What is Picture to People ?

"Picture to People" (P2P) is a huge Computer Graphics project. It was started to create new softwares able to make 2D drawing, 3D rendering, vexel drawing, text effects, photo effects, image filtering and other complex Computer Graphics operations. It has been made from scratch, including its low level Computer Graphics libraries like Maccala. Nowadays, most final features produced for this project are released as free online tools available from its official website. This blog talks about Computer Graphics, mainly concerning Picture to People development.

"Only who makes has true knowledge. Knowledge is control. True power depends on total control. Only who makes from scratch has the real power."

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Counting in statistics of a massive cyber attack

Picture to People site was attacked yesterday, just like thousands of sites around the world (including many big companies sites). The host server software was deeply damaged, including the OS, so our site stopped working correctly. No harm was caused to users, except an offline P2P site.

Almost miraculously, after hours of a very hard troubleshooting, we were able to set up P2P site precariously online for a while. After that, we started working to make a real site recovery that can last days or weeks. During this time, outages can happen anytime for hours or days. Until everything is really solved, the site can apparently load, but occasionally any page can fail in any strange way.

We also need to be sure we got rid of the OS vulnerability that attackers exploited.

When P2P site gets more protected and fully functional again, we will notify on our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Picture-to-People-105265599561619/

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

After a failed crowdfunding campaign

The crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for Picture to People project ended almost two weeks ago.

I can tell this campaign was a complete fail, because it was unable to raise any relevant amount of money to keep Picture to People project online. Picture to People became too big, so it needs a big investment. If a small part of our millions of users had donated $1, the project would be safe for 2 or 3 years.

I keep facing a big list of pending problems to solve:
  1. Pay for expensive servers that Picture to People demands at least for a year. If the number of users keeps increasing, we intend also to be able to make at least one server upgrade;
  2. Create a pure CSS, simple, cross-browser and responsive site template suitable to Picture to People needs, with fixed and flowing parts (couldn't find one as we want);
  3. Redesign and recode our interface components to be more reusable, responsive and match the new site template;
  4. Completely rewrite all our Javascript pieces of code, making them more reusable, more scalable and more encapsulated;
  5. Rewrite all hundreds of site pages according to the new template, new Javascripts and new interface components;
  6. Fix the issue of ids collision in pages with multiple color components;
  7. Create a flexible scheme for lazy media loading that is design friendly;
  8. Modify content and presentation of many pages to make them faster to load.
  9. Rewrite our HTTP connector (back-end) to include more features like sessions, result page generation, etc;
  10. Create a more modular and extensible architecture of input and output filters to our request processing pipeline;
  11. Develop an automated procedure to optimize to the extreme thousands of images used in the site;
  12. Improve, extend and optimize our inter-process pipe implementation;
  13. Investigate thoroughly and try to solve the problem of intermittent mysterious Apache crashes.
One thing I know for sure: I will never have again the same excitement to develop free tools for user that turned their back on me.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Picture to People crowdfunding

Picture to People is at risk of getting permanently offline due to lack of resources. Visit our crowdfunding campaign launched on a secure and reliable platform. There you will know better the perks you can get by making a donation.

We really would like to receive donations via PayPal, but we couldn't make it work. To receive donations directly through PayPal in our country, it's needed to have a registered company or a registered non-profit organization.

We decided to run our campaign on indiegogo.com. It's the world's second biggest crowdfunding platform and it's trusted by thousands of projects and millions of donators around the globe (currently they have almost 500,000 fans on Facebook). Indiegogo site communication is protected with HTTPS (encryption) and they use an enterprise class platform to process credit card transactions.

Moreover, Indiegogo have some useful advantages:
- Indiegogo's fees are much lower than PayPal ones, so Picture to People project can get a larger part of the raised funds;
- Indiegogo makes easy contacting donators, so we can handle the problem of delivering the perks.

Please make a donation before it's too late.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Google PageSpeed Insights can degrade image quality

I'm really very tired of being a slave of Google dictations about what is a good site and what is good content. However, there is no way to deny that most sites depend on Google search engine results to become known to computer and mobile users.

Anyway, Google gets more and more arrogant as time goes. Since some time ago, they have a tool called "PageSpeed Insights". Despite the name makes it seem like an advisory report generator, probably someday, if a site doesn't reach good results, it can be penalized in search engine. It already happened with their tool to test if a site is "mobile friendly". From advisory to slavery. They really decided to dictate what is good or bad in internet. Let the user choose is not good enough for them.

I don't like Google playing God, but the situation becomes unbearable when they make things with wrong premises or technical flaws. Their PageSpeed Insights tests any site page and can give you the "right answer", so you can get a good score. In other words, this tool lets you download the optimized resources from the tested page, so you can use them "as they should be" to deliver a fast page.

In the Picture to People case, for most JPG images, the only way to make PageSpeed Insights satisfied about the images size is using the images it "optimizes" by itself. I have made many tests and no "non-destructive" optimization was good enough to PageSpeed Insights.

PageSpeed Insights decreased the JPG quality of my images (increasing the lossy compression rate), but usually it's negligible just for regular (high entropy) photos. For my JPG images that are not regular photos, Google "dummy optimization" generated visible graphic artifacts (noise), degrading visual quality. Saving these images as PNG files is not an option, because JPG format generates much smaller files, even when using a small (non visible) quality loss as I made to publish them at the site.

