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Site Graphics and Multimedia Design Forum

    
graphics programs
oilman




msg:861340
 10:46 pm on Feb 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

ok - I know the vast majority of web designers out there use PhotoShop but what else is out there that's good?

PS is nice but I could never get the hang of layers and that price tag is out of my range. I started using PhotoImpact from Ulead and have never looked back.

Anybody else using a 'lesser known' and enjoying it?

 

Drastic




msg:861341
 11:00 pm on Feb 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

I played with fireworks until my trial ran out. It seemed much more intuitive than PS, but didn't seem to give quite the polished look on the end result, which may be due to my lack of graphics skill.

It was geared much more to web graphics, than print (like PS), and is less pricey, but still not cheap at $300.

off topic:
Just took a look at the Macromedia site to double check the price. Interesting to see them running banner ads on the product page. Don't remember seeing that before?

grnidone




msg:861342
 12:00 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

I like the Unix freeware Gimp. It has many of the photoshop functions and it is free.

-G

littleman




msg:861343
 12:11 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

And if you only have a windows box, here is the GIMP port [gimp.org].

mivox




msg:861344
 12:19 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

I don't suppose Gimp is planning on doing a Mac port? Or will I have to wait until I can afford a 2nd (Linux) computer? I've heard great things about that program...

I admit I think PhotoShop is the king of everything, but until recently I used 'borrowed' copies... since my latest employer purchased a copy for my office use, I've taken advantage of Adobe's policy of allowing a "home use" copy of their software for folks who own an "at work" licenced copy. (And now that I've got the one licensed copy, I can take advantage of cheap upgrades! WHOO-HOO!)

england921




msg:861345
 1:07 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Oilman, you are right when you say Photoshop is the king. It is sometimes my best friend. Another program that I hear is very similar to the advantages of Photoshop without the price tag is Picture Publisher. You can download a trial copy.
[micrografx.com...]

mivox




msg:861346
 1:21 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the forums, england! I hadn't heard of Picture Publisher before, and unfortunately it seems I'll have to rely on other people's reviews... no mac version. :(

tedster




msg:861347
 1:46 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

PhotoShop carries a lot of print functionality that web-only designers don't use. In fact, the program is so "deep" that I imagine very few individuals actually use all the features.

Xara makes some graphic products that cost a lot less, and work with both vector and bitmaps, even exporting .swf files (the Flash format).

One of my partners uses Xara X, and he does just fine with it. But I still use PhotoShop.

mivox




msg:861348
 2:49 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Well, my boss has me do print design as well as web work, and wants me to learn video editing too now... (if you know computer graphics at all, you *must* be able to do everything, right?) I may, in the near future, end up using PhotoShop features I've never even looked at before... and I'm darned glad there's a one-stop-shopping program available!

Marcia




msg:861349
 8:25 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

england, Picture Publisher 8 was my first graphics program, and I still love it, even though there's a compatibility issue with Windows 98 that the patch didn't fix. I simply disabled the "browse files" feature and now there's no problem.

It's been discontinued because of new product lines Micrografx came out with, but I have seen old copies of the full package Webtricity 2 for only $50 - which includes not only picture publisher, but a nice drawing program and a 3D program (and more I can't recall).

It's got a different technology, object based rather than using layers, and the built-in filters and features are incredible.

It's definitely worth getting at that price if there's a copy someone happens to come across - it's got a lot of the filters and effects that Eye Candy has, and then some.

tedster




msg:861350
 8:58 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

One thing PhotoShop is lousy at is JPEG file compression. I found that a third party plug-in is a necessity. I use HVS JPG plug-in from Spinwave, and I love what it does. 100 levels of finely tuned compression, with some nice pre-filtering and optimized Q settings.

The final file size I can get is remarkable -- but it's important to treat the resulting files with care. That means not accidental "save as" for any reason, or the file blows up in size like a sponge in water!

I usually take the image into L-a-b color first and run a fat gaussian blur on both the a and b channels first, then return to RGB to use the export filter. This a and b channel blurring helps to compress the files even further wihtout distracting artifacts.

Anyone else got a great JPEG cruncher? I know there are some other good ones out there.

chiyo




msg:861351
 9:23 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

We use Paint Shop Pro. Weve used Photoshop but way out of our price range. I really couldn't see much that Photoshop that the last versions of PSP cant do if all you do is Web work, and with q quicker loading time too. We use a few filters and plugins and that's about it. Why do we use it? Well it was always a great shareware and we paid the fee, and when it went commercial we continued going with it.

