Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

Aaron and I just got back from our getaway in Las Vegas. Connie (Aaron's mom) was nice enough to come down and watch the kids so just the two of us could get away. We drove in on Wednesday, and that evening there were hurricane-force winds--over 70 mph. It was completely insane. They had to shut all the doors except one in the hotel and had a buff security guard man the remaining door, since it was physically impossible for most of us weaklings to even open the door. We went to Hard Rock Cafe that night, since it was about the cheapest place to eat near the Strip and since Aaron's totally into classic rock. One of the coolest pieces of memorabilia that we saw was a bright blue cape that Jimi Hendrix wore to a Society Ball in London. I bet that shocked the establishment!

On Thursday we just hung out and went to the Tournament of the Kings at Excaliber with Megan and Matt (Aaron's sister and brother-in-law). We had a great time. It's one of the only clean shows in Vegas (aside from the dirt and horse hair), and also one of the cheapest. They feed you a nice chicken dinner with tomato soup--but no utensils. They really get the audience involved with cheering for your "king," and the horses are gorgeous (you would love it, Ash!). I definitely recommend it the next time you visit Vegas. We spent almost the entire day on Friday looking at the casinos and shopping. We're really exciting--the only purchases we made were a whisk, a zester, and a child's set of utensils from Sur La Table. We just really know how to let our hair down! We, of course, had to grab a Double-Double with grilled onions, fries, and a shake from In and Out. Seriously the best fast food burger ever. We spent that evening with my Uncle Larry and Aunt Donna in Logandale and then drove home Saturday. It was a great little trip, and the kids had a blast with Grandma.

Here are some of my more recent layouts:

Friday, February 1, 2008

Keyboard Shortcuts in The GIMP

One of my favorite features of The GIMP is the ability to completely customize the keyboard shortcuts. Most versions of The GIMP come with some standard shortcuts (ctrl+s is save, for example), but creating shortcuts for your most commonly used features will enhance your GIMP experience and save you loads of time.

All screenshots that follow are from GIMP 2.2.17. The latest version, 2.4.3, has some major flaws (e.g. font previews aren't displayed correctly and it's prone to crashing), so until these bugs are fixed, I will continue to write tutorials using 2.2.17.

1. In the GIMP toolbox, select File-->Preferences.

2. Select "Interface" from the menu on the left, and then click on the "Configure Keyboard Shortcuts" button.

3. Select the desired action from the list (the list is generally structured the same as the GIMP menus). For example, if I wanted to create a new shortcut for the "Delete Layer" function, I would expand the Layers section and click on "Delete Layer."

4. Type in desired shortcut or "accelerator." If the accelerator is already assigned to another function, a pop-up box will give you the option to reassign the accelerator to the new function.

For example, if I wished to assign "ctrl+D" as the new shortcut for the Delete Layer function, the following pop-up box might appear:

Since that is a function I frequently use, I will select "Cancel" and choose a new shortcut, "shift+ctrl+D."

5. Once you have assigned all of your desired shortcuts, close the "Configure Keyboard Shortcuts" window. Click on the "Save Keyboard Shortcuts Now" button so that you can immediately begin using your shortcuts. The option to "Save keyboard shortcuts on exit" should also be selected. Close "Preferences" window when finished.

Here's a brief list of some of the functions I've created shortcuts for:

Delete Layer: Shift+ctrl+D
Alpha to Selection: Alt+A
Duplicate Layer: Ctrl+J
Layer to Bottom: Ctrl+ { or Ctrl+Shift+[
Layer to Top: Ctrl+ } or Ctrl+Shift+]
Merge Down: Ctrl+E
New Layer: Shift+Ctrl+N
Open as Layer: Ctrl+Alt+O
Layers Diaglog: F7
Gaussian Blur: Shift+Ctrl+B
Drop Shadow: F4

As always, please leave comments or suggestions for future tutorial topics. Thanks!