Tag Archives: design

Using Artisteer to Develop WordPress Themes

Your theme is the first thing visitors will notice when arriving on your site. Although it may be the content that drove them there in the first place, it’s the design that will help them decide on whether to stay and read more.

The Artisteer program is one of those methods that can help you develop a great looking theme tailored to your desires. There are many features in this program that make it a wonderful tool, especially for those who plan on developing more than one website.

1. User Interface – The user interface of Artisteer is incredibly easy to manage. Each tool is self-explanatory and nearly every aspect of the website can be altered. The layout of the tools is chronological and will help any user customize a blog theme from top to bottom, literally. Adding images, font sizes, icons, and more can be altered to make your site look and feel exactly how you want it to.

The WYSIWYG editor will show a representation of what your page will look like when a visitor is browsing it. Any aspect you change can be seen within Artisteer and you can make easy adjustments in order to produce the theme you are envisioning.

Whether you need a specific pixel dimension for your blog’s width or imposing borders around the blog itself to give it a drop-shadow effect, the Artisteer software can handle it all. While the preset suggestions will randomize a look and feel for the website, you can change any aspect you wish in order to create the perfect look to fit your niche.

2. Graphics – Although you don’t need Photoshop or Illustrator to create impressive graphics, it doesn’t hurt if you have these skills. You can develop all of your graphics, icons, header images, and more using any image development program you have including Paint. As long as your image is saved as a supported graphic type such as a JPG, PNG, and others you can add them to your theme.

These images can range from small icons or bullets to as large as background images for your site. There is truly no limit to what imagery you can use within the software. However, keep in mind that your website could perform poorly the larger and more elaborate your images are.

3. Exporting – When you are done with your masterpiece, simply export the theme as a .zip file that is usable by WordPress. Once you are in your Admin panel for WordPress, browse and install the theme like you would any other. Your website will look exactly as it does in the Artisteer WYSIWYG editor.

Artisteer will allow you to save these .zip files for installations or .artx files for editing your templates for future updates. You may find that a specific font or color scheme isn’t widely accepted by your target audience and using the .artx file in Artisteer will allow you to make quick changes and theme version numbers to keep track of your progress.

Looking to add that personal touch so that you get credit for developing such a beautiful template? Artisteer will allow you to embed your name, link to your website, and version information within WordPress so that anyone using or seeing your template will know who made it and where it came from. This could help others click on the information at the base of the page to drive additional traffic to your own website.

4. Ideas – Artisteer gives you the ability to create as many themes as you want for any occasion. You can make a different theme for your blog corresponding with the seasons. Holidays can be accentuated by developing graphics and color schemes that match such as cool colors and white for winter. The possibilities for design are only limited by your own imagination. Backgrounds, overlays, and even java video can be used in this development program to provide a unique look that no one else in the world has.

5. Extenuation of Development – Artisteer doesn’t just make themes for WordPress. A wide variety of other content management systems are also able to utilize these templates such as Joomla, Blogger, and Drupal. You could provide themes and designs for friends and family. You could even assist others in a professional atmosphere by helping them develop an attractive site using the Artisteer program.

6. Continued Support – As Artisteer has gained so much popularity as being one of the best template and theme design programs from the various content management systems, there is little fear from the software becoming outdated. Versions and upgrades are constantly available from Extensoft, Inc. and available forums are constantly utilized by users in order to share knowledge and help with virtually any problem should one arise. The responsiveness of the staff is impressive and they can be very helpful if you’d rather contact them directly.

You can sift through the websites looking for that perfect theme for your blog, or you can create exactly what you want. You can pay someone to develop your themes for you, or you can buy Artisteer and make them yourself whenever you want.

You don’t need extensive programming or graphic design knowledge in order to create a lavish theme perfect for your content. You only need a basic idea of what you want your blog to look like.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.

