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In this easy-to-understand reference, Internet expert and professional designer Linda Richards not only explains what you need to know about GIFs, JPEGs, ...
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In this easy-to-understand reference, Internet expert and professional designer Linda Richards not only explains what you need to know about GIFs, JPEGs, and other graphic formats but also shows you how to
Plus, Web Graphics For Dummies comes complete with a bonus CD-ROM containing demo and shareware programs, such as Adobe PageMill, TextureMill, Mapedit, and WebPainter.
- Doing It for Dummies
- You, wonderful you
- How this book works
- What's between the covers
- The stuff you can skip
- How This Book Is Set Up
- Part I: For the Web Newbie
- Part II: Formats for Everyone
- Part III: The Sky Is the Limit
- Part IV: Things That Make You Say "Hmmmmm"
- Part V: The Part of Tens
- Part VI: Appendix
- Where to Go from Here
Part I: For the Web Newbie
- Chapter 1: The Anatomy of a Web Graphic
- Web Graphics Defined
- What's a Web graphic?
- Popular formats
- JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
- GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
- PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
- It's about limitations
- Different platforms
- Bandwidth considerations
- When limitations turn into challenges
- Your Web Graphics Can Look As Good As Anyone's
- Chapter 2: Getting Right to Work
- Preparing Graphics for the Web
- A Quick Take On HTML
- What is HTML?
- What's it made outta?
- Why not use a WYSIWYG editor?
- HTML Crunched Down
- A closer look
- Weaving images into HTML
- Tools you'll need
- Chapter 3: When Your Web Graphics Become Image Maps
- The Image Map Demystified
- What's an image map good for?
- How to make an image map
- Client-side and server-side image maps
- The Old-Fashioned Way: Creating a Simple Clickable Graphic
- What you need
- Making that clickable graphic
- The Old-Fashioned Way II: Making an Image Map
- What you need
- Making that image map
- Working with the mapped image
- Image Mapping with a Newfangled Web-Weaving Tool
- Chapter 4: Platforms
- Setting Formats
- What is Gamma?
- Gamma on the Web
- Gamma begins at home
- Majority Rules
- Correcting gamma
- Shooting the gamma gap
- The fast track
- PC tricks
- Macintosh tricks
- An Acrobatic attempt
- There's no solution!
- Setting the boundaries
- All things to all people
- Chapter 5: Frames and Tables
- Just What Am I Talking About?
- The frame boiled down
- How many is too many?
- Frames Help No One When Everyone Can't See Them
- The table boiled down
- Building a graphical table
- A table is a table is a . . .
- Checking your work
- Building the Background for the Table
- Building the Table for the Background
- Why use percentages?
Part II: Formats for Everyone
- Chapter 6: Giffing It Up
- Making a GIF File
- Creating a GIF file with an image editor
- GIF and GIF89a
- Transparent GIFs
- When the name isn't on the label
- Image Converters
- Dithering is a good and important thing
- Converting an image
- Chapter 7: Animated GIF Files
- The Low-Down Dirty on Animation
- What's the point?
- It's fun!
- What's Animation?
- Adding animation to your Web site
- Making a simple animation
- Making an animation with your eyes closed
- Beyond Simple Animations
- A simple WebPainter animation
- Programmers Need Love, Too
- Chapter 8: Making and Using JPEGs
- Going Back and Forth
- When is JPEG better?
- When is JPEG wrong?
- JPEG in action
- Creating a JPEG File
- Tools you need
- Creating a JPEG file with an image editor
- A Word on Conversions
- Converting an image to JPEG
- Chapter 9: Sum-ping for Everyone
- Can You Hear the "But" Coming?
- Making a PNG File
- Tools you need
- Creating PNG files
- Converting to PNG
- Converting an image
- Pros and Cons of PNG
- The downside of PNG
- How animated can PNG get?
- Ready for PNG?
- Chapter 10: Beyond Basics
- Why Do I Wanna Know This Stuff?
- No, Not Vermin!
- Java Break
- What is Java?
- The pieces of Java
- Brewing Java on your Web pages
- Multimedia Web Sites
- Looking Sharp with PDF
- There's good news and bad news
- The case for PDF
Part III: The Sky Is the Limit
- Chapter 11: Heads Up with the Big Kids
- Build It and They Will Come
- Think big
- Going overboard
- Polishing Your Graphics
- White space
- Chapter 12: Cleanliness Is Next to Cleanliness
- Don't Sweat It
- The Layers of the Onion
- Don't Want to Make Graphics?
