The Best Web Design and Graphic Software is Available in Academic Software Versions

Macromedia’s Studio 8 Suite Academic Software Package

Macromedia Dreamweaver

My first choice for HTML editors is Macromedia’s Dreamweaver. It has an easy to use, intuitive user interface and state of the art design tools. With a customizable user interface, you can work the way you need to. Although the student software doesn’t come with manuals, Dreamweaver has excellent online tutorials.

You can design intricate CSS-based layouts and designs easily with tools that allow for quick selection and control of page and site wide style properties. There is a built in graphics editor that uses Macromedia Fireworks technology. Dreamweaver allows you to develop HTML, XHTML, XML, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, PHP, and Macromedia ColdFusion websites.

It has a cross-browser code validation feature that automatically checks tags and CSS rules for compatibility across all the leading browsers and allows you to configure browser preview for multiple browsers.

One of the nicest features is the Property Inspector that enables quick, comprehensive property editing that makes getting it perfect a no-brainer. This is the editor I use to create and maintain all of my web sites. I have used all of the professional and many of the other HTML editors available and can say that Dreamweaver is absolutely the best HTML editor. Since Dreamweaver is taught in most graphic design curriculums, it inclusion in the academic software package is needed.

Macromedia Fireworks

Fireworks is Macromedia’s answer to Photoshop and is included in the student software package. Fireworks has all the tools a web professional needs to create everything from simple graphical buttons to sophisticated rollover effects. You can import, edit, and integrate all major graphics formats, including vector and bitmap images and easily export Fireworks images to Flash, Dreamweaver, and third-party applications.

Besides all of the normal features you would expect in a professional photo editing program, fireworks includes new interactive design features and the ability to create pop-up menus in the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) format without the need for programming. One thing Fireworks does exceptionally well is batch processing. I use Fireworks batch processing all of the time to optimize entire directories of photographs. I can resize and optimize 50 photographs in just a couple of minutes.

Macromedia Flash Pro 8

Flash is the industry leader for creation animation and video movies for streaming over the internet. Flash creates movies with surprising small files sizes. That translates to quick download times and the availability to use flash animation on slower links and mobile devices and comes complete with tools for video creation especially for mobile devices. Flash pro 8 provides everything needed to create great looking videos. Since flash is being used more frequently is essential that it be part of an academic software package.

Macromedia Contribute

Contribute is Macromedia’s answer to the problem of content management. It provides the ability to change the content of a website without having to know anything about HTML, but does not need all the expensive software and databases that a regular content management system uses. Contribute allows companies to buy an inexpensive tool that lets them provide content without messing with the design. Contribute is a solution that is custom-made for small to mid-sized companies that don’t need all the power of CMS, but would like some of the benefits. Being included in the academic software package will give students an opportunity to see how a very simple CMS system works.

Macromedia FlashPaper

FlashPaper generates compact, fast-opening Flash documents that can be published to any website using Macromedia Contribute, Dreamweaver, or any other HTML tool. FlashPaper creates Flash documents through intuitive Microsoft Office integration and file drag and drop. Create Flash documents that are immediately available cross-platform on any web browser. Compact Flash documents open within a web page, eliminating the need for a separate viewer application. Flash documents can also be incorporated into Flash projects. Adding this to the student software package allows the student to experience using a very handy tool.

Adobe Creative Suite 2.0 Premium Academic Software Package

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is the graphics industry standard and my choice of photo editing software. I have to admit I love Photoshop. You can create original images or modify photos using a wide range of painting, drawing, and retouching tools. You can work the way that’s best for you by creating personalized workspace and tool settings and customized keyboard shortcuts.
You can achieve sophisticated results by compositing images, text, and effects on hundreds of layers that you control by grouping into sets, color coding, and locking. You can simulate traditional fine-art techniques with dry and wet brush effects, pastel, charcoal, and more and even use brushes to add special effects such as grass and leaves.
There are tools to improve the color, contrast, and dynamic range of any image, easily remove dust, scratches, blemishes, wrinkles, and other flaws with the Healing Brush. Photoshop can give high quality output by working with the complete raw data files from most major digital camera models. It’s great all-around imaging software. Photoshop is taught in all graphic curriculums and had to be included in the student software package.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is also taught in every school’s graphic curriculum and is another essential part of a student software package. It is also an essential tool for anyone who needs to express ideas visually in print, on the Web, and in any other medium. When my clients send me a rough pencil drawing of the logo they want for their business, I create the logo in Illustrator then import into Photoshop to get it ready for their web page.
Illustrator has great 3D features, advanced typographical controls, Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) integration and enhanced printing options. Illustrator will help create and efficiently publish your artwork anywhere.

One of the nicest features is the ability to apply live effects without affecting the underlying artwork, so you can edit at any time without starting over. There are blending modes and transparency effects similar to those in Photoshop software but, unlike Photoshop, Illustrator has intuitive tools such as the Pencil, Smooth, Erase, and Pen tools.

Adobe InDesign

InDesign is the best page layout software available and is the choice of most print design professionals. With the advent of paid subscription totally-digital magazines, it is getting popular for laying out the print like pages of these products.
It can integrate with both Photoshop and Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) file formats and supports the multiple layer capability of Photoshop. It is an all around necessary tool for the professional graphic designer. Although not usually covered in most curriculums, it is a welcome addition to any academic software package,

Adobe GoLive

GoLive is Adobe’s answer to Dreamweaver. It has all of the features that you can find in Dreamweaver and is integrated directly into the rest of adobe products. Personally, I prefer Dreamweaver but golive is an excellent HTML editor and completes the suite for a web designer. Although usually on touched in classes, GoLive is welcome addition to any student software package.

