Category Archives: Tutorials

RIA Development: Great Typography

Remember, Engineers are not designers!


Typography in terms of web design is basically, text, composed to create a readable, coherent, and consistent look which works for the reader.

This arrangement of text involves –

  1. Typefaces
  2. Line height
  3. Font Weight
  4. Text Colour
  5. Letter Spacing
  6. Character Spacing
  7. Measure

An arrangement of these which suits the clients requirement and also appeals to the user ,makes it visually appealing and attractive

You might probably think, ‘Hey! I can just pick a random font and a random color and it should be alright right?’

If you want your app to look like a 3rd grade school project you could go with the above idea, or else it’s time to change your user interface and, your attitude towards UI.

I’ll be illustrating some examples with CSS because it’s the easiest to understand and works with any website and also Flex. You can find most of these options on the Photoshop ‘Character’ panel or whatever you are using.

Typefaces usage guidelines:-

  • When designing logos and headings try to stick to simple serif fonts rather than funky bitmap, calligraphic fonts, unless your client demands so specifically
  • As a general rule of contrast – Light text on Dark backgrounds and Dark text on light backgrounds, so that a user can read the text comfortably without strain on the eye.
  • Try to cater to the larger audience. Use system installed fonts like Arial, Helvitica etc which are universally available on every machine and are cross platform. List alternatives by using the Font-Family statement instead of sticking to a single font, in case of CSS.
  • Remember not to use fonts which you have downloaded directly on to the webpage without embedding them in some form.
  • Consistency: – Try to stick with one style of font for all your pages, don’t use for example Comic Sans for the heading, then Arial for the menu and Courier for the content. You may vary font weights and sizes where needed.


Getting the best out of simple fonts with CSS

People feel their creativity is limited when you tell them to use in-built system fonts. I’ll explain how this is not true with some examples

Example of Styled Fonts

Example of Styled Fonts

Here the first paragraph is the default rendering in Internet Explorer with no style

The second paragraph has some minimal styling applied to it as follows:-

Styling Applied to Paragraph 2

Styling Applied to Paragraph 2


As you can see these three properties dramatically alter the default rendering. A few variations of this could be adjusting just the four properties: –  letter-spacing,line height,font-weight,text-transform

Example of how built in fonts can be styled using CSS

Example of how built in fonts can be styled using CSS

Text Colour

  1. Make sure your text is readable and also matches with the template or color theme of the program. While doing this make sure you know the background color of your text, what I mean to say is for example don’t put light grey text on a cream background webpage which is very hard to make out. 
  2. Test out the colors on either paint or photoshop to see that they complement the overall theme of the page.
  3. Do not use colors on the fly randomly without first thinking of a color theme
  4. Do not use contrasting colors or vivid colors on the web page that hurt the eye.
  5. Use font weights to assign priorities to the text under consideration. For example, if there is an alert or a warning next to normal text content make sure both of them do not have the same weight (bold). Give the warning a higher weight than the text

Letter Spacing/Word Spacing/Line Spacing

            Make sure the letter spacing and word spacing are proportionate. Do not try to fit maximum content in the minimum amount space. Don’t give the user an impression that you are throwing something at him and be like “Here is everything. Now figure it out”.


Deciding a color theme

There is no single answer to the question “What is the best colour theme to use?”. The truth is there are millions of them. How do you come up with something that suits your requirement?

In many websites the colour theme is adjusted according to the content. For example if the images in your slides/pages have a lot of purple in them, the theme will be oriented in a “purple varaints” fashion

The other way is to go by the colours of a logo. Usually you have logos ready before you start a page or a program. If your logo is light, you want a dark backround and vice versa. Also the website colours must complement the logo or the product for the webpage.

If you still aren’t getting it, try Kuler from Adobe ( where you can play around colour themes people have already made and use them directly on Photoshop or Dreamweaver.

Adobe Kuler

Adobe Kuler

Content Padding

            The padding clears an area around the content (inside the border) of an element.

Make sure you use proper padding and margins everywhere so similar containers or text don’t get too close to each other like it’s a trashcan where everything is thrown in!

