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Zarabadoo.com - Blog

Free Software for the Starving Artist

Many of my friends already know this, but I am a fan of open source. I haven’t gone as far to live my life Microsoft free (mainly because I have never gotten the hang of Linux), but most of my work is done on free and open source software. Art, office documents and even this website all run open source software.

Being a Windows user, this sort of software was hard to find since most of it was only available on open source platforms like Linux. In recent years though, more and more of the software has been written multiplatform. Most popular applications work on almost any current system including Windows and Mac OS X. A lot of them even open popular file formats like office documents and Photoshop files.

First, I will go through a few image basics before I mention the software. This all may be stuff you know, but it never hurts to mention it.

Working in 2D

A lot of you probably have some sketches or line work you want to color. There are a couple different ways to do it: raster or vector. Fortunately there are solutions for both.

We will first start with the one format most people are familiar with, and that is raster. Raster is basically pixel level editing. This is the sort of editing you would be familiar with in software such as Adobe Photoshop or Painter. It allows for a lot of subtle and detailed coloring and editing with a wide color pallet. This method makes it very easy to ad lots of variation in color with simple strokes of a mouse of tablet.

The drawbacks of this method are it’s large file size and limitations in scalability. In order to have a printable raster image, it is a must for the resolution to be set to 300ppi minimum. You can always size down a raster image, but you can’t make it bigger. Even when you are talking about and image intended to be the size of a standard piece of printer paper the space the image takes up is rather big. There are several compression-based file formats to help with the size issues, but the more you compress an image, the more the quality is compromised. Never save original work in a jpg or gif format. It is fine for putting a copy up on a website, but not for storage.

The second format is vector. In short, this method takes mathematical curves to make perfectly smooth shapes at any resolution without a large file size. The most popular software used for this method is Adobe Illustrator. All in all, a very cool format.

Vector’s biggest limitation is getting subtlety in color. Vector software has gradient features to allow blending of colors, but it can be very difficult if not impossible to attain realism in the format. With raster you can just mix pixel colors like you would with paints and a canvas. Vector images are limited to an assembly of filled shapes that cannot be mixed together. Sometimes one can mimic this by controlling layers of images and fine tuning levels of transparency and gradients, but it is usually simpler and more efficient to use raster.

That being said, the formats can be mixed and matched in art using their strengths. Raster is most likely the choice for mimicking realism and painting styles. It is just a good idea to plan ahead and think about your maximum dimensions of the image and plan accordingly. If you are into line work and comics, vector may be a good choice. It handles flat colors wonderfully and is flexible enough to handle printing resolutions for that impending book deal.

Enough already, where is my software!

Now for the information you started reading this article for in the first place:

The GIMP
This is the big dog in the open source raster graphics field. Despite what you may think from the name, there is nothing dirty about the program. It is a very powerful tool and is improving everyday. For most users, it can do damn near anything Photoshop can.

Inkscape
Vector graphics is a newer field in the open source field. The software itself is quite young (it hasn’t even hit version 1.0 yet). Despite that, users have used this software to create some pretty stunning images. I have also found its bitmap tracing to come in very handy for making my line work into vectors. It is still a far shot from Illustrator, but its full feature set has not been completely implemented yet either. It is still very useful.

Blender
For those of you into three-dimensional graphics, this is good software to start with. Its user base is growing everyday and so is it’s feature set. It was even used to make an entire short film. Again, not quite as powerful as other commercial 3D applications, but is making progress by leaps and bounds. It will only be a matter of time before it catches up.

Scribus
If you are planning on publishing your work in book form, you will need to get properly laid out. This is the tool to do it. It supports all that stuff the printers are looking for including CMYK color separation.

Conclusion

In terms of industry standard software, there are aspects of this aforementioned software that may not match up. You must remember that the nature of open source is to improve and evolve. You may even notice that the previous mentions will more than fit your needs. If it does, why dish out hundreds and thousands of dollars on software that will really offer no extra benefit.

If anything, this software will give you a start in pursuing your artistic ambitions. Now you don’t have an excuse to not start. It also beats the hell out of pirated software.

Comments:

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Begin forwarded message:

From: Bryant <bbatten@eswarm.com>
Date: May 7, 2008 5:15:51 PM MDT
To: newtech-27@meetup.com
Subject: [newtech-27] Job Opportunity: Web Developer
Reply-To: newtech-27@meetup.com

eSwarm.com is in search of a part-time web developer. We are looking for a dynamic, innovative, web designer for a part-time position.

