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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 - Compromise
(Page 3 of 3 )

Now, if you get the gist of what I'm talking about, you probably already understand the difference between GIF and JPEG formats. Most of the graphics you create in a vector program should be saved as GIFs since they will probably be made up of solid, flat color. However, if you do use gradients in your illustration or layout, you should switch to JPEG format.

This brings me to my next point. JPEGs are usually used for photos, and for obvious reasons, vector drawing programs don't give you a lot of options for editing them. You still need a program like Photoshop to edit your photos. In order to bring photos into Illustrator to use in your layout, you must have first created those graphics in a pixel-based program. Also, once you have finalized your layout in your vector-based application, you will need to open it in a program like Photoshop in order to cut it up into pieces and optimize them for the web. The truth is that there isn't much of a pixel vs. vector war since both types of programs work so well with each other.

So, we see how using an illustration program to flesh out your designs can really make a difference. With vector-based programs you have a better selection of tools, a quicker work environment, and a more flexible way to design. It really is an easier, faster way to work. If you'd like to get started, here are some things I recommend. As far as illustration programs go, I recommend Adobe Illustrator since it is the most compatible with all of Adobe's products and it seems to be the industry standard. There is also a nifty plug in for it that allows GIF export with more control. The plug in is called PhotoGif Illustrator and it is made by Box Top Software. For photo editing software, I recommend Adobe Photoshop. Paint Shop Pro is also a pretty good program if you don't have a lot of money and just want to get started. Oh, one more thing. Adobe just came out with an absolutely indispensible photo editor called Image Ready. It's basically a less expensive, scaled down version of Photoshop, but with some added web-specific features. For instance, this program reduces the size of your web files to practically nothing without sacrificing quality. From what it looks like, with Image Ready you might not need Photoshop after all. I'll do a review of it soon. All of these applications have demos available for download.

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