Fuze with Style. Background Style!

It's 2014 and we thought we'd kick it off with a great new way to enhance your photos!

We call it Background Style.  Inspired by some amazing photos found on Etsy and other popular online stores, we wanted to make having clean backgrounds with natural soft gradients easy.  Starting now, your backgrounds can be white, grey, flat, a natural soft gradient, or anywhere in between!

By default, Background Style is set to the usual flat white/black background.  You can change the style by moving the solid blue circle anywhere.

Let's take a look at what happens when you move the circle around:

As you can see, when the blue disc is set toward the top, your background becomes lighter and whiter.  If you place the disc toward the bottom, the background becomes grayer.  Likewise, towards the right side the background becomes a flat solid color.  The left side has a nice smooth background made from the natural shading found in the original photo.

This versatile background option gives you an great amount of control to pick a background that best complements your item and let your photos stand out from the crowd!

And thank you, Chris Scott, for letting us use your photos from your amazing shop EuropeanRetro!

Put your Etsy shop on Sale with FotoFuze!

It's the holiday season again and many of our Etsy users are revving their engines for Cyber Monday and Christmas!

We're currently beefing up and making our Etsy Sales tool the best it can be for this holiday season so that you, and your customers, can get the most out of it.  Here's all you gotta do!


Under power tools, click the "Living Etsy Sales" button.  You'll find this on the left side of your homepage.


Click on "Create a Sale".  A window will expand, letting you set up all the details of your sale.


After you've entered all of the sale's details, click the "Finish" button.


We'll quickly check for any problems with starting the sale.  If we find a problem, we let you quickly fix the issue.


After you fix the issues or if there wasn't any problems at all, just click the finish button!


And your sale is ready to go!



FotoFuze gets Enhanced for the Holidays

Things at FotoFuze have been getting better and better.  

 

Fuze Faster

FotoFuze has never been faster!  Fuzing can finish in as few as 20 seconds. It's now so fast that before you're done highlighting another photo, the previous photo is almost always finished!

 

Fuzing Magic with the Magic Highlighter

If you are using the latest version of your browser, you should have access to the magic highlighter when highlighting your photos.

Not content with the status quo of the typical image editing tools, FotoFuze steps it up a notch. You can, with the new magic highlighter, highlight photos with a few simple strokes and the magic highlighter will highlight the rest for you - including the shadows.

 

Pro tip:  This tool works best when you highlight the outsides of the object first.

 

Upload All Your Photos at the Same Time

Ever since we started using uservoice.com's feedback widget (which you can find on the right side of most pages on FotoFuze) people expressed much interest in batch uploading.  You asked and we delivered!  You can now upload multiple images at the same time.  If your FotoFuze account is linked with your Etsy account, you will find the batch upload option located in the advanced menu of a listing.

Windows users can select multiple files by holding the Shift key and selecting a range of files or by holding the Ctrl key and selecting multiple individual files.

Mac users can select multiple files by holding the Shift key and selecting a range of files or by holding the Command key and selecting multiple individual files.

 

Softer Shadows When You Need Them

If you have a photo where shadows don't have nice sharp edges, then you'll likely find this very useful!  You'll find this feature as the shadow softness slider found on the right side of the page while highlighting a photo.  The slider goes between 1 and 5, where 1 is sharper shadows and 5 is softer shadows.

 


sharp

soft


Photo courtesy of rosamund_bird

Tuesday Updates

Hi Fuzers!

First, the new partnership with the Jungl has hit off really well! We are very happy so far with the response and will continue adding more features for our supporters! Read about the initial annoucement here.

Second, in addition to numerous bug fixes, last week some great progress was made on browser compatability. We are phasing out the Flash uploader as the number one complaint was that you occasionally could not upload pictures and had to restart your browser or computer.

The biggest new feature this week though is the new Etsy publishing process. You have told us what you wanted, and we listened. We have streamlined the process for those of you who simply want to upload fuzed photos and don't want to do a full Etsy publishing process. This is the first of many in improvements here and more is to come soon. If you have a specific feature you want, feel free to send us an email at contact@fotofuze.com

This is shaping up to be a great year and we are very excited to be there with you! 

Best wishes,

The FotoFuze Team

Tuesday Updates

Hi Fuzers!

First the news. We here at FotoFuze fully support the handmade community and have heard about what Urban Outfitters did to Stevie. This is not cool UO! Our best wishes goes to Stevie! Visit her Etsy shop here! We also set up a donation page for her on the Jungl and have donated $100 to help support her in her fight against UO. 

