Using a graphics software is essential to banner creation. At
bare minimum, you need a drawing program to create the banner and save
it in the GIF format. From there, a static banner can be made more
dynamic (animated) using a separate program that will string together
multiple static images into one GIF file. Other special effects will
require an advanced program that will likely increase the GIF file
size. Finally, to combat size increase, you will need a GIF
Only a few of these programs are available free of charge. But
that doesn't mean you must spend money. You can certainly get by
using the free programs. If you desire better quality and greater
efficiency however, you may consider a commercial product. We offer
this list only for your reference. We do not endorse or have a vested
interest in any of them. We recommend that you try out the demos
before committing to a purchase.
Paint Shop Pro - This Windows95/NT shareware is a full-featured
graphics program for image creation, viewing, and editing. It is
ideal for beginners and people who cannot afford and/or do not require
the full power of PhotoShop.
PhotoShop - This expensive commercial product is geared toward
serious computer artists. It is the best graphics tool for drawing
just about everything, including banners.
Net Sketch - This Windows 95/NT program guides you through
creating and designing buttons, banners, logos, and illustrations of
all kinds. It hones in on attributes such as fill style, edge style,
shadow style, softness, transparency, position, size, skew and
Web Painter - An all-in-one web graphics and animation software.
It has a fully functional free trial version which you can test out
Ulead GIF Animator - A tool for designing, producing, and
optimizing GIF animations. This program too, offers a free trial to
GIF Construction Set - Another tool for designing, producing, and
optimizing GIF animations. Its functions are very similar to those of
Ulead. Most experienced designers use either Ulead or GIF
Construction, (but not both) depending on personal preferences.
AniMagic Gif Animator - Another GIF animation tool.
GIF Builder - Web freeware for Macintosh to build animations.
Ulead Web Utilities - Besides GIF Animator, Ulead has a collection
of other utilities especially for special effects. This is a great
place to look to spice up your designs!
Smart Draw Pro - Program for web graphics whose features include
drag & drop drawing, automatic connecting lines between shapes, and
clip-art libraries. Works with MS Office.
CDH Image Explorer - Allows for viewing and management of all
image formats, including GIF animations, Photoshop specific format,
and many more (nearly 50 supported formats)! Features include: format
conversion among all supported formats, slideshow capabilities, image
mailing, deleting, renaming, zooming, image information, image
Graphics Workshop Pro - Functions of this program allow you to
drag & drop, convert between formats, print your graphics as hard
copy, drive a scanner, decode pictures from the Internet, process and
fine tune your photographs.
Movie Gear - Tool that builds GIF animations, shrinks files,
resizes graphics, supports Photoshop PSD, JPEG, AVI, BMP, and GIF
files. Free trial version for Windows 95/NT only.
GIF Wizard - Another GIF compression program.
GIF Lite - They will compress your GIF images free of charge. But
it is done through email - expect possible delays.