Articles tagged as ‘Tools’

30 of the Best Photo Editing Websites

Designers and photographers have a number of options when it comes to photo editing. Of course, Photoshop is the most popular software, but there are a number of websites that allow you to edit photos online. Depending on your needs the full version of Photoshop may not be necessary. Many times free web applications can do […]

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Best Thunderbird Addons to Improve Productivity

Thunderbird is a popular free email application from Mozilla, the people behind Firefox. And just like Firefox, one of the reasons for Thunderbird’s popularity is the number of quality add-ons that are available for download. While Thunderbird includes all of the necessary features for managing your emails by default, there are tons of add-ons that […]

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11 Leading Tools for Free Website Analytics

Every website owner or marketer needs to know what is going on with their website and visitors to know how to improve their results. Website analytics tools can provide data and show trends that will help you to know what to do to see the results improve over time.

But when it comes to analytics you have a lot of options to chose from. Where should you start looking?

In this post we’ll show 11 of the best free website analytics to choose from. Of course there are many options that are not free, but most free resources provide enough info for any size website…

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20 Handy Online Presentation Tools

There may be times when you need to present ideas to clients or co-workers and could benefit from one of the many resources for creating online presentations. In this post we’ll introduce plenty of different presentation tools to get the job done. Some are free to use while others will come with a cost…

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Exciting Website for Web Designers and Developers (Sponsored)

A new and exciting website has recently been launched for web designers and developers.

You likely spend hours every morning browsing through hundreds of posts on your RSS feeds, hoping to stumble across relevant stories. Webdesigner News was built to provide web designers and developers with a single location to discover the latest and most significant stories on the Web…

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Team Communication Starts with HipChat (Sponsored)

For much too long, email has been the main medium for communication at work. While email isn’t going away, team communication platforms like HipChat are allowing for more collaborative and productive communication experiences between co-workers.

HipChat combines every communication method you’d ever need—IM, group chat, screen sharing, file sharing, link sharing, video and voice calling—into a single solution. Working remotely, working across time zones, and working with the person right next to you becomes infinitely simpler and more efficient…

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12 Excellent Font Identifier Tools To Speed Up Your WorkFlow

Designers have a need for relevant fonts in all creative mediums. Both print and digital design follow a similar track when choosing and composing typography. But there’s always the nuance of actually choosing which font to use. While on the search for a terrific typeface it’s all-too-common to bump into a great font that’s also hard to identify.

Thankfully in our modern high-tech era there are plenty of font identifier tools which can help. All of these tools can be accessed using a web browser and they’re a lot more accurate than you might assume.

The following resources are meant for designers and developers who often need to identify a particular font. Up until recently this was an arduous task which required hours of research and letter matching. But nowadays you can find the exact font family(or at least related choices) in just a matter of minutes…

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Top 25 OS X Sketch Plugins for Designers

Bohemian Coding is a software company most notably recognized for creating the OS X application Sketch. It allows designers to work with both vector and raster images in the same document. As you might imagine, this program has caught widespread attention from web & graphic designers all over the world. And if you design on a Mac then it’s worth testing out Sketch just to see what all the fuss is about.

For this post I’ve collected 25 free & useful Sketch plugins meant for all types of design. Whether you create icons, interfaces, or anything else, these plugins will surely improve your workflow.

Mastering Sketch takes time and lots of practice. Since the program is still new there isn’t as much information online compared to other programs like Photoshop. But sticking with a routine of continual practice will yield amazing results – and these plugins can prove to be quite beneficial along the way…

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Free Image Editor: 4 Stellar Programs to Help You Create Beautiful Images

Need a new free image editor? Today we’re taking a look at four free tools you can use to design your own custom image graphics for sharing in blog posts or on social media.

While toiling away in advanced image editing programs will always allow for unparalleled sophistication, there are some incredible free tools online that simplify and streamline the image building process.

