Tagxedo Blog's Blog

Posted Feb. 6, 2013   42728 views

A Beautiful and Unique Gift for Your Valentine

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and if you are thinking about making something unique -- I can help! Here's an idea, and all you need to do is to follow my instructions.

But If you are not familiar with Tagxedo, please first check out this step-by-step guide to making a unique gift

Step (1): Bring up the Tagxedo app. That's easy!

Step (2): Click Options -> Word -> Remove Common Words -> "No" (and hit Accept). This tells Tagxedo to not ignore common words such as "this", "and", "or", "a", "I", etc.

Alt text

Step (3) Go to Load and type the following text (shown in blue) in the text area next to "Enter Text". Replace the "ML" in the second line with the initial of your love one.

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

ML:03:#ff0000

Hit submit when you are done (and click "X" or hit "ESC" to get rid of the Load menu). Now, Tagxedo will run and create a word cloud, like this:

Alt text

Isn't it nice? If you want to know how it works, here's an explanation: Here we are asking Tagxedo to use the alphabet letters to make a word cloud, plus the word "ML". Normally Tagxedo will ignore alphabet letters (since they are considered "Common Words", hence Step (2) is needed). Each alphabet letter -- a single-letter word to Tagxedo -- appear once. The word "ML" appears 3 times. After sorting, the word "ML" will be ranked #1 and hence the biggest. The words are sized based on their rankings, and hence "ML" will appear the largest. Although there are only 27 words in the text (ML plus the alphabet), Tagxedo will repeat the words to make the number close to 200 (the default, sweetspot word cloud), except the word "ML", which only appear once, and in red. Why? The :#ff0000 modifier instructs Tagxedo to draw the word "ML" as red. The :03 modifier instructs Tagxedo to treat the word as if it has a frequency of 3 -- and that it cannot be repeated with the leading 0.

Tagxedo LOVES alphabets. Alphabets are like gorgeously designed letters, except they are more "inky" and the aspect ratio is usually pretty good.

Step (4) Now it is up to you to choose a shape. Here's what I usually do -- click "History" to view it in the thumbnail mode, and click the "Theme" button until you find a theme that you like:

Alt text

Click that thumbnail of the picture that you want. Now lock "Theme", "Font", and "Orientation" by clicking the three locks. This way, in subsequent respins the only things that change are the shape and the layout. I happen to like the green one, so I click that thumbnail. Now you should see it in the default view:

Alt text

Step (5) Now pick a shape that you want, either from the default shapes, or from your own pictures. You can choose a heart, a flower. If you're a bit shy, I recommend shapes of animals, Horoscope, or Chinese Zodiac signs. Here I pick the dove:

Alt text

Step (6) You may be done, but I suppose you want to get the best possible artwork, don't you? Make sure you have the "Theme", "Font", and "Orientation" all locked. Now, click the "History" button again to go to the thumbnail mode. And respin "All" 100 times. No, you don't need to wait, just click the button -- arcade game style -- 100 times. Tagxedo queues up the same respin request and will keep generating newer versions. In the thumbnail mode, you get to see all of them, and pick the best one:

Alt text

Now that it's running, go grab a cup of coffee and come back later. You can stop at any time by clicking any thumbnail from the list. Here's what I picked:

Alt text

Step (7) Make a gift, of course! Click the "Gift" button which will open a new window, and after a few seconds, bring you to Zazzle.

Alt text

Alt text

Alt text

Neat? I hope you think so! In case you make a nice gift with this and it turns into a huge Valentine's Day success story, you don't need to thank me. Instead, let me thank you for supporting Tagxedo financially!

Have a good one!