Working With Graphics

In this day and age, anybody who is anybody has, or has toyed with the idea of having, a Web site. Any good Web site has to have graphics, which is why I am going to delve into the world of Web graphics today.

Since the graphics started appearing in Web pages, graphic formats, compared to other various web technologies, really haven’t changed much. Despite its short history, however, Web graphics itself is both an art and a science and there are numerous Web sites that devote their whole site to the various aspects of Web graphics.

For those budding DIY Web enthusiasts, you may be happy to know there are plenty of Web graphic editing tool out there to ease your foray into the internet world. But like all things, Web graphics have their own quirks and idiosyncrasies and knowing more about them could prevent you from pulling out those last tuffs of hair.

Web Graphics Format

Bit-mapped graphics, the type supported by today’s browsers, are, in their natural state, too big to be quickly downloaded over the Web, so you have to compress them. When the first debates on which graphic formats to use for the Web were raging one of the main concerns was compression capabilities. Because of their complimentary compression algorithms, JPEG (also known as JPG, and pronounced “JAY-peg”) and GIF (pronounced either “Jif” or “Gif”) were chosen.

The JPEG file format supports over 16.7 million colors or are, in the industry parlance, 24-bit images regardless of whether your monitor can display them correctly or not. If you have an 8-bit video system, the image will be ‘dithered’ to approximate the effect as best it can from the 256 color available. Because of the large number of colors, JPEG is best for photographs or graphics with lots of colors that blend from one to another. However, JPEG is a “loss-y” compression algorithm, which means that during compression colors are literally being thrown away. Obviously, the higher the compression, the more information is lost and the lower the quality of the graphic (the upside is the file size is much smaller so it downloads much faster).

GIF on the other hand is a “loss-less” compression. Although quality is not compromised during compression, it is limited to handling no more than 256 colors. It is best for images that have text or solid colors for example logos.

Web-safe colors

Web safe colors is no longer as important as it used to be as we are using significantly sophisticated equipment compared to 5 years back. But being a fuddy-duddy that I am, I thought we could touch briefly on how Web safe colors come about.

Some graphics render differently on different systems. We can maximize the odds of having a Web graphic look the same on different monitors and different browsers by using Web-safe colors, sometimes known as the Web palette, the color cube, the 6x6x6 palette, the Netscape palette, the Explorer palette, or the 216-color palette. These colors are composed of 216 specific colors that are universally recognized by browsers and operating systems.

Why only 216 colors? After all, even the simplest computer video systems used nowadays are 8-bit systems that are able to render up to 256 colors.

The reason for only 216 colors is because different operating systems and browsers insist on reserving colors and cannot be changed. The Mac palette has two reserved colors (black and white), the Windows palette reserves 20 and Netscape themselves reserve 13 more colors for its logo leaving 223 colors available to the users. But for technical reasons, Netscape programmers decided reduced the color palette to the newest cube root – 216 colors. By eliminating these 40 variable colors, what we have is a palette that is optimized for cross-platform use.

Unix systems are an entirely different breed. Their palette is based on math, not beauty and many of the 216 colors may be dithered on Unix machines using a 256 color display, because of the way Unix handles color palettes on the fly. So the 216-color Web-safe color palette is a Mac/PC tool only.

So what happens to those colors in the graphics that are not part of the Web-safe color palette? What the browser or operating system will do is to choose those colors that simulate it the closest.

At the time of this writing, most graphic design/development tools (e.g. Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Illustrator, Freehand, Fireworks, etc.) have the web safe colors palette built into the application, so using it is fairly easy.

However, currently too few users uses an 8-bit computer video systems to view the Web in 256 color, so the justification for using the Web-safe color palette is questionable. But alternative online devices, such as cell phones and PDAs are still in 1-bit (black and white) or 8-bit color, so there is some resurgence in the need for the Web-safe colors.

Also, there’s no harm in using Web-safe colors either. It simply limits your choices to 216 colors. To a professional graphic designer, it is more important to know how to combine colors in pleasing and effective ways rather than knowing the rights or wrongs when it comes to which colors you pick. Since most people don’t have a lot of color picking confidence, working with limited color choices is usually easier.

Conclusions

Web graphics is part science and part art and making the best use of them is part knowledge and part talent. Next month we will delve further into Web graphics.

How to Solve the Biggest Problems With Photo Editing

The Virtual Vanity Box

Photo Editing tools have become ubiquitous. Visible flaws can now be swiftly fixed or re-fixed. With the introduction of various social media platforms, each and all of us want to look fabulous and glamorous for their display profile pictures. Almost every person now applies these applications, graphic slates, or professional programmes to alter their raw JPEGs or GIFs. Photo Editing endows a hassle free fix for the photographs to make them look just right and interesting to gaze at. Mentioned below are a few major scenarios where these smart editing tools can provide a touch up with precision.

Indistinct Pictures

Amateur photographers do not understand the unavoidable use of tripods or monopods in dim lights. Therefore, their pictures come out to be blurry or unclear. Blurred photographs can now be made clear and sharp. There are tools which can also aid you to reverse the effect i.e. anonymize a photograph by blurring it.

