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I need software advice PLEASE.
What software should I get first? A new editor or graphics program. Should I learn flash or photoshop?
Do I invest in Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Fireworks, Macromedia Flash Studio 8 or something else?
I am so confused. I just want my sites to look better. We have great traffic and offer many functions but not as much pizzaz as we would like.
I would like to keep it as cheap as possible but do realize that I may have to shell it out to get what I want.
Thanks, in advance, for your comments and suggestions!
If you are serious about what you are doing then the Macromedia Studio is definately the way to go. You can easily use Flash, Dreamweaver and Fireworks together in your work as they are all integrated with one another. So if you wanted to edit an image then just click Edit in Dreamweaver then Fireworks loads...then when you are done just click DONE in Fireworks and the image is automatically exported back to your Dreamweaver session.
Good luck and if you have any other questions let me know!
Photoshop and Flash can make your sites look better, but they can also make them look worse. These programs are toolboxes for visual artists... they don't build great graphics/animations/UI for you. You have to know what tools to use, and more importantly, you have to know how to build something before you pick up the tools.
If that doesn't sound like you, then my suggestion is stock imagery. It's cheap and can make a world of difference, and all you have to do from the standpoint of artistic discipline is pick a great looking image. Plenty of sites around that supply them...
But, if it DOES sound like you, then go with a low-budget image editing tool like GIMP(free) or Photoshop Elements($80).
i got a full version of photoshop 5 bundled with a scanner i bought recently, frankly if you're not a photography pro i don't think you need anything much more recent, version 5 is very powerful.
look on ebay for old copies of dreamweaver, version 4 is perfectly good, ensure you buy a boxed version with the manuals that way they should be legal.
... also maybe checkout the macromedia site and sign up on their mailing list, i'm sure last month i got an email with an offer of an upgrade from ANY previous version of dreamweaver to the whole latest version of the macromedia studio for a pretty good price ... makes you think that buying an old but legal copy of dreamweaver 2 or 3 is suddenly a good idea after all.
So far I'm using Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Xara and a HTML/CSS editor called TopStyle.
Someone mentioned GIMP and it's really a great alternative if you like Photoshop.
Adobe Illustrator for logos.
Adobe Photoshop for all web graphics.
Adobe Indesign for my printed stuff.
Contractedge for my TOS
Norton Ghost for backing up my data
Onfolio to organize my research
Dragon Naturally Speaking to write first drafts
Big Box of Art for stock photos
Skype with SkypeIn for a contact number
In addition, and I feel a bit silly for suggesting it, but if you go to any of the big "Mart" stores they have very inexpensive logo design software that really do a great job considering they cost under $20. They can quickly make nice looking logos, nav buttons, banners, etc. I rely on them heavily for "quickie" sites.