- Preparing a Graphic for Conversion
- Creating tight, clean graphics
- Before conversion
- Individualizing the Steps
- Chapter 13: Building Graphics Around Type
- Web Graphics and Type
- Creating Type-Based Graphics for the Web
- Setting type as an image
- Using type in HTML
- What's Antialiasing?
- What to do?
- Back to the drawing board
- Checking it out
- Setting Graphic Type Tips
- When Type Is an Image
- Setting type in HTML
- Using the FACE tag
- Specifying fonts with the FACE tag
- Some tips on using the FACE tag in HTML
- Working with Preformatted Text
- Using the PRE tag
- Chapter 14: Background Beautiful!
- The Background on Web Backgrounds
- Plain color or all the trimmings
- Including a background image
- Making it happen step-by-step
- The simple part is the HTML code
- Setting Background Color
- Background Images
- Just like any image file
- Creating a background
- When you want someone else to do it
- Making a background from scratch
- A variation on the same theme
- Applying the tiling procedure to your own images
- Connecting Images to Your Background
- Background Check List
- Chapter 15: Crazy Color
- How Computers See Color on the Web
- Controlling what you can
- Using the color palette
- While creating the graphic
- Like an interior designer
- Like an architect
- Working without a Net
- Hex color
- Hex colors broken down
- The difference between 0 and O
- Alternatives to Hex color
- WYSIWYG HTML editor color spec'ing
- Using Color to Make Teenier Files
- Reducing a GIF file
- Your Mileage Will Vary
- Chapter 16: WYSIWOG = What You See Isn't (Always!) What Others Get
- Seeing as They See
- How surfers see you
- Monitor size and quality
- Minimizing the differences
- Checking your work in multiple browsers
- Gamma Correction
- PC users
- Mac users
Part IV: Things That Make You Say "Hmmmmm"
- Chapter 17: I Want My WebTV!
- A Little Movement with Those Graphics
- Real WebTV
- But what is WebTV?
- What does this all mean to the designer?
- Monitors aren't televisions
- Big, bold graphics
- Terminal realities
- Inside Designing for WebTV
- Designing for WebTV
- Download time
- Fixed terminal size
- Image maps
- Limited stuff
- Chapter 18: Sites and Sounds
- Hear the Graphics?
- For our home audience
- Physical limitations
- Curves Ahead
- What has taken so long?
- Where is sound useful?
- Who uses sound?
- Background Sounds
- Netscape Doesn't Freak on This Tag
- A background sound for both Internet Explorer and Navigator will play
- Finding Sounds
- Organizing your sounds
- Chapter 19: The Day after Tomorrow
- Information Appliances
- Stuff That Looks Like It Did Before
- The Automated Browser
- Cyberspace Rip-Offs
- Is an image copyrighted?
- What about its source?
- There's a lesson in this
Part V: The Part of Tens
- Chapter 20: Ten Technologies to Watch
- How Hot Is Hot?
- Dynamic HTML
- Technology on the March
- Site management tools
- Cascading Style Sheets
- Disabilities awareness
- Chapter 21: Ten Pieces of Software You Need
- Share the Wealth
- Image Editors
- Adobe Photoshop
- PaintShop Pro
- Graphics Utilities
- DeBabelizer and DeBabelizer Pro image converters
- WebPainter animation tool
- WebMap and Mapedit image mapping utilities
- ColorFinder color utility
- Image Alchemy imaging utility
- HTML Editors
- Adobe PageMill 2.0
- Chapter 22: Ten Tools for Better Web Graphics
- Gobs of RAM
- A Big Hard Drive
- Back Up to Beat the Band
- Fast Internet Connection
- Big Monitor
- Faster CPU
- CD-ROM Player
- Unlimited Power
- Digital Camera
- Chapter 23: Ten Online Resources for Web Graphics
- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
- The HTML Writer's Guild
- A Couple of Cows and a Place Just for Downloads
- The Internet Design & Publishing Center
- The Pixel Foundry
- The Bandwidth Conservation Society
- The Newbie's Net Guide
- Chapter 24: Ten Common Problems
- My Web Page Looks Different on Someone Else's Computer
- I Don't Have Time or Resources to Check My Page on a Lot of Machines and Platforms
- I Keep Trying to Zip (or Stuff) a JPEG File, and It Just Doesn't Get Smaller
- I've Seen "Natural Size Flag" in Some Source Code
- Decoding WYSIWYG coding
- I Want to Use a Thumbnail of a Large JPEG, but It Looks Really Yucky Small
- I Really, Really Want to Use a Large Graphic on My Web Page
- My Mondo Kewl Background Images Look Gross on My Friend's Computer
- I Want to Make My Page Transmit As Quickly As Possible
- I Built an Image onto a Background Tile and It Worked Fine Until I Resized It
- How Can I Protect My Ideas and Images from Being Stolen after They're on the Web?