Some of these online image tools offer customization and advanced options than you’d never expect to find in a free tool. If you’re looking to create beautiful images on a budget, don’t miss out on these four favorite image-crafting tools…

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45 Amazing and Free Photoshop Actions

Photoshop actions allow designers and photographers to automate common sequences for increased efficiency. If you do much work with photo editing you can certainly benefit from the time saved by having a good library of Photoshop actions. There are so many different types of actions that you can use from vintage effects, to black and white, to HDR and much more.

There are countless actions available that can be downloaded for free, and in this post we’ll feature 45 of them. Some of these are individual actions and others are sets that include multiple actions. These actions have been created by various designers and photographers and have been made available for free download.

Keep in mind that while Photoshop actions can be extremely useful and helpful, the results will vary from one photo to the next. Not every photo will look great with every action. Experiment with them and you’ll get a good feel for which actions work best with certain types of photos…

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15 Fabulous Options for Selling Digital Downloads

There are no shortage of options for managing an e-commerce website. There are all kinds of shopping carts and e-commerce content management systems that have a wide variety of strengths and weaknesses. Finding the right option for selling digital downloads, however, can prove to be a challenge. Fortunately, there are a lot of great options available, you just need to find the right one for you…

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These 50+ Awesome Photoshop Plugins Will Save You A Lot of Time and Money

WebZap

We all know Photoshop is an extremely powerful program that offers unlimited opportunities for designers and photographers alike. However, if you want to take Photoshop even further, or improve your workflow or efficiency in some way, there are loads of plugins that can be installed.

In this article we’ll showcase more than 50 Photoshop plugins that you should be aware of. We’ve divided them into two sections: plugins for design and plugins for photography. Some of the plugins are free and others must be purchased. Some of the paid plugins offer a free trial, so be sure to check out those that interest you…

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10 Helpful Resources for Testing Responsive Web Design

Testing is a critical part of the responsive web design process. The purpose of using a responsive layout is to make the website useful on any type of device, but without extensive testing it’s not possible to know for sure how the site is behaving in different situations. Fortunately, there are a number of different tools and resources available that can help you to test your responsive designs. In this article we’ll take a look at 10 helpful tools that you may want to try for yourself…

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Ultimate Collection of Free Photoshop Styles

Photoshop users can save time during the design process by making use of layer styles. Whether you are saving your own custom style to be used multiple times throughout your design, or using pre-made styles created by other designers, taking advantage of this feature in Photoshop can greatly speed up your workflow.

In this post we’ll link out to hundreds of useful Photoshop layer styles that can be downloaded for free. Many of them have been created especially for text, others for buttons, and some are more general. Download the styles and apply them to your layers for instant results.

8-Bit Photoshop Styles

8-Bit Photoshop Styles

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Does Your Design Blog Need a Podcast? Plus, 8 Free Podcasting Software Tools

Blog content is important, right? If you have a web design blog for your freelance web design business, you already know how having a blog can help you attract traffic and establish yourself as an expert. (If you don’t have a blog on your freelancing website, why don’t you?)

Blogs need content, but not all content is writing. Podcasts are an important type of content that is often overlooked. Consider adding a podcast to your freelancing blog to give it more variety.

Podcasts are audio or video files that you add to your blog. You can also submit your audio file podcasts to iTunes. While some podcasts contain music, many successful bloggers present informative material with podcasts and you can too. For the purposes of this post, we’ll be discussing audio podcasts.

Podcasting is not for everyone. But adding a podcast to your blog may be just the thing you need to set your web design business apart from the rest.

In this in this introduction to podcasting, I’ll explain how podcasting can help you promote your web design business. I’ll also identify some tools to help you to get started with podcasting. Finally, I’ll include some tips and tutorials so that you can learn more about podcasting.
podcasts1
Image Source: ON THE AIR by Rochelle Hartman CC by 2.0

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Shopify Toolbox: Resources for Shopify Users and Designers

Shopify is one of the leading e-commerce options for companies and individuals who want to be able to quickly set up a feature-rich online shop. All Shopify users have access to free templates that can be used, plus a large and growing selection of beautiful premium templates that can be purchased for affordable prices. Shopfiy is a hosted system, so you won’t have to go through a complicated installation process on your server, and support and billing for e-commerce functionality and hosting is combined and managed in one place.

