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The Best Web Design and Graphic Software is Available in Academic Software Versions
by: Ispas Marin
Macromedia’s Studio 8 Suite Academic Software Package

Macromedia Dreamweaver

My first choice for HTML editors is Macromedia's Dreamweaver. It has an easy to use, intuitive user interface and state of the art design tools. With a customizable user interface, you can work the way you need to. Although the student software doesn’t come with manuals, Dreamweaver has excellent online tutorials.

You can design intricate CSS-based layouts and designs easily with tools that allow for quick selection and control of page and site wide style properties. There is a built in graphics editor that uses Macromedia Fireworks technology. Dreamweaver allows you to develop HTML, XHTML, XML, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, PHP, and Macromedia ColdFusion websites.

It has a cross-browser code validation feature that automatically checks tags and CSS rules for compatibility across all the leading browsers and allows you to configure browser preview for multiple browsers.

One of the nicest features is the Property Inspector that enables quick, comprehensive property editing that makes getting it perfect a no-brainer. This is the editor I use to create and maintain all of my web sites. I have used all of the professional and many of the other HTML editors available and can say that Dreamweaver is absolutely the best HTML editor. Since Dreamweaver is taught in most graphic design curriculums, it inclusion in the academic software package is needed.

Macromedia Fireworks

Fireworks is Macromedia’s answer to Photoshop and is included in the student software package. Fireworks has all the tools a web professional needs to create everything from simple graphical buttons to sophisticated rollover effects. You can import, edit, and integrate all major graphics formats, including vector and bitmap images and easily export Fireworks images to Flash, Dreamweaver, and third-party applications.

Besides all of the normal features you would expect in a professional photo editing program, fireworks includes new interactive design features and the ability to create pop-up menus in the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) format without the need for programming. One thing Fireworks does exceptionally well is batch processing. I use Fireworks batch processing all of the time to optimize entire directories of photographs. I can resize and optimize 50 photographs in just a couple of minutes.

Macromedia Flash Pro 8

Flash is the industry leader for creation animation and video movies for streaming over the internet. Flash creates movies with surprising small files sizes. That translates to quick download times and the availability to use flash animation on slower links and mobile devices and comes complete with tools for video creation especially for mobile devices. Flash pro 8 provides everything needed to create great looking videos. Since flash is being used more frequently is essential that it be part of an academic software package.

Macromedia Contribute

Contribute is Macromedia's answer to the problem of content management. It provides the ability to change the content of a website without having to know anything about HTML, but does not need all the expensive software and databases that a regular content management system uses. Contribute allows companies to buy an inexpensive tool that lets them provide content without messing with the design. Contribute is a solution that is custom-made for small to mid-sized companies that don't need all the power of CMS, but would like some of the benefits. Being included in the academic software package will give students an opportunity to see how a very simple CMS system works.

Macromedia FlashPaper

FlashPaper generates compact, fast-opening Flash documents that can be published to any website using Macromedia Contribute, Dreamweaver, or any other HTML tool. FlashPaper creates Flash documents through intuitive Microsoft Office integration and file drag and drop. Create Flash documents that are immediately available cross-platform on any web browser. Compact Flash documents open within a web page, eliminating the need for a separate viewer application. Flash documents can also be incorporated into Flash projects. Adding this to the student software package allows the student to experience using a very handy tool.

Adobe Creative Suite 2.0 Premium Academic Software Package

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is the graphics industry standard and my choice of photo editing software. I have to admit I love Photoshop. You can create original images or modify photos using a wide range of painting, drawing, and retouching tools. You can work the way that's best for you by creating personalized workspace and tool settings and customized keyboard shortcuts.
You can achieve sophisticated results by compositing images, text, and effects on hundreds of layers that you control by grouping into sets, color coding, and locking. You can simulate traditional fine-art techniques with dry and wet brush effects, pastel, charcoal, and more and even use brushes to add special effects such as grass and leaves.
There are tools to improve the color, contrast, and dynamic range of any image, easily remove dust, scratches, blemishes, wrinkles, and other flaws with the Healing Brush. Photoshop can give high quality output by working with the complete raw data files from most major digital camera models. It’s great all-around imaging software. Photoshop is taught in all graphic curriculums and had to be included in the student software package.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is also taught in every school’s graphic curriculum and is another essential part of a student software package. It is also an essential tool for anyone who needs to express ideas visually in print, on the Web, and in any other medium. When my clients send me a rough pencil drawing of the logo they want for their business, I create the logo in Illustrator then import into Photoshop to get it ready for their web page.
Illustrator has great 3D features, advanced typographical controls, Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) integration and enhanced printing options. Illustrator will help create and efficiently publish your artwork anywhere.

One of the nicest features is the ability to apply live effects without affecting the underlying artwork, so you can edit at any time without starting over. There are blending modes and transparency effects similar to those in Photoshop software but, unlike Photoshop, Illustrator has intuitive tools such as the Pencil, Smooth, Erase, and Pen tools.

Adobe InDesign

InDesign is the best page layout software available and is the choice of most print design professionals. With the advent of paid subscription totally-digital magazines, it is getting popular for laying out the print like pages of these products.
It can integrate with both Photoshop and Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) file formats and supports the multiple layer capability of Photoshop. It is an all around necessary tool for the professional graphic designer. Although not usually covered in most curriculums, it is a welcome addition to any academic software package,

Adobe GoLive

GoLive is Adobe’s answer to Dreamweaver. It has all of the features that you can find in Dreamweaver and is integrated directly into the rest of adobe products. Personally, I prefer Dreamweaver but golive is an excellent HTML editor and completes the suite for a web designer. Although usually on touched in classes, GoLive is welcome addition to any student software package.

Adobe Acrobat

Acrobat is the number one tool used to create the widely used PDF document format. With its built in security features that can prevent the user from copying or changing the document and the ability to require a password to open the document, acrobat is still one of the leading choices for creating paid e-books. This program is an absolute necessity for a web designer and therefore a welcome addition to the academic software package.

Adobe Version Cue

Version Cue is a file manager that tracks the different versions of the files you create with the graphics as well as some others. It is a very nice tool if you have several people collaborating on a project since you can maintains a complete change history of the files.

About the author:
If you are a student, teacher or educational institution that qualifies for the academic software discount price, please visit http://www.sprysoft.comto see what is available.

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