Second, some FotoFuze site updates.

We've made some updates and previews are now twice as fast as before. Now typically taking between 7 and 9 seconds. We want this to be 2-3 seconds, so stay tuned for more updates.

Also, if you missed it, be sure to check out the post on high resolution fuzing from last Friday! 

 

Best wishes,

The FotoFuze Team

 

 

High Resolution Fuzing is here!

Hi Fuzers!

We have had many requests for a long time about when high resolution fuzing would be available. I can proudly say that it is available starting right now. There is only one requirement, you have to be a FotoFuze supporter in order to use it.

This brings me to the second announcement, the Jungl. FotoFuze has partnered with the Jungl to provide the funding necessary to do high resolution fuzing! It costs us four times as much to do double the resolution, but we feel that seeing the details is such a big factor in the sale of a product on Etsy that we had to find a way to make this happen - without breaking the bank. One of our guiding principles is, don't be greedy. The Jungl fits this principle perfectly.

The Jungl is a service where users pay a flat monthly fee of their own choosing, select a few websites that they want to support, then the Jungl will split that monthly fee between the supported websites evenly. We love it!

The Jungl provides us with the perfect mechanism to allow fuzers to pay whatever they want, and get a bunch of great stuff for it:

First, no advertisements. There is nothing worse then big bouncing advertisements distracting you from what your trying to do. We don’t like them, I think most people would agree.

Second, high resolution fuzing. Process at double the resolution and get more details into your product photos for Etsians to see.

Third, living etsy sales. While in beta, living etsy sales were free for use by everyone. Now that they have stabilized a bit, we are moving the feature out of beta and into the Jungl. Don’t worry though, this will not affect any sales that are currently running and they will continue on schedule.
Fourth, private support. Not only do you get direct support from our team, but we want to head more from you. Let us know what features we can make to get you fuzing even more.

Can you really pay whatever you want? Yes, but there is a minimum fee of $3.00 per month. However, there is a way to pay about half that amount. If you have a website you can support yourself by clicking your own Jungl button. =D

For more info on the Jungl, click here. They also have a FAQ page here.

We’ve got more stuff cooking for this year, so stay tuned!

Best wishes,

The FotoFuze Team

Tuesday Updates

Hi Fuzers!

First the news. We've hit 500,000 fuzed photos, and we have well over 17,000 fuzers! Just incredible! 

Second, we've been quite busy tinkering over here and I'd like to mention some new features that went live both today, and over the last month or so.

The first new feature of the day is signatures. Signatures are a common bit of information that is appended to each of your listing descriptions every time you publish through fotofuze. Its a super simple way to let your customers know more about you, your shop, and your own business right from the listing description. We recommend putting links to your own off-etsy website, links to your other etsy shops, and a copyright notice. You can find signatures right below the description field when publishing a listing.

Another new feature that went out recently is that we now have a warning icon on the top right of fuzed photos now to let you know that this recently fuzed photo is not on etsy and the listing needs to be published. This alieviates the headache when trying to remember which ones you publshed on etsy, and which ones you missed! :) 

The third and final feature that we are announcing is the beta feature of living etsy sales. This feature is still in beta, but allows you to schedule sales to start and stop on specific dates on a specific section of your shop, and even allows you to change those details live at any time. This means that you can start a sale at 30% off and then mid-sale change your mind and decide that you actually want 35% off to help drive some more sales to your shop. You simply change the number and FotoFuze will automatically make all the necessary adjustments for you! Check it out the next time you want to put your shop on sale and give us some feedback! 

We have some more exciting stuff going on at FotoFuze that we are working on and will update again soon!

Best wishes,

- The FotoFuze Team

Special Effects for Cheap - Scanner Art

A few years ago, I randomly came across a vendor's table at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The girl running the table was trying to get people to submit their artwork for a charity auction to be held during a student production of the Vagina Monologues. I decided to sign up just for fun. I figured I'd come up with something. I'd look through my artwork to see what I'd already made, or, if I didn't have anything appropriate, it'd be an excuse to get off my butt and create something new.

It turned out I didn't have much of anything interesting in my archives. I had a new camera at the time and tried snapping some photos. I also happened to have a new scanner. On a whim I thought of putting an object on the scanner to just see what would happen. Not a flat piece of paper, photograph or some 2d artwork like usual, but a 3d object - right on the glass of the scanner. I had some mushrooms I bought at Whole Foods. They were the dirty kind, and looked like they were freshly picked from a deep forest.