Many designers and developers love Shopify because it’s a great system to use for client projects. You can create custom themes for your clients, or even make money by selling your templates in their theme shop. Developers can also create and sell apps in the app shop. Shopify has a partners program that allows designers to earn a commission by referring clients, and they also have an experts section where you can get listed so Shopify users can easily find you for custom work.

In this post we’ll highlight a number of resources that will be very helpful to designers/developers who want to learn more about Shopify, and also for shop owners who want to find some great resources to make their e-commerce site even better.

Shopify Ecommerce

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Social Media: Finding the Balance Between a Waste of Time and Necessary Networking

Ah yes, the all too constant struggle of networking with social media. It’s one of those necessary evils that everyone, from job seekers to freelancers to name brand companies, have to rethink constantly. This is why it is one of the most commonly discussed topics across multiple industries. We all know just how important social media is, and most of us continue to struggle between making it a successful marketing avenue and a waste of time.

As a freelancer who has struggled with wasting hours on social media and completely ignoring it for a month (or more) at a time, I have learned a few ways to help me narrow this gap between the two extremes. Now, have learned how to better focus my efforts with social media. It’s still not perfect, but I am on the road to tightening down my efforts and am already seeing results. And for those of you social media skeptics, even when I was only flailing along with social media, I gained enough clients through my exposure via Twitter and Google+ that I haven’t had to search for clients since I became active in several social platforms.

If you are a business owner, freelancer, or even an individual simply looking to build up a strong network in your search for a career, you may find the following tips to help you better take advantage of the benefits that social media has to offer. Hopefully, some of the resources below will help you greatly reduce the time-suck trap many fall into with social media. Use your own experience in combination with these tips, and like me you may find clients knocking down your proverbial door.

So, take a look at the following 10 tips and resources and get ready to re-adjust your social networking plan into one that will waste less time and build more positive results for you and your business ventures.

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Tools of the Trade for Web Designers

One complaint I hear over and over again from designers is that no matter how hard they push through the day, there just never seems to be enough time to get through everything they’d expected to. I’ve heard it often enough that I’ve done some digging to identify the problem. Sure, we could all be a bunch of lazy designers, but I think we all know that’s not true. So what’s to blame for productivity that’s not quite up to snuff?

The best I can figure is that we’re all suffering from a condition that I’ve dubbed “Old Guard Syndrome.” That is, we’re stuck in a rut. We aren’t taking advantage of changing technologies as quickly as software and online tools are updating what they’re capable of doing for us. We need to adapt faster if we’re going to stay organized and become more efficient. Following are some online tools that can help you streamline your workload and make each minute of your day count for just a bit more.

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Free Resources for Creating a Flat Design

Flat designs are taking over quite quickly it seems. I doubt anyone could argue against it being the latest and greatest for (fairly) new trends on the web, in mobile devices, and even in print. The simple description for a flat style of design is one that lacks 3D effects, such as bevels or drop shadows.

The stylistic details of a flat design can vary somewhat, just as with most design styles. Usually, though, a flat design is quite minimalist with primary-ish colors and lots of “white space”. The font is usually thin without too much flare. Boxes and buttons are, of course, without strokes or 3D effects. Some flat designs do contain shadows, but these are usually flat-ish as well.

Whether you are new to flat design or simply need some fresh, new resources for your next project, most should be able to find a few items below to help. The list below is divided into 5 categories: UI kits, icons, templates, WordPress themes, and tutorials. The best part? All are free. The ones that specifically mention “free for commercial use” are noted as well. Have fun browsing and be sure to let us know of any other amazingly free flat resources.

UI Kits

A UI kit is a user interface collection that comes with all the parts and pieces you need to design your own website. Usually they are PSD but sometimes will come with other components as well. While you can use the color scheme in the file, you can create your own color scheme. They also come with patterns, brushes, and much more. Hence, UI kits save a web designer a lot of time, improving workflow and decreasing time spent on projects.

