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Graphics software explanation

Posted on 2005-02-26
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
Hi, I am looking for graphics software mainly for web design than print. With that said, I want somebody to explain the following softwares:
Photoshop
Illustrator
ImageReady
Fireworks
Freehand

Which is best for creating images, icons, etc. for web design? Why would people choose rasterized versus vector software? And finally, what software do you use for this purpose (web design)?

Thanks.
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Question by:EVelasco
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Lobo042399 earned 1400 total points
ID: 13411909
Hi EVelasco,

Photoshop is a raster image editor, for creating or editing raster images like photographs. It has text support but, again, nothing compared to a page layout program. It has a limited support for vector layers, but if you need to work on vectors only then Photoshop is not the answer. Are there other programs like it? Yes. The GIMP comes to mind. Or Corel PhotoPaint, which is powerful but with a messy interface that makes it almost unusable. Or Jasc's Paint Shop Pro, which has recently been acquired by Corel.

ImageReady is the Photoshop companion. Its job is to optimize images for web publishing. ImageReady also generates animated GIF images and does an excellent job at slicing files for the web.

Illustrator... It's not for print publishing and it's not for web publishing either (although sometimes small one-page print jobs can be laid out in it, and some people use it for webpage templates.) Illustrator, as its name hints, is an illustrator program, to manipulate vectors into images. Yes, you can add text and raster images to an Illustrator file, but its publishing capabilities are very limited and text control is nothing compared to InDesign. Are there other programs that do the same as Illustrator? Yes. CorelDraw and Macromedia Freehand come to mind. Draw is very powerful and its multi-page support makes it a great tool when you're creating multipage projects (a restaurant menu, for example, which doesn't require any ) However, for large publication work, like a magazine or a book, an illustration package is not the answer. Some Mac-only printers cringe at the idea of a client sending CorelDraw files, but fortunately the printing industry is finally realizing that the Mac is not the only platform for high end graphics anymore.

Fireworks is like ImageReady but it also combines vector layers in it. It's pretty good at generating rollovers for web navigation.

Now, the question is not why to choose vectors over rasters but when. Vectors are excellent for images that have well defined areas filled with solid or gradient colours. Rasters are best for photographic images and effects.

What to use for web design? It's up to you, really. The way I do it is:

First of all paper and pencil for drafting ideas. I use CorelDraw or Illustrator to create mockups, put ideas into visual quickly. Then export these mockups to Photoshop PSD format and work on them in Photoshop. Sometimes a design requires defined shapes and areas; CorelDraw helps me a lot with that as well, allowing me to export those shapes into Photoshop. After the template is done in Photoshop, I slice it and bring it into Dreamweaver.

Good Vibes!

Lobo
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by:Ai3d
Ai3d earned 400 total points
ID: 13413713
Photoshop: A popular high-end image editor for the Macintosh and Windows from Adobe. The original Mac versions were the first to bring affordable image editing down to the personal computer level in the late 1980s. Since then, Photoshop has become the de facto standard in image editing. Although it contains a large variety of image editing features, one of Photoshop's most powerful capabilities is layers, which allows images to be rearranged under and over each other for placement. Photoshop is designed to read and convert to a raft of graphics formats, but it provides its own native format for layers (.PSD extension).

Illustrator: A full-featured drawing program for Windows and Macintosh from Adobe. It provides sophisticated tracing and text manipulation capabilities as well as color separations. Included is Adobe Type Manager and a selection of Type 1 fonts. Illustrator was originally developed for the Mac in 1987 and, up until Version 7.0, which was introduced in 1997, the Mac version included more features. The Macintosh version is the most widely used drawing and composition program for the Mac platform.

ImageReady: Create and modify Web designs faster with multiple object selection, object grouping, and smart guides. Slice complex, layered images and apply appropriate format and compression settings to each area before exporting as an HTML table.

FireWorks: Fireworks MX 2004 lets users import files from all major graphics formats and manipulate both vector and bitmap images to quickly create graphics and interactivity. Images can be easily exported to Dreamweaver, Flash and third-party applications. Much like ImageReady...

FreeHand: FreeHand MX is for creative design, storyboarding, multipage document production, and editing with an unparalleled set of creative design tools. Easily repurpose your designs for print, the Internet, or Macromedia Flash MX. Kind of Like Illlustrator...

The Bottom Line:-
Use Adobe products, which are more easy to use and are more popular.
Adobe Photoshop does the job well for making web-page layouts, ImageReady does the job well for optimizing them to go for HTML, Adobe GoLive does the job well modifying HTML pages...Here, you have a choice. Instead of Adobe GoLive you can use Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage...Its really upto you.

I use all of them because I remember specific commands of each program ;-)

Good Luck!
Ai3d.
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Assisted Solution

by:webwoman
webwoman earned 200 total points
ID: 13414424
You actually have 3 questions...

>>Which is best for creating images, icons, etc. for web design?
IMHO Fireworks. Hands down. It's DESIGNED for web use. It has no other purpose.

>>Why would people choose rasterized versus vector software?
You use bitmap editors to edit bitmaps. Fireworks can do SOME of this, but not to any real extent. Photoshop is the gold standard, but it's not the only thing. You can use something cheaper, like PaintShop Pro, or Photoshop Elements, if you don't need to do major image construction or color correction for printing.

>>And finally, what software do you use for this purpose (web design)?
Fireworks. I have all of the ones you mentioned -- I use Photoshop for photo editing (ImageReady is the web exporter for it, it comes with it), Illustrator for print drawings, but Fireworks for almost everything web related. Freehand is Macromedia's Illustrator, I use it occassionally, but not with any regularly.
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