MS Image Composer for Dummies


Take graphics to a higher level with Microsoft Image Composer For Dummies. This fun-filled, down-to-earth reference for Microsoft's versatile new program is packed with easy-to-follow advice that helps you create complex images for your Web site -- from hot logos to spectacular special effects!

Inside, find...

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Take graphics to a higher level with Microsoft Image Composer For Dummies. This fun-filled, down-to-earth reference for Microsoft's versatile new program is packed with easy-to-follow advice that helps you create complex images for your Web site -- from hot logos to spectacular special effects!

Inside, find helpful advice on how to

  • Create stunning Web graphics
  • Use Image Composer to create GIF animations for your Web pages
  • Discover imaging concepts like sprites and compositions
  • Design your own logos and effects
  • Explore the Image Composer interface, including toolbars, palettes, and the Color Picker dialog box
  • Take advantage of timesaving shortcuts
  • Repair photo problems and prepare your graphics for publication
  • Install and use plug-ins to add exciting features and effects to Image Composer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764502286
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1998
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Johnson
Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson is a product manager for Microsoft. He’s the author of a number of technology books including (with Duncan) Xbox 360 For Dummies. You can find out more about Brian by visiting his blog at

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Table of Contents


Why a ...For Dummies Book
What You Need to Know to Get Started
The Inside Story
Part I: Meet the Maestro
Part II: A Pile of Palettes
Part III: Images in the Web
Part IV: The Part of Tens
Funky Margin Icons
The Files I Refer To
How to Contact Me

Part I: Meet the Maestro

Chapter 1: Introducing Image Composer
Elementary Art
A Child Prodigy
Image Composer's Niche
Chapter 2: Touring the Image Composer Interface
It's Not Your Mother's Image Editor
Your guide to composition
A screenful o' sprites
Try Out the Toolbox
An Artist Needs a Palette
Changing the Currently Selected Color
Chapter 3: Setting Up Your Image Composer Environment
Pixel This!
Image resolution on PCs
Setting the resolution of your monitor
Setting the size of the composition space
Colors on Computers
Color in Windows
Combining colors in channels
Setting the background color of the composition space
Zooming In and Out of the Workspace
Chapter 4: The Sprite Story
So What's a Sprite?
Hauling 'Em In -- Inserting Sprites
Inserting from a file
Inserting from a PhotoCD
Pasting from the Clipboard
Dragging and dropping
Creating from scratch
Grabbing Hold of Your Sprites
Saving Your Compositions and Sprites
Saving a composition
Saving selections as files
What's the difference: File formats
MIC format
PSD format
BMP format
TGA format
TIFF format
JPEG format
GIF format
PNG format
FlashPix format
Picture It! format

Part II: A Pile of Palettes

Chapter 5: Getting Pushy with Sprites
Cropping and Resizing Images
Flipping and Aligning Images
Ordering Sprites
Grouping Sprites
Flattening Groups
Saving Places
Chapter 6: A Tale of Two Palettes -- Shapes and Cutouts
Basic Geometry
Rectangles and circles
Curves and polygons
Drawing lines in the sand
Making copies with the Lock tool
Getting Fancy with Shapes -- The Cutout Palette
Extracting with shapes
Erasing with shapes
Transparency in Shapes
An Uplifting Experience
Fine-tuning a selection
Setting the Edge
Local and Global selections
Chapter 7: Painting without All the Mess
I'm Painting, but Nothing Is Showing Up
You Want Brushes? We've Got Brushes!
Paintbrush Selection Grid
Creating new brushes
Brush Size and Opacity tools
Brush Size
Brush Opacity
Brush Size Display
A Garage Full of Tools
Continuous Strokes
Painting over
Picking your template
The big smear
Tinting, colorizing, and dodging and burning
Rubber stamping
Transferring shape
Special effects
The Lock tool
Chapter 8: You Can't Tune a Fish, but You Can Tune a Color
Working in True Color
Working with a Custom Palette
An Easier Way to Pick Colors
The Color Tuning Palette
Controlling colors
Bright highlights and dark shadows
Home on the range
Chapter 9: The Big Hand-Off: Transferring Textures
Talking Sprite to Sprite
Transferring shape
Transferring fully
Using glue to transfer shapes
Snipping out shapes
Tiling sprites
Color mapping
Intensity mapping
Saturation mapping
Transparency mapping
Chapter 10: Putting the Word(s) Out
The Text Palette
Getting Rid of Fuzzy Text
I Font to Be Alone
Installing a TrueType font
Types of fonts
Fonts as art
Special Text Effects
Using WordArt
Chapter 11: Effects at Your Fingertips
Applying a Palette of Effects
Voilà, You're a Picasso: The Painting Effects
Charcoal without All the Dust
Arts and Crafts
Scratching the Surface
Engaging in Distortion
Basic Distortion
Bulge effect
Fisheye effect
Mesa effect
Vortex effect
Radial Sweep effect
Spoke Inversion effect
Catching the wave
Stretching and compressing with the Rectangular Distort effect
Outlining the Details
Only the Drop Shadow knows!
Feeling a little edgy?
Taking a little R&R: Recess and Relief
Sort of Like a Coffee Filter
Softening things up a bit
Sharpening your senses
Tracing an outline
Awash with Color
Fill'er Up
Do You Have This in a Plaid?
Chapter 12: Plugging In to Plug-Ins
Instant Monet: The Impressionist Plug-In
Demo derby
Using Impressionist's built-in styles
Even more controls...
Custom brushes
Making paper
Saving settings
Getting Psychedelic with KPT 3.0
Installing a third-party plug-in
Using KPT
Photo/Graphic Edges
Eye Candy
Unplugged: Plug-In Problems

