#DDBwerkbank: Digital handicraft lesson for Signal sticker sets
In our new series #DDBwerkbank (DDB workbench) we are going to explore what starting points there are for unexpected, fascinating and sometimes crazy actions in our portal – and then put these into practice! We are beginning with a workshop in which we’ll create our own sticker sets for the Signal Messenger with objects from the German Digital Library!
By Alan Riedel (Audience Management)
#DDBwerkbank – Digital handicraft lesson: Your own signal sticker sets with the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek
Those of you who use a Messenger app like Signal, WhatsApp or Telegram inevitably know the (sometimes gaudy) stickers with cats, dogs or memes which enhance the chats. But where do these sorts of stickers actually come from?
In fact, you can easily make them yourselves, and in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek you can fortunately find all kinds of great image material (and quite safe with reference to licensing rights) for your own sticker pack. In the following virtual workshop, we’ll show you how you can do this. In doing so, we’ll concentrate exclusively on the Signal app.
- A smartphone with the Signal app
- A computer with Signal for Desktop
That’s about everything. And off we go!
First of all: Finding the perfect image material
At present, there are 4.587.129 enchanting image treasures (as per February 24, 2021) from the sector of cultural heritage in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek. It’s no question that the ideal material for our aims is lying dormant here!
By the way, we’ve provided a few search ideas at the end of this article.
1. The search begins with a suitable search term on www.deutsche-digitale-bibliothek.de.
2. Too many hits? No problem: we can simply filter everything out which is not an image using “Medientyp” (“type of media”) in the box on the left.
3. We only use rights-free images for our stickers in this workshop. The DDB has another practical filter here: clicking on “Verwendbarkeit“ (“usability”) in the box on the left enables you to directly set whether only images should be shown in the search results that may really be used without restrictions.
4. And now: we wish you success in your search!
Professional tip: the search results can be refined even further with the other filter functions on the left!
Second: Downloading the perfect image
Eureka! You’ve found the perfect image. Congratulations! Now it’s a matter of downloading it. As an example, we would now like to make a sticker from this one here:
Of course, we now have to save the image. There are two possibilities to do this:
1) Simple variant: you click on the thumbnail on the right and download the image, or you simply take a screenshot. (How do you take a screenshot? Here’s some advice!)
2) Professional variant: click on “Objekt anzeigen” (show object) at the top left and you’ll be directed to the institution providing the image. This image version is frequently offered in a higher quality for downloading. But be careful: each institution handles downloading differently – it’s sometimes also the easiest here to take a screenshot.
Third: Editing the perfect image
So. Now it’s getting really exciting. Among other things, the following applies for Signal stickers:
1) They should have the so-called “PNG format” (screenshots usually already have this format anyway).
2) Signal puts a frame of 16 pixels around the edges of the image later – so it’s best to leave a bit of space at the sides.
3) The stickers sometimes look even better without a background.
You can find detailed requirements and recommendations for stickers here.
But how do we get rid of the background? Good question. Answer: with image editing software, like Gimp (open source/free of charge). It also works with Paint 3D (instructions) in Windows 10 or Vorschau (Preview) in Mac (instructions).
Or you do it like we do: with "miniPaint" on the internet, an open source image editing software (many thanks to the software editor ViliusL).
1) The image can either be uploaded via “file” > “open” > “open file…” or, even simpler, inserted directly from the clipboard onto the screen.
2) Now you have to set the background to be transparent. To do this you click on “tools” in the taskbar and then on “settings…”
3) Following this, activate “toggle” right up at the top near “transparent” and it’s done.
4) And now we can start: the background can be removed little by little by using the erase function in the left menu. In addition, it’s possible to change the size of the eraser, to zoom in and out of the image and to use all other possible image editing functions. It’s a matter of just trying things out!
5) As soon as everything is freed from the distracting background, the work of art just has to be saved as a PNG file. This can either be done via “file” > “export” – or simply by pressing the ‘s’ button on the keyboard.
And that’s it.
Our finished image now looks like this:
Of course, we can still do all sorts of things with it. Such as, for example:
Circular or other shaped cutouts always look pretty good, too:
Fourth: Creating the perfect sticker set
When you have collected a few images, you have already done the most difficult part and you can create your very first sticker set!
As we said, this is extremely simple with Signal:
1) To do this, you must first open Signal desktop on the computer (if you haven’t already done this, then you must first download it here).
2) After you have opened the programme, you must now click on “Datei” (“file”) on the top left on “Sticker-Set erstellen/hochladen” (“create/upload sticker set”). Depending on the computer this can, of course, look somewhat different than in the image.
3) Now we slide our sticker works of art into the window, one after the other, and subsequently click on “Weiter” (“next”).
Then it will look like this.
4) Finally, we can assign emoji to the stickers.
5) And now away with it! Come up with a name for the sticker set and send it off into the vastness of the internet!
Important: It’s best to send yourself the link generated as a note in Signal, so that it can be shared later! Then the sticker set is also available in the telephone app and you can now really begin using the stickers.
We want to see the stickers!!! Please share posts on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #DDBstickerChallenge and tag us! We’re really excited!
Further search ideas:
- book illuminations
- picture book
- Codex Manesse
- musical instrument
Among others, the following institutions provide especially many and quite wonderful openly-licensed images:
- TECHNOSEUM Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit in Mannheim (State Museum of Technology and Work Mannheim)
- Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg (University Library Heidelberg)
- Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (Museum of Art and Design Hamburg)
- Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (Saxon State and University Library Dresden)
- Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität Berlin (Architecture Museum of the Technical University Berlin)
- Deutsche Fotothek (German Photographic Collection)
- Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen (Lower Saxon State and University Library Göttingen)
- Leibniz-Institut für internationale Schulbuchforschung (Leibniz Institute for International Textbook Research)
- Digitaler Portraitindex (Digital Portrait Index)
- Schloss- und Spielkartenmuseum Altenburg (Castle and Playing Card Museum Altenburg)
Do you have your own ideas on what you could do with the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek’s holdings? Or would you like to share an article from this series with the world? Then just send an email to a.riedel [at] hv.spk-berlin.de.
Have fun making stickers!