Removal of the Red Eye

This defect is generic in photos of the people with light eye colour and when they look directly into the flash. This effect of red spot appearing in the eyes can be removed with red eye removal tool.

Temperature Control

It is a trend to get clicked in retro or solar modes. The temperatures could be adjusted with the use of smart editing tools to make your picture look as if it was clicked in early years. You can even set other colour combinations and make it look more attractive. However excessive sharpness will increase the noise; whereas extensive noise reduction will spoil the picture details. Temperature control can be used to retouch an old photograph to make it look as clear as new.

Photo Crop

Some images can include unnecessary background and might serve as a distraction from the main focus. A cropping is performed to remove the additional objects, people, landscapes, etc. At times, cropping is also done to reduce the size of a picture or to focus the subject.

Removal of Dust

Images or shots taken of plain areas might highlight the curds stuck on the sensor of a camera. To clear the spots in the final image, healing brushes are used. This flaw is generally visible if the aperture is small or lesser than f/16.

Contrast Issues or Over Exposed Images

At times, some pictures are taken in excessive bright light or in sharp sunlight and an imbalanced image is produced by a huge difference in highlighted and gloomy areas. Such images have high contrast level as they were overexposed to light. By fine-tuning the coordinates of histograms to the appropriate levels, the contrast of an image can be controlled.

Control the Size

The scaling of an image is performed to make people or objects look small or large by adjusting the pixel digits. With the concept of Thin is In almost all the photographs of models are edited to make them look thinner.

Multicoloured

This feature helps to produce the same image in various colours. This technique cuts of the tedious process of photography of identical objects in different colours and budget friendly.

The Touch Up is Just a Click Away

Not everyone can manage to buy a fully articulated DSLR or professional cameras. These touch-up tools can transform any picture from faded to fabulous. Nevertheless, adaptations in pictures are not merely limited to the professional use or social display, but are nowadays, a platform to prove one’s ingenuity and fun quotient.

Benefits of Technology in Graphic Art and Designing

How interesting it is that being a graphic designer you can give a visual aspect to your imagination. For being a good designer, artists need to have good knowledge of visual arts, text font and types, colors, objects, theme of the design, etc. And when the technology is doing well for all, why graphic designers remain away from its benefits? Graphic art is a domain where the designer has the liberty to express the thousand words without uttering even a single one. It offers a way of visual communication which not only depends on the pretty looks, but also on the representation style and what object is hidden behind the creation of the artwork. In fact, it has given the numerous ways for visual representation of ideas.

The world is changing with the changing technologies and gradually the use of brush and color is being replaced by the computer designing tools although the traditional art has its own essence. There are various advantages has been included with the integration of advance tools and technologies. It has provided a great medium to shape up the thoughts and experience. Now it is responsible for processing the visual data received from the real world or the virtual world. Rather, it can to create those objects and design which can’t be created in the real world. It does not put the limitations on the imaginations of the artist and they can draw anything and everything.

Technology driven graphic designing tools have brought multiple benefits to us and some of the benefits which make the document worthy are discussed below:

Precision

You can easily figure out the difference in every design which you’re creating with the help of tools. Unlike the traditional art here the smallest point will be very clear because traditional art puts the limitations as far as precision is concerned. The objects, dimensions, lines, grids, etc. can be put with perfection in the documents.

Clarity

If the two documents, one is made by the hand and another is designed with the help of graphic designing software are compared the difference is clearly visible. The second document is more clear and impressive and score better to convey the thoughts designer is trying to put forward. The more technologies are transforming, designers are obtaining better results.

Creativity

The output of the design depends on the execution of imaginations, but creativity is like the oxygen which imbibes the life into it. It completely depends on the imaginative skills of the designers that how unique they can think and in what way they organize and serve them on the white space. Designing tools offer a great range of possibilities which add excellence in the creativity of the artist.

Ability to change the thoughts into things

To create a unique and quality document it is the necessary aspect that you don’t have only thinking ability, but you should be capable of giving it the look and shape. It may be possible that you may think beyond the existing reality but what is the point if you can’t represent it. In fact a true and passionate artist can draw better what can be imagined and software applications to help them to bring their idea live. Technology tools are helping to actuate or change the thoughts into things.

Flexibility

Designing software give the flexibility to create, save and edit any image or media. In fact, you can develop multiple copies of the single document by changing its size, color, feel, etc. You can create a variety of designs with their wide range of tools and to do so, select the portion or object from the picture give it your desired touch. Moreover, they are very productive when you need to create similar kind of objects in various shapes and size.

In the coming next year, technology will continue to empower the abilities of the designers. It’ll help in planning and projecting ideas in the moving or still textual and visual content. They are the platform for them with immense possibilities to share their experience and communicate their ideas with the help of text and images. The technology has simplified and diversified the task of graphic designers, and now they can create digital visual media, save their original work and print it also. Ads in the newspapers or magazines, web pages are the visible examples of their work.

Graphic designers use the designing tools as a medium to convey what they think and experience with the help of text, objects and images with the motive to indulge the viewer in some kind of action. These tools are not only for commercial purpose rather they are the assistive hands for the artwork of the designers which help them to convey their emotions, represent their feeling, and presents the thought process of them.