Part III: Images in the Web

Chapter 13: Web Basic Training
Tagging Images in HTML
Adding ALT tags
Adding height and width tags
Adding LOWSRC tags
Web File Formats
Choosy designers choose GIF
Browser-safe GIF palettes
Optimizing palettes
Advanced GIF
Give me a J, give me a Peg
PNG: The Next Generation
Chapter 14: Creating Cool Web Effects
Delving into Interface Design
Me and My Shadow
Baking Buttons
Tweaking Text Images
Raising text
Recessing text
Getting that neon glow
Building Backgrounds and Tiles
Tiling images
Making your (water)marks
Chapter 15: Creating Animation with Image Composer
Animation Basics
Microsoft GIF Animator
Using Sprites as Animation Frames
Animating Text
Dithering Animation
Getting Loopy
Understanding the Undraw Method
Using Transparency
Chapter 16: Using Image Composer with FrontPage 98 and Visual InterDev
Adding Images to FrontPage Web Projects
Importing files
Dragging and dropping
Adding Images to Visual InterDev Projects
Images on the Page: The FrontPage Editor
The Image Properties Dialog Box
General tab
Image Source
Alternative Representations
Default Hyperlinks
Video tab
Appearance tab
Adding Visual InterDev's Media Manager to Your System
Making Media Manager folders
Adding file annotations
Star search: Finding your art

Part IV: The Part of Tens

Chapter 17: Ten Creative Digital Design Tips
It's a Balancing Act
Standout Subjects
Keeping Everything in Proportion
Moving Compositions -- Movement and Sequence
These United Sprites
Chapter 18: Ten Cool Design Sites on the Web
The Image Composer Home Page
The FrontPage Home Page
The Visual InterDev Home Page
Microsoft Typography
The Sitebuilder Network
Dummies Press Home Page
Adobe Home Page
New Media
Brian Johnson's Home Page
Chapter 19: Ten Innovative Ways to Capture an Image
Scan It
Grab It
Snap It
PhotoCD It
Buy It
Chapter 20: Ten Great Graphics Tools
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Photoshop
Caligari trueSpace
MetaCreations Expression
MetaCreations Painter
Micrografx Designer
Micrografx Picture Publisher
Micrografx Simply 3D 2

Part V: About the CD Appendix

Appendix: About the CD
System Requirements
How to Use the CD Using Microsoft Windows 95
What You'll Find
Multimedia tutorials
Image Composer example files
Tryout versions of programs mentioned in the book
Adobe Photoshop 4.0.1
Adobe Illustrator 7.0
Caligari trueSpace 3.0
MetaCreations Expression
MetaCreations Kai's Power Tools 3.0
MetaCreations Painter 5
JASC Paint Shop Pro 4.14
Microsoft Internet Explorer software
If You Have Problems (Of the CD Kind)


License Agreement

Installation Instructions

Book Registration Information

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