- Chapter 25: Ten Tips for Creating Eye-Catching Graphics
- The Case of the Disappearing Web Graphic
- JPEG or GIF?
- View while downloading
- File size
- Resize Before You Upload
- Include ALT Tags
- Using the ALT tag
- Another good reason to include the ALT tag
- Use Your Cache
- Watch Your Colormaps
- Understand HTML Tags
- Chapter 26: Ten More Useful Programs
- Corel WebMaster
- Adobe Illustrator
- CorelDraw 7
- GIF Construction Set
- Microsoft FrontPage
- ClarisWorks 4.0: Internet Edition
- Claris Home Page 2.0
- HotMetal Pro 3.0
Part VI: Appendixes
In This Chapter
Image maps -- and their cousins, clickable graphics -- are one of the reasons the Web is such a delight to navigate and negotiate. What could be simpler than arriving at a site and discovering that all you have to do to find your way around is click on the pretty picture?
At some point you'll find yourself wanting to add some of this clicking ease to your own Web work. While the technique for creating this type of graphic is precisely the same as for other types of Web graphics, what you actually do with that graphic once you've made it is quite different.
When you're surfing, image maps look horribly complex to create. How could they not be? What you see as a surfer is a single, elegant graphic that somehow links you through to a number of areas in a site. How could something that makes things that easy for you as a Web surfer not be difficult to create? The old axiom holds true here, though: Everything is easy when you know how. And while this may not hold up for astrophysics, it's pretty much true for image maps.
There are several things that an image map is useful for. The most simple type of image map is one that takes you from one location -- in this case, a Web graphic -- to another location on a Web site. In this instance, it's not so much an image map as a clickable Web graphic.
The image map that links to a single location can be helpful in just moving things along effortlessly on a Web site. A single button on a Web site moves surfers from one place to the next, as shown in Figure 3-1. The one illustrated is, of course, from the first page of my own Web site. Clicking on it bypasses a whole bunch of business stuff and takes visitors straight to my own area on the site.
However, when someone says "image map," we most often think of a larger graphic that directs a Web site's traffic to several different locations, either on or off the site. The classic example would, of course, be an actual area map where the site visitor can click on an area of interest and get zoomed there easily, without having to read text that says, "For Southern California, click here" and so on.
Another useful example would be of a floor plan, or locations in a mall -- either a virtual mall, or a real one. An image map where the surfer can easily click through to the desired location makes things easier for a Web visitor to negotiate.
Lots of people surf the Web without graphics enabled in order to speed things up. And many people use browsers -- like Lynx, for example -- that don't have the capacity to view graphics. For both groups it's important to:
A common use for image maps is routing traffic easily to other areas. For instance, in the example shown in Figure 3-2, visitors to my Web site can click on pictures of some of my friends to find out more about them. The Web graphic was created in Photoshop using several different images and backgrounds and then saved as a single file. The resulting file channels visitors to pages that talk about these friends and to their own Web sites. All in all, it's a very fun use of a whole lot of technology.
There are two ways to make all this happen.
While the second way is the easiest if you use one of the powerful mapping programs out there, it's good to know how to do it the old-fashioned way -- that is, by hand -- so you know what it is you're actually doing.
Having said that, there are some really powerful image mapping aids out there -- some of which are included on the Web Graphics For Dummies CD-ROM that comes with this book -- that take all the tedium out of calculating image maps. There's no real reason not to use one of them. Mapedit for Windows and WebMap for Macintosh (both included on the CD-ROM) are good examples of shareware image-map editors designed by others to make your life easier. There doesn't seem to be a good reason to wander around in the forest when other people have already made a path.
In addition, an increasing number of WYSIWYG HTML editors include some type of image mapping facility. Adobe PageMill, for example, includes a good one.
