Friday, August 2, 2013

How'd she do that? Hummingbird in motion

A hummingbird at the flowers of Caeselpinia pulcherrima in the circle garden.  I love the way the pollen flies out of the flower.  Even more interesting is that this is just a series of regular photos and not a video.


When I uploaded the series of hummingbird photos to Picasaweb they were automatically compiled into a fast-moving slideshow by a program called Awesome Motion.  The awesome part of this is that the resulting slideshow is contained within a single photo link so it is viewable on mobile devices.

The same thing happened with the owl photo I recently posted and I received comments from readers and friends so I spent some time checking out the Awesome Motion program.  There's little to no information about it out there so I'm adding this tutorial to my blog for reference.  I used Picasaweb because that's where I upload photos for my blog.  There might be other apps for this but I didn't find them.

You need at least five photos in a series and, this is very important, the background must stay in the same place in each photo.

Before uploading to Picasaweb I always downsize each photo to a maximum of 2048 pixels. This keeps them within the free storage limit set by Blogger and allows me to add an infinite number of photos to my blog without paying for additional storage.  Downsizing the photos makes uploading faster and does not change the quality or the size at which they display.  08/07/-Correction:  As of July 2013, Picasaweb now allows up to 15 GB in each album and the current information states that photos are now automatically resized to 2048 during the upload process so it is much easier to continue blogger for free!

Here are the nine photos of the hummingbird I uploaded all at once.  Note that the flower stem stays in the same section of the frame throughout.  Of course I'm on the wrong side of the light in this one but chasing hummers is like that.


I uploaded the nine photos to Picasaweb at the same time.  Now for the really hard part.

That's it, the program kicks in automatically and you can't do anything to make Awesome Motion work. There's no edit function or menu feature so the program finds your series and either compiles the slideshow or finds it lacking something and does nothing with it.  So there is no way to make it work, you just need the right elements which include a steady background and at least five photos.  Then it works automatically.  To see the animation you may need to close out of the album for a few seconds.

The collage below shows another hummingbird photo series I tried unsuccessfully to put into motion.  These are better photos but did not work with Awesome Motion despite several attempts.  That is because the background features change up, down, and sideways too much for the program to work.


In other news, we've been having record high heat daily and it's been dry so the garden is in various stages of summer dormancy.  So it's fun to have interesting ways to occupy my own garden downtime as well.

37 comments:

  1. Shirley, you're not only a fine, artistic gardener, your an awesome techno-artist as well. Beautifully done.

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    1. Wow, can I quote you on that? Kidding of course, that's nice to hear from a great gardener and writer. I have fun exploring the wonderful world of technology.

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  2. Wow - that's really neat! I didn't know such a program existed.

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    1. I didn't either until the animation just showed up in my album one day.

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  3. What a cool feature! I'll have to see if I can make it work with some of my bird photos. A few months ago my husband put together a little hummingbird movie for my blog with some photos, laboriously using iMovie.

    Thanks for posting your hummingbird photos. They're such special little creatures, it's always magical for me to see them in my garden, and I see a lot. Every time they come close, it's jaw-dropping. And getting good pictures is a challenge.

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    1. Give it a try and I'd love to see the results. These technical things are getting easier, though this one is quite amazing.

      If you make a video with your camera you will still need to turn it into a movie to put it on the blog so this is much simpler if it works.

      The hummers are amazing and I just love it when they hover and look me in the eye.

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  4. That is so cool!!!!!! Great photos!

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    1. Thanks, you were quite inspirational with your hummer photos which encouraged me to get out again and try for hummers at the real flowers.

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  5. Thanks for the great information Shirley, specially about resizing pictures to take up less space! You got some terrific shots of that sweet little humming bird.

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    1. Whenever I read about a blogger running out of photo space I try to get the word out on the resizing. Google info is so complicated but the fix is simple.

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  6. Thanks for the information, Shirley. What a brilliant idea!

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    1. I'd love to see one of your Wallabies hopping so give it a try Bernie.