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Filed under Blogging Tips, Blogging Tools, Software, Web Site Design, Website Builders, WordPress

SpringPublisher Free Version – Design And Output Business Cards And More

imageOne of the very first freeware applications that I remember downloading, when the Sun first rose on the Internet, was a business card design application. Now, here I am, many years later, reviewing for the first time exactly that – a business card design application.

SpringPublisher 2.1 is a freeware application (upgradeable to a pro version), which allows a user to design and print a Business Card, Flyer, Postcard, and Letterhead with ease. The learning curve is … well, there is no learning curve really. If you can use a word processor; you’re good to go.

The following screen shots represent a walkthrough in designing a business card with SpringPublisher. Clicking on any graphic will expand it to it’s original size. Since these shots were captured on a 22 inch screen, they are very large.

You can create a blank project or alternatively, you may choose to use the Template Library to create a project from a template. In the following example, I’ll work with the template option.

image

For this walkthrough I’ve chosen the business card style indicated by the hand icon. I should point out, that the “style” you choose can be carried forward into additional projects, including – Letterhead, Postcard and Flyer.

image

Expanding the following screen shot to its original size will give you an opportunity to carefully study the GUI. I think you’ll find the GUI uncomplicated, easy to follow, and self explanatory.

image

Clicking on any element within the template opens an edit input box (text, image, shape). In the following example, I’ve just completed work in the address, telephone, email address, etc., edit box. You’ll notice, I’ve replaced the suggested graphic with something a little fancier.

image

The completed business card is shown below.

image

But then, since I’m into simple – I replaced the background color with plain white. Which meant, it was necessary to replace the “company name” color with black – very easy to do with the “select color” command.

image

This simple walkthrough doesn’t begin to test the power built into this application. The “fast facts” will provide a better overall picture of what can be accomplished with a little creativity.

Fast facts:

Enables you to add images, texts, vector shapes, logos and arrange them as you like.

Provides various image effect: shadows, opacity, rotation, and more.

Allows you to download high quality templates from the template store.

Makes it easy for you to print your artworks either with your own printer or in professional print shops.

Generates high resolution artwork with a maximum output of 350 dpi.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7

Download at: Developer’s site (SpringPublisher)

I haven’t used this type of application in years, so I’m not surprised to see that  SpringPublisher is a major step up from what I recall from back in the day. There are just enough tools and selections available  that customization possibilities are considerable – very impressive for a freeware application.

Along with your appearance (that great big smile  Smile ), your firm handshake (the dead fish handshake is a no-no), your business card can tell a tale. Make sure it’s the one you want to convey. SpringPublisher is a terrific little application which can help you experiment in developing a card which expresses who you are.

The professional version, with Template Store credits and high-quality output is available from the publisher at $23.95(USD).

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Filed under DeskTop Publishing, downloads, Freeware, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Bryan Keller’s Web Design and SEO Primer

Guest writer Bryan Keller, gives you the lowdown on how you can improve, not only your web site or blog’s visual appeal but, how SEO (search engine optimization) properly utilized, can drive more readers to your site.

image SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is the process of optimizing one’s website to improve the position in which the website will appear within the search results obtained from a search engine based on specific keyword phrases.

The exact formula for achieving this result effectively and efficiently is a much talked about and debated issue.  However, there is at least consensus on the basic approach to improving position and for anyone who owns an online business it is just about imperative to follow these basic techniques for there to be any hope of appearing somewhere on the first or second page of Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

First, foremost and most important is the basic design and structure of the actual website itself.  A carefully planned out, user friendly, logical, and straightforward landing page or home page is essential.  In addition, maintaining a structured, easy to navigate, uncluttered and not overly complicated web design results in lower bounce rates.

It is very useful to actually layout the design of the website on paper before any computer design work even begins.  Using a graphical flowchart also greatly helps keep things organized and makes the design much easier to understand for anyone who will eventually be involved in the design, coding or implementation of the final project.

A flowchart is basically just a simple graphical representation utilizing directional lines, graphical symbols and pointer arrows that is utilized to depict the design characteristics of a websites menu-flow, page-order, and logic path.

