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The Pen is Mightier than the Brush Tool

Rob Foster explains why he prefers vectors to pixels when it comes to webpage design. If you are a serious web designer, learn how to create your page layouts as well as choose colors, fonts and more... faster. Faster and easier web design? Hmmm, nice concept.

Author Info:
By: Rob Foster
Rating: 3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars / 4
April 02, 1999
  1. · The Pen is Mightier than the Brush Tool
  2. · Vector Flexibility
  3. · Compromise

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The Pen is Mightier than the Brush Tool
(Page 1 of 3 )

In the last year web developers have seen a myriad of new products that claim to convert page layouts from print-based programs like Quark XPress into web pages. Few of them work well enough to use, but the idea is nice. Let's face it, designing web pages can be a long drawn out process, often forcing one to make huge compromises.

Just about every article I've read on web design recommends pixel-based programs like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro for creating the initial web page layout. Now, let me make it clear that I am talking about the layout stage before you write any HTML. This is the point in the design process that you test colors, shapes, picture placement, etc. I'll talk more about this design stage in a minute.

When it comes to laying out a design concept, pixel-based applications lack serious flexibility. For example, if you created a graphic element in Photoshop and then want to change the color, you have to select it, then fill the selected region with the new color and then de-select it. Forget about changing the shape of the object. That requires using the brush tool to paint the new shape or some other step-laden method. Of course, this example assumes that the object is on its own layer. This brings up another issue. If a new layer is created for every object on the page, then the file becomes more and more unwieldy. You have to continuously juggle layer selection as well as layer visibility and what if you make a mistake? You better hope that you have Photoshop 5 with its multiple undo/Histories feature.

And what about pixel-based multiple levels of undo? Pixel-based applications carry a lot of information per pixel. If you want to undo the last command, the program has to carry all the pixel information from the previous step as well as the current state of the image. As you add undo levels, this multiplies the file size and the computer begins to slow down.

There is a better way...

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