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Best Webdesigner's Tool

     
2:13 pm on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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You guys and gals have always helped me out so here I am again.
I am a self taught designer on a limited budget. I have been doing it for years but have always hand coded and I have always focused mostly on function instead of design.
I bought a cheap image studio software a few years back and bang out my own banners and headers but I am now ready to step up the pace.

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!

4:28 pm on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well you will find many awesome things regarding Adobe Photoshop vs. Macromedia Fireworks. They work almost the same but Fireworks handles vector images nicely...plus fireworks is more designed with the website designer in mind, while photoshop caters to photography, but can be used for graphics too, as that is what I use primarily.

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!

4:31 pm on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Read this topic for more insight on Photoshop vs Fireworks:

[webmasterworld.com...]

6:27 pm on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Dreamweaver isn't going to make your sites look any better.

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).

6:43 pm on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I agree that Dreamweaver won't make your site look better, but its handy when you are working with the other macromedia projects. If you are a student or know one you can get a licensed version of Photoshop or the Macromedia Studio pretty cheap too. I would personally stay away from GIMP. That's just me. Plus with Photoshop you'll find tons and tons of tutorials online to help you in creating tons of cool things.
7:58 pm on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the fast replies.

I just want to get the most bang for my buck.

I am not a student so to speak and the cheapest I find macromedia studio is $899.99!

8:31 pm on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well there are "other" ways around that price. But I would divulge in anything here.
9:31 pm on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well, I'll tell you...if there is anyone who should get a discount it is me.
I don't usually toot my own horn but I have slaved away at a community website for over 2 years for free!

:)

9:46 pm on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Make them pay for it;) Or get a boot legged copy someplace, teehehee.
10:26 pm on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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well there are other ways of looking at it, get old versions.

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.

7:51 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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You might want to try the GIMP. It's free, open source. Similar to photoshop, so you shouldn't have a problem catching on.
8:43 pm on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Before you decide, you should check out the book "Eric Meyer on CSS". If you learn CSS, you can create an infinite amount of improvements to the look and layout of your sites without any software.
5:47 pm on Jan 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What I do when I try to decide on graphics, design and other software is to try the demos and trials. I usually try a couple of common tasks that I will be doing and if they programs provide what I want and I like them I go and buy them.

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.

6:00 pm on Jan 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use:

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

9:35 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have used all of the expensive programs: Adobe Suite, Macromedia Suite, Paint Shop Pro, etc..

I would just download the GIMP, and 1st page 2000(Eversoft). Both programs are free and really easy to use.

10:20 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'll put in a 3rd or 4th vote for Gimp. Free and powerful enough for most image manipulation projects.

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.

Freq---