In designing the website keep in mind that as much useful, high quality, informative, data about the business or industry the website is focused on should be included throughout the site itself.

A glossary of terms that relate to the industry the website specializes in would be a good place to start.  Another very useful inclusion could be a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page that describes in detail the most common questions relating to the website’s area of business, with descriptive answers.

When it comes to SEO, there can never be too much information included in a website as long as it is all completely original unique content (unless references are duly noted).

Original content means copying pages of data from the Wikipedia, or using content pages found on other websites or even ‘lifting’ excerpts of content from other websites simply will not work.  Plagiarized content ‘lifted’ from other sources without express consent can also be a source of legal concern.

This is one place where Google in particular, is very good at detecting copied content and will give no SEO advancement for such material included in one’s website.  If a business owner is not able to author original content themselves it would be advisable to hire someone to write original content for the website.  Original content is just as important if not more important than any other aspect of achieving good SEO results.

Additionally, there are many so called ‘article submission’ websites that are available to host uploaded content articles written about almost any subject.  As a matter of fact it is very possible that you may be reading this article on an article submission site at this very moment.

The purpose, in SEO, to the process of uploading and submission of articles to these types of websites is twofold:  first, popular article submission sites have thousands of guests each day which is a huge potential market for readers of the submitted articles and second, as an author one is allowed to create a signature that can include a link that directs traffic back to the website of the author’s choice.

This brings us to the topic of links, and more specifically ‘backlinks’.  The term backlink refers to a hypertext link, which is located on an external website that links, references, or points back to one’s own website.  A ‘backlink’ is made up of two parts: 1. The ‘URL’ of the destination site (or the site the link is pointing to), and 2. the ‘anchor text’ which is made up of the ‘keyword phrase’.  An example of a ‘backlink’ written in html code would look like the following:

<*a href=”http://www.yourwebsiteurl.com

“>Your Keyword Phrase<*/a>

When displayed this link would appear as:

Your Keyword Phrase

‘Your Keyword Phrase’ would be an active link pointing to the ‘url’ that follows the ‘href’ in the link statement above. (Please be sure to remove the asterisks – I used them only to prevent the link from becoming active.)

In the early days of the Internet backlinking was the holy grail of SEO.  One merely needed to acquire many, many links pointing back to one’s website to achieve a very high position within the result set of a search engine.  At that time it was mainly just the quantity of backlinks that determined a websites PR and not the quality of the incoming links.

Those days, I’m afraid, are long, long, gone.  The search engines are much ‘smarter’ today and the number of backlinks is not nearly as important as the ‘quality’ of the backlink in determining whether or not the backlink will provide a benefit to SEO at all.

To prevent the misuse of link farming and other types of link manipulation the use of the ‘no follow’ attribute has been implemented.  When the use of the ‘no follow’ attribute is applied to a link it directs the search engine to award no PR or ‘PageRank’ (PageRank will be explained in a moment) benefit to the landing site no matter how high the ‘PageRank’ of the referring site may be.  This has been successful in helping to reduce the amount of spamming and ‘spamdexing’.

Other methods that were once popular but are no longer effective include:  keyword stuffing, the use of hidden or invisible text, the use of unrelated hidden content with high search volume, and Meta tag stuffing.  If you are solicited by a business that mentions any of these techniques as a means to improve your SEO be sure NOT to do business with them!  None of these methods work at all anymore.

At this point it becomes necessary to discuss PR or PageRank.  PageRank is the method of grading a websites ‘authority’ or importance on the web and the process was developed primarily by researcher Larry Page (hence the name ‘Page’ Rank) at Stanford University as part of a research project.

Page and another researcher named Brin later founded Google and took the technology with them and it is still the basis of the Google search engine and search tools to this day.

A website’s PageRank is a numerical weight ranging from 0 to 10 that is assigned to a website based upon, among other things, the quantity of and the PageRank of the external websites that link in or have inbound links that refer to the target site.  A website that has many inbound links from websites that have high PageRank themselves will in turn be given a high PageRank as well.  According to Google’s website the PageRank is calculated by ‘considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms.’

