I’ve recently been trying out new software by Vertus called “Bling! It” which is a simple program that removes backgrounds from photos and allows you to replace the backgrounds to jazz up the photos for things like improving eBay auctions to profile pictures.
Granted, I am a user of Corel’s Paint Shop Pro and could literally do all this with the software I already have, but Bling! It is so quick and easy to use, and it automatically makes the output files the perfect size for putting up online that it’s a big saver of time that I could be done with a picture and on to the next one before I’ve finished removing the background in Paint Shop Pro. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paint Shop Pro, but generally when I’m looking to sell some of my stuff on eBay, I’m doing a batch of items at once and I don’t need such a robust program to do the images for my eBay auctions. The time savings I get by using Bling! It, translate into the ability to put up more items on eBay in less time and as they say time is money.
The process of transforming a photo in Bling! It takes four steps, the first step is removing the background. It analyzes your photo for edges to create sections that make it easy to remove them from the background. Then you just take your cursor and press down on your mouse and draw over the sections you don’t want to be saved in your picture. There are ways to adjust the brush size if you need it bigger or smaller, or you can set the brush to paint only the specific sections you highlight, or turn the brush into an eraser to fine tune the edge selection if it cut out a little too much. It helps make it easier to use if your items in the photo are photographed against a contrasting background so that it helps the software know where the edges are.
The next step involves deciding if the photo should be portrait or landscape and they have some presets for specific sites which help optimize the size of the photo for that website, such as an eBay setting. In the same step you can add a new background to spice up the picture. You have several options here, you can just add a color, or a few multi-color choices as well, or use photos as backgrounds. The program comes with a bunch of backgrounds to start with, and you also have the option of using your own images as well, so you can make it a virtually unlimited library of backgrounds to use. You’re only limited by your imagination. And you also have tools here to move the item around, rotate, and resize it.
The next step is enhancing the appearance of the item in your photograph, you can tweak it with things like adding a drop shadow or enhancing the brightness of sections. I personally like adding the drop shadow to create a sense of depth between the item in the foreground and the background. There are a couple of shadow options, one to make the item look like it’s standing up and the other which I used in all my trials which make the item appear to float over the background.
And the last step is saving the image. There’s also some options to allow you to add watermarks or text to the images so that you can hinder people from stealing your images to use on eBay. All in all a fun program to use. It’s a great program that is incredibly easy to use and actually a lot of fun to play with.
I haven’t tried using the program for profile pictures as the image above shows with the two girls using the program to erase out the wall and adding a photo of Johnny Depp in his Pirates of the Caribbean costume to make it appear they are kissing him. Although I think when I get a chance what I’m going to do is use it to update the photo is being used on ABBAMAIL.com for my column there. You see, one of the other columnists, Neil Hopwood, was recently there in Australia for a visit and his new column picture features him in front of the Sydney Opera House, and since I’ve been there, I think it might be cool to have a picture of me as well in front of the Sydney Opera House so that it looks like we were both there. Only the last time I was there in Sydney was 2005, and I didn’t go up to the Opera House in 2005. I did that when I was there in 2001 and I really don’t want to use a picture of me that is that old. So I might use one of my photos of the Opera House from 2001 and combine it with the current photo of me and what do you know, a photo of me in Sydney that didn’t cost a couple thousand dollars and a long flight to take.
In any case, I wanted to show off a few of the images I used Bling! It to improve. The first set of images is the original and the Bling! It versions of an ABBA: Number Ones CD I put up on eBay. The CD included as a bonus, an iPod skin that was basically labels, one for the front that looked like a mirror ball with openings for the screen and control section of the iPod face, and an ABBA: Number Ones album title label for the back side of the iPod. This was a free bonus that was exclusive to Virgin Megastores. I also saved the label from the shrinkwrap to highlight the free bonus. And with a little creative staging pulling out the CD and the bonuses, I was ready to Bling! It with a new more exciting background and some drop shadowing.
Another item I jazzed up with Bling! It that I was quite pleased with is a DVD of the original Superman movie with Christopher Reeve and Marlon Brando. Like the ABBA CD above, this one had the background removed, and I thought it should have complimentary blue background and one of the included backgrounds kind of felt like it was in flight, so I went with it, and I thought rotating the product a little bit along with the staging the disc outside the package would help make it stand out. It stands out a lot compared to the original.
And the last item I’m going to showcase, is a still sealed game of Trivial Pursuit with DVD questions based on the Star Wars Saga. I bought this item as a clearance special at a toy store that I happened to be in about a year ago for next to nothing. I tried selling it once before on eBay using the original image, but it didn’t even get a single bid. Well I’ve put it up again on eBay, this time with Bling! It to add a little bit of color to the image to make it stand out and I even presumptuous enough to raise the price by 50% over what I set as the minimum bid the first time around, and what do you know, within hours of the new version going up, it already had a bid. I’ll find out tomorrow if the price goes up as auctions tend to be busier on eBay in the last few minutes of the auction.
Bling! It is a fun program that I’ve had great fun playing with for my eBay auctions and I’ll soon be giving it a try on an updated profile picture. Keep an eye on ABBAMAIL.com for that picture soon. If you’re interested in getting a copy of Bling! It for yourself, just click here to buy a copy of it. And so you can get an idea of what I’ve used Bling! It on lately, check out my current eBay auctions below. And feel free to place bids on anything you might like for yourself, and if you aren’t currently an eBay member, it’s very easy to sign up, just click the item you’re interested in and follow the instructions for joining eBay.