Posts Tagged

web design

‘Tis the season for design-friendly web tools, with Google making a free Web Designer app and Hype 2 making it simpler than ever to create beautiful HTML5 animations. But several weeks ago, a preview of an app caught my eye with its attempts to make normal web design simple for anyone with an eye for design: Macaw.

Advertised as an app with the flexibility of an image editor but designed for making clean CSS and HTML code, Macaw looks like the web design tool we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the simplicity that tools like Frontpage advertised years ago, but with the clean, modern code that otherwise would take hours in a text editor. Pulling off such an auditions project, though, isn’t so simple, which is why they started a Kickstarter campaign yesterday to fund their efforts to make Macaw and bring it to the Mac and PC.

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We’re used to Google launching free new web services (and shutting them down) on a whim, so it was rather odd yesterday to see that Google had released a new free desktop app: Google Web Designer. Designed for Mac and PC, without even a version for Google’s own Chromebooks or perhaps Android tablets, Google Web Designer looks like an Adobe app and feels like a blast from the past.

Actually, though, it’s intended to blast away a technology who’s time is long past: Adobe Flash. It’s free, and it’s called a Web Designer, but it’s directly designed to help you make animated and responsive HTML5 ads for Google’s DoubleClick ad platform, presumably both to cure the web from the last vestiges of Flash and to help ads on Google’s platforms get clicks on mobile.

But hey: it’s also essentially a basic free version of Hype that you could use to make animations for your site, even if you’re not advertising with Google.

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As a web designer, slicing a mockup or exporting optimized images can be some of the most annoying and time-consuming tasks you must undertake. Granted, some designers and developers don’t do any “slicing,” but at some point, the need to allocate images becomes necessary. Whether that image is part of an element’s background or a slide for a slider, slicing it, exporting it, and optimizing it can take you a some time – unless you decide to get Enigma64, that is.

Enigma64 is a Photoshop plug-in that addresses not only slicing, exporting, and optimizing images, but it also gives you the ability to use Base64 as a method of exporting your optimized image. If your workflow includes some of these steps, follow us after the break to learn more about this incredibly useful plug-in.

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You just whipped up an awesome website design in Photoshop and are about to forward it to your developer. But wait: while you could do this, and risk that your design isn’t the most intuitive thing ever, you could also test it without having any past HTML or CSS experience with ClickThru. ClickThru is a Mac app that allows graphic designers to import test designs and create temporary splices. These splices then turn into buttons which make the test site functional. The designer can then test a design in the web browser before sending it off to a client.

Let’s take a look and see how helpful it can be in testing your designs. (more…)

When it comes to image editors, Adobe Photoshop remains the gold standard for professionals. But for students, the amateur, or anyone starting their career, the $700 price tag (or even ~$200 with a student discount) is likely prohibitive. There are cheaper apps available, such as Acorn and Pixelmator, but they offer far fewer features.

Luckily, there’s GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) a completely free and open source image editor that nearly matches Photoshop’s versatility. It’s long been available on the Mac if you had X11 installed, but never looked the part of a high quality Mac app. That’s all changed with the latest 2.8.2 release of Gimp, which shipped as a fully native Mac app. That’s what prompted us to take a closer look at the most popular Photoshop alternate.

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It’s hard to believe that we’re coming up on a year since the Mac App Store was first announced. It seems like only yesterday we were itching to get our hands on a marketplace full of great utilities, games and other goodies all custom tailored to the Mac platform.

While categories like Games took off dramatically right from the start, the offerings for designers and developers got off to a much slower start and are just now starting to really take off. Below is a collection of over thirty useful Mac App Store apps for designers. I’ve intentionally left out obvious favorites like Pixelmator and tried to keep the list more towards hidden gems that you may not have tried yet. Take a look!

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