The image below should give you a clearer picture about how paddings and margins work.


Some Examples of great typography

That finished the typo part. Hope this will help you at some point of your life when you design good scalable applications or RIA’s.


Create your own trance,rock,pop songs! Professionally on your computer! Without a single Instrument!

Ever listened to Armin Van Buuren , Dj Tiesto trance songs and wondered if you could try ? Ever wanted to create your own songs but never had the cash? Here’s just the thing for you!


FL Studio 9 by Image-line!

This is the most amazing piece of software I have come across by far. This software will allow you to create, edit, mix your own drum samples, make your own loops for techno/trance songs. You can use built in drum-loops or make your own. It has support for a lot of musical instruments. If you ever fall short you can always download your own sound samples or plugins from their website.

The basic layout is somewhat like this –

Main FL Studio Window

On the extreme left you can see the Browser window which allows you to see all the files and sound samples available as also plugin presets.

In the middle you can see the Pattern Sequencer. The sound sample can be triggered on or off by clicking the switch-like buttons.

Pattern Sequencer

You start off with a basic Kick,Clap,Snare,Hihat. After that you add your own channels according to your requirements.

You get a piano-roll interface to find the exact notes. There are Bassline synthesizers built in. You just have to play around a little to get the beats right. If you try the one above you might get an idea.

The TS404(or any other) will sound a bit boring alone on its own. So try and send it to an ‘FX’ channel, and apply different effects.

Effects/Send Window

The easiest to start with for a techno preset are the Fruity Delay Bank which gives a nice delay effect. Recorded vocals can use the Vocodex plugin.

If you have a MIDI compatible keyboard at home you can enter your notes directly into fruity loops. Dont have one? no worries! Just type with your normal keyboard and hit record.

Also you can use the Hardcore Plugin to experience real AC/DC guitar like-effects. Just like the real ones.

Hardcore Plugin

What are you waiting for? Navigate to and download your free trial!

Dont believe me? Try listening to this created on Fruity Loops.

Sony Ericsson Phone Modding and Flashing Tutorial

  1. Sony Ericsson Phone Modding and Flashing

What is phone modding and why would I do it?

Phone Modding  is a process where you modify your phone software or tweak it to do various things. Some of them are listed below-

  • If you think your Sony Ericsson (SE)stock default  phone volume is too low.
  • If you think your software is messed up and dont have the time to give the phone away and pay a lot of money
  • If you want to turn your normal phone into an Ipod with Loud Mega Bass settings, change the walkman interface, skins which you usually cannot do normally
  • If you want cool moving flash themes or like a dice wallpaper which rolls the dice when you shake it or changes wallpaper (some phones only)
  • If you want to change the appearance of the boring default menu
  • If you want to change the drivers of the camera for better performance
  • If you want to change the boring old font to a sexy new font
  • If you want to change the layout of the standby page
  • Change the battery icon / startup shutdown screens

Step 1: Identify your phone and its screen resolution

There are two types of phones normal phones

Normal phones include k530 k550 k610 k770 k790 k800 k810 and w580 w610 w660 w710 w830 w850 w880 etc.

A2 phones: C510, C702, C901, C902, C903, C905, G905, G705, K630, K660, K850, K858, T700, TM506, V640, W595, W705, W715, W760, W890, W902, W908, W910, W980, Z750, Z770, Z780

You need to find out the CID version also. You can find this on normal phones by the secret service menu. Go to your Standby (Normal) screen.

  1. Use the directional/joystick keys press the RIGHT key. Dont worry about what appears just keep pressing those buttons.
  2. Press  * key
  3. Press left, again left
  4. Press * key one last time
  5. You will see a  menu with the first option Service info. Read everything and check the software version CID (49,51,52,53 etc) and the branding – RED etc, ASIA , AMERICA etc. If you cant find those extra options no need to worry continue.
  6. TIP: The menu above will help you determine if everything on your phone is working well or not.

If the above method does not work: (A2 phones) Follow the procedure to install A2 Uploader in case of A2 phone or XS++ in case of other phone) you should see something like

Here the Flash CID (here 52) and RED DB 31XX(3150) are to be noted. Please skip ahead if you dont understand and come back

2.I know my phone. Now the software

Basically the best tools or the ones ill be using here will be A2Uploader for my G502 A2 phone. alternatively you can use XS++ 3.1. The interface differs a little bit but the principle is the same

Download Links:

1. XS++ 3.1 for non A2 phones:

2. A2 Uploader for A2 phones:

3.FAR Manager + JD Flasher:

Choose 1. If you only wish to flash or modify your file system. Pathching can also be done. This might not be able to READ (Backup the data on the phone out to your computer)

Choose 2. If you have an A2 Phone. (You can try 3 also)

Choose 3. If you are advanced. FAR Manager is by far the best but has a crappy interface.You need to know what you are doing.

3. The Risks

  1. If you flash the wrong firmware files, the phone may give an error starting up but it CAN BE FIXED
  2. If you screw with the GDFS part of the phone. You die.Nothing can be done
  3. If you do not backup the files and you want them back its your responsibility.
  4. Flashing causes all contacts ,data,apps on the phone to be erased. So be careful
  5. Wrong driver files like the wrong camera drivers might give an error while starting or the wrong acoustics might cause high volume distortition , no volume from the headset etc.
  6. I think you lose the warranty once you mess with the file system

4. ” I AGREE” Lets start

After downloading one of the files above, Unzip everything somewhere. Install the two files in case of A2 phones.

In case you get errors or your phone is not detected see If that fails too Download and run the SEUS (Sony Ericsson Update tool). Remember it HAS to be detected.

5. Browsing the file system

Now get your USB DATA CABLE. Lets start.

  1. Turn off your phone. Remove the battery and put it back in
  2. Plug the USB end of the USB data cable into the computer
  3. Now here pay attention. Hold the “C” button on normal phones OR (2 or 5 key on A2) and connect the other end of the cable to the mobile. Dont Let go of ‘C’  till the driver is installed.
  4.  You should see a “New Hardware detected ” Message. On Vista and Seven this should be installed automatically through windows update. It takes time. Else on Windows Xp if it gives the “Found new hardware” wizard. Say No Windows Update this time, Install from specified location and point it to the downloaded and unzipped version of (
  5. After It gives an installed successfully confirmation start up A2 Uploader or XS++. Im using A2 here. Click the File System button on the right and press enter.

Before connecting

 Here 1.Option in the figure above is used for Flashing new firmware files. 2. For browsing and editing the filesystem installed. 3. Is used for patching or scripts (advanced) & Identify the device 4. Is used to stop when you are finished with everything. Remember to press that before you disconnect.

You should see this after you connect

After connecting

 In the above diagram: 1. Shows you the filesystem. 2.Is showing you that the flash memory driver is installed (Win 7)

3. Tells you the processes taking place and device info.

Congratulations you know how to browse the filesystem now.

6. Backing Up Files.

  1. Please remember to do this as you are eventually going to mess up something later.
  2. On the five folders – the /tpa , /sys, /boot, /ifs  etc. Right click each one and select the READ option. It takes a lot of time but please do this. It will backup all the contents to your hard drive where the A2 uploader program resides so you can restore the files without having to flash the whole thing again.
  3. If you do mess up and you cant get out of it flashing with new firmware is the only option

7. Installing New Files

The procedure varies depending on the file you wish to transfer

For Flash wallpapers:

A) Download the right size. Check your cellphone screen resoultion in the specs and download those resolution wallpapers. For sample Ive downloaded the Blue Evolution theme (G502 ModPack) from A Mod Pack is one where everything Fonts – Layouts – Wallpapers – Acoustics are already customized for your phone into one ZIP file

B) To install Remember you should have two files for a flash menu. The .SWF (flash file) and the .THM file

On the right File System Browser Panel Navigate to tpa/Preset/System/Desktop/Flash manually. This is where all the flash swf files go. Not the .thm files. Open the other file you want to copy in my computer elsewhere. Then DRAG the file into the window. It will get copied or replaced. Then do the same for the corresponding .thm file. You have a new flash wallpaper!

Similarly for 

Flash Menu:
thm > tpa/user/themes
swf > tpa/preset/system/desktop/flash











Dispose of an entire folder to the memory card as storage. Then, to set the sidebar, find the file on the phone. Swf, press Options> Set As> Wallpaper. I have SideBar








There. You know how to add new files.  

This is what the final result is

A few Links are here.Check them according to your phone.


Iphone theme –

Man U theme –

Walkman Dance –

Purple Sky –

Ubuntu pack/Linkin park  –×320/

Acoustics Packs –

CamDriver –

Any other stuff –


High dynamic range imaging (HDR) Photography Tutorial

HDR By Harsh alkutkar

HDR-By Harsh Alkutkar

What is HDR?

HDR Photography is a technique which allows a higher range of luminosity , contrast and tones with normal photographs. If used well it can bring out the parts of a photograph which are poorly lit or which have poor colour.

You do not need any “special” camera to capture this image just some software.

What do I need?

In this tutorial you will need:

1. A digital camera – any resolution above 5 MP should do with manual features which allow you to adjust the EV levels or exposure

2. A computer with certain HDR software. Im going to use the most widely used one – Its called Photomatix. Photoshop will also do but I wont cover that here. You can get photomatix at Note: The trial version has a watermark on the image.

3. Photoshop / Lightroom / Picasa3 or whatever you use for final touching up. Anything you can adjust the color levels/curves in

Okay I’m ready lets start!

1. Find something to shoot – Usually a nice scene like  a sunrise /clouds / rainforests where there is a lot of detail. Dawn or Dusk is the best time to capture vibrant sunrises.Im going to use one of my own here.

2.Set your camera to the Manual Exposure mode (At least for Sony It may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer)

PMode EV levels Sony Cybershot P-200

Now keep the camera extremely still. This is important because if any of your shots moves the HDR wont com out properly. Use a tripod , keep it on a wall , lean on a wall ,use two hands to hold it whatever but it HAS to be 100% still. Once you have set your zoom / white balance on the subject , Adjust the EV levels as shown or according to your camera. They should range from -2.0 to +2.0 with a stepping of 0.3. You have to get at least three shots for a good HDR. (Minimum two maximum as many as you want). Try one on +2 , -2 , 0 Or choose three values such that your subjects are not too over exposed or under exposed. Keep the spacing same if possible. Like +1,0,-1 or -0.3 , 0 ,+0.3

etc. Try and repeat this a few times because most of your photos wont come out right the first time. So shoot 3photosx2 copies. Try different settings for autofocus/zoom/white balance etc.

For example:

-2 EV

0 EV

+2 EV

Note: You can use these images itself for the tutorial. Just click on the three. Save the enlarged views one by one.

3.Download your photos onto the computer. Open up photomatix. Click on “Generate HDR” on the left. Drag the photos into the box. Click OK. Again choose the default settings and click OK again. It should sayAligning images…. generating HDR.. and poof you get this : -\

Photomatix Pro

No thats not what we want. Click on Tone Mapping. on the bottom leftPhotomatix Settings

Now the fun part. First Select the Natural Preset at the bottom. Any preset you like really. Then start adjusting the Strength, I pushed it up a bit, Luminosity , Colour Saturation, White clip and Black Clip till you get something like this.
You should not get a lot of noise and not too much colour either.Get the basic image right. Then click on Process at the bottom.

tone mapping...

After the tonemapped image shows up click on File->Save. Save it to some known location. You are basically done with your image. But if you want to bring out more colours etc. Import the tonemapped image into photoshop.


Adjust the levels – RGB , Red, Blue, Green by moving the sliders closer or adjusting the middle slider. You should start to see the colours kick in. Don’t overdo it . It should not have a visible “tint” of any colour.

Then add a black border like this. First use the Rectangle select tool. Drag a Box around the part you want to visible. Right click on the dotted part and select – “Select Inverse”. The border gets selected. Now wait. Add a new layer. Layer->Layer. Only then when the New layer is active and selected use the paint bucket – Fill to fill the border with black. You can also add a pattern overlay that makes it look like a photo frame through the Text FX at the bottom

Select inverse
Select Inverse Option
Add your name/watermark with a nice font and voila!
Hope you liked it!