Needless to say, trying to understand an algorithm this complex exactly will never be possible but there are still many things that can be done to boost a sites PR and help improve its placement in search engine results.

We have discussed the importance of a high quality website design, the need for very informative original content, article submissions, backlinking and PageRank.  This would be a good time to begin discussing the process of determining keywords and keyword phrases.

Selecting the correct keywords and keyword phrases to focus the SEO efforts on can determine whether or not it will be possible to successfully achieve the intended result.  It is very important to take the time to do some research on competition and keyword popularity.

In general the most common terms that describe a business would be the best place to start.  For instance if you own a business that provides roofing contracting services keywords that you might consider focusing on might be ‘Roofing Contracting’ or ‘Roofing Contractor’.

Google provides a tool that displays the average number of searches for selected keyword phrases.  You can find this tool by searching Google for ‘keyword tool’.  After entering the keyword or keyword phrase and pressing the ‘search’ button a page of results will be displayed that indicate the number of times the particular keyword(s) has been searched for on average each month.

Also displayed are many other similar phrases that most closely match the keywords that were searched for.  Take the time to scroll through this list and many good alternative phrases can be found in this way.  Choosing the phrase that has the most searches and most closely matches the website’s line of business is a solid practical approach.

Guest writer Bryan Keller:

I own a Computer Repair and Data Recovery business in San Antonio, TX, San Antonio Computer Repair. I spent 10 years in database development. I am now also providing Website Development, Hosting, and SEO services. We use the Joomla CMS.

Altogether, I have been involved in computer programming for over 30 years. I was a self-taught programmer back when the ‘Atari 800’ was all the rage! I had an Atari 800 with 16 kilobytes of ram and a 6502 8-bit processor that ran at 1.7 MHz, no hard drive and a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk that stored just 180 Kilobytes of data. Of course there was no internet but we had the dial in bulletin boards that we connected to at 300 baud. lol.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Web Development, Web Hosting, Web Site Design

Serif DrawPlus SE – Outstanding Free Vector Graphics Application

image SerifSoftware puts an interesting and unusual twist to the common “try this application for free for 30 days”, something with which we are all pretty familiar.

Serif releases free, older versions, of their current software for download – to entice at least some users to upgrade to current versions of their popular software. In my view, this “creative marketing” is something more software developers should consider.

I have used, and tested, Serif’s free editions for 10+ years now, and I have found that even their older software is more than up to the tasks I set.

Sure, the applications may be older than the current versions, but in terms of functionality and features, generally you are not missing much. In these older free versions there are not as many tools as one might find with more recent versions of Serif’s products, but those that are there, tend to be the ones that are most used by typical users.

Despite the slightly “older” appearance of DrawPlus SE , this is not an old program that’s been revived just for give-away. DrawPlus SE is still an amazing free drawing and graphic application, with which you can turn out vector graphics, high-impact graphics, and even web animations with tools usually only available in high end applications.

Serif SE

On top of that, DrawPlus SE is also a graphics design program that allows you to create logos, high quality print graphics, artwork, drawings, animations, labels and more.

Serif SE 2

The straightforward and intuitive interface is simple, but surprisingly powerful, so even first time users will get professional quality results.

If you like special effects, DrawPlus SE is loaded with them, so it’s easy to create high impact text for headlines, logos, banners, Web pages, or wherever your imagination takes you. You can add bitmap, conical, ellipse, plasma, radial and linear fills to your creations to produce spectacular results.

DrawPlus SE supports industry standard bitmap and vector formats including: JPEG, BMP, EMF, WMF and PNG for the Web.

Fast facts:

Drawing & Sketching – Say goodbye to complicated tools and ‘shaky hand’ drawings. DrawPlus makes drawing simple with easy to use Quick Shapes, Natural Curve Editing and Curve Smoothing.

Export Optimizer – Easily export your drawings and images optimized for email, websites, printing, or to your specific requirements in any supported image format.