I discuss both options later in the chapter.
At the technical end of things, image maps can be specified in one of two ways: as server-side or client-side. The server-side image map is the only type that was available in the bad ol' days, before image map-supporting browsers added extra fun.
All the current and recent releases of the more popular browsers (Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, Cyberdog, Spyglass Mosaic, and others) support client-side image maps.
Specifically, in a server-side image map, instructions for the locations of the hot spots, or links, on your graphics are stored on the remote server, in a file separate from the HTML or graphics files the map relates to.
Client-side image maps look exactly the same to the innocent surfer, but they are created quite differently. On a client-side image map, the instructions for the hot spots on the graphics are contained within the HTML coding.
While both methods have something to recommend them in certain situations, client-side image maps are the most popular at present, for a couple of reasons:
Because coding in CGI and all things to do with it are outside the scope of this book, I leave discussions of server-side image maps right there. The balance of image mapping discussions is around client-side maps.
While not, strictly speaking, an image map, this seems like a logical place to talk about straight-up clickable graphics. While the techniques behind creating the single graphic that is clickable and creating an image map are completely different, the results look very similar to the Web surfer.
For this exercise, you need:
For this example, I used BBEdit for Macintosh, which is a very simple, shareware Macintosh HTML editor. You can use anything that will let you get in and mess with the text. An example of what not to use would be Adobe PageMill 1.0 because it doesn't allow the user to actually see the resulting code. (Version 2.0 of PageMill corrects this oversight.)
<TITLE>Clickable Graphic Exercise</TITLE>
<P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE=+4>Clickable Graphic Exercise<BR><BR></FONT></P>
So you're creating a file -- I saved mine as CLICK.HTML, to demonstrate a clickable graphic. If you're following along so far, you have something that looks like Figure 3-3 if viewed in an Internet browser.
<P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE=+4>Clickable Graphic Exercise<BR><BR>
CLICKTHRU.HTML is what I named the target file for this exercise and the ones that are to come. But notice, I specified a font size for my little headline and then gave the HREF as the name of the target file.
On the same line -- though I broke it up here just to tell you about it -- are the specifications for the image on this page: your clickable graphic. SINGLEHOTSPOT.GIF (what a mouthful) is the graphic you're making clickable. Note the material that's behind the ALT command. This stuff is important. Like it says in the tag, it lets people without graphics capabilities, or those who surf with graphics turned off, know what is supposed to be in this spot. In some cases, you want to use ALT to tell people what to do if they don't see any graphics.
Another possibility: Should your graphic be broken, for some reason, surfers will still see something useful besides an empty old box.
<IMG SRC="singlehotspot.gif" ALIGN="BOTTOM"
NATURALSIZEFLAG="3" ALT="It's important to indicate what
And that's it -- a clickable graphic that looks just like Figure 3-4 when downloaded by an Internet browser.
Note the BORDER="0" portion of the coding above. If you choose not to leave it at 0 -- say if you choose "1" instead -- you get a visible border around the graphic, in the color chosen for links.
Now that you've made a clickable graphic, jump straight into the image map.
All preamble aside, get your hands right into a for-real, client-side image map.
For this exercise, you need:
These files need only be very simple files, but name them carefully so you can remember which is which. In this example, they're TARGET1.HTML, TARGET2. HTML, and so on:
<TITLE>The target of all our exercises!</TITLE>
<H1><CENTER><TT>This is Target One </TT></CENTER></H1>
<H1><CENTER><IMG SRC="target.gif" WIDTH="212"
What you'll be doing in the image mapping utility is specifying areas to be defined as coordinates for a Web surfer to click to when on a Web site. So remember the names of the four target HTML files you create.
Don't worry if you don't get the circle in exactly the right place right away. When you stop drawing the circle, you'll notice a little handle on the bottom-right of the shape that you can grab to reshape the circle.
A dialog box like the one shown in Figure 3-7 appears, prompting you for the name of your target file.
That's pretty much it for the mapping part of image mapping -- easy enough to make early trepidation seem silly. Just two steps remain. You have to perform both a Save As and an Export As Text command for the image mapping to work once you actually have it in an HTML file, so . . .
Now that you have your image mapped, it's time to do something with it.