Adobe Acrobat

Acrobat is the number one tool used to create the widely used PDF document format. With its built in security features that can prevent the user from copying or changing the document and the ability to require a password to open the document, acrobat is still one of the leading choices for creating paid e-books. This program is an absolute necessity for a web designer and therefore a welcome addition to the academic software package.

Adobe Version Cue

Version Cue is a file manager that tracks the different versions of the files you create with the graphics as well as some others. It is a very nice tool if you have several people collaborating on a project since you can maintains a complete change history of the files.

Photo Editing to Improve Photos

Photo editing is not a new technique and it has been around for a number of years, however, it used to be the preserve of professional photographers and photo editors. Nowadays, thanks to modern technology, and the advancement in digital photography, photo editing can be achieved by almost anyone with a computer. Photo editing techniques can be difficult to learn, especially some of the more complicated aspects, such as removing people or items from an image. In this article, we will look more closely at what a photo editing program can do for the photos that you have taken, either via the latest in digital cameras, or those old 35mm snaps that you have stored in photo albums from years ago.

Photo editing is important if you want to have a collection of top quality images that you can be proud of. It can help you to touch up your photos, by sharpening the image, removing items that should not be in the picture, as well as helping you to restore old photographs.

A lot of people still have a lot of photographs that were taken on an old 35mm camera, however, these photos can also suffer from the ravages of time, and in order to restore them to their former glory used to require the services of a professional photo restorer. Thankfully, even the most basic of editing programs can help you to restore your photos back to their former glory.

All you need to do is to scan your old photographs onto your computer, and then use the features on the photo editor to breathe some new life into them. You will be able to brighten up dull pictures, whilst at the same time repairing and removing all traces of tears and blemishes.

As good as the free packages are, they can be limited in what they will allow you to do, so if you are looking to produce top quality saleable photographs, then you might want to pay the extra cash for a really top notch photo editing suite.

Hopefully, this article has given you some idea on how even the most basic of all photo editing apps can help you to attain a high quality image. Photography is an excellent hobby; however, all too often images can be ruined by poor lighting conditions, or simply by selecting the wrong camera settings. With a photo-editing app, you can eliminate all of the unwanted areas of an image, leaving you with a professional looking snapshot.

Choosing Photo Editing Software

Producing an effective and memorable image takes time, patience and even a little bit of luck. There is also a skill set that must be developed before one can take a freshly captured image and develop it into something much more powerful than it was in its original form. The tips contained in the following article are meant to provide a basic template for the novice photographer to use when editing their images. As with most things in life, it’s important that one understands the fundamentals before diving into the details.

Nearly all of the point-and-shoot style cameras available today have some level of built-in image processing, particularly when using the “automatic” camera settings. These image settings are meant to provide the proper balance of exposure, sharpness and color saturation to each and every image without the need for sophisticated post-processing. By and large, most cameras do a very good job at this, though it certainly takes some of the control away from the user.

There are many instances were users may want to boost the saturation of their images or even change them from color to black and white. Users may also want to increase or decrease the file size or may simply want to crop out certain portions of an image. Fortunately, performing such tasks is made simple using a basic photo editing program and can have a significant influence on the final image.

I will not go into recommending any particular photo editing software in this article, but will say that there are a wide range of possibilities ranging from powerful and expensive applications to low-cost or freeware programs. The decision regarding which program to use depends on the degree of editing required and how much money the user has to budget toward software.

If the user will be dealing with RAW image files or using actions, layers or filters then perhaps a more robust software package should be used. On the other hand, simple editing such as cropping and contrast/color corrections can be done using a bundled photo editing program or standalone freeware program.

The Best Blogging Sites and the Blogging Explosion

As a change from the usual “make money” articles, I thought I would write about the importance of blogs, not as a moneymaking tool, but as a news source and how that has totally changed the way we get our news.

Perhaps one of the hottest innovations in the Internet world in recent years is publishing news stories as they happen through blogs. But what is a Blogger? Bloggers tend to be very active in updating their own blogs immediately, very often making the news on blogs more up-to-date than many newspapers and TV channels. Unlike much of the news that is published by other media, private blogs do not need to bypass the scrutinizing eyes of editors and publishers before they can be read by the public, even on some of the best blogging sites. In general, blogging news stories as they happen has some benefits as well as a number of drawbacks.

Many people will remember one famous news story that hit the blogs before it reached other more mainstream media outlets. In July 2005 when a terror attack occurred in London, and the passengers were moving out of the subway close to the area where the explosion happened, a man captured some photos of the scene on his mobile phone. The images were spread online and many people worldwide learned about the incident by reading the personalized articles with the pictures posted by bloggers, scooping many of the big media and news companies in the process.

The fact that ordinary people rather than reporters are now distributing stories and images directly to the public is generally a good thing because it can often get the news out there quicker. News in blogs is also usually written in first-person perspective, this has potentially launched a new age of reporting by influencing how the news ends up in the hands of the community. This way of writing is known as New Journalism.

A lot of bloggers and educational commentators who are experts in their field favor the rising trend of blogging current news stories for the reason that hopefully more democratic news reporting can be achieved. By disseminating the control of the old news outlets, blogs permit more points of view to be heard, rather than the sanitized and controlled version of the news the public has been getting in recent years.

On the flip side many people are also against the use of blogs as a channel for news. They say that unlike newspapers and TV stations who employ people to verify the information related to the news, there are only a few blogs who can afford editors and fact-checkers, so many of them do not pay much attention to the journalistic accountability aspect of their articles. This leaves us with the possibility that this careless process of posting unverified news will spread rapidly and many people will be misinformed.

The debate on the ethical issues of blogging news as it occurs is a complex one, but regardless of where you stand, you can certainly agree that this progress has started to reform the way that people are getting their news. Just try and find an online newspaper that has not got many blogs on it these days!