Free Halloween Poster Templates Download

If you're planning a Halloween event and need a poster to promote it, we have three designs you can download, edit and use how you see fit. Each poster comes as a PSD or Gimp file to be used in the appropriate software. There is also an SVG file containing the elements that make up the posters so they can be edited and added to your own designs.

Below are the three posters which can be viewed full size by clicking on them. They have been designed not to lose any quality by fitting a Facebook post without being resized.

Also included is a set of Halloween themed fonts. Although they weren't created by us, they are free and come with the designers license agreement.

The zipped files can be downloaded here. The files are stored on Google Drive so you can be sure they don't contain anything nasty. 

A Note About The PSD Files

These posters were created using Affinity Designer and exported as PSD files. However, as we don't use Photoshop we can't view them. For this reason there may be small issues, namely that the text layers will appear as an image layer. This can easily be replaced using the font files (or already installed fonts) included with the download. The Gimp files should be fine.

A Note About Installing Fonts

Some time back Windows updated what folder newly added fonts are installed to, which meant only someone with administrator rights on the PC could access them. To allow anyone using the PC to use the fonts, right click on the font file you're installing, then from the drop down list select install for all users.

If you don't see some fonts available when using Photoshop or Gimp this will probably be the reason why, so you may need to re-install them following the above steps.

We hope you'll make good use of these posters to promote your event, and if you like them, make sure you follow our Facbook page, bookmark this blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel. We appreciate all the support we recieve.

Happy Halloween to all of our followers!
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How To Create A Facebook 3D Image Using A Second Life Photograph

One of Facebook's recent innovations is allowing users to create 3D images generated from a single photo. Whilst this is usually done using a standard photograph, it also works with images captured from Second Life. Below is an example of an SL image displayed as 3D, and if you move your mouse over it, you'll see how the effect works.

The image used here shows a sculpture called 'Invisible' by the renown Second Life artist Mistero Hifeng. It can be seen at the Lundy Art Gallery and Museum. Click the link to visit.

What Is A Depth Map?

A depth map is an image that maps out areas of a corresponding photograph in light and dark tones. Facebook uses these depth maps to calculate what parts of an image are in the foreground and which are receding. The lighter a tone the nearer to the foreground it is, and of course the darker the tone the more it recedes. This information is used to produce a parallax effect, which in turn creates a sense of 3D.

The above image is an example of a depth map and corresponds to the image below. When both are uploaded to Facebook together, they generate the 3D image.

For a standard photograph, its depth map would need to be created in software such as Gimp or Photoshop, which can be a slow and involved process.

However, both Firestorm and the official viewer (and maybe others) have a built in function to create depth maps, which means turning Second Life pics into 3D images is greatly simplified.

Tips On Creating A Good starting Image 

When taking snapshots in Second Life to turn into good 3D images it helps if a few things are kept in mind. For more detailed information on this visit LAB3D on Facebook which is a group for people who create 3D images. The tips below however will help to get you started quickly.

Firstly, large images work better than smaller ones. The recommended dimensions are 3024 x 4032px (portrait) or 4032px x 3024 (landscape). Having said that, smaller image sizes can sometimes work well, (the image used in the example here, after being cropped is smaller than the recommended dimensions), so a little experimentation might be needed.

Images that have a clear point of focus work much better than ones that have a busy and cluttered subject matter.

As explained above, the illusion of 3D is created when Facebook uses the darker and lighter areas of a depth map to create a parallax effect. Although you may intuitively aim for a large parallax effect by creating big contrasts in depth map tones, the best images use subtle tone differences.

For this reason its best to create a depth map with not too much dark and light contrast. Also, tones that are too light or too dark should be avoided. A range between the hex values of #202020  for dark tones, and  #707070 for light areas is ideal. 

Creating A 3D Photograph Using A Second Life Image

1/ Take the snapshot in the usual way in Second Life, but keep the Snapshot window open afterwards, and don't move your camera. 

In the Capture drop down menu select Depth, highlighted in red above. From the Filter drop down menu select Negative highlighted in blue above.

If a preview of the depth map doesn't show, hit Refresh

When saving the depth map image select Save As to make sure it saves correctly. Its also wise to view it once saved, because if it hasn't saved correctly it will just save as a standard image.

If there is movement in your subject matter, such as avatars walking or dancing, before you take any snapshot check the Freeze frame option, highlighted in green above, to ensure you use the same static image for the photogragh and depth map.

2/ Load both the image and depth map into Gimp as layers.

3/ Using the Rectangle Select tool, highlighted in red above, draw a rectangle around the area of the image to be used.  

4/ Now select Image > Crop to selection

5/ Give the depth map image (not the photograph) a slight blur by selecting Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur

6/ Export each layer, giving them either a png or jpg extension. 

How the depth map image is named when its exported is important. It should follow the example below:

<image name>_depth.png

Therefore, if you have an image named Portrait the two files will be named: 

Portait.png = the photo file
Portrait_depth.png = the depth map file.

Naming the files this way lets Facebook know the images will be used to create a 3D effect.

