Oct 9, 2015

How to Create Photorealistic Screenshots of your Mobile Phone

Capturing screenshots on a mobile phone is easy. If you have an iPhone, press the Home & Sleep buttons and the screenshot image will be saved in the Photos app. Android users can press the Volume Down & Power button simultaneously to capture the screen. And in the case of Windows Phone, press and hold the Start and Power buttons at the same time to take a screenshot.

That’s a raw screenshot saved in your camera roll but if you would like to use that image in your website, a presentation or even in your Apps Store listing, consider adding device frames. This is important because people should be able to figure out whether a screenshot was captured on an iPhone or a Microsoft Lumia or a Google Nexus phone. The device frames can be actual photographs so your screenshot images appear gorgeous and more realistic.

Mobile Screenshots in Photoshop

Realistic Device Mockups for Beautiful App Screenshots

A layered photo editing tool like Adobe Photoshop (Win/Mac) or Pixelmator (Mac) makes it really easy for you to add hardware device frames to any screenshot image. Go to Dribbble and search for “freebies PSD <mobile name>” and you’ll find beautiful mockups for any mobile device. The Facebook design team too provides Handskit – photos of hands holding devices that you can use without restrictions.

Download and import the PSD file into Photoshop and then use the File -> Place command to place the screenshot image as a new layer over the device mockup. Then use the Save for Web option to export the image in JPEG format.

[*] Dribbble users usually add the tag “freebies” or “free” to indicate that others can reuse their design(s) for personal and commercial use. Other than Dribbble, Deviant Art and Behance are also good places to discover high-quality hardware mockups for all popular mobile devices.

Photorealistic Mobile screenshots

If you don’t have Photoshop, you can use web apps like Magic Mockups, Dunnnk and Frame to add photorealistic device frames to your mobile screenshots.

These tools offers a collection of professional-quality photographs of mobile phones, tablets and computers placed in realistic settings. You need to drag your app’s screenshot image on to a photograph and it will automatically get placed in the screen area of the mobile device perfectly aligned with the hardware frame pixel by pixel.

Google’s own Device Art Generator lets you quickly add vector device frames around screenshots of Android phones and tablets. Device Art Generator includes templates for Android Wear and all Google Nexus devices. Drag the mobile screenshot image on to a device frame and it will quickly wrap that frame around your image. You also have the option to add screen glare and depth (for perspective) to the generated screenshots.

MockuPhone is another useful web app for adding device frames to your mobile screenshots with a unique feature. You pick a device frame, upload the mobile screenshot image and the tool will generate multiple screenshot images of the same device but at different angles.

The tool produces very high-resolution screenshots and they offer device frames for the iPhone, iPad & iPad Mini, Windows Phone, TV screenshots and Android.

PlaceIt and Mockerie are other good services for adding device mockups to your screenshots but they requires a subscription.

Mobile Device Frames

Scenery is a free Mac App that will helps you convert your app screenshots into professional looking and real-life photographs. Launch the app, drag the screenshot and you can instantly preview it inside gorgeous device photos. The starter pack includes a couple of free images of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phone.

You can also add realistic device frames to your mobile screenshots via email. Just send the raw screenshot image as an email attachment to smartphones@mailchimp.com and, within in a minute or two, they will send you the processed screenshot with the device frame. You can also attach multiple screenshots in the same email message.

The service will automatically detects the mobile device name and the image orientation (portrait or landscape) using the EXIF data in the image and adds the appropriate hardware frame. It supports iPhone, iPad, Galaxy Tab, Nexus and a bunch of mobile device – send an email with the subject “help” to the same address for a complete list.

Finally, if you know a bit of HTML and CSS, you’ll love devices.css. They have created realistic mockups of iPhone, Android, Lumia, iPads and Macbooks using pure CSS and you can add image screenshots and text captions inside the mockups by editing the HTML. The big advantage here is that your text can be read by search engines too.

The story, How to Create Photorealistic Screenshots of your Mobile Phone, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 08/10/2015 under Mobile, Screen Capture, Internet.

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Oct 8, 2015

Watch Twitch Without Flash On Your Desktop With GNOME Twitch

GNOME Twitch is a GNOME 3 application which allows watching Twitch  (a popular live streaming video platform that primarily focuses on video gaming) on your desktop without Flash or a web browser.

GNOME Twitch

The application lets you browse the games and channels, search, add favourite channels, set a default video quality, change the quality per stream and the volume.

Unfortunately, GNOME Twitch doesn't support logging in to your Twitch.tv account which means there are no notifications (but you can use Twitch Indicator for that) or any other features related using your Twitch.tv account. Comments are also not supported (both viewing and posting comments) right now.

