Use The Best Web Page Graphic
Web pages use a couple of different graphic formats, even though hundreds of graphic file formats exist. The JPG and the GIF formats. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. You should understand how these files work and be ready to do web page graphic file conversions.
The main advantage of the JPG is the ability to use 16 million colors. Most photos look best using JPG's. The JPG is relatively small due to compression routines involved in saving. Be aware, this compression can detract from image quality after many saves and retrievals as each save compresses the file.
The JPG is still the best file format for photographs. JPG's offer the ability to make slight changes in color.
The GIF files are very small and load fast. They only allow 256 colors, but they can use transparencies and Animated Graphic Images. You can always search the web for a free GIF image or just make one yourself.
In simple terms, use the most appropriate image format for your purposes. You want to select the palette size to balance looks with speed. It is essential that your web page graphic load fast, because you can't expect your visitor to be too patient. After all, your visitor has thousands of other pages to look at. They are more likely to stay if the page loads fast.
You will also want to use the best graphic background image when you create your own web page.
Make images that allow a textured background to be seen behind the image. Only a GIF file can store a transparent image for use as a web page graphic.
The two images to the right show a ball. The first image shows a colored square border around the ball. It is not transparent, while the second ball shows the texture around the ball is transparent. This shows the difference a transparency can make.
Adding the transparency feature to a web page graphic is simple with a good graphic program like PaintShop Pro.
Use Clip Art for Web Graphics
Clip Art can be acquired from many places. Some can be purchased, while some is free. I think the main advantage of a retail clip art package is time and image availability. They usually are indexed so you can find something relatively easily. Most of these packages are available at very reasonable prices.
The web is a wonderful place. You can search for just about anything, including clip art. You can even get free clip art. Some clip art sites have tons of stuff, although they are often cumbersome to work through. I would use these for specific images.
Beware of copyrighted materials. The author does have rights and you need to respect those rights. Remember, authors tend to be a lot easier to work with before you infringe on their copyrights.
Make Your Own Web Page Graphic
Combine several pictures using cut and paste features. You can use any part from any picture or combine several pictures into one good web page graphic. Add a texture to an area of the picture. You can even overlay one picture over another. Combine pictures into an ideal picture to convey your message.
Make offset shadows just like the pros. Give your web page graphic a 3 dimensional effect. It adds some polish to your web page graphic and your images looks more professional.
Change the size of the graphic to fit your page. The web page graphic looks better if it fits the page. If a graphic is correctly sized, the graphic looks better and, it loads faster. Your site visitors are more likely to stay if the page looks good and loads fast.
If you need to make preset shapes, like circles, ovals or trapezoids, Paint Shop Pro has the tools. You can draw numerous shapes in your picture, as well as cut and paste various shapes. Preset shapes can be drawn to exact specifications.
You can zoom to different levels of detail, even down to the pixel level. You can edit your pictures one pixel at a time. You can make very fine, precise changes to the picture.
Edit several images at once. Gain a different perspective by seeing multiple pictures. Editing several pictures is ideal for creating animation, and of course offers the perfect view.
If you are a graphic artist for a living, you might want to spend $300-2000 for a program that may take a couple of years to learn. Some of you might be satisfied with some of the free graphic programs out there, but they lack the integration that makes you work more efficiently.
Paint Shop Pro contains the great tools, but with an affordable price tag. It's also much easier to use.
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