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Smile and Say 'Cheese' - page 2

Gnome's Computerized Photo Booth

  • September 4, 2008
  • By Marcel Gagné
The magic behind the program takes place, at least partially, thanks to gsteamer so any supported Webcam should work, whether it be V4L or V4L2. This also means gstreamer is a prerequisite, but for any modern distribution, this shouldn't be an issue. You can test your Webcam, and the audio as well, by executing a little program called gstreamer-properties. This will bring up a two-tabbed window titled "Multimedia Systems Selector" from which you can select, and test, your Webcam and microphone. Select your device and click the Test button. The gstreamer-properties program also lets you change a plugin for the specific device. I mention this because many systems will have their video plugin set to "X Window System (No xv)". While this works well enough for taking pictures, videos tend to be a little choppy and unresponsive. To get your video card working for you instead of your CPU, select "X11/XShm/Xv" instead. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's play with Cheese.

When Cheese starts up, it detects your camera and displays your smiling (or not) face. To take a picture, just click "Take a Photo" button and the countdown begins. 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . CLICK! You mugshot appears in a ticker tape like window at the bottom of the application's main screen. The countdown is enabled by default but you can choose to turn it off by clicking Cheese on the menu bar and deselecting Countdown. That menu, by the way, is pretty simple but there are other things you'll want to check out. For instance, click Edit, then Preferences and you can change the resolution of your Webcam.

As you add more and more photos, a scroll bar will appear so you can scan your collection. Double-click on any of these and they will open in Eye of GNOME, the external GNOME image viewer application. Double-click on a video clip and Totem will appear to play them. Oh, did I mention Cheese takes video as well? It does. The videos include sound (assuming you have a microphone) and they are saved in Ogg video format (with a .ogv extension.

Cheese is a simple program that is just plain fun. A lot of fun. It gets even better when you click that "Effects" button over on the right below the main camera window. The effects can make your face swirl and twist, show you in black and white, turn you upside-down and sideways, or, best of all, make you look like the Incredible Hulk.

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