I have to admit, I have not used this collection as much as it deserves, for a couple reasons. One is that when I bought it, I don't think I was aware that most of it was black-and-white images. The description for this book at Dover, as of this writing in October 2017, clearly states the distribution of color/black-and-white images, but I am not sure it did back then, because I was always complaining to Dover that their descriptions were deceiving, and judging by customer reviews, others complained also. In any case, now it doesn't matter, because since I installed GIMP, GNU Image Manipulation Program, which is totally free for everyone, I have a tool now to color the black-and-whites. I really have not spent much time learning how to use the infinite possibilities of this really great program, simply because I haven't been able to put the time into it, along with about a thousand other things I want to learn. However, in the process of writing this review, I decided to buckle down and tackle the issue.
And so I struggled and struggled for hours, attempting to figure out how the coloring thing works, with no success. You know that saying about "when all else fails, read the directions." So I found and extremely easy tutorial for simple coloring, and voila! I colored a picture. (I was missing the part about changing to RGB mode.) So, that's a start, and I know there are zillions of other things have to learn. In any case, my first computer coloring art is pictured below, along with some other more familiar manipulations I also used.
While these images are not listed as "repeatable background images," they may be used so, with a little bit of manipulation. An example is the background for my Recommended Links page, which is #CO22. (The colored images begin with a "CO.") I greatly reduced the size, then blurred and swirled it. Incidentally, this was before I installed GIMP so it was created by the very limited tools that come with the Dover CD-ROM itself. I then used my Microsoft Office Picture Manager, that formerly came with Word, to crop the white edges, which is the easiest tool ever created for cropping.. And by a similar process, I also created the background for this page, using #CO29, to which I added Gaussian Noise, which gives it that speckle-y effect.
I also want to mention one area of irritation about this and many of these Dover CD-ROM collections, is that the images are WAY to huge to be used for my purpose without great size reductions. In this set, the black-and-whites have an "Internet-Ready" option, being already reduced in size. The one below was originally 296x384 px., whereas the colored ones get into the 1700px+ range, much larger than the size of my old monitor screen. Another thing is, many of the images are round, which would require the use of a more elaborate program such as GIMP to remove the white background and color it, but I suppose even a white background could look cool. I guess my main point is, there is lots of potential here in this collection. Dover no longer prints these books, but they still have lots in stock. I would recommend snapping them up, despite their little annoyances. I own over 60 and use them all the time.
Below are some examples, with or without manipulation. The white edges on the squares
have been cropped. On some I have used GIMP, and others, the Dover program, included with the CD-ROM.
#CO38: with white background, Gaussian Noise added;
#CO3: with Oil Painting filter;
#CO93: with waves added, not cropped because waves extended into the white edge
These images were all done with GIMP.
#CO21: white background removed;
#CO32: white background colored yellow;
#CO49: white background removed;
Same image, with burgundy background
And here is the black and white image I colored and manipulated with GIMP, #453. I then painted it, then added noise, then blurred it, added a supernova, and last, changed the colors. It was all quite simple, once I knew how to do it. The tutorial that I used was from Instructables. Enjoy this fun book and other collections from Dover Publications.
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