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Graphics Tips...
  • When that heading absolutely must be in Garamond - when those really important products shots are underexposed - that's when you need your graphics skills.

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Sooner or later every FrontPage, Word or PowerPoint user finds themselves having to create their own graphics. If you are building a web site a little skill with creating and manipulating images can make the world of difference. 

Microsoft has had several attempts at providing graphics tools. FrontPage 98 came with a simple but effective program called Microsoft Image Composer which was joined in Office 2000 by the hugely powerful but (in my opinion) rather complex Microsoft PhotoDraw, which was dropped from the Office suite with the release of Office 2002. If you have Office 97, seek out Microsoft Photo Editor and experiment with its range of special effects tools.

 Of course, there is always Microsoft Paint - an often overlooked tool which comes as a Windows accessory, now capable of exporting the GIF and JPEG file formats essential for web pages.

Almost every web page needs some sort of graphical input. The delightful portrait of me at the head of this page was taken with a digital camera then cut out, cropped and re-sized before being exported as a compressed JPEG file suitable for the web. Next to it the heading 'Graphics Tips' is also an image. It was created as a text graphic, underlines drawn, and given two different shading treatments to achieve a rounded 3D effect.

There are lots of good graphics tools on the market. The professional graphic artist will choose Adobe PhotoShop which is justifiably market leader but my choice (at a quarter of the price and with 90% of Photoshop's functionality) is the excellent Paint Shop Pro.

My graphics tips use Paint Shop Pro, but most of the techniques can be easily applied to other programs.

  • Creating a Simple Text Graphic
    This tutorial shows how you can use any font in your collection on your web page by turning it into an image. As well as discovering Paint Shop Pro's text tool, you'll learn how to use the Gif Export Wizard.
  • Retouching Antialiased Text
    Antialiasing helps smooth the jagged edges of bitmapped text, but sometimes it needs a helping hand.
  • Adding  Drop Shadow to Text
    A simple and effective way to enhance graphic text.



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