXIF button. You can change the font and other text properties in this box too. Place the EXIF data where you'd like it within the textbackground.png bounds.
  9. You can add extra text using Text 2 - 4. I used Text 2 for my blog URL, Text 3 for my name and Text 4 for "Photography" (I couldn't get my name and Photography to line up nicely in one text box so I separated them).
  10. Once you are done, you can preview how each photo will look by clicking on it in the white space. Remember that if you move any of the elements that you've placed it will change for all the photos.
  11. When you are done, click "Convert All". You can choose to output the photos in a new folder, amongst other properties. Make sure that the quality is set to 100%.
  12. Repeat this process for the portrait photos.
  13. Done :)
I hope that was explained clearly :) if any of the steps are unclear or if anyone has questions, feel free to leave me a comment :)