GNOME Twitch

However, considering that the application is only a month old, I'd say that it's already pretty good and it has already replaced the twitch website for me.

Why use GNOME Twitch? The short answer is: because, unlike the Twitch.tv website, it doesn't use Flash - and this should be enough to answer the question.

Here's the long answer though: while Twitch.tv now uses HTML5 for the video controls, it still uses Flash for the video itself, which makes it very resource-heavy.

For instance, watching Twitch in Firefox (fullscreen, source quality, Flash 11.2), the Flash CPU usage was about 140-150% in my test (with some extra CPU usage for Firefox itself), while using GNOME Twitch (with "gstreamer1.0-vaapi" installed, tested under Ubuntu 15.10), the CPU usage (fullscreen, source quality) was about 10-12% in my test.

Without the "gstreamer1.0-vaapi" package, the CPU usage was around 60-70% which is still a lot better than Flash.

I should also mention that the application uses header bars, which means it doesn't look that pretty under Ubuntu 15.04 and other desktop environments that don't fully support header bar apps.

Install GNOME Twitch in Ubuntu 15.04 or 15.10

To install GNOME Twitch in Ubuntu 15.04, you can add the GetDeb repository by installing THIS deb and then simply install the "gnome-twitch" package. The GetDeb repository doesn't yet support Ubuntu 15.10 however, you can use the 15.04 deb and it will work in 15.10 (link below).

For both Ubuntu 15.10 and 15.04, you download the GNOME Twitch deb from HERE.

Unfortunately Ubuntu versions older than 15.04 are not supported.

Arch Linux users can install GNOME Twitch via AUR.

app seen @ lffl.org

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Oct 7, 2015

Audacious 3.7 Beta 1 Available In PPA

Audacious 3.7 beta 1 was released recently and is available in the WebUpd8 Unrelease/Backports PPA. The new beta version brings various new features such as playlist shuffle by album, record Internet streams and more, along with Qt interface improvements and bug fixes.

For those not familiar with Audacious, this is a fast, lightweight audio player that's focused on high audio quality and low system resource usage. 

The application ships with plugins for pretty much everything you'd need, like effects, visualisation, desktop integration and much more, along with multiple interfaces: GTK2, GTK3 (not available in our PPA since it requires building a different source; might be discontinued once the Qt interface is fully ready), Qt and Winamp2-like interface which supports Winamp 2 skins.

Here's Audacious 3.7 beta 1 using the GTK2, Qt and Winamp interfaces:

Changes in Audacious 3.7 beta 1:
  • playlists can be shuffled by whole albums rather than single tracks
  • an "Edit Lyrics" option has been added to the LyricWiki plugin, which opens the edit page for the current song;
  • guessing of missing tag fields can now be disabled;
  • decoding and playback of standard input is now possible with e.g. echo file.mp3 | audacious -;
  • GTK interface only:
    • Internet streams can be recorded while playing via a simple record button;
    • the playlist export window displays supported formats in a drop-down list;
    • a new, unified window has been added for managing equalizer presets;
    • the user interface automatically adjusts to be more usable on high-resolution screens;
  • Qt interface improvements:
    • the Qt interface can be customized with several new appearance setting;
    • various small fixes and improvements, such as a visualizer in the info bar, to bring the interface closer to feature-parity with the GTK+ interface;
    • plugins ported to Qt:
      • Winamp Classic Interface;
      • Playlist Manager;
      • Search Tool;
      • Status Icon;
  • in dual GTK and Qt builds (such as the ones available in the WebUpd8 PPA), incompatible plugins are hidden to avoid confusion;
  • various bug fixes.

Install Audacious 3.7 beta 1 in Ubuntu or Linux Mint

Audacious 3.7 beta 1 is available in the WebUpd8 Unreleased/Backports PPA for Ubuntu 15.10, 15.04 and 14.04 (and Linux Mint 17.x) and derivatives. Note that the Audacious packages in our PPAs (both this and the stable packages) are built with GTK2 and Qt interfaces and to use them, select "Audacious" from the menu for the GTK2 interface and "Audacious Qt Interface" for the Qt interface.

To add the PPA and install Audacious 3.7 beta 1, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/unstable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get instal audacious
Keep in mind that Audacious 3.7 is in beta, so you may encounter issues or incomplete features!

If you'd like to use the latest stable Audacious instead of the beta, see THIS article.

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Go For It!: A Simple Todo.txt-Based To-Do List Manager And Timer Productivity App

Go For It! is a simple, yet very useful 2 in 1 productivity app which includes to-do list management as well as a timer, available for Linux and Windows.