Position
Web Developer

Wages
Hourly rate based on experience with a possible increase after a 30 day evaluation period, stock/equity options available

Schedule
Flexible schedule, 20 office hours minimum required

Benefits
N/A

Duties include but are not limited to
v Implementing graphical and programming changes to existing site(s)
v Improving existing graphical and programming techniques where necessary
v Maintaining current website and database
v Debugging existing issues and problems
v Maintaining existing coding practices and techniques
v Hiring/recruiting of additional technology staff Skills
v PHP 5 Object Oriented programming
v MySQL Database Administration
v XHTML standards and validation
v XML and XSL transformation
v JavaScript programming
v Version Control (Subversion, TortoiseSVN)
v FTP
v PHP IDE (Zend Studio, Eclipse, or Dreamweaver)
v Web Server Administration
How to Apply
v Send resume and cover letter to Matt Etlinger at metlinger@eswarm.com

Cheers,

Bryant Battenfelder

Marketing Manager

eSwarm Inc.

2955 Valmont Rd.

Suite 310

Boulder, Colorado 80301

303.449.0475 ×220

Fax: 303.449.0083

Check it out! www.eswarm.com

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Sono un tossicomane di colonna di suggerimenti. Non posso aiutarlo. Butto via con un calcio la mia prima mattina con una soia schiumosa latte, la mia bacca “Scelta” e una grande dose dell’“Equipaggio caro”. Quando sono fortunato, posso persuadere David a giocare insieme con un gioco video di “Che farebbe Abby?” Se lui è è in un umore chiaramente sportivo, possiamo scavare molto sotto gli strati della parola scritta. Che se il marito, “la Patatina fritta”, è veramente in vuole di Viagra, e non sta, in realtà, ottenendo un affare come “Corneo in Hoboken” pensa? Come se la suocera immischiante, “Madge”, ha un punto – forse “La buona Mammina in Leavenworth” è, infatti, una mammina cattiva. Generalmente, posso persuadermi che è una ricreazione di gran eccitazione pulita. L’anonimato di Patatina fritta, Madge e Corneo sta affascinando e consolando – questi caratteri semifittizi hanno difficoltà anche. La colonna di giorno presente fu soltanto semplice inquietante. Questo preoccupò una mamma che è un proprietario familiare recentemente in pensione con un prestito d’ipoteca eccellente. A meno che certamente lei fosse il direttore generale di una società grande pubblicamente barattata, questa signora è su una cosa enorme di un reddito fisso. Adesso riceva questo – lei ha due figli butthole, all’età viagra 22 e 24, dimorando nella sua proprietà e lei gli ha chiesto di buttarsi e spendere 30$ alla settimana. “La mamma fuori messa in rilievo” dichiara che loro stanno adesso “inveendo e delirando e chiamandola una madre cattiva.” Lei continua a mettere in dubbio se lei sta diventando irragionevole. Che? Dia calci a sigarette di fumo della pentola della gente, guardare della Rete di cartone animato, piccoli punk della Sua casa! Come può perfino Lei mettere in dubbio se Lei sta essendo irragionevole? È il tempo per Lei per espandere alcune palle e dimorare la vita quotidiana per cui Lei si è liberato della Sua estremità. Loro sono friggin’ i maschi di corpo capace che stanno completamente approfittando della Sua autorizzazione strade. Si sta dirigendo Lei per aumentare i loro bambini, anche? Semplicemente perché più veloce o più tardi, uno di loro veramente riceverà una data con una ragazza di perdente che non è il trattamento che lei sta vedendo un uomo che vive con la sua mammina. Allora Lei si sta dirigendo per avere veramente il giardino zoologico sulle Sue braccia. Sono malato e stanco di ascoltare su Boomerang ‘Bambini e che duro è per loro per farlo sul loro nel mondo intero grande, cattivo. Accordato, la nostra generazione tese a esser più coinvolta con la nostra istruzione da bambini ed erudizione, allevò con amore il loro ogni talento, creato positivo che loro furono esenti dal rischio da allergie di latice relative al pallone aerostatico – ma la Necessità di helicoptering di uscire ad alcuna posizione. Quanto più lungo aspettiamo intorno a, tanto più grande e badder il mondo sembrerà di essere alla nostra prole. “Fuori messo in rilievo” dovrebbe aver cominciato i suoi figli di fianco a un itinerario diverso un tempo prolungato nel passato. Non è la parte della professione per istruire i Suoi bambini a trattamento del loro stessi? Non ho aumentato mio figlio e figlie per essere bambini eccellenti, li alzai per essere ups coltivato vero. Questo significa quando loro sono d’età – loro sono per conto proprio. Loro cominciarono ad ascoltare su questo presto e frequentemente. Siccome loro si diressero

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