Studio Resources – Choose from hundreds of pre-set lines, fills, transparencies, fonts and Wizard elements from the Studio tabs to save yourself time and still achieve amazing results.

Color Selection – Apply color fills to backgrounds, shapes and your own drawings from the simple on-screen studio palette.

Animation Mode – Bring your designs to life with the fun animation tools, which include easy-to-use, yet advanced features like onion skinning, backgrounds, overlays and frame management.

Blends – Use the blend tool to automatically ‘morph’ two images into one another. You choose the number of steps and let DrawPlus do the rest – easy!

If you’re looking for a free drawing and graphic application to test your creative skills, then DrawPlus SE will fill the bill admirably.

System Requirements: Windows XP (32 bit), Vista

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Arts and Crafts, downloads, Drawing Software, Free Full Versions, Freeware, Photo Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Simple/Wizard Driven 3DPlus 2 Design Software Free

serif3dplus2 As I’ve mentioned before on this Blog, SerifSoftware entices you in an unusual way to buy, or upgrade, to their latest software offerings. They will give you, free of charge, an older version of any of their software packages. An interesting twist on the usual “try it for free for 30 days” we are all pretty familiar with.

Having used and tested, Serif’s free editions for 10+ years now, and I find that even their older software is more than up to the tasks I set.

Sure, the applications may be older than the current versions, but in terms of functionality and features, generally you are not missing much. Most software today, tends to be overblown and bloated with features that many users have little or no need of. So, in these older free versions there are not as many tools as one might find with more recent products, but those that are there tend to be the ones that are most used by typical users.

serif3dplus2screen3

(Click pic for larger)

Despite the slightly dated appearance of Serif’s 3DPlus 2, this is not an ‘old’ program that’s been revived just for give-away. 3DPlus 2 is a very functional and easy-to-use tool, capable of producing great 3D graphics, logos, headlines and 3D animations.

Serif keeps things simple by offering template-based wizards for still and animated graphics, combined with preset controls and 3D content. The gallery of ready-made objects, from basic shapes to clothes, household appliances, sports equipment and more, is designed to save you time. As well, 3D Quickshapes gives you an easy shortcut to stars, arrows, speech bubbles and other basic shapes.

It won’t take you long to become familiar with keying in text, extruding it to create a 3D object, adding texture and lighting, dropping in a background image, adding other 3D objects from the library and changing the camera position to get a better view from above, below or behind.

There’s something pretty neat about being able to build a solid 3D object, move it around and view it from every angle. Serif 3DPlus 2 lets you do just that, without anything getting in the way of the fun.

Quick Facts:

Easy-to-Use Interface

• With its simple interface and intuitive tools, 3DPlus makes creating any 3D design a breeze. The new Wizard interface and convenient tabbed Studio Bar mean it’s easier than ever to get exactly the 3D effects you need.

Automated Wizards

• Get the precise result you need with 3DPlus 2’s collection of over 300 automatic Wizards. From designer logos and Web buttons to animated greetings, 3DPlus has a Wizard for every occasion.

Bevels and Extrusions

• Add a new dimension to your text and designs. Choose from a range of customizable bevels, apply to your objects and watch as 3DPlus creates professional quality effects.

Web Impact

• 3DPlus is the perfect tool for creating 3D logos, banners, Web graphics and animations. With 3DPlus you can add a 3D look that will really make your site stand out.

Automatic Animation

• With 3DPlus, 3D animated graphics are easy Object and lighting effects can be applied with a single click and easy-to-use yet powerful 3D animation tools and instant special effects allow you to create animations in seconds. Export your work as an animated GIF to your Web site or presentation.

Camera Control

• View your scene from any angle with six preset camera positions and freeform orbiting.

Lighting Effects

• With full control over the lighting of your scene and a gallery of preset schemes, 3DPlus allows you to add drama or subtlety to your scene with a single click. You can create and save your favorite lighting schemes for future use.