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  7. I will definitely check it out. Thanks for the heads up! Good job on the hummer.

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  8. That is so great, I love it!

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  9. AMAZING - too cool! Thank you for this tutorial Shirley. I can see this being a lot of fun to do for the kids as well!

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    1. Like those Flip Motion books which I always found fun as a kid. There are free programs out there for you to do similar things with your kids.

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  10. Nice hummingbird pictures. I am not fast enough to get that many good shots. Maybe I will try out that program with some butterfly pictures.

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    1. I'd enjoy seeing those too. To get the hummers I spent a lot of time waiting on them and ended up with a lot of deleted frames.

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  11. Technology moves so fast it's hard to keep up. Thanks for demystifying some of it.

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  12. Very cool! I'm impressed you have pix of hummingbirds. I've never managed to accomplish that. They move too fast for me. :o)

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  13. How fun. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. That's the first I've heard about a limit on photo space for Blogger. I thought it just took longer to upload unsized photos but then Blogger changed the size to fit. It's more work for me to resize each photo but something I can do. I hadn't heard of people running out of space and being charged.;-( Does that apply to the size you set on the photos in the blog? I started out with medium then changed them to extra large because they look better. I find it strange that Blogger doesn't give this information. Thanks for the info and tutorial, very interesting.

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    1. The limit is 1GB for your Picasaweb photo album which all Blogger-based blogs have. I resize photos in batches so it only takes a few seconds. The resizing only applies to the album and not how it appears on Blogger. Most Blogger users don't learn about the limit until they are cut off with a notice. I have read about a number of bloggers quitting at this point which is why I mentioned it here and also try to leave them a comment about the limit if I read their blog.

      https://support.google.com/picasa/answer/61627?hl=en

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    2. Shirley, although not reflected in the link above, I believe Picasa recently increased their free storage limit. When I click on Settings and then Storage, it shows that I have 15 GB of free storage of which I am currently using .8 GB.
      I maxed out my 1 GB limit last year and had to start using flickr, which also has a high free storage limit. It is a little easier uploading to Picasa and it should take a while for me to get to the 15 GB limit.

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    3. Thanks Michael, I did not know the storage limit increased. That is good news for those of us who use a lot of photos. I'll check that out later today.

      I tried using Photobucket for a while after Picasaweb cut me off but it's a lot of extra steps so I figured out the downsizing route. I'm in the habit of downsizing now so it will take me quite a while to fill up 15GB. It's good to know I don't have to downsize, especially photos I want to retain max quality.

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    4. I found that Google upped the limit to 15 GB when they converted everything to G+ a few weeks ago. The new upload info states Picasaweb now automatically downsizes photos to 2048 unless you specifically request full size. This is good news and I will make a correction to my blog.

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  15. Fabulous photos and I love the effect in the video...

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  16. This is awesome Shirley! Even as a small image on the blogger list it was moving, brilliant!

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  17. S. Fox, techno junkie! Good job, and I'll look forward to more still-motion shots!

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  18. I've got to chime in and agree with everyone else, well done!

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  19. Shirley, you did a lot of work in Picassa. Great and interesting photos!
    We have no the hummingbirds here, it's pity.

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    1. Hummingbirds are so entertaining I hope you get a chance to see them in person some time.

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  20. Thank you all for your comments which I appreciate so much. It's fun to see a post like this generate discussion and comments.

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  21. I don't use Picasa, I didn't realize when I upload photos to Blogger that they are also in Picasa. I just store the photos on my Macbook. I have a Photobucket account but used it to post photos on Gardenweb and now GW will upload directly. Good discussion.

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    1. I'm glad my information was useful even with the recent updates making some of it outdated.

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  22. Extremely cool how you did that....and even better is that you have visitor to the garden!:)

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  23. This is so amazing. I'm really surprised that you camera was able to capture the spray of pollens. And thanks for the tip about the Awesome Motion feature on Picassa web.

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