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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.

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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 - Vector Flexibility
(Page 2 of 3 )

Enter vector illustration programs like Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand. These powerful applications work wonders with page layouts. If you aren't familiar with vector-based drawing, let me take a moment to explain. While Photoshop displays information through pixels, vector-based applications work as the name implies; they display objects as a series of points and lines between points. Once an object is defined, you can simply click on it to select it, and then move it, scale it, rotate it, fill it with color, etc. You can even select multiple objects and group them. And did I mention that it is faster than working in pixels? Well, that would be an understatement.

Illustration programs are also the best when it comes to text manipulation. Photoshop added new control over text with the release of version 5, but the control is still limited. With Illustration programs, the text reacts just like any other vector object. You can rotate it, flip it, scale it horizontally or vertically, bend it, squash it, pound it, or just about anything else you can imagine.

As I mentioned earlier, all of this flexibility works in your favor when you begin to lay out your page.

In this example, I wanted the text moved to the right of the logo. First, I deleted the first part of the text. Then, I selected the rest of the text and rotated it up into the preferred alignment and moved it into place. I then used the scale tool and enlarged it to fit the size I wanted. Changing the colors was easy. I had my preferred web colors in the swatches pallette, so all I had to do was click on the item I wanted to change and then click on the new color to change it. Pretty simple huh?

Now, take this idea further and imagine that you have a logo, a navigation bar, blocks of text, thumbnails, and other formatting graphics. You aren't sure how you want to lay them out in HTML, so you are going to try some different combinations and colors till it looks the way you want. In a vector program, juggling all these elements is elementary. In Photoshop, all your time is used up in the steps, not the creation.

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