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Web Site Design***
Your Graphics A Professional Look without
Graphic design is
an intimidating subject for many Internet
entrepreneurs. However, most of us must
learn some basic design techniques to
avoid the high costs of hiring a professional
You can create your own
graphics that can look just as nice as
some of the professionally created graphics
for a fraction of the cost.
In order to create your
graphics, you will need to invest in a
good graphics program. You don't have
to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy
graphics design software. Paint Shop
Pro is a wonderful graphics program and
is the only program you'll need to design
professional looking graphics. You can
download a free 30-day trial and register
the software for only $99. http://www.jasc.com
The first and probably
most important graphic technique we're
going to discuss is text. This is probably
what you will use the most. Not just any
text, but text to be used with your logo,
banners or page titles.
When you're ready to begin,
open Paint Shop Pro and click on "File"
then "New" and type in a width
and height for your image. Make sure your
"Image Type" is set to 24-bit
and select your background color. You
can leave the other settings at their
defaults. Make sure you give yourself
a large enough space to work with, as
you can reduce it later.
Your first step will be
to select a good font. Depending upon
the effect I want to achieve, I use one
of three different fonts; Impact, Verdana,
or Arial Black. If you don't have these
fonts installed on your computer, you
can find them here:
The first text effect
we will be creating will display your
text in a large font size with a drop
shadow effect. This drop shadow effect
can also be used with any other images
Your first step will be
to select your text color. To change the
foreground and background colors, double
click on the top and bottom color squares
on the right. Your text will be
displayed in the color within the top
box, which is the foreground color. For
this example, I will be using a light
color as my foreground color.
Once you've selected your
text color, click on the text tool on
the left side (It looks like a capital
"A"). This will launch your
text window. Select your font and text
size from the drop down menu and type
in your text. I will be using "Impact"
bold, size 24. Make sure you select "Antialias"
and "Floating" then click "OK."
Antialias will smooth
out all of the rough edges of your text
and blend it in with your background color.
You will use the Antialias setting with
various graphic tools when designing
your graphics, so it is important to remember
You will now see your
text with, what looks like, marching ants
around it. If you'd like to move your
text, click and hold your left mouse button
to drag your text to your desired position.
With your text still selected
(with marching ants), at the top of the
screen, go to "Image" then "Effects"
then "Drop Shadow." This will
launch the "Drop Shadow" window.
Your image will be viewable with the drop
shadow in the little window at the right.
You can try different settings until you
achieve the shadow effect you desire.
Another text effect that
is popular will display your text in a
graduated color effect. Your text can
be displayed with a dark color at the
top and gradually get lighter or just
To achieve this effect,
the foreground (top box) color must first
be set to white. Next, click on the text
tool and follow the same procedure for
displaying your text. You should now see
your text displayed as "marching
ants," only with no color. Now you'll
need to select a dark color for your foreground
color and a light color for your background
Once you've selected your
colors, click on the "Flood Fill"
icon on the left. To change the effects
of the Flood Fill tool, locate the little
box on your screen that says, "Controls"
then click on "Tool Controls."
Under "Fill Style" select "Linear
Gradient" and then click on "Options"
at the bottom. The "Blend Mode"
should be set to normal. In order to select
which color will be at the top of your
text, where it says, "Degrees"
type in either 0 or 180 depending on your
desired effect, then click OK. Now place
your mouse over each letter and fill it
by clicking on your mouse.
After you've filled your
text, you can either create the shadow
effect or "right click" on your
mouse to deselect your text.
If you'd like to decrease
your graphics window size, click on the
"Selection tool" on the left
(dotted rectangle) and select the portion
of your graphic that you'd like to display
your new sized image. Click on "Edit"
then "Copy" then "Edit"
- "Paste as a new image."
After you've completed
your graphic, go to "File" then
"Save As" and select a folder.
Type in a name for your graphic and save
your new file in the .GIF format. The
program will prompt you and ask you if
it's all right to reduce your file to
256 colors. Click on yes. Your new graphic
is now saved.
Now that you've mastered
these new techniques, try them with some
of your other images. The drop shadow
effect can be used with photographs or
just about any image you'd like. Try the
graduated color effect with your banners
or image backgrounds and give your graphics
a professional look.