DesignModo Flat UI

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Website Builders: A Complete Guide to WYSIWYG and Drag-and-Drop Options

Drag-and-drop WYSIWYG website builders have always been a topic of mixed opinions, and strong feelings, in the web design and development industry. While WYSIWYG editors and builders have been popular for quite some time, in recent years new options have emerged and in some cases the quality of code produced has improved. With the massive numbers of users that industry leaders like Wix have been able to amass, it’s not a wise decision for most designers and developers to simply ignore WYSIWYG website builders.

If you’re a designer or developer that focuses on larger, more costly projects it is highly unlikely that your clients will decide to build their own website with a drag-and-drop editor. However, the vast majority of freelance designers and small studios work with many clients on small projects with very tight budgets. In these situations the clients may be looking at do-it-yourself options as real alternatives to hiring a designer/developer to create the site for them.

The potential of losing clients to do-it-yourself alternatives isn’t the only way that these website builders can impact designers. Some of the options are created specifically with designers in mind, with the goal of allowing designers to be able to create websites for clients in a more efficient way that will lead to better profitability for the designer. Because the quality of these options, for example Squarespace, have improved in recent years, a growing number of designers are using these drag-and-drop builders to create websites for clients rather than coding everything from scratch. With small projects and limited budgets, these options may allow a designer to turn a profit on a project that would otherwise not be worth their time.

Additionally, other website builders exist specifically to allow designers to create their own portfolio website and show off their work. These options can be great for designers that don’t code, for students who want to show their work to help land a job, and for designers who need to get a portfolio online quickly.

In this article we’ll take a detailed look at the topic of website builders. We’ll look at 13 of the leading options, along with pros and cons of using a website builder. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of every website builder that is available. There are literally hundreds of options out there. In this article we’ll look at some of the most popular options, and we’ll also look at some that are created and marketed more towards designers. Of these options 3 of them work with WordPress and 2 of them are specifically for creating portfolio websites.

Leading Website Builder Options:

Wix

Wix

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How to Take Back Your Time & Increase Your Productivity — Plus 11 Great Productivity Tools

Did you ever finish a day of hard work and feel like you got nothing done?

Believe me, you’re not the only one. Time management is a challenge for many professionals, and web designers are no exception.

If you’re also a freelancer, how well you manage your time may also affect how much you earn. So, it’s important maximize your productivity whenever you can.

Unfortunately, we all have many demands on our time. Often, it’s the little things that slow us down the most–things we might not even think about.

productivity
Image Source: lett -/=

In this post, I’ll show you how to increase your productivity by identifying three common problems that keep us from being as productive as we should be. I’ll also share 11 productivity tools to help you get better control of your time.

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50 Bootstrap Themes for Responsive Websites

Twitter’s Bootstrap framework has become incredibly popular since it was initially released in 2011. If you’re looking for a way to quickly build and deploy responsive websites, Bootstrap is a great option. While using any of the popular frameworks will involve a little bit of a learning curve, once you have adapted your process it can be much quicker for you to complete web design projects with the help of Bootstrap.

Another good thing about using Bootstrap is that there are loads of tools and resources available thanks to a growing community around the open-source project. You can purchase a great-looking template or theme built on Bootstrap for less than $20. Here we’ll take a look at 50 well-designed, and affordable, templates for Bootstrap.

Myway – $13

Myway

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13 Resources to Design for Bootstrap

Twitter’s Bootstrap has rapidly grown into one of the most popular frameworks for web designers and developers. Bootstrap aims to make web development faster and easier, and a growing number of designers and developers are working with Bootstrap.

There are a lot of benefits to using a framework like Bootstrap, most of them focusing on the increased efficiency for building modern and responsive websites. If you’re a Bootstrap user, or if you are interested in giving it a shot, there are several resources that can help with the visual design aspect of working with Bootstrap, and we’ll look at them in this article. There are far more resources that useful for working with Bootstrap in one way or another, but in this collection we are focusing on those resources that help with creating a visual design.

