solutions by design
 

Graphic Artist/Designer, Illustrator, Photographer... Problem Solver

Welcome to my personal portfolio of sorts... As a graphic artist I have several ways of expressing myself through my artwork. I was introduced to the graphic industry as a "Commercial Artist" when I was still in highschool. The term Commercial Artist has since died and been broken down into "specialists"... Illustrator, Photographer, Designer and Layout Artist. I still think of myself as a Commercial Artist who has a passion for Illustration and logo design.

This site is dedicated to showing a wide range of skills and talent, while also informing visitors about me - who I am and what I do. Fotunately for me I get paid to do something I truely enjoy. I am a graphic/web designer for Fine Line IT & Websites. This site allows me to show you a glimps of the passion I have for marketable artwork as well as the fun stuff.

I am a family man and this site may be a sounding board from time to time. A place for family and friends to stop by and see some photos and see whats new.

 

Free Image Editing Solutions

It's always a struggle for web site owners, who are not graphics specialist, to manage a website full of images. They are usually put off by the price of image editing software or fear the learning curve for applications like Adobe Photoshop. In todays market keeping you site "fresh" helps build return visits from prospective clients or customers - simply put it keeps the customers interested. Inevitably site owners have to manipulate images on their site or pay some one to do so.

For Graphic Artists/Designers Adobe Photoshop is considered an industry standard and as a designer I work in Adobe Photoshop everyday to create graphic page layouts and custom designs. Its a hefty program and the cost can be substantial ($999 for Adobe Photoshop CS5 extended, $699 for Adobe Photoshop CS5, and $69 for Adobe Photoshop Elements 8). Most of the time however; site owners will not need a full version of Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop Elements can do most of the common functions site owners need to do on a regular basis. There is still a slight learning curve but its well worth the time.

There is hope for the simple tasks! I am constantly on the look out for resources our customers can use. Cropping images to fit a specific dimension for a banner or content image is usually pretty simple and there are some free applications to make the job even easier. Thats right FREE!

There are some web sites out there that do flash based image editing. They are generally easy to use and usually free (you have to sign up for a user account and some have "premium" pay options). Here are a few I have come across:

  • www.picnik.com/
    Picnik.com has been recently acquired by Google and works with all the social networking sites pica, flicr, photbucket, etc. It has quite a few tools available - such as image cropping, resizing, rotate, color manipulation, red eye, sharpen and exposure. Most of the time thats all you need. Not to mention that picknik has already been integrated into web based apps like Vertical Response (a popular Newsletter, Email Campaign Manager).
  • www.photoshop.com/
    Photoshop.com is basically a stripped down version of elements. It is great for resizing and retouching photos. It has some pretty cool effects you can apply to images. It allows users to create and share albums online. Another awesome online app - with one major flaw in my opinion - it does not allow the user to set custom crop dimensions. Thats a pretty big problem for individuals trying to match image sizes for banners in their websites.
  • http://aviary.com/
    Aviary is a full suite of applications that allow you manipulate and create images, vector artwork (illustrations), and Audio Editing. It has an extensive library of effects and continues to grow from user developed presets. The image editor "Phoenix" is a robust layer enabled editor that behaves exactly like a full version of Adobe Photoshop. Aviary has the same issue as photoshop.com when it comes to cropping/resizing. They both fail to allow the user to set a predetermined custom size to crop the image to.

If you would rather download a free image editing application to use on your computer instead of working off the interweb I would recommend the following:

PC Users
PhotoScape or Paint.Net are both free and will do most image editing tasks without too much of a learning curve.

Mac Users
iPhoto - I know, I know people who know me already think I am a Mac Zealot... maybe I am... But this has to be one of the absolute best free applications out there. Not only does iPhoto handle simple crop and color adjust - it also has facial recognition for sorting you library of photos. It allows you to post albums to flicr and facebook with a single click. It has location tracking, categorize by event, the list goes on. If you have thousands of digital photos and need to organize them efficiently you may want to look into iPhoto. Sorry, iPhoto is for Mac only and comes free with Apples OSX install.

To learn more about how to obtain Free Photo Editing Software and how to use it - Feel free to join us for TechNight on Thursday May 13, 2010 (*** UPDATE Tech Night is now on Tuesday May 18, 2010***) from 6 - 7:30pm at the Lewes Public Library. This is a fee seminar and I will be going into greater detail about how to use the websites and software I listed above.