Inexpensive graphics design software for aqua effect

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by dmelgar, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. dmelgar macrumors 68000

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #1
    Hello,
    I'm creating a website and need a few simple graphics that I'd like to have an aqua 3d-ish look.
    I'd like to do it myself so that I have the flexibility to change it over time.

    I don't have a heavy need to a graphics program so I'd rather not spend a fortune on one.

    What graphics design software do folks typically use on a Mac (or even Windows) to create graphics that can have the aqua look?

    I've tried GIMP. Maybe it can do it, but it doesn't seem to allow drawing. Not even simple lines as far as I can tell.

    I've tried EZDraw, but I haven't seen anyone describe how to do aqua with it.

    I've heard lots about Photoshop, but I don't even know if that means one program or a suite. What about photoshop illustrator? Both of these seem exceedingly expensive for my limited needs.

    Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Um don't take this the wrong way but are you sure you're actually going to be able to do it, you can't even figure out if photoshop is a program, a suite or a company brand. :eek:

    For reference - Photoshop is a program which is available as a standalone program or within a suite from a company called Adobe. Illustrator is another standalone program which can also be bought in the suite with photoshop, again from Adobe.

    As I'm not quite sure what you mean by the 3d aqua effect can you give us a bit more of an idea or even better an image of the style you want.

    At the minute I'm thinking its the 'gloss' effect which in my view is best suited to photoshop or fireworks (also part of the adobe suite) which has some predefined 'buttons' in this style if my memory serves me correctly. GIMP should be able to do it as well though.
     
  3. InLikeALion macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    :D

    To the OP. I think gimp can probably do it. I think I could create the effect in MS Paint if I had to, although it would be very time consuming and by the pixel. A certain software isn't going to just make that graphic for you - you need to know the visual principals behind what it is that you are trying to create. You could have Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and still not be able to make it look how you want; design is in the user, not the program.

    You need to learn some basic tools and their principals, and that knowledge will apply to gimp, Pixelmator, Photoshop, Fireworks, etc....
     
  4. LeviG macrumors 65816

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  5. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

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    #5
    GIMP or Pixelmator IMHO.

    But the real question would be do you have the technical abilities to do it?

    Anyway here's a tutorial for Vista styled buttons which can easily be done for Aqua effects on GIMP.
     
  6. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #6
    I would get Pixelmator it is quite simple to use and i guess in the op's situation he hasn't used photoshop but if you have, then pixelmator is very similar. It can do most simple things photoshop can do but don't expect it to do as much as photoshop. However it is much better than GIMP.
     
  7. dmelgar thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #7
    How can this not be taken in the intended way as an unhelpful dig. I'm trying to find a program for graphics design, I don't want to invest lots of time sorting out all of Adobe's product offerings since I don't intend to use them. They have many products with non-descriptive names, many versions of each product and product bundles to boot. Most references seemed to point to the CS3 (now CS4).

    As an example, one product name on the website is, Adobe Illustrator CS4. That in itself is confusing. Everything off the main site now says xxxx cs4. Does that mean they're all part of the same suite? I don't really care enough to investigate, that why I'm asking to see if anyone can suggest an application. Within that it lists, design premium, web premium, production premium, master collection. That points you to what appears to be collections listing a mess of products. Its not clear that you can buy them individually. Same thing happens when you select Photoshop CS4.

    There's a "photoshop family". Within there it lists Photoshop CS4 extended, Photoshop CS4, Photoshop Lightroom 2, Photoshop Elements 7, Photoshop Elements 7 & Premiere Elements 7, Photoshop.com. Again its not clear without digging deeper if the CS4 items are part of the suite. It certainly is not obvious which program would be appropriate. Hence my original question.

    If you can't even figure out how to answer the question, then maybe you shouldn't bother answering.

    I'm astounded that someone responding to the original question has no idea what aqua is. Maybe this would help.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_(user_interface)
    http://developer.apple.com/document...delines/XHIGPartIII/chapter_11_section_1.html


    Yes, I am referring to the translucent 3D effect. Aqua tries to make UI controls appear to have a drop of water on them, makes it look like light is reflecting off the water. The illusion is of water making a translucent surface over the control which is curved.

    After all this discussion about Adobe products, why would someone use Photoshop to design graphics? There's no "photo" involved. From the sound of it, isn't "Illustrator" the more appropriate product?
     