What I got surprised me. A really cool photograph. Actually a dramatic and professional looking photo with high contrast, detail, and unusual light source. Granted, I did do a little editing in Photoshop to make the background black instead of grey. But all the rest was the scanner itself. I was not a professional photographer but nobody knew at the show. I didn't have expensive lighting equipment and backdrops or a fancy camera. Just a scanner and a bit of creativity!

Looking back I now know that I was inspired by a slide presentation one of my art teachers gave on some early experimental "rayograph" work by the avante-garde photographer Man Ray. An artist who traveled with the Dada camp in the European 1920's, Man Ray was one of the first artists to take photography on a different route from realism. He had a direct influence on all photographers who came after him, in that he elevated photography into the realm of art and opened the doors for experimentation.

One of his most famous works is the below photograph, “Le Violon D’Ingres” (1920-1921), in which a woman’s torso is portrayed as the body of a violin.


Man Ray’s avant-garde leanings are delivered through techniques such as retouching, frame decomposition, shaking and the artist’s celebrated photogram technique, which he named “rayograph” after himself.

The photogram technique creates photographic images without the use of a camera. Objects are placed directly onto photo-sensitive paper to give the appearance of a photograph. He put common items such as scissors, a roll of paper, metal wire, matchsticks, and a box of cigarettes onto the light sensitive paper. Remember, this was before the advent of photocopying, the Xerox machine, and the scanner. They were really quite shocking at the time. Below are some examples of his "rayographs."

To take a hint from Man Ray, get experimental and turn your everyday objects into art. Try putting any 3d object on your scanner, photocopier or light-sensitive paper. See what develops!

Written by Christine Olick, Web Designer, Slygirlstudios.com

The Fotofuze vs. Photoshop Challenge

By Christine Olick, Web designer for slygirlstudios.com

We've taken Photoshop and pitted it up against Fotofuze to see who the real heavyweight is. We took a raw product photo, and edited it in both programs. We looked at the time and complexity involved in each, to see which program came out ahead.

Photoshop required special tools, skilled knowledge, and just plain took longer - about 10 minutes for a professional graphic designer. Fotofuze required no knowledge or special tools, and took less than half the time - not even 5 minutes. And best of all, Fotofuze can be used by any amateur artist or novice computer user.

We've recorded it all on video - watch them below and decide for yourself!

Fotofuze Challenge - Part 1 - Photoshop

In this first part of the challenge, we took our photo and edited it in Photoshop.

Here was the product photo in its original form:

And here was the end result - after over 10 minutes of tedious Photoshop work by a professional designer:

And here's the video detailing the lengthy Photoshop process:


Fotofuze Challenge - Part 2 - Fotofuze

In the 2nd part of the challenge, we took the same original photo, uploaded it to Fotofuze, highlighted the object (along with its shadow), hit "finish" and voila! a professional looking photo in seconds! The whole process from upload to finished image took under 5 minutes and was so simple anyone can do it!

Here's the finished Fotofuze image:

And here's the easy Fotofuze video showing how it was done:

In my opinion, the Fotofuze version actually looks better. The original shadows are preserved better and the product details are sharper and brighter. Looks like Fotofuze came out the clear winner - a K.O.!

Meet our first featured Fuzer, the crafty designer behind Release Me Creations.

By Christine Olick, Web designer for slygirlstudios.com

Fotofuze:Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Maureen:   I am so incredibly honored and flattered to be your first featured FotoFuzer!  Thank you so very much. 

My name is Maureen Kirchdoerfer, and I live in Fort Worth TX.  I have a Great Dane named Mango, a Pomeranian named Dax, and a wonderful husband; they make me happy beyond words.  When I'm not crafting new pieces, or using FotoFuze to enhance my newly crafted pieces, I am at my Tae Kwon Do school where I work and play.  I am a Purple Belt in American Tae Kwon Do, a White Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and have been doing Muay Thai Kickboxing for about 2 years.  I absolutely love the martial arts, and everything it involves.  Besides making my creations, it is my favorite meditative outlet.

Fotofuze:  How did you first hear about FotoFuze, and when was that?

Maureen:   I heard about Fotofuze about two months ago while browsing through the Etsy Apps.  It has has changed my life by helping to make the picture taking process of my products incredibly easy and user friendly.  I used to have to edit for hours on end to try to get my products properly highlighted and accented.  With FotoFuze I am done in a few clicks!  I am left with incredibly professional looking photos that make my products look incredible!

