Unless you are a graphic designer (and if you were, you would not be reading this article), you should not attempt to create a new image from scratch. It is much easier to just modify an existing image. In this article I will go over some of the changes commonly made to graphics and how anyone can do them quickly and easily.
There are tons of free graphics available on the Internet these days. Just do a quick search for "free graphics" to locate them. There is also a terrific free graphics editor called paint.NET that is comparable to Adobe's Photoshop, but easier to use. I have used it myself for some time and find it to be the most powerful free software I have ever encountered.
Once you have installed Paint.NET and located a graphic image, you can modify that image to exactly fit your needs. For example, you might find an icon image that is not the right color or size for your web site.
Resizing an Image To resize your image, open it using Paint.NET and click Image and Resize . You can resize the image by percentage or by specifying alternative height and width values. Paint.NET automatically adjusts the height when you modify the width and vice versa. This means that the image stays in the right proportion and does not come out looking funny.
Working with Colors Colors are specified using a Red, Green and Blue (RGB) value and this is typically represented as a hex code. If you need to find out the hex code for a particular color in an image, you can use the Color Picker tool. The icon for this tool looks like an eye dropper.
Just select that tool from the Tools window and click on a particular area of an image. When you do, the color displayed in the Colors window will change to match that color. You can then see what the hex code is by expanding the Color window using the More button.
This is very useful when you need to exactly match a font color on your web site with the color of an image on that web site. Little things like this really add to the professional look of a web site and why not when it is this easy to do.
Cropping an Image Another thing commonly done is the cropping of an image. Let's say you have a picture of yourself that you need to put on your web site, but it is a full body shot and you just want to show your head. You can use the Rectangle Select or the Ellipse Select tool to select the area you want to include and then click Paste in to New Image to create a new and smaller version of the image. You then save the new image and overwrite the original version, or save the image with a new file name.
Do not waste your money buying an expensive graphics package when more than likely Paint.NET can do everything you need. Not only is it free, but it is very easy to use. You will really impress your friends when they see what cool graphics you start coming up with.