HOT TOPIC: Graphics Editors
Volume 3, Issue 24 - March 4, 2007

"The Web has been a visual medium since it broke away from text-only pages more than a dozen years ago. With advancements in Web-based technologies, it’s become primarily multimedial in nature. For those of us developing online content, having the ability to create, manipulate and transform digital images is critical in delivering content in dynamically visual ways.

With the advent of the much-celebrated “Web 2.0” it’s becoming much easier to find free tools to accomplish the kinds of cropping, resizing, rotating, coloring, layering and animating that come to mind when we think of powerful editing tools such as Photoshop, Fireworks and Paint Shop Pro. Fortunately, we no longer have to pay between one-hundred and six-hundred dollars to own a photo-editing suite that can handle images in a variety of formats for a range of purposes. The Web is not only flattening the world, it’s leveling the playing field for access to tools to get the job done.

In some cases these free tools are downloadable freeware that require no license or payment for use. In other cases they are actual online services that allow you to open a pic from your hard drive or from a specific URL path already posted on the Web, edit it, and then save it locally or post it on any of the numerous photo archives, blogs, wikis or social networking sites available.

These services go beyond simple editing of photos. You can manipulate screen captures and import them into step-by-step instructions. You can transform text into three-dimensional graphics for slide shows and web pages. And you can take an original graphic and make it come to life through animation. The most powerful of these tools emulate their pricey cousins, offering sophisticated functions for advanced users. The less complicated apps are simple to use and make graphic editing on the fly easy for students of all ages. Whatever your needs there’s a graphic editor for you!

It is my sincere hope that you will consider these top recommendations for graphics editors and make one or more of them your own. Online or off, there’s no reason you can’t quickly learn how to manipulate and manage your graphics files and model your skill-set for students and colleagues alike."

©2005 Walter McKenzie

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