A Guide and Tutorials about Computer Graphics

Introduction :-

In 2006, I started work for Pfizer in Terre Haute. The company has several large plasma screens around the site fed by the Symon system that are used as bulletin boards and part of my job is to write the messages for them. When I started work there the most sophisticated graphics editors they had were Microsoft's Paint and Office Picture Manager.

I wanted them to put a copy of Micrografx's Picture Publisher on my computer but they didn't have the licenses for it and so I asked them what programs they had licenses for and so I had PhotoShop installed.

I like using Picture Publisher 8 and have been using it for years at home. I started using Picture Publisher 6 after it was bundled with a scanner I bought, then, in June 2001, PCPlus magazine gave away a copy of Picture Publisher 8 and I've been using that for all my home graphics work since. I did try a copy of Picture Publisher 10 which was by then owned by Corel but it behaved very strangely in Windows XP and would often mess other programs up, especially Internet Explorer for some reason, and so I went back to using version 8.

Picture Publisher 8 CD from PCPlus - June 2001

Picture Publisher 8 CD from PCPlus - June 2001

In the 1990's, when I was still living in UK, there were several people I knew who had pirate copies of PhotoShop which even then was expensive. The odd thing is, I also knew a couple of moderately talented artists that could do things in Paint that the people with their pirated copies of PhotoShop would be hard put to match.

In February 2007, I and a couple of the other regulars were sat in Terre Haute's Denny's North and the conversation turned to graphics editors and I mentioned I used PhotoShop at work but still used Picture Publisher at home. It turned out that at least one of the people I was talking to had pirate copies of PhotoShop and they swore that there was no other graphics editor that could touch it. In fact, one person offered to sell me a copy of PhotoShop for $5, which I declined - it's not that I'm "holier than thou" but if I wanted it, I'm perfectly capable of finding and downloading my own illegal software.

I'm not saying that PhotoShop is a load of rubbish, it is after all the "Industry Standard" graphics editor, but for what most people want then there are other programs like Picture Publisher and the GNU Gimp that are more than capable of producing the results they want. In March 2007, the current cost of Adobe's PhotoShop CS2 is $649 and Adobe's Creative Suite 2.3 Premium is $1,199.

It was mainly because of this conversation that this section of my site was created. What I hope to do is show some of the work I do, which admittedly is not high-end, and how to achieve the same effect in PhotoShop, Picture Publisher and Gimp.

Comparison :-

I've been reading a couple of websites that compare GIMP and Photoshop, notably GrimThing, Linux Advocate, and LifeHacker. The main objections to GIMP seem to be about CMYK and RAW support which I don't need but professional photographers and printers do. There are also complaints about the naming of "GIMP" and about its interface, the latter IS a bit weird as it uses separate floating windows for the menus and tools which is a bit disconcerting when you first see it aren't used to it. The other arguments quickly degenerate into the Windows/Mac/Linux and "the software I use is better than what you use" type of rubbish.

GIMP's floating windows

GIMP's floating windows

GIMP installation on a Windows PC isn't that easy either as it was originally written for Linux and I can't find a consolidated Windows installer for the program. Here's what you need...

GIMP Installer
GTK+ 2 Runtime Environment
GIMP Animation Package - if needed
PSPI - needed if you intend to install standard 8BF filters such as those used by PhotoShop and Picture Publisher.

This page created 25th March 2007, last modified 26th March 2007

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