As an Internet marketer, you may find it necessary from time to time to create or edit some web graphics-even if you think you can’t draw or paint your way out of a paper bag. The World Wide Web is, after all, a graphical medium, and it’s hard to create an attractive webpage without some graphics-graphics for headers, for banners, for illustrations, for screenshots, for e-book covers, for logos, and so on.

If you have absolutely no artistic talent, you may want to hire a professional graphic designer for your more important projects. However, this does not mean that you will not need to make some quick edits from time to time. Perhaps you will want to change the resolution of an image to better fit a web page. Perhaps you will want to crop down a photograph. Maybe you want to add call outs to a screenshot image, or improve the contrast on a photograph. These tasks, while simple, will require some image editing tools and know-how.

As with all aspects of our digital age, in the area of digital image editing you can stay as simple or get as complicated as you like. There are two paths you can take in choosing image editing tools-the pay way and the free way. Fortunately, on the Mac, your choices are broad.

Adobe Photoshop

The king of image editing is, of course, Photoshop, and it is been the de facto standard for a long time; the software has just recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary.

When most people think of Photoshop, they think of the full version-a heavy-duty, high-powered professional powerhouse that runs upwards of $700 (for Adobe Photoshop CS5 or $999 for Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended), but those aren’t your only options.

Photoshop CS5 is aimed at professional photographers and print designers. It has such features as complex selections, HDR imaging, the ability to work with CMYK images, automatic lens correction, and raw image processing.

CS5 Extended has features such as 3-D extrusions for the creation of logos, web buttons and artwork from any text layer, selection, path or layer mask. Advanced painting effects allow artists to create digital paintings from scratch. It even supports 3-D object manipulation. Unless, however, you are a professional web designer or artist, you probably won’t need it.

Does this mean that Photoshop is out of the picture, so to speak? Not at all. Photoshop Elements has 90% of the features most Web marketers will ever need. Don’t let Adobe’s phrase “consumer photo editing software” fool you: Photoshop Elements has some amazingly powerful features for Web graphic manipulation.

Photoshop Elements supports layers, layer masks, layer styles, opacity and blending modes, adjustment and fill layers, filters and effects, painting and drawing, transforming and retouching, text and type support, web optimization tools and much more. All this for less than $80.

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