Free Web & Graphic Design Tools

Yes you can do web and graphic design, virtually free. But not without it’s learning curve and headaches. In my experience, it is more practical to combine freeware and licensed tools (who can beat Photoshop & Dreamweaver?)

Below are some of the freeware tools you can use, not only for web design but graphic design as well. These stuff are recommended by fellow web designers around the world and truly are marvelous. Enough rant, read on and learn!

Color my world

Color Schemer Online provides a simple interface that lets you select a color and instantly see 15 other harmonious colors.

Color Scheme Generator 2 takes a more scientific and complex approach; it includes tools for viewing monochromatic, contrasting, and analogic color schemes. It helps you create balanced colour schemes and see what they look like to people with various colour vision deficiencies.

Inexpensive or free images

A picture may be worth a thousand words. But to a designer, free photos may save a thousand bucks. Stock photography can be expensive—it’s not uncommon to have to pay a few hundred dollars per image, and that can quickly erode a design budget. Few clients want to budget for those things.

Fortunately, there are plenty of online sources for low-cost or free imagery.

MorgueFile, for example, organizes its collection of free high-resolution photos into simple categories such as Animal, Objects, People, and Still Life

Stock.Xchng has a massive selection: more than 150,000 photos. iStockPhoto isn’t free, but each image costs just $1 to $3, and the quality of the photos is better than what you’ll find at most free sites. And you can search the Web with YotoPhoto, a search engine that scours the Web for free images.

What’s your browser?

Most web designers think that they have to design for IE (Internet Explorer) and hack their way to make it work in others browsers.

Sorry folks, that is not the way it’s supposed to be.

This is how it should be. Design your website and make sure it works in browsers that support web standards like Firefox, (and personally I like Opera but not too many uses this at this time). When it is working in a web standard browser, then you hack your way in making it work in IE. That way, you ensure that your work will work in any browser.

MeasureIt, a Firefox extension by Kevin Freitas, is a simple tool that can help refine your design process. While viewing a page in Firefox, you drag a rectangle across the page—over a graphic, for example. A shaded box appears giving you pixel values for the width and height. It’s a helpful diagnostic tool, perfect for making sure your designs add up.

It’s your online measuring tape – CSS gives Web designers the power to accurately control their page layouts. With pixel-accurate placement, you can dictate where a banner, sidebar, or graphic should be placed on a page.

Web Developer Toolbar – An essential extension for any web developer/designer as it provides a raft of incredibly useful features all under one roof. You will wonder how you ever managed without it! The Web Developer extension adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser with various web developer tools. It is designed for Firefox, Flock, Mozilla and Seamonkey, and will run on any platform that these browsers support including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

You can turn off JavaScript to see how a page works without it; add a graphic outline around all block-level elements to quickly identify layout elements on a page; display the size (in pixels) of any block or image on the page; view any cookies currently set for the current Web site; make sure all the links on a current page work; validate HTML and CSS; and plenty more. Web Developer belongs in every Web designer’s toolbox.

Web photo album

JAlbum -this gallery software makes web albums of your digital images. JAlbum aims to be the easiest to use and most powerful tool in this category – and free! My favorite skin for this tool is the banana album.

With JAlbum, no extra software is needed to view the albums, -just your web browser. Unlike "server side" album scripts, JAlbum albums can be served from a plain web server without scripting support. You can also share your albums on CD-ROM.

AutoViewer is yet another Flash image viewing application. AutoViewer is designed to display a linear sequence of images and captions, and also includes an auto-play feature (hence the name). It’s free to use –  download and see instructions on how to use.

PostcardViewer is a free Flash image viewer. The interface is based on the real world metaphor of a set of postcards shuffled onto a surface.

SimpleViewer is a free, customizable Flash image viewing application. It can be used for a more formal approach like weddings or corporate images.

And more…

Of course there are more, but that will be in my next post so that you won’t have to read long text. And you won’t be bored.

Cryptainer LE – Free 128bit Encryption Software – Secure your data and ensure absolute privacy with this powerful encryption software. It ‘s powerful 128 bit encryption, creates multiple 10 Mb encrypted containers (drives) on your hard disk. These encrypted vaults can be loaded and unloaded on need. You can view, modify and hide all types of file with a single password.

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