Models/Materials Gallery

• Personalize your work. Choose from over 600 3D Models and over 500 backgrounds, textures and fills, all easily accessible from 3DPlus’s easy-to-use gallery.

Text and Effects

• Add text and apply textures, bevels and shadows to create effects. Whether you need a new logo for your company, product or club, or a new graphic for your Web site, 3DPlus makes it easy to get the look you want.

3D Objects and Materials

• Creating 3D Objects is easy with 3DPlus. The materials, patterns and textures in the 3DPlus Library provide all the power and flexibility you need to create 3D elements, 3D worlds, scenes, and animations.

3D QuickShapes

• Can’t draw? 3D QuickShapes work like intelligent clipart, no need to draw at all, just select and customize.

System Requirements: Windows 95/ 98/ 2000/ XP

Download at: SerifSoftware

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Filed under Drawing Software, Free Full Versions, Freeware, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Create Your Own Web Site With Free Serif WebPlus 6

Serif Box WebPlus 6_ As I’ve mentioned before on this site, SerifSoftware has an unusual way to get you to try, buy, or upgrade, to their latest software offerings. They will give you, free of charge, an older version of any of their software packages. An interesting twist on the usual “try it for free for 30 days” we are all pretty familiar with.

I have used, and tested, Serif’s free editions for 10+ years now, and I have found that even their older software is more than up to the tasks I set.

Sure, the applications may be older than the current versions, but in terms of functionality and features, generally you are not missing much. Much of today’s software tends to be overblown and bloated with features that many users have little or no need of. So, in these older free versions there are not as many tools as one might find with more recent versions of Serif’s products, but those that are there tend to be the ones that are most used by typical users.

Despite the slightly dated appearance of Serif’s WebPlus 6, this is not an “old” program that’s been revived just for give-away. WebPlus 6 is still a very functional and easy-to-use tool that will output a unique custom designed website to promote your club, hobby or business, or to put your favorite family/holiday photos online.

This application doesn’t profess to match Microsoft’s FrontPage or Adobe’s DreamWeaver in functionality; or for that matter, the price you would have to pay to purchase either of these top of the line web development tools. After all, Serif WebPlus 6 is FREE!

So what can you expect from an application that’s an older version of a current application. Well surprisingly, for novice users, Serif WebPlus 6’s easy controls, simple step-by-step wizards and colorful templates are a quick and easy route to creating fun and attractive websites.

With its easy to use Desktop Publishing style interface, automated Web Site templates, visual web page creator, wizards, drag ‘n drop functionality, WYSIWYG editing, and comprehensive help, you can create your own home page on the web in minutes. Best of all, you can do this without having to have had previous experience.

serifwebplus6screen2

Quick facts:

Website Templates

Choose from professionally-designed site schemes, provide some basic information, and then customize to suit your needs. The Layout Checker helps you fine-tune your design for most efficient web use. Then preview your site in your own web browser and publish it to the web.

Easy Editing and Special Effects

With WebPlus, it’s easy to import your own text and graphics to replace the samples in the web site templates. You’ll find integrated word processing tools, plus tools for creating text hyperlinks and hotspot graphics. The Snapping feature and Dot Grid help you achieve a crisp layout. Everything’s wrapped into a friendly desktop publishing environment with onscreen tool tips, hint line, and context-sensitive help!

Logo/Graphic Module

Produce attention-grabbing headlines, unique text effects, and powerful logos instantly using LogoPlus.

Animated Marquee Wizard

Custom-design your own varied and colorful multi-line text messages that scroll across the screen.

Spell-Checking and Thesaurus

Enhance your proofreading potential and ensure your site’s readability with these built-in support tools.

Direct Import of Digital Images

Now you can include images from your digital camera or photos and art work from your scanner, adding sophistication to your pages.

Color Schemes

By using the convenient pre-sets, or by customizing your own intelligent colors, add continuity or dramatically change the appearance of your Web publication with a single mouse click.

Studio Bar

Help your design break out of boring box formats. For a suave designer or fun and funky look take advantage of dozens of new graphic shapes.

