Last week there was a post on Lifehacker about a free online button maker (the post also mentioned "Classy Glassy Buttons", a site I have used before).
I've found that there's lots of tutorials for making modern looking buttons in Photoshop, some with downloadable Photoshop files, but not having Photoshop means I can only "ooh" and "aah" at the resulting output. If I was to use a tool for making graphic elements like buttons or tabs for use on web pages, it would need to be free. Since my main line of work is not graphic design, so I don't have the interest or expertise in making and manipulating layers/filters/masks etc.
The post on Lifehacker prompted me to reflect on the primary button-making "tool" I use, which, although not free, I already own. I should add a disclaimer to that last sentence - the "tool" I'm spruiking is source code that requires Visual Studio 2005, and the end result isn't exactly images files (this involves a manual step of taking screenshots).
The two Visual Studio 2005 projects I have used are "GelButton" by Chris Jackson and "Improved and Recoded RibbonMenuButton" from CodeProject. Both are worth a read if you want to create buttons in Windows forms. However, I only need images from those projects for a web site.
My method is to create a new Windows form, set up "hot" and "cold" state buttons, add my own text, and then take screenshots. Finally, edit the screenshots in a program like Paint.NET and save as GIF/PNG/JPG (whatever's appropriate).
Using Visual Studio means I can tap into the power of custom drawing and also harness other people's work towards nice-looking buttons.
What methods do you use?
Tags: buttons, design
posted @ Friday, May 25, 2007 2:43 AM