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  • Is Photoshop necessary?

    I'm just starting out, and have the most basic questions about how to make changes in the appearance of my vBulletin forum.

    If I want to modify the icons and buttons for my forum, will I need to use Photoshop? Please say no, as I can't afford it! Would Photoshop Elements 5 be sufficient for that purpose?

    The reason I ask is because all the files in the Graphics Development Kit are all in PSD format. (Can PS Elements 5 open those?)

    Alternatively, could I use another image-editing program such as GIMP? Paint Shop Pro? even for PSD files?

    Is there particular program that you could recommend as being inexpensive, but still adequate, especially in these early stages? I won't be doing anything too sophisticated, at least for a while.

    Thank you very much for your help. It's much appreciated. I'm really quite at a loss as to where to go next.
    Last edited by Baba Wawa; Fri 17th Apr '09, 8:42pm.

  • #2
    Okay, I see in another thread that Steve Machol uses PhotoImpact Pro. Some folks use PS Elements, a few use PSP.

    Thank you.

    Comment


    • #3
      The program I use isn't cheap, but it's not as expensive as Photoshop. Fireworks is also made by Adobe and will open PSD files. But realistically, you can use just about any graphics program you want, as long as you design all your own graphics - in other words, no editing of other graphics files.

      Making your own isn't too difficult if you keep it simple. Take a look at all the style based images in vBulletin's own styles and see if you can come up with some replacements of your own. Keep file sizes very small and the dimensions you might want to keep the same also.

      You can get free icons and buttons all over the Net - just search around for them. You can even ask people on graphics forums to make some for you. Some will do it for free, some want only a pittance.

      Photoshop Elements 5 is pretty old though (latest version is 7 and the upgrade price is about $59.00). And it's a photo editing package, not a graphics creation or editing program. There are a few cheap or free programs for doing graphics, but I am unfamiliar with them.

      Good luck.

      Jim
      If my post was helpful to you, please take the time to register at my forum and ask a question you've always wanted to know about floors.
      www.TheFloorPro.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Jim, thank you so much for your very helpful reply. You've given me so much info and advice to think about. You probably saved me from purchasing PSE 5, and thus helped me avoid a big disappointment.

        I'm a little puzzled as to how I would "make" a set of buttons myself. Would I start with a program like the old MS Paint and just "draw" something? Or take something from the Web and modify it?


        On edit: As I read about image-editors, I gather that I can use the image editor as a drawing program. On the subject of image editors, even Fireworks, at $300, is a little expensive for me at the moment. One reviewer of PhotoImpact (I think it was) at Amazon.com recommended VicMan Photo editor, which looks like it might be passable.
        Last edited by Baba Wawa; Fri 17th Apr '09, 10:20pm.

        Comment


        • #5
          I wish I could offer some recommendations or some feedback about the programs you're considering. I have been using Fireworks for a number of years now and haven't tried anything else. Didn't realize Fireworks was $300.00 (upgrade is only 129.00). That may be 2 or 3 times more than Elements and a few other programs, but for me it's well worth the investment. I realize that wouldn't be the case for anyone looking to only edit or make graphics for one forum or blog.

          R'gards,

          Jim
          If my post was helpful to you, please take the time to register at my forum and ask a question you've always wanted to know about floors.
          www.TheFloorPro.com

          Comment


          • #6
            You might take a look at Xara. They make a great drawing program that is excellent for creating web-style icons as well as full-blown logos and things. Not expensive at all. Xara Extreme 4 is the one I use, and they just released a web builder that sounds good. One reason I suggest Xara is that Xara and many of its users have posted very helpful video tutorials on making web buttons and so forth. Google it.

            Tom
            CLAMtalk.org
            Free resources for children's ministry

            Comment


            • #7
              PhotoShop is the industry standard. It is also waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overinflated in price in my opinion. The learning curve is also quite steep.

              I will recommend PhotoImpact -- It's $69.99 (quite affordable) and a brilliant program - I love it. You can work with psd files and many other file types as well.

              HTH,

              Jacquii.



              "Question my skill set perhaps, but never question my heart." -- JacquiiCooke.com

              Comment


              • #8
                I used PhotoImpact for many years. Great program. Unfortunately they only have a Windows version available and I have switched to Mac.
                Steve Machol, former vBulletin Customer Support Manager (and NOT retired!)
                Change CKEditor Colors to Match Style (for 4.1.4 and above)

                Steve Machol Photography


                Mankind is the only creature smart enough to know its own history, and dumb enough to ignore it.


                Comment


                • #9
                  I use Photoshop to modify/create construct my images and styls and have done for many years now. Is it necessary to use this package? Absolutely not? There are free alternatives out there for the user who is new to graphics editing, it depends what graphics software suits you.