Uploading The Images To Facebook

1/ Open Facebook and go to your timeline. At the top of the page click on Photo/Video so you see the above.

2/ Open the folder where your two images are located. Hold down Ctrl, click on the first image then the second so both are selected. Now drag them to the space above which says 'Whats on Your Mind?' 

Its important you drag both the image files together to let Facebook know to use them to create a 3D image.

4/ The images will now start uploading.

5/ You'll now see a window similar to the above whilst Facebook creates the 3D image.

6/ Once the 3D image has been created click on the Post tab at the bottom of the image window.

Your image should now look 3D and be ready to share with the world. 

Using a Second Life viewer to create the depth map saves a lot of time and effort, although it does have its limitations. For example, its not easy to limit the depth map's light and dark tones, which as noted above would produce a better parallax effect. The depth map can however still be edited in software such as Gimp or Photoshop to add or change tones, if you have the patience to do so. 

On a final note, if you want to create 3D images with RL photos, take a look at OmniVirt. This website allows you to upload an image, from which a depth map can be generated. The depth map will probably not be perfect since this function is still in beta and will need further editing, but this is a much better way of creating the depth map than starting from scratch.
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How To Trace A Bitmap In Inkscape

In an earlier Inkscape tutorial we showed how to use the trace bitmap feature to create a butterfly graphic, so in this tutorial we'll look at the basics of tracing a bitmap in a little more detail. We'll cover how to trace a monochrome image then look at a few possibilities of working with a colour image.

How To Trace A Monochrome Bitmap in Inkscape

Tracing a monochrome image is quite straightforward and takes just a few steps:

1/ Import an image into Inkscape and make sure its selected.

2/ Now select Path > Trace Bitmap.

3/ The above window will open. For monochrome images Brightness cutoff seems to work well. For this option the Threshold can be edited, (highlighted in red). We'll try three threshold settings to see how they compare, starting with a setting of 0.350.

If you'd like to see a preview of the traced bitmap click the Live Preview option (highlighted in blue).

When you're ready click OK.

4/ The new traced bitmap will be added in the Inkscape window and will be placed on top of the original. The new image can be dragged away from the original image.

That is all there is to tracing a bitmap image in Inkscape, however as mentioned above, we can change the threshold setting to see how this affects the traced bitmap.

5/ After setting the threshold to 0.350 then hitting OK, change the threshold to 0.450, make sure the original image is selected and again hit OK.

After setting the threshold to 0.550 again select the original image and hit OK once more. You'll now have three traced bitmaps similar to the above, showing how changing the threshold  alters the tone of each image.

Tracing A colour Bitmap In Inkscape

Tracing a colour bitmap in Inkscape is not too different than tracing a monochrome image, although we can use other settings.

1/ As before import an image into Inkscape then select Path > Trace Bitmap.

2/ Rather than using the Brightness cutoff option we'll select Colors (highlighted in red). With this option we can also select how many times Inkscape will scan the image (highlighted in blue). Here it is set to 8.

When you're ready hit OK.

3/ The traced bitmap will again appear directly over the original image, and can be dragged to the side.

4/ Since we selected 8 scans earlier the new image will be made up of 8 layers. This can be seen by first selecting Object > Ungroup.

5/ Now click away from the image then drag each layer to its own space. as in the image above. You'll see the 8 layers.

6/ A color bitmap can also used to create a monochrome image. To do this we'll select Grays (highlighted in red).

With this option we can again select how many times Inkscape scans the image. We'll leave it at 8.

Click OK when you're ready.

7/ The above image shows the original image with the traced bitmap.

8/ Since the bitmap was traced 8 times it is again constructed of 8 layers. They can be ungrouped as in the color bitmap example.

That is essentially the basics of how to trace a bitmap in Inkscape. There are more settings and options to play with, so feel free to play with them and see what they can do. You won't break anything by doing this.

We hope this has been helpful and if so come back soon for more, and why not check out our YouTube channel where you can also watch a video version of this tutorial.
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Using A Second Life Stream To VJ Live On YouTube

Setting up as a DJ in Second Life is something many residents have done, but what is less common is using a Second Life stream to VJ on YouTube. For those that may not be aware VJ means visual jockey and refers to someone who in one way or another creates imagery to match the music they play. In spite of the lack of Second Life residents who VJ it is something worth learning and maybe bringing in world.

VJ Software

In order to VJ some software is needed. Firstly there is the stream that can easily be rented in Second Life, then there is the software to play the music. All DJs will be aware of these two items but to VJ add to the list music visualisation software and something to broadcast live to YouTube. 

One last thing you'll need is a verified YouTube account that is registered for live broadcasting, which usually takes about 48 hours to set up. To start go to your YouTube account and click on the movie camera icon and select Go Live, then follow the instructions.


There are many music visualisers available, some free and some commercial, but a good starting point for a new VJ is the free Plane9, and for that reason we'll be using it for this tutorial. Plane9 is intended as a music visualiser for music played on a PC but when used with broadcasting software its possible to connect it with YouTube Live. Also, Plane9 can act as a screensaver for those that like such things.

