722 Walnut #104
Kansas City, MO 64106
Putting together your own web site requires several components. This
information shows you how to put together the package. I can offer some
brokering, buying research, and maintenance information. However, my basic
aim is to provide you with the information and assistance so that you can
handle your own site. This way you have immediate control over content
and look. If you need to make a change quickly you can do so.
Getting a domain name:
|What||Who or What||Estimated Cost|
|Dial-up account||An ISP, i.e. Web One||$105 per year|
|FTP (copy files)||WS_FTP Pro||$40|
|Domain Name||Internic (the ISP, i.e. Web One)||$70 for two years|
|Domain Hosting||The ISP, i.e. Web One||$20 / month plus $50 setup fee|
|EXTRAS:||(see discussion below)|
|Camera||Film or digital||$30 Ė sky|
|Scanner||flatbed or film||Less than $100 - $1,000+|
|Photo Editor||PhotoDelux, PhotoShop, PhotoSuite, Picture Publisher, etc.||$50 - $700|
Getting Images: Cameras, Scanners,
Click Art and PhotoEditors
There are two types of cameras available: 1) cameras with film and 2) digital cameras.
At this time I recommend using a film camera and scanning the pictures or the film. The technology for digital cameras is still changing so rapidly that you are liable to spend a lot of money for a low resolution camera which may not be supported in the near future. Unless you spend from $8,000 to $30,000 for a digital camera professional digital camera you are unlikely to match the picture quality of a decent $30 film camera at K-Mart.
If you simply want very quick pictures, ready for the web (where quality is not really available anyway) then a digital camera will do nicely. But for now one of the cheapest digital cameras would probably be the best bet. No more than $200 to $300. Unless you have a lot of use for quick, low quality pictures and you really donít want film.
Digital storage is easy to erase and costly. Memory packs to store pictures are in the range of $40-$60 each. While these are re-usable it means than you need to find a place to store the pictures. That means hard disk space which will get used up pretty fast. That in turn means that you need to purchase a means of more permanent picture storage such as Zip drives at $150 (with $15 disks that store 100 megs Ė 100 to 200 pictures) or a CD-ROM writer at $250 to $400 but with $1 to $2.50 disks that store 650 megs).
Film cameras still have several advantages. The film is very permanent. Pictures from any one-hour shop can be handed around without special equipment. A flatbed scanner can take a picture from a $30 K-Mart camera and produce a picture as good or better than most any current consumer digital camera. Flatbed costs start at less than $100. I recently bought a very fine 600 dpi flatbed scanner for $150 which also has a film scanning section. It is as good as a flatbed I purchased three years ago for more than $1,400 and it is a lot faster and works, very conveniently off my printer port.
An in-between price option which provides professional-digital picture quality is a film scanner. My Minolta scanner gives me 2820 dpi resolution on 35mm film. This will produce a near wall-sized print. It gives me the same resolution by scanning my film directly as a studio digital camera at thousands of dollars more. I have my film processed at a one-hour lab and use the prints first to determine which negatives I wish to scan. When that is done I have prints I can give away.
Another scanning option is to ask the photo lab about providing you with scanned images on disk. Most will now do this for just a few dollars for you entire roll. Usually the scans are about the same quality as a consumer digital camera.
The last scanning option is to have selected negatives (or slides) scanned onto a Photo-CD by a commercial company such as CD-Factory. These are more expensive scans but if you are willing to collect a small quantity at a time and wait a week for pick up you can usually get prices in the range of $1.20 or so per scan. Max of 100 pictures per CD. These are scanned in five resolutions from tiny thumbnails to huge print sizes. Normally they come in two varieties: professional and regular. The regular scans give the lowest price and are usually a good deal. The professional scans usually start off at more than $10 per picture but are color corrected and are in even greater resolution. If you have film larger than 35mm usually only the professional scan is available.
Photo Click Art
Photos and drawings are available on CD-ROMs for very little price (anywhere from $15 to many hundreds of dollars). These normally start with several thousand images to several hundred thousand images. It sounds like a lot but often most of the images donít fit your particular idea. It is often easier to take a cheap camera and shoot a quick picture of your building or restaurant dish, etc. Nonetheless, there are many images and some of them may well spark a slight different idea for a poster or notice or brochure that you may want. These collections of images are available in various versions. Some provide all pictures for the taking. Some are professional resolution images for certain ranges of subject. Some are samples for proofing and layout which have some sort of marking and to use them for publication you need to contact to owners to purchase each use of each image.
