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Posted Sept. 23, 2010   34404 views

Tagxedo Lab - the Making of a Buddha Tagxedo

A reader wanted some advice on how to make a Tagxedo in the shape of Buddha. I am happy to help, but why not turn this into a mini-tutorial? So let's do it. I encourage you to follow it as if this is a lab exercise.

First, I am going to start with the Wikipedia entry on Buddha http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha. A rich text source always help. Now, I'm going to find a Buddha image. I found this one (full credit goes to The Gypsy's Travelling Journal):

Now load it into Tagxedo:

This is actually pretty good, but (let's say) I want the entire Buddha statue to be in black, and I don't want any tree. First, I'm going to paint the tree away using the White Brush.

Then, I'm going to capture the front portion of Buddha (using the Capture Brush) since it is in good shape.

Now, I'm going to adjust the threshold slider so that the back side of Buddha is also black.

Notice a portion of the sky is now black? I hope you see why I used the Capture Brush to preserve more delicate structures. Now I can just paint that portion of the sky with the White Brush (alternatively, I could have captured the sky while it was white, but who knows).

Now we are done! Click Accept, and wait for the first respin.

Now bad, isn't it? But I usually like to try out a few different fonts. Instead of trying one font a time, I will hit "Respin Font" 20 times, and switch to History mode to see the results. When you hit the same respin button multiple times while it is running, Tagxedo will queue up and execute the requests one by one.

The History Mode show up the entire history of Tagxedo creation, and is great for picking out the winner. I choose the Tagxedo I like the best (by clicking the thumbnail). Now it's time for some theme respin, so I switch to History Mode again. This time, it takes much less time because respinning theme is fast.

Here's the one I like:

Now, if you are picky like me, you may want to squeeze out some additional optimization. In particular, I think the words can be bigger, and I also want the most eye-pleasing placement of words. So I increased Emphasis to 80%, locked the Theme, Font, and Orientation, and hit "Respin All" 20 times in History Mode.

And here is my final pick:

I hope this is a useful exercise for all of you. I know that Tagxedo may seem overwhelming to some, but it is not hard to master. And it is really fun! --> Follow me at Facebook or Twitter <--