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To create professional web pages you should professionally study some professional software :).
So, which software you need? Below I brought some categories of the programs with explanations of there use.
Program working with bit-mapped graphics
is one of the major programs, which you should master. It helps you in scanning photos and their correction. With the help of this program you can create those impressive effects, which you see in the Internet, advertising etc. In my opinion, the following skill is required to work with this class of programs:
- Scanning of photos;
- Correction of the scanned and off-the shelf photos, including color and tonal adjustments;
- Retouch of photos;
- Cropping photos;
- Understanding differences between image formats;
- Using of filters;
- Working with layers.
As the concrete programs can be named following:
Adobe PhotoShop, given program is the leader in this class, though it requires much resources of your computer.
Paint Shop Pro, in my opinion, is the best shareware program, which, in addition supports filters for Adobe PhotoShop and works fast with big size images. It can import and to export images at 40-50 different formats.
Some work need to be done using different editors. The ideal editor doesn't exist, one does better this, another - that.
Vector Image software
is another important designing tool. It allows create from scratch or with use of clipart various logos, buttons, effective inscriptions etc. Principles of the vector graphics editors are very differ from bit-mapped, therefore they both need to be learned. As a bonus you will know how to make professional looking business card, different forms, brochures. You need the following skill:
- Working with image objects (grouping, superposition, deriving nonstandard objects);
- Working with curves and points of curves;
- Working with guides and grids;
- Understanding color models (RGB, CMYK, HSB);
- Text manipulation, placing it on any curve;
- Using gradients and fillings (including fractal);
- Using effects.
Typical representatives of the given class are Corel DRAW and Adobe Illustrator, both are the leaders in the area and, accordingly, have the latest achievements in the vector graphics. Oppose to these heavyweights Xara X nice and fast program can be recommended. The given program, unlike to two previous, is very fast and small, but some effects and commands available in other programs, are difficult or impossible to get.
Simple text editor is required for manual correction and adding HTML-codes since the existing visual editors can't completely control the process of building of web-page (and if you are creating page with complex design, than it can happen you will write all codes in the HTML editor). Many web designers prefer hard coding using simple editor like Notepad or little sophisticated which has built-in commands of tag validation, control document structure, colorizing text mode, like HomeSite.
Visual HTML-editors allow fast developing and correction already written web pages. If you prefer this editor, carefully test on every step how you page looks in different browsers. Well known editors are Microsoft FrontPage and Netscape Composer. Gain popularity some programs such as Dreamweaver from Macromedia, GoLive from Adobe. Sometimes you should manually correct generated code by these programs.
Word processors with there spelling possibility are very useful not only for typing text, but correcting it after using text recognition software.
Text recognition programs (OCR) can save you a lot of time, allowing to get rid from a typing. CuneiForm and FineReader can recognize text in many languages, they are similar in quality, I prefer work with FineReader.
Some special programs allow you to execute some effects and cope with some difficult tasks, which you can't achieve by using other programs. Some programs are enumerated below.
Ulead GIF Animator has full control over output file including optimization.
Filters for Adobe PhotoShop, their amount is huge, but in reality you will use only some of it. They are capable essentially to increase capability, only two-three key presses allow creating impressive effects. Do not overuse them, everything has it limit.
Macromedia Flash is practically standard for vector formats on the web. It is powerful development tool for creating interactive animated web pages.
Programs for editing sound files. This is a separate class of programs. If your page requires work with sound, CoolEdit is an appropriate choice.
Perhaps, this is more or less complete list of program for building web pages. Certainly, it is not necessary to have all of them to begin. Start with some visual editor, wile gaining experience you will start using other software.
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