OBS Studio

OBS Studio, or Open Broadcaster Software connects to the music visualiser then streams the imagery to YouTube. As with all software mentioned here, there are alternatives to OBS Studio, but since its free and works very well, this is what we'll be using for this tutorial.

You may have noticed that there are two streams involved here, one for the music and another for the imagery. OBS Studio could be used to stream both but in order to stay within YouTube terms of service music should not be streamed to its platform. Instead we're going to add a link to a Second Life music stream, which will be explained later.

Using The Second Life Stream To VJ Live On YouTube

Assuming you've downloaded and installed the software already mentioned, and your YouTube account is verified you can now begin to VJ. First, start up your music streaming software then follow the instructions below.

Starting Plane9

1/ Start up Plane9. Under the list of software installed on your PC there will be three choices for Plane9. Select Configure Plane9.

2/ When Plane9 is running it will look something like the image above.

3/ To the right of the window will be a list of playlists. Hit New Playlist tab.

4/ In the main window area there are different kind sof visualisations. Some are Foreground visualisations....

Some are background visualisations....

And some are transitions. A visualisation in Plane9 will be a random combination of foreground and background imagery and a transition will determine how Plane9 moves from one visualisation to another. Therefore a playlist should consisit of as many foreground and background visualisations as you like, plus a number of transitions.

To add any of the above to a playlist click on them in turn so a tick to the lower left of each thumbnail is circled in green.

5/ Once you've finished selecting, double click on the playlist name to rename it.

6/ To run a playlist, hover the cursor over its tab and click the screen icon that will appear.

7/ A new window will open showing the visualisations, which will randomly change. They should respond to music playing on your PC. This window can be quite large so you may want to resize it by dragging its edges. Since there is no option to stop it being always on top of other windows it can be useful to drag it to the corner of the screen.

Starting OBS Studio

1/ When OBS Studio starts it will look similar to the image above. We want the Plane9 image window to appear in the main area of OBS Studio so it can be broadcast. To do this click on the + icon, highlighted in red, lower left.

2/ A window as above will open where you can name the source. In this case Plane9 will be the source. Click OK when done.

3/ There will now be three drop down menus to make selections from. In the first select Capture Specific window. From the second menu select the Plane9.exe window, (which may also show the name of the visualisation that is running). In the third menu, Match title, otherwise find window of same executable has been chosen. Hit OK. The Plane9 visualisation window should now be visible from within OBS Studio.

4/ If the visualisation doesn't take up the entire viewing area click on it so a red border appears then drag it until the whole window is filled.

5/ The above image shows how the visualisation should appear once dragged to fill the viewing area.

6/ To be sure OBS Studio does not broadcast any music to YouTube click on Settings to the lower right of the main window then in the window that appears select the Audio tab. Now make sure all audio options are disabled, as in the image above Click OK when you're done.

Connecting OBS Studio To YouTube

Now that OBS Studio is up and running all we need to do is connect it to YouTube so that what appears in the OBS viewing area will be broadcast live.

1/ Go to your YouTube channel and click on the movie camera icon.

2/ Now hit Go Live.

3/ Since we're not using a camera you should see a message like this, but don't hit Exit.

4/ Towards the lower right of the same screen should be the above button. Click this.

5/ The above information will now be visible. Drag the cursor over the Server URL space and copy it.

6/ Back in OBS Studio, hit the Settings button to the lower right of the main window. In the new window that opens select the Stream tab. Make sure Custom Streaming Server is selected in the very top drop down menu.

Now paste the Server URL we copied from YouTube into the URL space. Keep this OBS Studio window open.

7/ Back in YouTube, reveal the Stream name/key and copy it. Hide it again so no one can see it, since anyone with that key can broadcast on your channel.

8/ Back in OBS Studio, paste the stream key in the Stream key space. Now hit Apply then OK.

9/ Towards the lower right of OBS Studio is the Start Streaming button. Hit it when you're ready.

10/ In YouTube you should now see something like the above with a green live streaming button to the top left. The stream may not show immediatelly on YouTube, so refresh the page if you need to.

Linking To A Second Life Stream 

Since its not wise to broadcast music on YouTube, a work around is to paste a link to your Second Life stream on the YouTube live broadcast page.

1/ Paste the URL of your stream into your browser so you see something like the image above. Right click on the Listen tab and select Copy Link Location (the wording of this may change depending on your browser) from the drop down list. 

2/ Add some info about the live stream to the appropriate area on YouTube and paste the link to your music stream. Now when anyone clicks the link a window similar to the above will open allowing them to listen to your music whilst watching you VJ live.

Thats essentially the basics to getting started VJ-ing with a Second Life stream on YouTube, and although there is more that can be done whilst VJ-ing, this will be covered in later tutorials. 

As a final note to those concerned that VJ-ing on YouTube during a Second Life DJ set may cause lag, the above image shows my frame rate during a recent VJ test. In fact streaming to YouTube at least in this instance didn't seem to affect Second Life at all.

Below is a vid showing a recording of a test VJ session of YouTube, sadly with no sound, but it gives an idea of what can be done.

Good luck with your own VJ sessions and come back for more tutorials soon.
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