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Getting Graphics : Page 9

Before you can add graphics to your page, you need to have some graphics in hand!

Creating Graphics

To create your own images all you need is a graphics creation tool and a little willingness to play and experiment.

Do-it-yourselfers, rejoice! There are many options for creating your very own graphics and you don't even need still life drawing skills to make nice images for use on the Web.

Illustration software contains various drawing and other graphical tools that lets you create illustrations, charts, logos, text effects, line art, and cartoon-like images.

This image was created with Fireworks.
Click on it to learn how it was made.


The two most commonly used illustration programs are Adobe's Illustrator and Macromedia's Freehand. Both programs are full-featured, professional-strength graphics illustration programs suitable for all media. There are passionate adherents of each, just as with Netscape and Internet Explorer! If you are focusing on the Web, you might also want to consider one of the new hybrid tools, such as Fireworks, which offers good basic illustration features.

Image-editing programs were designed to let you modify or enhance existing graphics, typically for print production. Image-editing programs are rooted in photo retouching, but have grown to become full-fledged graphics tools.

Here's a photo taken with a digital camera. original photograph
manipulated photograph

Here's the same image after being manipulated.

Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro are two commonly-used programs in this category. Photoshop is a high-end tool for image manipulation ...de rigueur for print graphics professionals. If you are producing photos for print reproduction, you'll probably own Photoshop. Paint Shop Pro is an entry-level, but still very powerful and popular, image editor that offers much of the same functionality as Photoshop for a fraction of the cost. As with illustration, if you are creating photos for the Web, you may be just as well off with a Web graphics package, like Fireworks.

Web graphics software packages are designed to meet the needs of Web developers. This new category of tool is a hybrid program designed specifically for the production of Web graphics. If you'll be making your own graphics more than once, it is worth investing in one of these tools.

The majority of graphics you see throughout this zone were produced with Fireworks, from Macromedia.

[Editorial disclaimer: Macromedia is helping to underwrite the cost of creating this section about Web graphics, but that's not why we use Fireworks. We liked Fireworks first—Glenn Davis was a beta tester for it—and then came to conclusion that Macromedia would make a good partner because it obviously understood Web graphics.]

Web graphics packages provide tools for editing and manipulating existing graphics, creating animated GIFs, exporting to appropriate file formats, and creating Web effects, such as image maps and Javascript rollovers, as well as for creating graphics from scratch.

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