Thursday, June 16, 2011

Worlde lovers -- meet Tagxedo

OK -- so many of you who read this know that I live in Vancouver, that our team lost, and that many of those who live here behaved deplorably last night. I'm not sure if the sore losers in other cities wreak this kind of havoc when a team loses, but there has to be a better way to express disappointment than by trashing your own nest and doing it in front of an international audience!

But this post is about the image above and how to make one (not about the incident it portrays). This was made with a Web 2.0 tool called Tagxedo which blends visual with verbal by turning word clouds into images. It's in free beta now so you can play to your heart's content; however, soon some of the fancy features will move to a subscription basis. If enough people use it and write in, perhaps Hardy (the creator of this tool) will consider a special deal for educators (as have Glogster, Animoto, and GoAnimate to name a few).

(From the website) "With Tagxedo, you can:
  • make word clouds in real-time, and re-spin, and re-spin to your liking
  • save the word cloud as images for printing and sharing
  • look at all variants of the clouds in a gallery (see screenshot above), and pick the one you want for further tweaking or saving
  • choose from many different fonts
  • use local fonts (e.g. downloaded from Font Squirrel, DaFont, FontSpace, or your own hand-drawn fonts)
  • quickly switch between different colors and themes
  • constrain the cloud to selected shapes (heart, star, cloud, oval, etc)
  • use images as custom shapes (e.g. Reddit Alien) [premium feature]
  • use words as custom shapes (e.g. "USA", "Love", "Joy", "I LOVE YOU") [premium feature]"
For more samples and ideas, you can link to 101 Ways to Use Tagxedo. A helpful FAQ page provides information about how to use the more advanced features.

[One caveat: apparently there is no way to search for a gallery item once it has been created. I'd recommend doing your word composing in a document that can be saved so if you have to rework the original, you have the text on your own computer. I'd also add the URL of your gallery image to that page so you can get back to it at a later date. This might save some tears later on.]


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