How To Choose A Graphic Design Program

Submitted by: Brian Scott

Choosing the right graphic design program can be more complicated — sometimes more complicated than creating the actual designs. However, rummaging through the many design software titles is necessary for professionals.

This article is a start to help you to decide. I have provided a brief list of the top design programs, both for graphic design and website design.

1) Adobe Photoshop: This is one of the best professional photo design software programs on the market. Its main function is photo manipulation, which is the process of using technical and artistic processes to alter an image.

Artistic applications within Photoshop include painting, drawing, touch-up, designing and adding text, and more. You can also edit more than one photo at once using this design software.

For example, Photoshop users can cut parts of photos together and slice and layer them to create a logo or greeting card design. Users can use this program to create website design images; it is also used for creating video effects to use in story line productions (i.e. making movies).

Adobe Photoshop is more advanced. I recommend Adobe Photoshop for the serious user, as it is also quite an investment. Before purchasing, I recommend you download a free trial of Photoshop if it is available.

Professional designers prefer Adobe Photoshop because of the following features:

Recording custom image actions for batch processing


Color balance and color match

Three different masking modes-masked, comps, and quick.

Smart objects and smart guides

Advanced fine tuning and control

CMYK and LAB color modes

Automated perspective adjustment settings

Advanced Animation Manipulation

Flawless photo layering

Don’t let the advanced features overwhelm you at first. To understand why you need Adobe to be a pro designer you can research free tutorials online.

2) Adobe Illustrator: Use this software to create original designs. These designs are often combined with images to create a new masterpiece. However, this program is also useful as a standalone drawing product.

Features of the latest version of Illustrator include outputting different document sizes, speedy scroll and zoom, customized work tools and libraries, anchor tools, and multiple cropping.

In addition, Adobe Illustrator integrates with Flash, and offers mobile device previews. Illustrator helps you to create professional-grade graphics compositions. (If you have ever wondered why your graphics do not come out as professional as professional television commercials, this would be the one product for you.)

3) Adobe Flash (Formerly Macromedia Flash): This software is for creating animation and interactive content for websites.

You can use Flash to create other forms of media as well. Flash works with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop and also converts animation files to the recommended AS3 format.

Furthermore, Adobe Flash comes with custom import tools and you can create instant code for your websites. Moreover, Adobe Flash utilizes Action Script 3.0, exports Flash files into QuickTime format, and helps you create mobile content. Additionally, you have the power over how your video will appear online.

4) Corel Photo-Paint: This is an advanced photo editing program with similar functions as Adobe Photoshop. Users can use this program s touch-up features, live text formatting tools, online font identification/collaboration tools, and extensive file import formatting (RAW format supports over 300 types of cameras).

Corel Photo-Paint also has additional features such as interactive table layout tools, thousands of clip art designs, and precise curves adjustment. This one seems even more advanced than Adobe Photoshop and novices like using it as a steppingstone to learn Photoshop.

Corel does provide over two hours worth of video training for this product. In addition it provides a very thick user guide, and it is possible to receive free lessons for this product online. The best way to learn what this product can do versus free amateur ones would be to test it out.

5) Photoshop Elements: This is another photo design program that users say has at least 99% of the functionality of Adobe Photoshop at a fraction of the price. You may want to find out of that is true for yourself. You can download a free trial of this software as well as a free trial of Photoshop and compare the two. You can also read further reviews online.

6) Corel Draw: This program is used in similar ways as Adobe Illustrator, and it offers both basic and advanced drawing and editing tools. Corel Draw allows you to custom edit shadows, improve the color of your photos, and design your own picture frame.

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