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What’s happening at Fred Showker's Design & Publishing Center for the month of April?

April: The Color of Spring

Welcome to spring time!  

March's discussion topic and prize puzzle was "Spring Color." DTG readers were challenged with sharing their ideas and feedback on "COLOR."  We have five winners who took the time to share their insightful and entertaining comments with you.

Of course you can see the winners in the Creative Networking Department

Again we top the record for content and some pretty special guests...
First Richard Lynch helps us unravel the question whether to buy Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, and then Ani Phyo shares "Seven Steps to Return on Web Design" from her latest book. Finally, Photoshop expert Mark Clarkson steps up to help Photoshop 911 show you how to convert a photo to a line drawing!

Big thanks to Richard, Ani and Mark... as well as New Riders, Peachpit and Sybex books! Give'em a hand folks.  

It's a content-packed agenda -- but that's not all...

Those Designing Women are back, as the March theme overflows into April: Joyce Evans and Bennie Taylor both make appearances in Web Design Critiques -- helping web designers with no less than five critiques! Also, Melissa Mason is back, welcoming us into her Seattle "semiartist" studios.

Photoshop vs. Elements

We simply got tired of answering the frequent question of Photoshop vs. Photoshop Elements -- it's one of those questions that refuses to go away. So, there was only one most logical professional to ask for help - and we're thrilled that Photoshop expert, author and practitioner Richard Lynch would come to the rescue.  So folks, herein we put the long-run debate to rest: Which is best: Photoshop or Elements??

NOTE: There are three more of these nagging FAQs that we'll be answering in full-scale pictorial tutorials:

1) Eliminating Backgrounds in placed EPS and TIF graphics
2) Layer Masking and Vector Masking (digital graphics best friends)
3) Smoothing a bad complexion (Giving star-quality airbrushed skin)

Photoshop Pixels to Pencil Drawings

Another frequent question we get is how to convert photos to art of some form or another. Answering a distress call from a number of Photoshop 911 readers, we harness the "secrets" of Mark Clarkson, author of "Photoshop Secrets of the Pros" to use blending modes and adjustment layers to convert this photo into a nice Colored Pencil Drawing.

Spotlight: Sybex Books
Special thanks to Sybex for providing prizes for this month's winners... and to Cammie who helped with the preparation of "Pixels to Pencil Drawings" feature this month! BRAVO   

Seven Steps to Return on Web Design

Quite often these days we her the term ROI - which means "return on investment." One of the important books to come along in a while for web designers is Ani Phyo's "Return On Design." Ani is a Web Designer and founder of SmartMonkey Media and she brings some serious lessons into focus for web designers. We are proud to present Ani's Seven Steps to Return On Design.  

Photoshop Assemblage Made Easy

Answering lots of calls about putting images together for montage, collage and assemblage, we thought we would just knock out this quick tutorial that illustrates some of the more easy methods of bringing images into a single file. I've also get a full tutorial on "Layer Masking" almost ready for May's issue. Until then, you can enjoy these tips for Quick, Easy Photo Montage.

Those Designing Women are back...

You read Melissa Mason's article "Designless In Seattle" last month -- this month let's take look at some of her outstanding design work with a little visit to her studio Semiartist portfolio.

There are three more to be launched and hopefully we'll get those up before the end of the month.

Spotlight: TurboPhoto Stock Photos
Thanks TurboPhoto for donating prizes of Stock Photography (Royalty Free) CD-ROMS for this month's prize winners!   

Joyce Evans is back with Sweet Deco

Joyce returns to the Web critique department with some good news and some bad for the Sweet Deco of Austria web site. As usual, Joyce does a superb job pin-pointing aspects on various pages of Sweet Deco.

Speaking of Web Site Critiques...

Bennie Taylor is back this month with three all new web site critiques. She offers her usual style of great tips.

First, she tackles a huge online publication for postal workers called 9th Street Rag.

Next, she then turns her attention to the Doctors' Support Net. I chime in asking:

"If you were a Doctor in need of counselling, would you use this site?"
Finally Bennie visits a site that markets K-9 guard dogs and this time, even supplies an alternate graphic for the Rolling Meadow Kennels and Canine Training.

Find all of these in the
Web Design and Review Critique department.

Feature Web Sites for Review:

There are some interesting sites this month, from standard business sites to a few you might just call bizarre. Please look for those with specific questions about their sites -- they're the ones we want to help! Give them a look in the the Web Reviews Department

Folks, I was somewhat disappointed this month with both the site postings and critiques. Bennie and Joyce are carrying the load, but that still leaves dozens of web crafters who wanted help but didn't get it. A number of the submissions I answer personally, but time doesn't allow publishing all of those. Take a few minutes won't you, and help out a fellow designer!

Mail Bag: Tips, and Cool Finds...

The "mail bag" has become one of the most anticipated features of the DTG monthly email newsletter -- so many people list this column as their favorite. So, let's see what's at the Design Center post office....

Mail: Please Review My Site
We had more than two dozen requests in our 'contact' form during March asking for comments on web sites. Folks, we won't look if you don't use the form

That's why Web Design and Review was invented back in 1994. To get peer reviews of your sites. Take advantage of it.
You can also join the CAFE where there's lots of help available.

