14. Multimedia and the Web: Purposing Pixels for the Screen
It's pretty clear that we've spent most of our professional lives focused on preparing images that are destined for a printing press. But the times they are a-changing, and one of the most common uses for Photoshop today is preparing images for screen display, whether in an interactive multimedia presentation or a Web site. And just as there are techniques for optimizing an image for paper, there are methods you can use to ensure good quality on screen (as well as tips for preparing your on-screen image efficiently).
In this chapter, we take a look at several important issues you need to consider when preparing images for multimedia or the Web, including deciding on a graphic file format and dealing with indexed-color images. Note that we don't discuss all the cool ways you can make funky buttons, rules, bullets, and other page elements; there are other great books on the market that include those techniques.
ImageReady. Once upon a time, Adobe had an idea that people creating images for print would use Photoshop and those that wanted Web graphics would use Adobe ImageReady. They even bundled the two programs together (and still do), and made it easy for people to switch between the two programs via the Jump button at the bottom of the Tool palette (or from the File menu). If your image is open when you click this button, the image automatically opens (or updates) in the other program. Plus, ImageReady and Photoshop can read the same native file format, with layers and so on.
However, it appears that most people want the flexibility of creating either print or Web graphics in Photoshop. The result: Adobe is slowly but inexorably moving features from ImageReady into Photoshop. The newest transfers are Variables (see Chapter 12, Essential Image Techniques) and the Animation palette, which lets you create little flip-book movies that you can save as animated GIF files (see "The Animation Palette," later in this chapter).
The upshot is that Photoshop provides most of the tools you need for Web graphics, and the majority of Web graphics never require ImageReady. Therefore, we won't be discussing ImageReady in this chapter. There are several other programs currently on the market that are expressly designed to build Web graphics, such as Macromedia's Fireworks. However, this is a book on what you can do with Photoshop, so we won't be covering those programs, either.