Saying it another way, many Picture to People pages will just get a high score from PageSpeed Insights if I use poor quality images. It's not reasonable and Google should immediately fix this. They can optimize images as they want, but they NEVER can decrease original image quality based on general naive assumptions. It can just create a poorer and uglier web.

Below I show you three examples. First you see the original image, after the same image visually corrupted by PageSpeed Insights (click an image to see it full-size). Maybe the problem is not strong in your monitor, but it can be annoying in many ones.



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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Text effect tutorials (43)

I invite you to see some more text effect tutorials I have posted at the blog about how to create text logos online. This blog presents tips and tricks to design hundreds of cool text logos.

- a cookie text effect logo online;
- a realistic icy text logo effect;
- a led lamps text effect logo.

Below you see the text logos you get by following the listed tutorials.





Picture to People offers thousands of cool logo makers. See by yourself at the online logo generators page.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Torn paper text logo generator online

Since a small time ago, Picture to People site offers an text generator to make torn paper text effects. We already had several paper logo generators online, like for example: 3D paper text logos, burning paper text logos and folded paper text effects, and now there is even one more.

This Torn Paper Text Effect Creator costed me some very hard work, because it was difficult to implement a generic procedural way to render the torn paper borders needed to make the effect realistic. The solution I found was a kind of "stacked fractal".

There also is the option of producing text effects with transparent background. In this case, the paper effect creator returns a graphic as a semi-transparent PNG image file. See below a sample of paper text logo designed by using this new online logo generator app.



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Monday, December 19, 2016

Photo to graffiti online

If you love graffiti art, probably you will like to know that Picture to People offers a nice photo effect editor related to this subject.

By using the Photo Graffiti Effect Editor you can create graffiti paintings from regular photos. You can even produce several gradient effects that are seen in some kind of graffiti designs.

Below you can see a simple example. There are several graffiti drawing styles and other interesting configuration options. By setting them up wisely, you can transform virtually any photo into a beautiful graffiti.


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Monday, December 5, 2016

Turn photo into sketch online

After a lot of research, I could finally develop a new sketch photo effect editor. It brought to Picture to People project a completely new level of non-realistic drawing photo editor.

With this photo sketch generator, each drawing is made of thousands of even millions of individual strokes, but they are chosen and rendered in much more intelligent and coherent ways, making possible a higher preservation of original fine details.

Moreover, this photo sketch algorithm has several important freedom degrees, so its interface has a lot of useful and interesting design parameters. This can help users to get artistic styles like made by using pencil, pen and ink, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, crayon, chalk, etc.

As a bonus feature, I added options to customize background and strokes colors, what helps to increase the plethora of available design effects.

By using this photo sketch maker, it's possible to produce, in a few seconds, pencil drawings that look carefully drawn by talented artists. Below you see a drawing created with this professional Photo to Pencil Sketch Converter Online.


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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Colorful photo sketcher online

The second photo sketch maker I created to Picture to People project was based on other algorithm I researched myself.

After this development, it became possible to create colorful sketches from photos in a few seconds. Each final drawing is made of thousands or even millions of individual strokes. Each stroke is chosen based on local image properties and not set randomly.

To offer more stylized options, some color sketch styles have an interesting mix of colored and gray strokes. Besides, there is a special algorithm that takes care of drawing relevant contours.

I inserted in such algorithms the possibility to use the "smart strokes" technology. Based on the results from my test images, it seemed the right thing to do. Now I know it's a "dangerous" options for colorful images, because it can cause an unwelcome oversaturation in many cases. Anyway, you always have the option of disabling this feature.

Despite at that time my researches about non-realistic image rendering were just beginning, for sure this photo to color sketch effect was an important advance. Its development gave me new knowledge and insights to keep creating new algorithms. Besides, usually you don't see good quality procedural colored photo sketch effects out there. They usually just cheat using layer blending with textures, but it can generate poor results because of the low coherence with the line and color flow from original photo.

Now you see a sample of colorful sketch effect created online by using the Color Sketch Photo Editor.


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Monday, October 10, 2016

Photo sketcher online

The first Picture to People sketch effect generator was published online some years ago, and it was a big success. A few time after its release, it started receiving thousands of page views per week.

In my opinion, at that time it brought several innovative and advanced features, and some of them are amazing until current days, as for example:
- you can produce fast wild sketches or smart clean drawings from your photos by using the same photo app;
- each drawing is made of thousands of unique pencil strokes drawn individually and selected based on information extracted from the input photo. In other words, it's a really procedural sketch effect, and each image produces a different drawing. It's not a pseudo-effect always based on the same texture or pattern;
- you can choose between drawing styles with thick strokes or delicate small strokes;
- the designed sketch effects really look like drawings made by human hands.

Despite the cool features just cited, it's also worthy to mention that you can choose the paper and pencil color, what can be very useful in many situations. You can even use a feature I invented that time called "smart strokes" that can, in many cases, design an improved drawing.

Below I show you a photo and a sketch effect designed by using our first Photo Sketch Creator.



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