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Chapter 2. Build a Web Team or Go It Alo... > Using Photoshop, Fireworks, and othe...

Using Photoshop, Fireworks, and other graphics applications

If you're going to do design work, you need some design skills. In addition to understanding how to use color, fonts, and images to support your content and how to use layout effectively, you need to know some basics in a variety of graphics programs, including these three:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS2/Image Ready: This is a great pair of tools for doing practically everything you need to do with Web graphics. Photoshop/Image Ready is the industry standard for working with graphics. With Photoshop/Image Ready, you can work with photos and create supporting graphics (such as banners and buttons) and any other graphics you need. Image Ready has tools that enhance Photoshop, such as a tool that helps you create buttons with rollover effects. If you want to pursue a professional career in design, you need Photoshop skills. See Book III, Chapter 4 for a brief introduction to the Photoshop CS2 interface and toolbox.

  • Fireworks: This is a Web graphics creation tool, and you can also use it to manipulate photos and create other graphics. Fireworks' functionality fits in between Image Ready and Photoshop. In other words, it has similar functionality to Image Ready with some of Photoshop's included. Its strength is in being tightly integrated with Dreamweaver and Flash. (You can launch Fireworks easily from within either program via a handy icon.) Fireworks also has great optimization tools and a helpful and easy‐to‐use batch processing tool (which is good for resizing a large number of photos at once, among other things).

  • Adobe Illustrator/Freehand: In these programs, you can create and edit vector graphics. A vector graphic is one that is made up of mathematical information defining points and lines that make up shapes. A discussion of bitmap versus vector graphics is in Book III, Chapter 4. Vectors are great for building graphics with hard lines — such as logos.

    Note: You have to convert vectors into bitmaps to use them on a Web site. Photoshop and Fireworks are primarily bitmap editing programs; bitmaps are the choice for photographs. Figure 2-2 shows a vector graphic (on the left) and a bitmap graphic side by side. Notice the jagged edges created by pixilation in the bitmap.

    Figure 2-2: Vector graphic on the left versus bitmap graphic on the right.

Information about how to create, use, and prepare graphics for use on a site are included in Book IV.


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