Bootstrap 2.0 Photoshop Template
This free PSD file includes loads of elements that can be used to create your own Bootstrap-based designs in Photoshop. It come with things like buttons, form elements, typography, navigation elements, tables, and much more. It’s also available for Fireworks.

Bootstrap 2.0 Photoshop Template

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Analyzing Your Conversion Funnel

So you’re a great designer, right? You create amazing sites that your clients fall in love with. But let me ask you something…what’s the conversion rate of the last website you created? I’m sure not many designers would be able to answer that question.

“We’re designers. That’s not a part of our job,” some of you might be thinking. Okay. But you do understand that people do not make websites just for the heck of it. Right? I mean, except for the reputation management clients who care no more than aesthetic appeal of the site, almost every website has a purpose. They want profits.

This purpose or conversion goal of the website can be anything from lead generation through form-filling, free-trial signups, and download brochure to direct sales from a website, like in the case of eCommerce websites.

The point is – if your design is in any way not doing a good job of helping people accomplish this conversion goal, no matter how beautifully designed your website might be, its value to your client decreases.

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15 jQuery Carousel Plugins

A common challenge during a web design project involves finding a way to display the relevant content in an attractive and usable manner. Carousels are often used for displaying images, text, and sometimes videos. If you’d prefer to save some time during the coding of the site you can use an existing jQuery plugin to create your carousel.

There are a lot of good scripts and plugins available, and in this article we’ll highlight 15 of them. Most of them are available for free download, but some of them are premium and must be purchased. Each comes with different features and options for customization. Hopefully you will find one that will be right for your next project.

iCarousel

iCarousel
iCarousel is a premium option (cost is $8 for a regular license) that supports touch gestures. It is highly flexible and customizable to allow you to create something unique. Both 2D and 3D options are available.

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7 Awesome HTML5 Website Development Tools by Adobe

PCMag recently spoke with Danny Winokur, Adobe’s vice president and general manager of Interactive Development, who said the point of today’s releases is to “advance what’s possible with HTML5 and associated technologies that have become instrumental to the modern Web.”

Adobe’s tools for HTML5 website development have brought the power of multiple technology features to build creative website designs. It aims to revolutionize the way the web is dealt with going forward. Adobe hopes to surprise web developers with a rather convenient and simpler creative process. These comprehensive tools are smart, flexible, and highly interactive in their use, style and performance.

Let’s take a look at the latest Adobe’s HTML5 website development tools re-invented for 2013:

Edge Reflow

This is a completely new, responsive web design tool by Adobe, available only for Adobe Creative Cloud members. The tool can create layouts and visual designs with CSS and is totally free in Adobe’s creative Cloud. It has a smart and intuitive design surface which can be easily resized. This surface gives an idea as to how layouts and visuals will adapt to different screen sizes.

It allows users to preview their designs in the browser, and check their designs in real-time with Edge Inspect extension. The design CSS can be transported to Dreamweaver, Edge Code or any other code editor for further modifications.

What it has in-store for Developers?

The primary purpose of Adobe’s Edge Reflow is to simplify the multi-screen design process, making it much more efficient and time-bound. Used for creating UX prototypes and visual designs followed by quick mock-ups.

Edge Reflow works on 2 design regions – design canvas for WYSIWYG layout and the property inspector (for single element styling). Breakpoints create new media query regions that can be easily tweaked to edit visual elements such as boxes, layouts and much more.

Edge Reflow

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12 Options for Easily Creating Web Forms

Creating web forms can be one of the most time consuming and sometimes frustrating parts of creating a website. It becomes especially challenging when you need an advanced form that involves things like conditional logic, multi-page forms, support for file uploads or attachments, and payment integration. Fortunately, there are a number of tools, resources, and apps that are available to make the process much less time consuming.

In this post we’ll take a look at several options for creating web forms, both basic and advanced, quickly and easily.