Mail: Which Program for Desktop Publishing?

Lisa from Madison, Florida writes in to ask: "Can you recommend the best Adobe program(s) for a graphic designer just starting out creating newsletters, brochures and advertisements. When I graduated college, I learned PageMaker. There seem to be many more programs now though.... I'm just looking for the best. And, can you recommend the best tutorial book to assist me?

Lisa, If you own PageMaker and know it, then you will be well served to stay with it for a while. PageMaker is a totally capable program.
(Regardless of what some might say.) I've seen hundreds of national and international design awards go to projects that were created in PageMaker. You should have Illustrator. Version 10 or CS would be ideal. If you can pick up a cheap version of 9, you'll be just as well off. If you can afford it, get Photoshop, but don't worry if you don't. For $89 you can get Elements which will do most of what you need anyway. (See this month's feature article)

and for books...

Mail: ISO Aging Photos

Marg from Australia is in search of:  

"I am trying to find a computer program that is used to age people in photos"

Don't ask. There are none.
Read my full response to this post at Photoshop 911 ...  

Tip: Logos Fonts & Lettering

I was thrilled when Leslie Cabarga gave us a tip to check out her new book the "Logos Fonts & Lettering" book. WOW, this is without a doubt one of THE most exciting books I've seen in some time. Seriously, I took it to pass around in my Typography class at JMU and my students went bonkers. Don't wait for the review... go get it right now!  

Letters: Jeff Duz Icons

Jeff from New York, NY wrote in to say:

"I found your site after clicking through links for hours in a search for a particular item of clip art. Your description of the hours I spent searching was dead on. From there, I read more about the Design Center and I'd like to become part of it."

But then Jeff told us about his thing --  which is making desktop icons for the Windows platform! Cool. We checked out his lead and found a whole eye full of visual candy. Jeff also has some good tutorials and content there so check out:  jeffs-icons

Special Thanks this month to Babel Color... Babel Color will be providing full working copies of Babel Color (Windows and Mac) to our prize winners for May. They are also contributing a white paper on analyzing color. Stay tuned.

Mail: Low price computer recommendation

Carlos from Ontario writes:  

"I am looking to buy a new computer. I've spent the last year working at screen printing company where pcs and corel rule the work environment. In college I always enjoyed and preferred macs. I don't have a lot of money and buying a pc would obviously be more affordable, should I invest in a mac and get my home studio off to a better start, and if so what should I get. I plan on using a lot of photoshop and illustrator."

Carlos, if you asked that question four years ago I'd have to say 100% Mac. However, Adobe products are so close between platforms it's hardly worth an argument these days. But you might want to check some of the refurb outlets and shop around for some deals.  A friend just bought a dual G4 with a gig of ram on eBay for around $500, complete. That toasts any PC deal you can find. You also have some really good Mac user groups in Ontario, and members get deep discounts at the Mug store.

Tip: Veenix: Design & Type Tools

Lindsay Rockland from Brooklyn, NY sent us a heads up to check out Lake Group Software's new product "Veenix: Design & Type Tools" -- we were impressed and you will be too.  Particularly at the low, low price. I've got a pictorial review in the works but while you wait check'em out.

Got Photoshop Questions? Who do you call?

Last month we opened the doors of Photoshop 911's new blog, and of course it was well received.  Traffic exceeded our predictions, and a lot more people got help than the month before.  It continues to grow, so join in if you like.  

National Poetry Month 2004 Poster Designed By Milton Glaser

Each April, the Academy of American Poets creates and distributes--for free--175,000 copies of the National Poetry Month poster to U.S. schools, libraries, bookstores, and community centers to help promote the month-long celebration and to increase poetry awareness.

Wonder why virus gets by the spam filters?

Virus writers are turning to .zip compression files to sneak their malware past virus filters. Microsoft's Windows XP offers native support for .zip files, making them easy targets. .zip files are also important business tools, making it problematic to filter them. They can also speed up the spread of mass-mailer worms by shrinking the payload. Some attackers are compressing gigabytes of data into .zip files, which can crash a machine when it decompresses the file. No easy technological solution exist ... beyond education.

Getting Ready for May & Creative Thinking

I wish to thank everyone for participating in this month's issue, the more creative input we get, the more benefits everyone will get out of it!
In May our topic will be "CREATIVE BEGINNINGS" where we'll all share ideas for getting creative inspiration. Don't forget to share your "creative" thoughts, and register for the May Prize Giveaways... Think about it first, then share your thoughts.

Happy April... go forth and be creative
Your lowly editor at DT&G Magazine
Fred

Fred Showker
Editor / Publisher, DT&G Magazine

Parting words: on the subject of CREATIVITY...
"The uncreative mind can spot the wrong answer, but it takes a creative mind to spot the wrong question." Anthony Jay

Let us send you a gift of thanks...
Please become a Friend, Patron or Partner of the Design & Publishing Center. When you become a Friend, Patron or Partner of the Design Center we'll send you a gift that fits your "wish list" ... You may not always get the exact book or software you specifically want, but you'll always get a gift that you'll really like!

(Be sure to contact us with your Amazon Confirmation email to activate your benefits... see next line)

How to contact us

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