Your image mapping utility -- WebMap or Mapedit -- will have saved a map file that includes all the calculations it saved you from doing. In the case of my hot spot file, it saved it to my HTML editor -- BBEdit -- by creating a text file that really could be opened in any text editor, such as a word processor or any type of text handling program. The resulting file looks like this:
# Created by WebMap 1.0.1
# Wednesday, April 30, 1997 at 7:36 PM
# Format: NCSA
circ target1.html 56,16 223,93
poly target2.html 9,92 7,170 130,173 132,120 83,104 50,91 9,92
rect target3.html 148,107 271,175
rect target4.html 6,187 275,280
rect hotspot.html 0,0 0,0
Of course, the first part is pretty much just the job output -- WebMap's way of telling me what it is, when it was done, and by what. Details like this are ultimately important to geeks. You don't need it at all.
The second -- and last -- chunk is the business end of the whole production. These are the precise mathematical locations of the maps you specified. Aren't you glad you didn't have to figure that out yourself? Now that you've got them, you can plug them into an HTML file.
<TITLE>Image Mapping Exercise</TITLE>
Don't let the algebraic look of the coding give you heartburn. It looks a lot ickier than it is. And broken down, it's really pretty simple. Here's the first one broken down to look at its components:
< AREA SHAPE="rect" COORDS="56,16 223,93"
< AREA SHAPE="polygon" COORDS="9,92 7,170 130,173
132,120 83,104 50,91 9,92 "
< AREA SHAPE="polygon" COORDS="148,107 271,175"
<AREA SHAPE="circle" COORDS="6,187 275,280"
</MAP><IMG SRC="hotspot.gif" BORDER="0"
This saves some time in the download process because the size information is in the code, so the downloading browser doesn't have to wait to see the file to size it. There are fewer surprises.
The ISMAP command tells the browser that it has an active image coming its way and to look out for it. A simple command, but if you forget it, the whole shebang won't work.
HEIGHT="363" NATURALSIZEFLAG="3" ALIGN="BOTTOM" ISMAP>
All that coding produces a pretty simple file, as can be seen in Figure 3-12, but one that will elegantly take surfers deeper into your Web page. And in an entirely graphical way.
If an image mapping utility makes image mapping easy, doing the same chore with one of the latest generation of WYSIWYG Web design tools practically does the job all by itself.
PageMill 2.0 from Adobe and Microsoft FrontPage are just two of the Web-weaving programs that make image mapping a breeze.
If you are thinking about using a WYSIWYG Web design tool, make sure that it lets you view the HTML code easily. Some of them don't. I find that sometimes it's a lot simpler to be able to get into the code and throw in a good ol' <CENTER> command instead of fighting your way through to finding why it's not doing it. Also, future edits to the file are sometimes easier when you can get straight to the code.
The very newest generations of Web-weaving tools all seem to offer easy access to the HTML source code as an option, while some of the earlier versions of the same software did not. Insist on having this capability. That way, it's always there when you need it.
For this exercise, I created a graphic intended to be clickable in Microsoft Image Composer 1.0, as shown in Figure 3-13. It's a down and dirty graphic: I did it quickly, having fun with shapes and playing with opacity and colors. It was intended only for this exercise. You can do the same.
I gave the file a name and a headline -- a couple of things I always like to do -- as shown in Figure 3-14. If you're not using FrontPage, you'll find that most WYSIWYG HTML creation tools work in a similar way. Of course, Microsoft has brought along those pesky wizards, but they're really just templates with irritating names. Anyway, all WYSIWYG editors on most platforms will easily let you set up a file and start to work.
Most of the WYSIWYG editors let you do this very simply, usually with some type of graphic image that you click to go get your file, as shown in Figure 3-15.
The tools you need spring into action as shown in Figure 3-16.
You'll notice that as soon as you complete the description, a dialog box like the one in Figure 3-17 appears, prompting you for a target URL. Once again, I prepared a simple HTML file for this purpose. This one is called target.htm and I have all roads end there.
You now have a completed image map file ready for testing and uploading. Too easy? I know -- makes you wish you'd done it sooner. If you like, ask FrontPage (or whatever editor you're using) to show you the HTML code. You'll see that the thing you created looks very much like the code in the previous exercise, only it was slightly less labor intensive. Is that a good thing? Sometimes. As good as WYSIWYG editors are, there are certain times where I wouldn't like to be without my hands-on-and-get-your-hands-dirty HTML editor. In the case of image maps, however, the code -- and the result -- look just as pretty. Take a look at Figure 3-18.