Tools I Use

Often I am asked what applications I use to do the things I do. So I thought I would make a page that I can dump my brain into. Here we go…

Web Design & Development Tools

This is a very long question to answer. Years ago Web Design/Development were pretty much one in the same due to the restrictive nature of HTML in relation to layout control and design techniques. Over the last several years though Web Design has come into it’s own as a separate job title. Now you have Web Designers (front end display) and Web Developers (the back-end coding & functionality). Since I am primarily now a designer I will focus on design tools.

The Ubiquitous Adobe Suites

Now I know there is a huge move towards OpenSource and I totally support it. However, since I’ve been using Photoshop for over 13 years (since version 2.5) I have a serious familiarity with the Adobe suite of products. Now that they have absorbed Macromedia the decision to use Adobe is kind of a no brainer… IF you can afford it. However, there is a way to get into the Adobe upgrade path for a reduced cost. If you live near a university or college that has an educational software program and you happen to know a college student you can provide them the funds and have them buy the software from the bookstore for you. Educational versions are perfectly fine and are fully functional. This is the easiest way to save some cash and get into the Adobe family. If money is no object then just go buy the suite you need.

OpenSource For All

So you read that and you say… I have no money and I have no college student to leverage… now what? Simple… go OpenSource freeware. Don’t shudder. In today’s world people commonly associate freeware with adware and spyware infections. This is common and also why it it is important to stay in the OpenSource projects. I’ll attempt to break down a list of design tools that are comparable to the Adobe suites. While they are nowhere near Adobe they will get the job done in a pinch and on a budget. You may be pleasantly surprised at the quality of these tools.

Here we go…

Aptana Aptana
Web editing tool. Competes directly with Dreamweaver.

Category:
Web Editor
Platform:
Windows / Mac OS X
Cost: Free
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Coda Coda
Web editing tool. Very cool and easy to use.

Category: Web Editor
Platform: Mac OS X
Cost: $79

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Nvu Nvu
Pronounced ‘N-view’. Very robust web editing tool.

Category:
Web Editor
Platform: Windows / Mac OS X
Cost: Free
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Seashore Seashore
Very clean and usable image editor.

Category:
Photo Editor
Platform: Mac OS X
Cost: Free
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Pixelmator Pixelmator
Photoshop replacement… seriously. If I had to choose an alternative to Photoshop for a Mac it would be this app. It’s insane and the price is definitely right.

Category:
Photo Editor
Platform: Mac OS X
Cost: $59
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Pixen Pixen
A very clever app. Primarily for very basic photo work and painting. It’s definitely not a Photoshop replacement, but it is fun and clean.

Category: Photo Editor
Platform: Mac OS X
Cost: Free

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Paint.NET Paint.NET
Photoshop replacement. If you are stuck on a Windows environment this is your best choice for a photoshop feel for zero cost. Do not be fooled by the 1.6Mb installer. You need the .NET framework installed as well which really increases the HDD space requirement. But it is a very nice substitute.

Category:
Photo Editor
Platform: Windows
Cost: Free
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Artweaver ArtWeaver
If you are familier with Corel Painter then this is for you. I wish there was a Mac version of this tool. This is for the fine art folks in the audience. Just like painting with real art medias.

Category:
Art
Platform: Windows
Cost: Free
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Artrage ArtRage
A very nice fine art tool. Very comparable to Painter.

Category:
Art
Platform: Windows / Mac OS X
Cost: Free entry app. $25 for pro version

Other Tools

I come across small apps that make my life easier I list them for you below…

Pidgin Pidgin
Formerly Gaim. This is a chat app that will allow you to manage multiple chat protocols and accounts all in a single IM window. This is VERY helpful when you have contacts that use different chat providers like AIM, Yahoo, Googletalk, Jabber, etc. Best part is it is multi-platform and free. Pidgin just about covers all chat protocols and systems. Great name too.

Category:
Messaging
Platform:
Windows / Mac OS X
Cost: Free
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More to come…

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