Wufoo

Wufoo

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How to Migrate from Google Reader to Feedly

If you’re a user of Google Reader you probably know by now that Google has decided to shut down the service as of July 1, 2013. Many people, myself included, use Google Reader on a daily basis and have found it to be the best RSS reader available. The good news is that other viable options have started to get more exposure in the past week since Google made the announcement as people look for alternatives. Feedly is an excellent alternative, and you may even find it to be better than Google Reader. The best part is that Feedly has capitalized on the opportunity by making it super easy to import all of your feeds from Google Reader, so you can continue to follow your favorite websites and blogs without interruption. In this post we’ll look at this process.

How to Migrate from Google Reader to Feedly

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14 Useful Android Apps for Photo Editing and Design

Graphic design and photo editing are increasing in popularity, in part because of the tools and apps that are readily available. It seems like just about every other person has a semi-professional camera hung around their neck with which they take pictures throughout the day, but even if you are not one of these people you probably take photos with your smartphone. With the photography and photo editing apps that are available you don’t need expensive equipment.

We took the liberty of cooking up a list of color palettes applications and photo editors available to Android users from the Google Play Store. With the applications are provided their original descriptions for your convenience. Check out this list of fifteen photo-editing tools for your mobile.

Color Palette Apps:

Image Color Picker

“Use your Android to detect a color that inspires you. It’s easy to take color inspiration from a photo in your library. Just touch a point and you can get color information.”

Image Color Picker

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10 Apps for Working Remotely

Teamwork is about sharing ideas, finding better solutions, and having more productive work. Collaboration tools for designers are essential to improve their work with other team members and clients. The apps listed below will let you share your ideas and designs, so that you can communicate easily with clients or other co-workers.

FileSquare

Impress your clients with prototypes and simple feedback. With FileSquare you can share your work with developers and others designers, show it to clients and collect feedback with clear annotations in real time. This application could also perform usability tests with mobile interactive mockups. FileSquare is a tool for web agencies, software houses, freelance developers and designers.

FileSquare

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Using the Cloud in Web Design

Cloud computing is revolutionizing the way web designers do their work, from designing to storing and sharing files. Instead of having to rely on one local computer or server to access software and projects, designers now have the ability to access these elements anywhere, and on any device. This technology has made collaboration easier than ever, with the ability to quickly share and discuss ideas, mockups and finalized designs quickly and easily with very little time spent arranging the logistics.

Below outlines more about the cloud and how it can benefit you as a designer.

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5 Light and Free Image Editors

While Photoshop, Fireworks, and Illustrator may be the most feature-rich and popular options for web and graphic designers, sometimes there may be situations where a lighter option would be preferred. Opening Photoshop for very simple image edits isn’t always the most efficient option. I have searched and reviewed these 5 image editors that are easily available for download. These software are light, fast, really easy to use, and have all the necessary image editing tools required for simple jobs.

Now I do not disagree that Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks are the life blood of the  industry. But having said that, all these software are also complicated for some users, strains the CPU, have really large sizes, and most importantly carry a price tag. So if you are a small time user who wants to perform relatively simple edits to images, you would certainly hesitate in shelling out for such software. And that’s quite understandable.

After all, why would someone pay hundreds of dollars for Photoshop if he/she just has to change the color contrasts or lighting of an image?

Also the number of available free image editing software is also quite large. So large that it may confuse you beyond measure. In an effort to work around this confusion we present yo 5 free image editing software that are light, fast, easy to use, and gets the job done.

1. FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone

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Recent and Useful Tools for Web Development

Looking for new ideas for your next project? you stepped into the right place. This post talks about brand new web tools that convert good ideas in excellent pieces of web development. Slowly but constantly, web tools are replacing desktop programs and It is very likely that in the future there will be no need of hard drives since everything will be in the cloud. The greatest developers for desktop applications will need to adapt to this or disappear. We bring you some tools that show the future now. So that you start adapting to it.

We Love Icon Fonts

We Love Icon Fonts

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