Web Graphics Editors
Graphics editing tools run the gamut in price from free to well more than $500. It's certainly not necessary to spend that kind of money to produce a good-looking site, though using a free or low-end package might require a bit more effort and raw artistic talent as they'll be unlikely to offer as many features as the more sophisticated programs.
The availability of quality image editors for the Windows platform has grown rapidly over the last two to three years. No longer are PC fans stuck with last-generation software while their Mac counterparts have the cutting edge features in their versions:
- Microsoft PaintThis basic editor ships with the Windows operating system. It's limited in file format support (bitmap, GIF, and JPEG only), but is functional for those just getting started or the occasional doodler.
- JASC Paint Shop ProPSP had its beginnings as shareware. JASC now releases a fully functional 30-day trial that lets users test drive the package before purchasing the $99 retail version. Many Web developers favor PSP for its consistent quality and expanding features at an affordable price (Windows only).
- Macromedia FireworksMacromedia has made enormous progress in the Web development, animation, and graphics generation market. Fireworks integrates with the entire Macromedia line of products, making it a natural for those who choose their authoring tools. It is flexible enough, however, to play nice with other publishers' systems, too. Retail price (as this book went to print) was $199.00 (Windows/Mac).
- Adobe PhotoshopLong the workhorse of the graphic artist world, Adobe Photoshop remains the favorite among Web developers coming from an art and design background. At a suggested retail price of $609.00, it remains out of reach of many individual developers (Windows/Mac).