Art tips for programmers

Nov 23, 2004 03:57 · 457 words · 3 minute read

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be starting in on my new business. In addition to being a businessman, I’m a programmer. (Of course, I’m also the janitor for my new business 🙂 One thing I’m not is an artist.

Making a modern piece of software requires at least decent taste, if not the actual ability to make good, appropriate visuals from scratch. The 80×24 text mode days are long gone. Luckily, there’s Slashdot to the rescue with Art Tips For Programmers?. The discussion thread includes all of the usually /. nonsense (I call BS!). It also includes a number of useful tips and links… like: use students from your local university, but don’t abuse them. And don’t count on them to finish on time. Or, just use professionals, because they’re worth the money. Surprisingly, no one said “outsource the graphics work to Russia”. Like any /. thread, there are plenty of opinions and options, and I’ll have to figure out the right one to use in a couple of months.

In the meantime, though, I wanted to keep track of some of the handy links that appeared in the discussion.

  • KDE-Look has icon collections, many of which are LGPL or other useful license
  • InterfaceLIFT has collections of stock icons
  • Not surprisingly, so does
  • Aquatint gives any image that friendly Mac Aqua glow
  • The Color Scheme Generator is a web-based doodad that provides assistance for folks who don’t have a good sense of color coordination.
  • If stock photos is your thing (and I’m not sure that it’s mine…), stock.xchng provides free stock photos. I wonder how dilligent they are about copyright clearance? Even if they aren’t, it would probably be unlikely that someone would notice.
  • Microsoft provides a detailed guide for creating Win XP icons. This includes colors to use, angles of images, sizes, etc.
  • A couple of people raved about Drawing With The Right Side Of Your Brain. While I will certainly admit that the “after” pictures in the gallery are technically far superior to the before pictures, they all look rather grim and scary. Still, if you’re looking to pick up drawing yourself, it would appear that this will help you with light and dark rendering and picking up detail in images.

Update: At least 100 of you probably saw the crazy initial posting. I fixed the odd cut and paste thing that had happened. Also, Chris Sterritt writes in:

For whatever it’s worth, the book is named “Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain”. It was a book before it was a website :-). I kind of agree about the images on the website (they seem to all overemphasize the lines around the eyes)… the ones in the book are more appealing.