The to-do list and timer are used together: simply select a task and switch to the timer tab to activate it. From the Timer tab, you can choose to mark a task as done, skip or pause it at any time:

When the timer runs out (and 60 seconds before), a notification is displayed so you don't need to have the app focused the whole time.

To see the app in action, check out the video below created by the Go For It! developer:

(direct video link)

Go For it! stores to-do lists in the Todo.txt format, which we've covered a few times here, on WebUpd8 (like Todo Indicator - by the way, you can use in combination with Go For It! or any other Todo.txt app) and what makes this special is that it's easy to edit, migrate and synchronize across devices. Since there are numerous Todo.txt-based applications (GUIs for any OS, including mobile, command line tools, etc.), you can simply store the lists in Dropbox (or whatever cloud storage you're using) and access them on any device or even use a text editor to edit or add new tasks.

The application is written in Vala and GTK and its user interface is inspired by the elementary OS and GNOME design philosophy (and simplicity), which means it uses header bars however, it uses a traditional titlebar under desktop environments that don't fully support header bars, such as Unity.

Install / Download Go For It!

Go For It! is available in a PPA, for Ubuntu 15.04, 14.04 and 12.04 (and Linux Mint 17.x and 13). To add the PPA and install it in Ubuntu, Linux Mint and derivatives, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mank319/go-for-it
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install go-for-it

There are no packages for Ubuntu 15.10 yet, but you can install the Ubuntu 15.04 package in Ubuntu 15.10 and it should work.

Arch Linux users can install Go For It! via AUR (git).

For other Linux distributions, grab the source from GitHub.

Windows binaries can be downloaded from HERE.

Thanks to Mehdi for the tip!

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Oct 6, 2015

Circular App Launcher `Gnome Pie` 0.6.7 Gets New Clipboard Slice Group, Other Changes

Gnome Pie 0.6.7 was released recently with a new experimental feature: clipboard slice group, along with other changes.

Gnome Pie is an application launcher inspired by a World of Warcraft addon called OPie. The app consists of multiple "pies", each being triggered by a keyboard shortcut or mouse button you set. Each pie has its own role: applications, bookmarks, main menu, multimedia (play/pause/previous/next), a pie that allows you to control the focused window (maximize, close, etc.) and so on.

Pies are customizable so you can create new pies, delete existing ones, etc. You can even access pies from a dock (screenshot above) or the desktop.

The new Clipboard slice group remembers an adjustable amount of your last copied items and allows quickly pasting them:

This feature is currently considered experimental because, according to its author, it's hard to use quickly because it contains a variable amount of items and also, because it's not exactly easy in some cases to tell the entries apart (this also depends on the Pie theme you're using because the copied text is displayed in the center but some themes don't offer this).

Besides this, I would also add the lack of a way to clear the clipboard to this list.

If you have an idea on how to improve this, submit a bug on GitHub!

Despite this, the new Gnome Pie clipboard feature is actually quite useful, especially if you're already a Gnome Pie user and you do a lot of copy/pasting.

To enable the new Clipboard slice feature, from the Gnome Pie settings, select a pie on the left, then on the right click "+" to add a new slice and add select "Group: Clipbord" from the slice type list:

Other changes in Gnome Pie 0.6.7:
  • It's now possible to delete imported themes;
  • Slices can now be activated with the key pad’s return key;
  • It's now possible to load themes which are stored in a directory in an archive;
  • The window list groups have been merged into one group. This new group has an option whether to show windows of the current workspace only;
  • Updated default configuration of Gnome-Pie with a Window List group;
  • Updated default configuration to hide Slice labels.

Also, since our last article about Gnome Pie (0.6.1), the app has received quite a few improvements, including theme import/export, a new Numix theme and the ability to select slices by typing their names, among others.

Furthermore, a while back, the app's preferences dialog was updated to use Header Bars by default (which unfortunately means it doesn't look very pretty under Unity), but you can change this by launching the app with the "--no-header-bar" argument (for instance, you can add this to the gnome-pie.desktop file).

Install Gnome Pie in Ubuntu or Linux Mint

To install the latest Gnome Pie in Ubuntu 15.10, 15.04 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.x and derivatives, you can use its official PPA. Add the PPA and install Gnome Pie using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:simonschneegans/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-pie

If you're not using Ubuntu / Linux Mint, you can download the Gnome Pie source via GitHub.

Once installed, launch Gnome Pie from the menu / Dash and then use CTRL + ALT + A to launch some applications, CTRL + Alt + B for bookmarks, etc. You can find all these keyboard shortcuts, change them or create new "pies" in the Gnome Pie Preferences (which you can access via its AppIndicator / Notification Area icon). For more info on using Gnome Pie, see THIS page.

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