We tried Fireworks as well, as well as several others but always went back to PSP. But remember we are not full time graphic designers, so paying for Photoshop for maybe 5% of our time seemed high. People doing grahics full time, it is probably worth the price, and they probably have the higher spec machines to run it.

tedster




msg:861352
 11:08 am on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> People doing graphics full time, it [PhotoShop] is probably worth the price, and they probably have the higher spec machines to run it.

You aren't kidding about the demands PhotoShop can make on a system. Ever since they added multiple levels of Undo (a totally great thing), it can even bring a decent P2 to a crawl when you're working on a big file.

Maybe if I had 512MB of RAM ...

GWJ




msg:861353
 2:40 pm on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>Maybe if I had 512MB of RAM ...

Ironicly I just went out and bought a 128MB DIMM stick just because I get impatient with PS. Much happier now :).

Brian

mivox




msg:861354
 7:41 pm on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

> One thing PhotoShop is lousy at is JPEG file compression. I found that a third party plug-in is a necessity. I use HVS JPG plug-in from Spinwave

I tried Box Top Software's JPEG compression plug in... don't remember the name of it [edit] ProJPEG... *slaps forehead* [/edit], but it wasn't appreciably better than 5.5's "Save for Web" JPEG compression. Which version of PS are you using? I know the "Save As..." JPEGs are always monstrously huge, but how does your plug in compare to PS's "Save for Web" compression?

[edited by: mivox]

Edited by: mivox

oilman




msg:861355
 9:04 pm on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

PhotoImpact has great compression utils as well as a slicer that generates the html table for export etc. Very cool program and only about $100. It is also object based which I find easier than layers (it's probably just me but layers baffle me ;))

mivox




msg:861356
 9:11 pm on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

*grin* I absolutely LOVE layers... Put one thing on each layer, and overlap and re-arrange them to your hearts content, without having to worry about the different objects messing each other up when they bump together. Switching from PS 2.5 to PS 4 was a memorable event, yessiree.

oilman




msg:861357
 9:29 pm on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

hehe - I guess I should add that PhotoImpact objects don't *bump* into each other. I guess it's more like a hybrid of objects and layers. Each object essentially sits on its own layer and you can send them back to front and stuff like that. Maybe I learned layer without knowing it LOL.

mivox




msg:861358
 10:54 pm on Feb 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Sounds like layers to me... ;) Only without the layers palette that allows you to turn visibility of each object/layer on and off, and see what order they're 'stacked' in.

ekprod




msg:861359
 3:37 pm on Mar 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

I use GIMP and would never use anything else. It's much like photoshop but I feel you get a better control of the brushes and tools. I can make nice steady brush strokes and with GIMP the images seem to have better resolution (I know maybe I'm crazy). You really should try this program. It's free and (in my opinion) is better than Photoshop

minnapple




msg:861360
 3:45 am on Mar 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>You aren't kidding about the demands PhotoShop can make on a system. Ever since they added multiple levels of Undo (a totally great thing), it can even bring a decent P2 to a crawl when you're working on a big file.

The first graphics workstation I worked on in 1988 took up to 3 hours to rotate an Image and cost nearly 400k.
At this time it was state of the art, two monitors, track ball, two keyboards a keypad and mouse and tablet.
Many of the commands had to be entered via keyboard.

The cpu rack was six feet tall and needed an air-conditioned room.
It had a whooping 600 megs of disk space and it allowed you the wonder of backing up to magnetic tape spools that held nearly 150 megs of sequential access of information.

Now I run PhotoShop on a $1,200 system that roars compared to that old $400,000 Scitex Imager.
And I agree with mivox, layers is one of the most powerful features of PhotoShop and truely believe that PhotoShop itself is the most powerful image editing software available.

minnapple

mivox




msg:861361
 4:53 am on Mar 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

I would love to try GIMP... but I am a one-computer gal at the moment, and this old beast doesn't have the room to run a Linux partition. Has anyone ported GIMP to Mac yet?

Brett_Tabke




msg:861362
 6:03 am on Mar 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the tip on Xara X. I didn't know that had been released. As a old Xara3d chearleader (best gfx package of all time imho), this looks *very* promising.

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