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Web Design

edited November 2006 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
So, I know how to design web pages. I have read up and worked with CSS / XHMTL for a while, but I am never impressed with my work. Simply mediocre. I have zero knowledge with creating graphics. How should I go about learning? For example, what softwares do you use [for a Mac]? Any books? tutorials? I like fresh / clean designs [not graphic heavy], but do not know how to create anything worth looking at. For example, I would like to be able to create the graphics found in the header of Vanilla. Stuff like that.


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    That's a good question. Personally, I use Photoshop primarily. But in support of that I also use Fireworks and Flash from time to time. That's just me though. Some use GIMP or other programs. If you have an Intel based Mac, be advised that any current PS version (CS2 and down) aren't universal and will run under rosetta. This will be corrected in CS3, which is due out next year. However it isn't too bad under rosetta, so if you found a copy at a fair price it might be worth it. If you've yet to take the Intel plunge, than the current PS versions would be fine. To be honest, I can't say about the current Flash/Fireworks universal status. My primary dev machine is still a G5, and I've been waiting on CS3 to update with one of the new Mac Pro's and move the G5 to a supporting role.
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    Thank you for the feedback, guys.... Thunder, I didn't know that.... Maybe I should just stick to a PC for graphics for now... not sure exactly how to approach it....
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     Quote: litbynature  Maybe I should just stick to a PC for graphics for now...
    That's like using skipping ropes to train for climbing Mount Everest!
    Professionals use Macs!
    Anyone telling you different is an amateur, and not a good one either. pic

    (Ducks for cover as wannabe professional PC users light up their flame throwers)
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    I commiserate with you about good design. I can see something that I think looks good, but I find it difficult to understand why it looks good. So for me, the problem is more about design (what looks good on a page and what works well to achieve the objectives of the page) than execution (what technology to use to achieve the effect). I'm inclined to think that making the page "work" is more important that making it "pretty", but doing both is obviously best of all.

    If these are issues for you too, then there are some discussions on this forum where people have listed their favourite site designs, and I've always found I get good ideas from looking at good design:

    Good designers
    Vanilla design examples
    Books on design
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    Yeah Wanderer! Everyone knows Macs were made for designers. I use Photoshop as well. Type in photoshop tutorials and you can find a ton of stuff on how to do all the little things you see on everyone sites... Glassy buttons, shiny surfaces, neat little graphics using some of the filters...

    They main thing it takes to be a good designer is a head for art. If you can draw by hand (or have a sense of desiging), you should be able to pick up designing on a computer relatively easily. I would look at csszengarden and some of the other design portfolio sites to see what you like and incorporate them into your design. Cssbeauty is another one...
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    thank you everyone.... i will dig into some photoshop tutorials.... and see what happens. i am not looking to create anything intense. just to bring some taste to a layout.
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    Also remember, good design is about good ideas, not good equipment.

    A fresh concept or way of looking at things will set you WAY above the rest.
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    3stripe is absolutely correct. What computer you use is really no importance. I use a MacBookPro, but it has no effect on my design.

    Good design is all about ideas, namely problem solving.

    My recommendation is start with educating yourself. Screw learning how to use programs. You don't need a car before you know how to drive.

    I would recommend picking up a copy of Meggs' History of Graphic Design. It isn't for the weak of heart, but it's what I had to read in college and I still go back to it. Once you have a foundation, you will easily find new places in design to explore. It will give you the context to start experimenting with.
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    edited October 2006
     Quote: FuntimeBen  What computer you use is really no importance. I use a MacBookPro, but it has no effect on my design.
    Ah but it does have an effect, in a not so subtle way!

    imageI have been training "designers" for 12 years and without exception, people with a PC/Windows background are seriously dull, unimaginative, boring and restricted to thinking in a box, very much like the Mac Ads on TV currently which is why I laugh so much when I see them.

    When learning Illustrator for example, they focus and obsess on the steps and technical aspects of creating a path where the more creatively bent Mac people get on with being creative and enjoy their work once they master the skill.

    I'm not sure what comes first chicken and egg style, do boring people select the PC/Windows platform or does the PC/Windows platform turn people into boring drones?

    I suspect the latter because many of them, being forced into using Macs initially, become very addicted to the platform and in turn creative, successful and nice people to boot!

    imageSimilarly with programmers, web developers and the like. No doubting their technical expertise in making things "work" but the interface and front end is appallingly dull, unexciting and vomit-indicing, certainly not something one enjoys looking at let alone using.

    Anyway, enough of my ranting, who got me started on this topic?
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     Quote: litbynature  Maybe I should just stick to a PC for graphics for now..

    That might be a little bit drastic. Photoshop under rosetta isn't that bad. Not what it would be natively, but far from unusable.

    You could always use GIMP until CS3 becomes available, just to save a double purchase, although last I looked it was a little bit of a chore to get installed and such. If command lines scare you, skip it.

    Either way, IMO, CS3 wouldn't be a reason to miss out on the Mac experience.
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    edited October 2006
    days of installing Gimp through command line have looong gone.
    For Windows
    For Macs
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    Cool. Might have to take 'er for a spin.
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    I agree that hardware is not going to transform you into an amazing designer. @FuntimeBen: Thanks for the book reference. I do need a solid foundation in order to move ahead. Thanks everyone...
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    Just to throw another bone to the Gimp, I am an avid photoshop guy, but my current job does not have a copy. So I installed the latest Gimp here to try and make do (my primary function is application design, not graphic). I was pleasantly surprised at what it can do now once you get the hang of it.
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    KrakKrak New
    edited October 2006
    I don't like the GIMP but, there is a modified version of GIMP I came across while I was off trekking in Linux a while back. It is modified to look like PS. The menus, etc, almost everything are made to look like PS. It made using it a little easier when I had to, at least you knew where to go for something you needed. You didn't have to search websites and tool bars looking for what GIMP calls Gaussian Blur etc. Edit: now I remember, it is called GIMPShop.
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    Thanks, Krak!
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    I like this concept of GIMP but it has a SHITE name. How is anyone meant to take that seriously. For example I would never recommend to a client cos it sounds stupid :)
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    And Mac addicts wonder why so many PC users hate them *rolleyes*

    In all honesty Wanderer, that is just your opinion and a righteous one at that. There are many reasons why someone may not be able to use a Mac (cost for starters, and yes, I'm a Mac owner) so getting up on your high horse effectively saying "if you don't use a Mac you'll be crap at design" is not exactly helpful.

    I completely agree with you on the name of The GIMP 3stripe. It's a hangover from linux days of yore. They could do with rebranding it to something a little more modern.
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