Fotofuze:  How has FotoFuze changed your life?

Maureen:   I love that FotoFuze links up to my Etsy, so that I can post new items directly from the FotoFuze site.  After I finishing highlighting my photographs, I simply click 'Post to Etsy' and within minutes I have new items posted with incredible pictures! 

Fotofuze:  What do you like the most about FotoFuze at the moment?

Maureen:   Right now, I have to say that I love the ease of use of the program, as well as the customer service.  I was having trouble posting an item to my Etsy the other day, and I popped a message onto the live chat, and within seconds I had a response and someone was helping me.  The problem was solved in minutes, and I was in awe!

Fotofuze:  You describe your style as an eclectic mix: funky, punk, gothic, kitsch, retro, rockabilly, punk, glam. How did you develop your artistic style and what do you use as artistic inspiration?

Maureen:   My artistic style sprang from the depths of my silly creative mind.  Sometimes even I don't know where I come up with ideas, they sort of just pop into my brain and I just roll with it.  I am inspired by the juxtaposition of soft elements mixed with unexpected harder lines.  I love taking something that is typically thought of as dark, morbid, or even ugly, and making it into something that is unexpectedly beautiful. 


Fotofuze:  What do you use to shoot your photos with?

Maureen:   I use a Pentax SR Optio A40 to take my pictures.  Nothing fancy, but it always gets the job done.  I always adjust my white balance, and the zoom level, I use a homemade light box to take the pictures, but then I let FotoFuze do the rest.


Fotofuze:  When you are designing a piece of jewelry, do you spend a while working on the concept, or do you run with your first idea and revel in that spontaneity?

Maureen:   When I am designing, I will sometimes sit down with an idea in mind of what I want to do, but I always find that when I finish, it is never what I expected it to be.  I let my pieces sort of create themselves.  I'm never ever rigid in what I am creating, and might start with an idea, but halfway through if I think something else might look cool I'll go with it.  It is an incredible creative process, and a freeing feeling to be able to just let something happen like that.  I really treat it like a meditative process.  In meditation, you let your thoughts come and go, but never focus on one single thing.  That's really what happens when I sit down to create.

Fotofuze:  What got you started in doing what you do?

Maureen:   In April of 2009, my Dad was diagnosed with Stage IV Cancer.  Eight months later, on January 2, 2010, he passed away after an incredibly brave and difficult battle with the disease.  His loss to me was, and is still a crushing blow to my heart.  He was a pillar of strength in my life.  But from his ordeal, I learned how important it is to take advantage of every minute we have here on this earth.  It made me realize the value of appreciating everything, and everyone I have, and how fleeting our time is here.  Perhaps most importantly, I realized the importance of doing in those minutes the things that make your heart happy.

I began crafting jewelry in November of 2009, while I was staying with my parents during my father's last months of life.  In my down time I needed something to channel my energies in a positive way.  I needed a distraction, and a release.  I suddenly felt the urge to begin crafting jewelry.  Call it chance, call it coincidence, or call it fate.  All I know is that creating jewelry for me has become my meditation, my peace.  I put so much of myself into each and every piece, that it creates an incredible release for my heart, mind, and soul.  Thus, the birth of Release Me Creations.

Fotofuze:  Are you involved in any other art such as music or painting, etc?

Maureen:   I am involved in the martial arts, and yes, I do consider this an art.  The meditative aspects, the focus, and the beauty that can occur through the movement of the body are so incredibly inspiring to me.  I also enjoy occasionally sitting down to draw using graphite and charcoal.  I love creating black and white portraits.


Fotofuze:  What is one new feature you wish FotoFuze could have?

Maureen:   A new feature that I'd love to see on FotoFuze would be different folders that I could place my pieces in so that I wouldn't have to search through pages upon pages to find a piece I did in the past.  I'd love to be able to separate my fuzes into necklaces, rings, earrings, or even just separated into folders by months.  Just so that I could browse through past fuzes more easily.

Fotofuze:  What do you love about Etsy?

Maureen:   I absolutely love the community of Etsy, and how incredibly diverse and unique it is.  I love that it is like a treasure chest full of things just waiting for you to find them.  I also love the idea that there is someone out there who is meant to have one of my creations.  I truly believe that my pieces always end up in the hands of who they are supposed to, almost like my pieces are pre-destined to find their place in the world.

Christine:  How can readers take a look your jewelry?

Maureen:   They can visit http://www.releasemecreations.com

or find me on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/zen25.


Fotofuze:
Thank you so much for sharing with us!