Multiple Document Interface

Work on more than one web page at a time, even drag & drop items between them as you work.

System Requirements: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP

Download at: FreeSerifSoftware

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Filed under Freeware, Interconnectivity, Multimedia Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Web Development, Windows Tips and Tools

Serif DrawPlus 4 – Draw Like a Pro for Free

If you’re looking for a free drawing and graphic application to test your creative skills, then DrawPlus 4 will fill the bill admirably.

With this free drawing and graphic package from Serif Software, you can turn out vector graphics, high-impact graphics, and even web animations with tools usually only available in high end applications.

DrawPlus 4 is a vector drawing program, much like the very expensive CorelDraw, which means the drawing is in editable layers.

On top of that, DrawPlus is also a graphics design program that allows you to create logos, high quality print graphics, artwork, drawings, animations, labels and more.

The straightforward and intuitive interface is powerful yet simple, so first time users, (like me – with limited graphic skills); will get the professional quality results they want – fast! I’m told by friends that are users, as well as readers who have commented on a previous review of this program, that DrawPlus 4 is great for making avatars.

If you like special effects, DrawPlus 4 is loaded with them, so it’s easy to create high impact text for headlines, logos, banners, Web pages, or wherever your imagination takes you. You can add bitmap, conical, ellipse, plasma, radial and linear fills to your creations to produce spectacular results.

(Click pic for larger)

DrawPlus supports industry standard bitmap and vector formats including: JPEG, BMP, EMF, WMF and PNG for the Web.

Serif’s objective in releasing older versions of their current programs, at no cost, is to entice users to upgrade to current versions of their software. An interesting twist on the usual “try it for free for 30 days”, we are all pretty familiar with.

I have used, and tested, Serif’s free editions for 10+ years now, and I have found that even their older software is more than up to the tasks I set.

Sure, the applications may be older than the current versions, but in terms of functionality and features, generally you are not missing much. In these older free versions there are not as many tools as one might find with more recent versions of Serif’s products, but those that are there, tend to be the ones that are most used by typical users.

(Click pic for larger)

Serif describes the features of DrawPlus 4 as follows:

Drawing & Sketching

Say goodbye to complicated tools and ‘shaky hand’ drawings. DrawPlus makes drawing simple with easy to use QuickShapes, Natural Curve Editing and Curve Smoothing.

Backdrop Wizard

Easily add abstract or themed backgrounds to your designs. From dazzling presentation backgrounds to outer-space style backdrops, start your drawings on a ready-made designer canvas.

Studio Resources

Choose from hundreds of pre-set lines, fills, transparencies, fonts and Wizard elements from the Studio tabs to save you time and still achieve amazing results.

Color Selection

Apply color fills to backgrounds, shapes and your own drawings from the simple on-screen studio palette.

Animation Mode

Bring your designs to life with the fun animation tools, which include easy-to-use, yet advanced features like onion skinning, backgrounds, overlays and frame management.

Blends

Use the blend tool to automatically ‘morph’ two images into one another. You choose the number of steps and let DrawPlus do the rest – easy!

Transparency

Easily create sparkling photo-like realism and quality in seconds with no experience required.

Watermark Wizard

A notoriously difficult effect to create is now a total breeze, with a wide range of customizable watermark designs on hand.

Border Wizard

Choose borders from the extensive library for your objects and pages or let the Border Wizard help you.

Color Schemes

Define new color sets as shades of a base color, and then simply apply your color scheme to your design instantly by editing the original base color.

Editable Envelopes

Stretch and squeeze objects or text into whatever shape you choose. Select from the range of special outline shapes or customize your own!

Text

Create high-impact text for headlines, logos, banners, web pages and more. Convert your text to curves to bring fonts to life.

File Size: 19 MB

License: Free

System Requirements: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP

Download at: FreeSerifSoftware

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Filed under Drawing Software, Freeware, Graphic Software, Multimedia Tools, Photo Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools