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Acquiring Digital Images

Of course, before you can display an image, you must acquire it. There are several resources available for acquiring, creating, and/or editing images to use in LiveCode stacks.

LiveCode's Own Tools

You may do it yourself, using the paint and vector graphics capabilities built into LiveCode. This is easy enough for simple things, but not for complex, detailed drawings. It does, however, solve all sorts of copyright issues.

Here is a comprehensive chart describing all of LiveCode's paint tools.

Other Graphics Programs

The Macintosh computer lab has Photoshop and GraphicConverter. The Windows lab has access to Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. These are the recommended applications. However, you may use any software to which you have access as long as it:

Use these software tools to create, edit, or otherwise prepare images to import into a LiveCode stack.

Clip Art

It is also possible to utilize the work of others. There is a veritable treasure trove of these types of images available, many of which may be used at no cost. For instance, there are a number of internet sites that offer free clip art, including some that provide free clip art for educational use. Here are a few examples:


There are also many sources of commercially-available clip art.

Note: You should be aware of some problems that may arise when using clip art.

Using Images from the Web

Whenever you want to use an image you find on a web site you need to be aware of copyright issues. All images are the rightful property of the owner (sometimes, but not always, the author/publisher of the website) who must be credited, whether or not there is a copyright notice posted. This includes images that are merely referenced rather than downloaded and imported. Current interpretations of present copyright law, specifically the “fair use” clause, indicate that materials taken from the Web may be used freely as long as it is not for commercial use and if proper credit is given. In this course, since we are using images for educational purposes (i.e., you will probably not make any money commercializing anything you create for this course), images taken or displayed from the Web may be used for assignments, provided you always cite the source of the image.

Another limitation with images taken from the web is that they are generally are not consistent in format, resolution, and size.

Scanned/Digitized Images

There is plethora of different scanners and scanning software available.

If you are taking this course as a DigHT course at BYU, both the Macintosh Lab (1133 JFSB) and the PC Lab (1131 JFSB) have scanners and scanner software available for your use. Either should work for your purposes, and with each there are steps you can follow to ensure scanning ease. The lab assistants, should be well-trained and well-versed in the use of the scanner and its accompanying software and can help you with specifics. If you are taking the course elsewhere, these general directions work for virtually all scanner hardware and software.

  1. Open up the scanner software you will be using.
  2. Preview scan - the scanner will prescan your image to show you what the scanned image will look like.
  3. Select the area on the preview picture that you want scanned.
  4. Set the document type (Color picture, line image, B&W photo, etc.).
  5. Set the output type including the size and resolution (changing these after scanning may greatly reduce the quality of your image).
  6. Scan.
  7. Save to desired file type (JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, BMP).
    • JPEG = best for photos
    • PNG, GIF = best for line art, graphics. The PNG format is rapidly replacing the older, but still widely used, GIF format.
    • TIFF = no compression. It is a good first choice, if you plan on adjusting it in a graphics program and then using it. LiveCode cannot directly import or display TIFF files, so before you import them you must convert them to one of the formats LiveCode supports, primarily PNG, GIF or JPEG.

Note: If you do your editing on the scanning station, you may be denying someone the opportunity to use the scanner. Please be considerate of others and use a graphics program on a different computer to do your editing.

Legal Issues

Any photograph or image is the legal intellectual property of the artist. Legally, written permission to use that drawing must be granted by the artist. The same holds for photographs, particularly those taken by a professional photographer or studio. In addition, virtually all published material is also copyrighted as a whole, whether published through conventional means or digitally. As hinted earlier, our class use is probably covered by the “fair use” clause of copyright law, but it is always a good idea to acknowledge sources (you really don’t want to be the test court case to define “fair use”).

For anything used in a commercial application (i.e., something for which you expect to receive remuneration):

If you decide to ignore these issues and live dangerously, be prepared to suffer the consequences. Consider yourself informed.


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