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"graphics" category

Photoshop turns to subscription model

7th May 2013
Categories: gimp, graphics, photoshop

Adobe announced recently at its "Max" conference that Photoshop and other Adobe products would be moving to a subscription model.

I can understand websites which use a subscription model - you (the customer) are regularly using services which they (the supplier) need to constantly maintain.  Or a service like dropbox, which maintains a set of file servers constantly connected to the internet so that your computer can use them at any time of day or night.

Downloadable software, on the other hand, has been written, tested, and finally made available via a shop, downloaded onto your computer, and is expected to work as written.

It's a bit like electricity - you can buy it in the mains or in a battery.  But charging a subscription fee or software that should just work is like trying to charge a subscription fee for a battery.

On a side note - lots of great graphics have been created with GIMP!

Editing your photos in Google+

24th January 2012
Categories: graphics

A few weeks ago we looked at some of the graphics programs that make up a web developer's toolkit.  But like many things, photo editing is one of those functions that has successfully made the leap from desktop app to web based app.  Google isn't the only one doing it, but we've been trying out the tool provided from within Google+ and we like it a lot!

Google+ Photo editor

Simple on the surface, a set of tabs appear when you select "creative kit" (under the "photos" menu item).  Within each tab is a variety of tools - again, each one is simple at first but a number of options unfold if you explore.  For example, in the picture above, I've selected 'boost' as an effect to apply to my photo.  You can apply the effect to  the whole photo, or you can select to use a 'boost brush' ('effect painting') instead, and within the brush you can either apply the effect, or undo the effect.

As you might imagine, you can apply colour changes, cure red eye, crop, rotate, and sharpen, but you can also:

  • pixelate
  • fix blemishes
  • airbrush
  • add text in a variety of fonts
  • add beards, crowns, tiaras, and christmas hats(!)

So no need to crank up photoshop whie you're plus-one'ing!

The web developers' toolkit - part 1: graphics

9th November 2011
Categories: graphics

It doesn't take a huge outlay to be able to develop websites these days.  What it does take to develop good websites is an in-depth experience, not just of the technology, but of your customers and the process of marketing them online.

That said, we present the first in our series about the tools a web developer needs to get started, starting with graphics tools.

The main thing you need if you're building any kind of sophistication into your design (whether you're designing the site or receiving/setting up the artwork in order to build the site) is a graphics editor which handles layers.

Photoshop is the industry standard package with all the bells and whistles, and comes with a hefty price tag to match.  You can do amazing things with photographs, although you'll need to learn about the tool in order to create nice buttons and graphics.  Thankfully, there are now lots of youtube videos which help with that.  Or you can read a book...

Photoshop Elements is a cut-down and very reasonably priced version of Photoshop.  The only thing I've needed that it lacks is grouping layers, which can be important if you're receving artwork from a designer who uses Photoshop 'proper'.

Fireworks is another Adobe offering, really aimed at the graphics side of the web rather than photo editing, so while it won't help you with that nice header banner you would like to create, with the face merging into a landscape, it'll do buttons nicely.  It doesn't have a huge market so you may find that designers you'll deal with normally use Photoshop.

GIMP is a free tool which offers something near the sophistication of Photoshop, with some nice extras besides, like a series of effects and animations.  The down side is the clunky multi-window interface, but you can certainly get used to it.

Paint.Net is the baby of the group, another free tool, with various features missing such as retaining text information inside a layer.  That said, it's often good for your customers who just want to crop and resize pictures before putting them online and don't want to pay for anything more sophisticated.   

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