The standard against which all other photo editors are measured is Adobeís PhotoShop. But at a price of more than $600 it isnít for everyone. If you do desktop publishing and other illustrations and this is a profession you might consider the Adobe Graphic Studio which bundles PhotoShop, PageMaker and Illustrator together for about $940.
Most everybody else will be happy to know that Adobeís low-end product, Adobe PhotoDeluxe costs just about $50. Many of the core features of PhotoShop for editing and manipulating pictures are part of PhotoDeluxe. They are hidden behind a very different user interface but if you are a PhotoShop user the tools in PhotoDeluxe are easy to recognize once you use them. They are just not setup in as handy a fashion and you canít have multiple pictures open at one time in this low-end editor.
Other photo editors and drawing programs are available in the $50 to $150 range and offer generally good quality. I like PhotoSuite for its ability to produce a set of proof sheets. I donít use it for photo editing. Picture Publisher has some advantages in its ability to open Windows meta-file (WMF) images and save them as a raster image. Most of the rest of what it does are copies of PhotoShop capabilities. Both this program and PhotoDeluxe come bundled with a number of scanners. Faux Matisse was a cool drawing program and had some nice effects with photos but I havenít seen it for some time.
JPEG Ė Extension is "JPG." This is a compressed format best for photographs and for left-to-right graduated tones and colors. JPEGís when saved are saved at various qualities. For local work and printing to a local printer you can save these at maximum quality. For internet use the JPEGís need to be reduced in quality so that they can be downloaded quickly. About 30% quality seems to be best for most uses to produce a good, recognizable photo.
For example if you had an image at 720 dpi and printed it on a 720 dpi printer it would show the full quality on paper. But the very same file shown on a monitor will be shown only at the monitorís lower resolution of 72 dpi.
So if you wanted to show that same picture on the internet in the same quality as you see it on your monitor you should save a separate version of the file at 72 dpi. This way the much smaller file will download to the viewerís monitor quickly and it will still look (on the monitor) just as good as the 720 dpi image would have.
The method of compression is the reason for choosing each type of file. JPEGís compress photos by sampling various point locations in the image and storing an average of the pixels around those points. Normally this is better for photos and worse for graphics.
GIF Ė Pronounced "jif." This is a compressed format best for graphics. In this case we mean images which have solid colors which span distances. An example would be a red box with white type on it.
Some images may skirt the two types of image between solid colors or top-to-bottom gradients) and photos or other gradients. In these cases it is best to start with a master format and save it in both JPEG and GIF formats and then see which file is smaller. Normally you should use the smaller version.
Each image or text file to download takes a certain amount of overhead. When files are sent to your browser they are in bits and pieces and usually the parts of files play leapfrog with other files. The accumulation of files downloading in bits and pieces takes more time than if you combine several or all of the images into a single image.
The larger the file, text or picture, the longer to download. For most intents and purposes you should still keep the full page download size to less the 70K. I prefer no more than 30K.
Cleverness items such as animations, scripts and applets take up processing time. Whatís more, this processing usually starts on the page before all the other page components are downloaded which means that the action of the animations and other items takes processing cycles which would otherwise be used to download the rest of the page. This further increases download time.
Although GIFís, when applied to the right image, are usually very compact, it seems common for people to lose track of how large a GIF gets when building an animated GIF. It is not uncommon for animations which may occupy no more than a tiny location on a page to be 200K to 400k in sizes.
This sort of "show-off" designing is often on the web pages of commercial web designers. There are a lot of them in this area with these kind of pages. Even if you are on an Intranet (company networkís HTML pages) you should think about download times. Although these are almost the same thing as working directly off your own hard disk it still increases traffic on the network as a whole. It just isnít necessary.
Anytime you are about to send a viewer a large file or graphic you should warn them about the time needed. It is a simple courtesy. It is also a good way to keep your viewers from hitting the "Back" button to escape your site.
For example, artists who wish to show their graphics are better showing something such as small thumbnails and allowing the viewer to choose to see a larger version.
Similar consideration with fonts. Donít use fonts others are unlikely to have. Various user interfaces substitute unpredictable fonts with results that are not what you saw when you created the page on your own machine. It is important to keep in mind that the page you created on your machine will look different depending on browser, environment and user preferences. This is not desktop publishing where the output is to a printer.
Keep that uppermost in mind. Resist the temptation to use frames, fonts or graphics which viewerís browsers may have a problem displaying. You are in the same position as a software programmer who must develop for a number of different computers. You canít use all the latest and fastest and meanest gizmos because only a few machines can handle them. So you work to the lowest common denominator of all the machine you wish to reach. Anybody else, you are not reaching.
Although this imposes some technical limits it does require you to focus on information the simple formatting which will show the information and still be attractive.