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Painting the Web

Catch Users' Eyes and Keep Them on Your Site

Picasso said that painting is a "jeu d'esprit": literally, a play of the spirit or mind. Shelley Powers, who believes that painting with graphics adds a wondrous variety to the Web, agrees. "When I think of web graphics, the one word that comes to me is 'fun,'" says Powers.

coverHer newest book, "Painting the Web" is the first comprehensive book on web graphics to come along in years. Powers demonstrates how readers of any level can take advantage of the graphics and animation capabilities built into today's powerful browsers, and have fun while doing it. Filled with full-color illustrations, the book covers GIFs, JPEGs, and PNGs, raster and vector graphics, CSS, Ajax effects, the canvas objects, SVG, geographical applications, and more--everything that designers (and non-designers) use to virtually paint the Web.

"I love tinkering around with different types of graphics and graphical technologies," says Powers. "I'm not a professional graphics artist or web designer, but that has never stopped me from trying out various tools and technique."

According to Powers, the book is written for people like her, who love web graphics but aren't professional graphics artists; who want to try out different effects without having to necessarily spend a lot of time or money. "I hope my readers come away inspired to try out the many different techniques and tools I covered. More importantly, I hope readers who are interested in graphics but don't consider themselves 'graphical artists' are reassured that yes, they can try out new tricks with posting photos, or created their own Web 2.0/3.0 effects, and so on. In particular, I emphasized how even some of the more complex and rich seeming graphical effects can be recreated just by following a defined set of steps. With these steps, and the tools, you don't have to be a pro to have fun."

Throughout the book, Powers' own love of web graphics shines through in every example. Topics in Painting the Web include:
- GIF, JPEG, PNG, lossy versus lossless compression, color management, and optimization
- Photo workflow, from camera to web page, including a review of photo editors, workflow tools, and RAW photo utilities
- Tricks for best displaying your photos online
- Non-photographic raster images (icons and logos), with step-by-step tutorials for creating popular "Web 2.0" effects like reflection, shiny buttons, inlays, and shadows
- Vector graphics
- An SVG tutorial, with examples of all the major components
- Tips and tricks for using CSS
- Interactive effects with Ajax such as accordions and fades
- The canvas object implemented in most browsers
- Geographical applications such as Google Maps and Yahoo Maps, with programming and non-programming examples
- Visual effects such as forms and data displays in table or graphics
- Web design for the non-designer

"I don't think it's possible to write a web graphics book that covers everything 'but the kitchen sink,' but I tried," Powers explains. "Included are overviews of the specs and the concepts, such as JPEGs and lossy compression; how to ensure your photos look great online; how to create page objects, such as a shiny Web 2.0 button or reflections; PHP applications that create slideshows or generate images; camera to web page photo workflows; interesting CSS design effects; and fades and other effects created with JavaScript." Powers has also created a companion site for the book that includes additional material, examples, and articles

Shelley Powers has been working with, and writing about, web technologies--from the first release of JavaScript to the latest graphics and design tools--for more than 12 years. Her recent O'Reilly books have covered the semantic web, Ajax, JavaScript, and web graphics.

Painting the Web
Shelley Powers
Download Chapter 4: The Web As Frame (PDF Format ch04.pdf)

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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