MailFaces Help - PIcons

The PIcon Database that is used by MailFaces is made up of icons that have been contributed by many users. You may want to contribute your own PIcon either for yourself or for your organization. There are existing instructions for creating PIcons and submiting them to the database. But these instructions are mostly based on Unix utilities that are not available on the Windows platform. This section will hopefully help the Windows user create and submit their own PIcons.

There are some constraints on the images used for PIcons. Many systems only support a total of 256 colors for everything that is displayed on the monitor at any one point. So to ensure that a set of Picons will display well on systems with a limited number of colors, they are required to be converted to either a greyscale palette or a limited 32 color palette. Since they are also squeezed down to 48 by 48 pixels, a photographic image needs some processing so it does not display as collection of random colored pixels.

Creating Picons (Personal Icons) on Windows

The following gives some guidelines on how one could take an existing image on Windows and convert it to a PIcon and submit it to the database.

Using Paint Shop Pro

If you have a copy of Paint Shop Pro then you can use this program for all or some of the steps.

Your first attempt to do the above will probably result in an unacceptable picon. So you are going to have to do some manipulations on the image. Here are some things that have worked for me.

When you finally get an image that is exactly what you want, save it as a gif file.

To submit it to the Picon User database, send a mail message to picons-users@cs.indiana.edu The subject line should contain only the e-mail address (in user@domain format) that the users picon is for (eg, "joeuser@dilbert.com"). Note that the host is the domain that this image covers not the exact address. If you have addresses "joeuser@system1.dilbert.com" and "joeuser@system2.dilbert.com" then the subject line should be "joeuser#@disbert.com" even if that is not a valid email address.

Then add the GIF image to the mail message as an attached file. This assumes that your E-Mail program supports "File attachments". If it does not, it is time to upgrade to a better email program.



Creating Picons (Personal Icons) on OS/2 using the OS/2 Image Viewer and the OS/2 Icon Editor.

Credits

The above instructions have been contributed by:
Teruel de Campo
chusty@ibm.net

Palette darkos2.pal

16 palette

0 0 0
018 018 018
033 033 033
051 051 051
069 069 069
084 084 084
102 102 102
120 120 120
135 135 135
255 255 255
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
191 191 191

Palette grayos2.pal


0 0 0
018 018 018
033 033 033
051 051 051
069 069 069
084 084 084
102 102 102
120 120 120
135 135 135
153 153 153
171 171 171
186 186 186
204 204 204
222 222 222
237 237 237
255 255 255

coloros2.pal


0 0 0
210 180 140
50 205 50
0 255 255
0 255 0
245 222 179
30 144 255
230 230 250
220 220 220
178 34 34
205 133 63
135 206 235
238 130 238
190 190 190
160 82 45
47 79 79
255 0 255
255 0 0
46 139 87
160 32 240
0 0 128
255 99 71
255 255 255
255 255 0
255 215 0
112 128 144
255 250 205
255 165 0
152 251 152
0 0 255
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0



Using the PIconCreate web dialog to submit your PIcon.

As far as I know, Paint Shop Pro is the only program for Windows 95 that will easily handle the conversion of the image to a specific colormap, which is an important step in creating a PIcon. Although it is one of the best graphics program available for Win95, it does cost about $70 so we have developed an alternative that allows you to place the original image whereever it can be accessed via the Web and then have the processing and submital be handled by a web server. The web server, which runs on a Unix system, will issue the Unix commands to create a PIcon from your GIF image.

This PIconCreate web server is experimental, but you are welcome to give it a try. Please let me know if you have problems or suggestions.

Using the PIconCreate server