Part III: Photoshop for Idiots

PART III: Photoshop for Idiots

Basic Photo Editing

Open up your favourite photo in photoshop with the File -> Open. Ive selected one of my own.  There is no such fixed procedure for photos but generally there are some basic things that you should learn to do

1.The levels


Original Image

Original Image

 The levels tool can move and stretch brightness levels in a histogram using three main components: a black point, white point and midtone slider. We play with these sliders until we get the right brightness,colour,contrast. Ususally start by slowly pushing the white point and black point sliders inwards first. Then adjust the midtone. If you overdo it you will lose colour


When you push them inwards you may get the consistency something close to this

Post level

Post levels

 You can also select the Red/Blue/Green channel individually. for example in this one there is a lot of blue. So we can adjust the Blue Channel.

2.The Curves

(Image -> Adjustment -> Curves)

The Curves affects the tone of the picture and can effectively stretch or compress them. The presets will do for now.I’ve chosen the “darker” preset. There are others too depending upon what you want your photo to look like. You can also try clicking and adjusting the curve. Unlike levels this tool lets you control how different individual parts of the same picture will look.

 3.The colour balance     

   This tool is pretty straightforward. I want to bring out a little bit of red from the clouds. So I’ve jacked up the red and blue. You can apply this for only shadows and highlights too.

Post Colour Balance

4.The Exposure  

      You can correct your exposure with this tool. I want a darker more grungy exposure.So Ive applied the settings above.Notice that Ive also cropped it and added my watermark with the text tool.Thats it your done! This is the final picture.Final Image

You may also prefer to use the Brightness Contrast / Hue Saturation tools to improve our output

Photoshop for Idiots – Part 2

PART – II : The toolbox and using the toolbox

When you start the application the toolbox appears on the left hand side of your screen as a narrow strip as shown.These contain various tools which I will illustrate with examples one by one

1.The Marquee tools.

This is the first tool you can see in the toolbox represented as a dotted square. It is used for making selections – rectangular , horizontal , circular , elleptical etc. They may be selected for various reasons. Usually for cutting and pasting parts of an image.If you right click on it you can see the four different types. Use them as needed

 2.The Move tool.

This one moves selections, layers or guides. No explanation needed

 3.The Lasso tool

It makes freehand , polygonal and magnetic(snap) selections. Usually when we cut out a face from a picture we use these tools.I prefer the magnetic lasso as it automatically tries to detect edges.When you click the path and move from your start point back to your same start point the selection will turn dotted.

4.The Magic Wand tool

This tool selects similarly coloured areas.It may not be very accurate. But sometimes it can save time for selections.


5.The Crop tool

The crop tool trims images. Simply select the part to be cropped. Then click on Crop

  6.The Slice tool and Slice Selection Tool.

The slice tool allows you to make “slices” of your layout if you are designing a webpage or something.You can right click on the document select Divide Slice and use it.

The slice selection tool will help you select those slices

7.The Healing Brush tool

This tool will help you repait something like an old photograph which has some irregularities as shown. You have to define a source point. i.e a part/pattern of the image will be copied onto the place where you need to fix it so that it will look smooth and original. You must move your cursor and Alt-Click. Then move your pointer over the image that needs fixing.


Here you can see the faint black line that I am repairing. I have alt-clicked a little to the right of the line so the same pattern is being copied.

You can do this for faces to fix any pimples , smooth out skin cuts etc.

The Red eye tool is used to remove the red eye effect that you get when you shoot pictures at night.


8.The Magic Eraser and Eraser tools.

The eraser tool is used to erase parts of images and the Magic eraser will automatically cut out similarly couloured areas. For example as shown







9.The Gradient Tool / Paint Bucket tool

The gradient tool will let you create gradients which you can edit in the gradient editor by clicking where the mouse pointer is in the image. The paint bucket tool will let you fill a selectionwith a single colour







10.Brush Tool

This is a very important tool as  if you plan to create your own artwork you will be downloading new brushes and using them. A brush can of different types shapes sizes and even custom made like the bubbles and hands. Which you need to download and install of course. Or most of them are built in. You may select the hardness thickness diameter etc from the top left corner


Other tools:

Text tool (T) for inserting various types of text and rotating/distorting it etc



Rectangular (Different Shapes) tool can be used for different shaped

Blur tool ( Looks like a water drop) used for blurring parts of an image.

