Graphics: March 2008 Archives

Pixel Stick, my new BFF

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One of the niftier freeware Mac apps I've downloaded is "Pixel Stick" which as the Web site describes

PixelStick is a tool for measuring distances and angles on the screen. Excellent for designers or anyone who wants to measure a distance on their screen in any window or application.

In other words you can estimate image or window sizes without opening another application. Even though I'm hardly a graphics specialist, I have found this tool incredibly handy in the past six months.

Today, I'm designing a handout in Illustrator which uses some PNG screencaptures. I need to shrink them down, but Illustrator does not shrink PNGs very prettily, so I will probably have to do the shrinking in Photoshop. But with Pixel Stick, I can give a target estimate of sizes in Photoshop.

Another time, I had to capture a representation of a Mac cursor, and that is very difficult with the default screen capture option. Fortunately I was establish a size parameter with Pixel Stick. It's also good for estimating smaller window widths on a larger monitor.

But actually, my first use had to do with the Blogs at Penn State templates. As some of you have noticed, the widths of the different areas of a blog page are fixed and photos which are too wide get cut off. How wide is too wide? I didn't want to dig around the CSS, but with Pixel Stick, I was able to get some reasonable estimates and include them in the documentation. Definitely much easier.

I downloaded this on a lark and wasn't sure if I would actually use it - surprise.