August 10, 2006
HOW TO MAKE FAKE PICTURES WITH MICROSOFT PAINT
At some point in every blogger's life, they are gripped by an urge to post a picture showing one person's head on another person's body.
I assure you, it's quite natural, as proven by the fact that I've felt the urge myself.
Ok... not a good example.
Anyway, you may have thought that in order to satisfy that desire, you'd have to spend a billion dollars to buy a licensed copy of Photoshop and then spend 10,000 hours learning how to use that unwieldy piece of crap program.
Today I'm going to show you how to make a "good enough" picture using the lame-ass Microsoft Paint program that comes with Windows. Now, the finished product won't be the super-slick and nearly seamless sort of image you'd see from Reuters, but it WILL be good enough to serve as a punchline for an amateur blogger's typical rib-pokery.
Let's say, for example, that you wanted to put Matty O'Blackfive's picture on a dollar bill as your way of supporting his impending run for the Presidency.
Here's what you need:
The Google Images search engine
A steady hand
First, find a picture of Matty O'Blackfive. Which is impossible, because he's never posted it and no one knows what he looks like. So you use the next best thing - a picture of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Plug the term into the search engine and find a likely looking image. Here's one:
Download this to you computer to a folder where you'll be able to find it. I like to use my Desktop.
Next, find a picture of a dollar bill using a similar technique. I'll just download one from Bad Example, since I've got hundreds of them.
Open up MS Paint (probably under Start> Programs> Accessories), and use it to open the dollar bill picture.
Now, MS Paint doesn't allow you to open up a second image in the same window without losing the first image, so you need to open up a second instance of it by doing the same thing you did to start it the first time. Now you can open up the Doughboy picture in the second Paint window.
Here's where the "steady hand" comes in. Click the freehand select button in the toolbar (it looks like a 5 pointed star).
Now, starting anywhere on the edge of the Doughboy's head, click and hold your left mouse button and carefully trace the outline of the part of the image that you want to copy. You may want to enlarge the view to 200% first if you're working with a small picture.
Now release the mouse button and panic slightly as the selection outline reverts to a dash-lined square box.
Don't worry. It's a feature, not a bug.
Go to the menu and select Edit>Copy.
Now go to the Paint window that has your dollar bill picture. Select Edit>Paste.
Panic slightly as Paint displays your pasted selection in the middle of a big white box.
Near the bottom of the toolbar are two buttons with geometric shapes on them. Press the lower one.
This should cause the image you pasted to revert to only the part of the image you originally selected.
Now you just drag it over Washington's portrait, then - if necessary - stretch the Doughboy's head using the corners of the selection box until it looks more or less right.
Left-click somewhere outside the selection box to paste the Doughboy head into place, and you're done. Just save it and it's ready to upload into your blog post.
Some words of caution: I've had trouble getting this to work right using .gif format images. If you absolutely MUST use a .gif image, then after you download it, open it with Paint and then save it as a .jpg before you begin working with it.
Also, you might want to do a quick test drive of the image you'll be selecting from in order to get a rough idea of how the finished product will come out BEFORE you spend 10 minutes carefully tracing the outline. Just do a rough tracing first without worrying if you include a few chunks of background. There have been times when I discovered that I needed to find an image that was bigger, smaller, or needed to be from a different angle to make the final result look acceptable.
Finally, don't worry if the image ends up looking a little rough. It doesn't need to be good enough to fool the Secret Service, just good enough to get your point across.
Now go have some fun, you little devil.
And remember to vote Blackfive '08.
NOTE: [If you've found this post useful enough to blog about, send a trackback or e-mail the permalink to me at harvolson-at-gmail.com and I'll add you to my Bad Example Groupies blogroll. See this post for details]