  8. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #8
    This is also not intended to be a dig, but you really need to back up several stages of the process of graphic design if you don't understand the difference between a vector graphics package and a raster graphics package.

    Seriously, if you leap straight into trying to produce work without understanding any of this stuff, then you're going to blunder about making basic errors and it's going to take you longer to sort them out than it would have to learn the basics in the first place.

    I know that the best way to learn is by doing, but I can't explain how to construct perspective to you until you know how to use a pencil, paper and a ruler ... it's the same principle.

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  9. dmelgar thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #9
    I'll try a different approach asking...

    I have several graphics I'd like to create.

    1. I'd like to create an aqua looking button. I've seen tutorials on how to do this with Photoshop and GIMP.
    2. I'd like to draw a curved arrow with a similar aqua effect, ie with a reflection, lighting, ideally even a shadow.

    I don't see a way to draw a curved arrow in GIMP. Its able to manipulate images, but it has practically no drawing tools.

    Meanwhile, I've found EZDraw lets me draw an arrow, but I haven't found tutorials talking about how to do aqua looking buttons etc. I'm not sure if it can do some of the desirable effects I see in GIMP.

    All these packages seem complex enough and usually non-intuitive to me that its hard to determine what can be done in what application without investing lots of time in each one.

    And regarding vector vs. raster graphics, there's no reason why a program can't support both types of operations. Its more a matter of what facilities are desirable and how to present them to the user.

    And that also doesn't make a difference regarding drawing tools. I should be able to draw using either vector or raster. Its an implementation detail. You can always export a vector graphic as raster.
     
  10. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #10
    OK ... Photoshop is the bitmap image editor/creator of choice for almost all graphic artists, with Illustrator existing largely as a complimentary tool for more vector-specific tasks.

    If you have no interest in designing for print, then the cut-down Photoshop Elements may be for you, since it excludes (amongst other things) CMYK mode. However, you get the vast majority of Photoshop's functionality at a fraction of the price.

    If you've never used any of the major graphics apps, I'm afraid anything that gives you the functionality you're looking for is going to appear complex enough to seem bewildering. Photoshop is logical, stable and has been around forever, meaning that there online tutorials all over the place.

    I would recommend Photoshop Elements (the previous version - v6 - is discounted on Amazon US at $75 and UK for under £50 ... gotta love that exchange rate). I would suggest that a single afternoon with Elements and a copy of Elements 6 for Dummies ($16.50 on Amazon US, £10.50 UK) will probably see you more than proficient for the tasks you describe.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  11. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #11
    It helps to have an idea of what a program/range can do before looking for an alternative - adobe software is the defacto standard for graphic design which is an area that can be split into many different areas, photoshop has some more specialist and cut down version available.
    Illustrator is a different program and intended for different tasks (vector) and is often combined with photoshop/indesign to produce an end result.

    You could say its like someone looking for a program to do a table without knowing the best type of program for it is one for spreadsheets.

    Actually I would say I do know how to answer the question, (ignoring the fact that aqua is technically the interface and not just the style) but due to your apparent lack of understanding of graphics I thought I would just clarify that it is in fact the gloss finish (which is not 3D in my view) you are looking for.
    In fact both illustrator and photoshop (plus gimp and pixelmator) can be used for the end result (its just easier with photoshop in my view) and by the way photos are used quite often in graphic design.

    However I stand by my view that fireworks is the best option for you as by the looks of your lack of understanding of your program requirements it would be the best option for you as the buttons are already made for you in a drop down menu on the right (by default) and as a whole the program is designed for web graphics.
     
  12. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #12
    Good call, although Elements is cheaper ...

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  13. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #13
    I'm sure there is something which is the same but cheaper than fireworks but as I use adobe software and fireworks very rarely I'm not up on all the alternatives in that particular area.
     
  14. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

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    #14
    In GIMP it is very easy to create the aqua effect, just google "gimp tutorial aqua effect." That should do it.
     
  15. arsenalgear macrumors member

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    Dec 17, 2007
    #15
    After you design your basic graphics in Adobe Photoshop Elements (or whatever graphics app you choose), you could then take them into Aquatint (http://www.sticksoftware.com/software/Aquatint.html) for the Aqua-fy look you want.

    I have it, and it works well.
     
  16. Muzz macrumors newbie

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    May 21, 2008
  17. NeoMayhem macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    You can download a free trial version of photoshop and illustrator and do what you need. The trials last 30 days for each app I believe.
     
  18. a cat *miaow* macrumors regular

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