Sharpen and Smudge tools are also available under the Blur tool. Just right click it.

Zoom tool (Magnifying glass) for zooming in and out

Clone stamp tool – looks like a stamp or a camera. Similar to the healing  tool and same working.Repeats a pattern or an image after defining a source point

Thats it! Now we are ready to actually do some work!


Photoshop for Idiots – Part 1

Ive finally decided to compile a tutorial for people who are interested in photography and editing.

PART I: Introduction

What is Photoshop and why would I use it?

Photoshop is a very powerful graphics editing program by Adobe Inc. There are a lot of things which you cannot do in your standard photo editing applications such as Picasa or Microsoft’s Photo Editor. For example adjusting levels , applying various effects, creating art from scratch etc. It is the best and most widely used program whose full retail price is around 800$ (around 34,000 INR) for a single user license. Other versions such as Photoshop elements are also available for a reduced price.

Where do I get it?

I am assuming you already have photoshop though I wont ask how and where you got it but most of the people get it off torrents. and . Those are all the things you need 🙂 *wink*. Ill be using CS3 Versions. CS4 will also do

1.The Basics

You should see the main screen after opening photoshop like this: –

Main Screen

Main Screen


Let us take a closer look at each of the components one by one

1.The Menus:


A lot of options which are not available otherwise are located inside the menu bar. It contains

File: – Opening Saving Closing Importing Exporting files etc are done here

Edit: – We have your basic Undo , Redo , Cut Copy Paste , then Free Transform or Transform options and later the Keyboard Shortcuts , Menus and Preferences,Color Settings etc.

Image: – Commands affecting the Size – (Image Size Canvas Size) , colour Mode (Bitmap,Greyscale) , The Adjustments Panel (Most important) Where you have your Levels , Contrast, Shadows , Saturation etc settings which you will be using often. Also Rotate Canvas settings (For rotating a picture by 90 or 180 degrees)

Layer: – Commands for Creating and Altering Layers – like New Layer, Delete / Duplicate Layers, Layer Properties and Layer Styles which we will be using a lot and Merging Layers etc

Select: – Commands that allow you to “select” various parts of the photo for cutting trimming etc

Filter: – The Filter Menu allows access to various plugins inside photoshop.Typical plug – ins involve special effects , blurring ,sharpening , artistic sketches etc. You may have a different nuumber of plugins but most of the standard ones are there.You can also download new ones

Analysis: For actual measurements with a “ruler”

View: – Zoom in ,Zoom out ,show grid, Fit on screen are some of the options

Window:- You can arrange your workspace automatically (tile or cascade all the open images) , also this menu includes various panels such as Brushes Layers Styles which you need if you are designing some wallpaper or web page or abstract art materials etc.

Help: Includes all the help options in photoshop

2.Basic Photoshop Tool Palettes

 These are the windows that appear on the right side of your screen

There are four main tool palettes: –

1.Navigation Palette

It allows you to see a smaller picture of your work and zoom in or zoom out(Navigator Tab)

This is great because you dont have to zoom out and see what the picture will look like when you are done with it.

The info Tab gives you information about the colour and screen position of the current tools pixel

2.The Color/Swatches/Styles Palette

The color palette allows you to quickly tune the foreground color so that you don’t have to go into the color picker to do it.The swatches tool is also very nice.There are different fill styles too.

3.The Layer/Channels/Paths Palette

This is the palette which you keep needing the most. The layers palette lets you play around with layers, adjust the blending modes – Normal Screen etc, The order in which layers are organised the Opacity of each layer etc. The Channels and Paths are rarely used by normal people 🙂


4.The History palette

 This is a great tool because photoshop records every change you make to a photo. In case you find something is not right you can find that action in the history , go back to the original stage before you screwed it up.Actions is a bit advanced.

Now lets take a look at the toolbox in the next blog.