                  The thinking I have always went by is the software is only as good as the person using it. Thegimp is a nice alternative, it's free and will do most basic stuff that photoshop can do enough to allow creation/modification of any graphics you are wanting to work with. Inkscape is another powerful software and again it's free. Many illustrators have turned to this package instead of adobe Illustrator and the great thing is, it's ivery well supported and tutorials are in abundance.

                  Photoshop elements will allow you to do whatever photoshop will allow you to do in the creation of graphics or maybe you wish to re-colour existing images but either way I would advise at looking at the free alternatives as they will serve you well and will not leave you out of pocket because they are free.

                  For me, I eventually moved onto photoshop after using photoimpact for a few years and photoshop paid for itself on the first job i did. Save your money, the free alternatives will give you what you need for what you want to do and accomplish.

                  edit: As far as I know the gimp will allow you to import psd files. It's a very well supported software and as with inkscape their are plenty of tutorials/guides to assist you and allow you to understand what the program is all about and what it can do to help you create graphics.
                  vBImageworks.com - Free Premade custom Smiley sets, Button Sets, Ranks and more...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Tom, Jacquii, Steve, and Shelley (and eJM),

                    Thank you so much for your generous replies and advice. This has been very informative and helpful. I really appreciate it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shelley_c View Post
                      I use Photoshop to modify/create construct my images and styls and have done for many years now. Is it necessary to use this package? Absolutely not? There are free alternatives out there for the user who is new to graphics editing, it depends what graphics software suits you.

                      The thinking I have always went by is the software is only as good as the person using it. Thegimp is a nice alternative, it's free and will do most basic stuff that photoshop can do enough to allow creation/modification of any graphics you are wanting to work with. Inkscape is another powerful software and again it's free. Many illustrators have turned to this package instead of adobe Illustrator and the great thing is, it's ivery well supported and tutorials are in abundance.

                      Photoshop elements will allow you to do whatever photoshop will allow you to do in the creation of graphics or maybe you wish to re-colour existing images but either way I would advise at looking at the free alternatives as they will serve you well and will not leave you out of pocket because they are free.

                      For me, I eventually moved onto photoshop after using photoimpact for a few years and photoshop paid for itself on the first job i did. Save your money, the free alternatives will give you what you need for what you want to do and accomplish.

                      edit: As far as I know the gimp will allow you to import psd files. It's a very well supported software and as with inkscape their are plenty of tutorials/guides to assist you and allow you to understand what the program is all about and what it can do to help you create graphics.
                      I'll second GIMP. It's an amazing piece of software, especially when you consider the price (free!).

                      Another free and popular image editor: Paint.NET. It doesn't have as many bells & whistles, but for what you're wanting to do it may work quite well.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thank you, Mr. K. You may well be right about Paint.NET. One of the things I noticed is that they have a forum at their site. Kind of a good sign!

                        I'm thinking that perhaps I should choose one of the simpler programs and try to master that. Then perhaps move up to one of the fuller-featured programs.

                        Thank you again to everyone for your kind help. It has been invaluable.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ((waves at Shelley Hey Girl!))

                          Originally posted by shelley_c View Post
                          The thinking I have always went by is the software is only as good as the person using it.
                          Absolutely! Never has a better statement been made :P

                          @ Baba Wawa - Ms Shelley has attempted to get me to work with PhotoShop LOL - Alas, I am too stubborn and stuck in my ways. As she says though - she had used PhotoImpact in the past and recommends it as an option. So if you're truly interested and serious about creating your own graphics - it's a wonderful place to begin. A $69.99 investment is not so bad right :P - Also - Gimp and Inkscape are wonderful free alternatives, as she mentions.

                          Good luck with it and I'm glad our comments are of help to ya

                          Jacquii.



                          "Question my skill set perhaps, but never question my heart." -- JacquiiCooke.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I use a combination of GIMP (though I hate the interface), Paint.net and Inkscape. I love both Inkscape and Paint.net. Nice Interfaces and decent enough features. Inkscape has better support than Paint.net. Inkscape should also gain EPS support this year as its an approved Google Summer of Code activity.

                            What ever you do, do not install the "PSD addon" for Paint.net. It doesn't work and can cause serious problems on your computer.
                            Translations provided by Google.

                            Wayne Luke
                            The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud customization and demonstration site.
                            vBulletin 5 Documentation - Updated every Friday. Report issues here.
                            vBulletin 5 API - Full / Mobile
                            I am not currently available for vB Messenger Chats.

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                            • #15
                              Here is a link (for the OP) to the .EPS format which wayne luke is speaking of. The .EPS file format overview.
                              vBImageworks.com - Free Premade custom Smiley sets, Button Sets, Ranks and more...

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