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93

If you're a programmer, you're already creative. Programming is one of the most creative of professions (else why would the word "elegant" be such a high term of praise?). So much for that. So let's narrow this down. You want a route to channel your already-existing creativity into the VISUAL arts, rather than the unseen-by-all art of good coding. Like ...


90

Stay Simple - Don't try to do anything too fancy or adventurous at first. Get the basics down first, then you can start experimenting. Don't try to emulate the Star Trek computer interface. Be Consistent - A consistent design is part of the foundation of a good design. Keep track of your margins, sizes, and placement and maintain them throughout the design. ...


21

Check out Inkscape: http://inkscape.org/ Inkscape is a free (and open-source) SVG vector graphics editing program. I've never used Illustrator, so I can't directly compare, but I've done all of my work in Inkscape and it is quite capable. You might also want to check out Inkscape's tutorial for Illustrator users: ...


20

My answer is partially related to your question, but what I feel is that I needed motivation to count myself and you need some also. Can you be creative? Absolutely! Use your imagination to change your beliefs; give time to your thoughts. When I was newbie in this field the same things were in my mind but as time passed I came to know that only I can ...


13

Jim Krause's design basics index gave me a very good summary of the basics of composition, color and type. I wasn't a huge fan of most of his own examples, but they illustrate his points really well and he touches on a few valuable things I haven't seen mentioned much elsewhere. And perhaps most importantly, reading it made me really excited to go out and ...


11

There's sometimes a slight overlap between web development and web design, but I don't think web developers should try to be full-time designers unless they're willing to put as much effort into it as they did learning to program. It's not something that you can just dabble in on weekends and be good at. If this is so you can learn to be your own web ...


10

I think your questions is not about how to be creative, but rather about how to be able to create visually appealing content. I know many graphic designers who are either good or talented, but are not creative (in the sense of being innovative and thinking out-of-the-box) at all. Now, from my experience, people who are able to produce visually appealing ...


9

I'm a programmer myself and for me the following books where very helpful for me: The Non-Designer's Design Book - Robin Williams - This books covers the basics of graphic design. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain - Betty Edwards The book for developing your drawing skills. The Humane Interface - Jef Raskin This book provokes some thoughts about user ...


8

While experience is important, sometimes you don't even know what you don't know, so with something as complex as Illustrator I don't recommend "sink or swim" learning. I like the "Classroom in a Book" series; I found a Kindle edition on Amazon (U.S.) for about $29. I LOVE the "Teach Yourself X in 24 Hours" books, and the "Missing Manual" books are usually ...


8

Perhaps not relevant to all cases, but for web prgrammers one of the biggest things that stands out to me, which perhaps bridges the gap a little bit, is to learn CSS inside and out, as being able to design well doesn't mean anything if you can't integrate it into your project that you are creating.


7

To me, it sounds you lack self-confidence. You already master one difficult part: programming, and as Alan already said, programming is a creative job. My tip: keep it simple, learn basic rules about layout and find your own style. This book: The design of sites helped me a lot for the structure of my designs and this book: The idea book helped me for ...


7

Your question scope is a little broad, but let me try to explain how I got into interface design. I just started by working on personal web projects for years, and visiting sites that had tutorials on how to use Photoshop to create certain results, then I started doing a few projects for other people and employers and generally just kept on experimenting and ...


7

You might try something like Corel Draw. It is significantly less money and very full-featured. Still might be a bit more pricey than you're looking for, though. If you were very recently a student be sure to check to see if you can get education-version prices. Or see if you can find an older version of software at a lower price since most of the core ...


7

There is no substitute for experience. In my opinion the best way to learn a new program is to just start using it and use google if you get stuck. If you want some tutorials on the basics, there are a number here: http://www.adobeillustratortutorials.com/free/index.php?cat=1


6

Here's what I recommend, in the order I think you should do: The Adobe Illustrator CS5 Wow! Book This isn't free, but I highly recommend it if you're serious about getting good at Illustrator. It's one of the best books out there. The early chapters guide you through the basics, this is something you don't find often on the web. Once you're a few chapters ...


6

If you're comfortable with Ubuntu (either in VM or dual booting), I suggest Xara Xtreme for Linux: http://www.xaraxtreme.org/ It's really powerful, commercially tested, and is by far the best open source illustration software. Here are some examples:


6

I've never really understood these types of questions, but they seem to come up often enough in development and design. To me it's a very bad sign when a programmer can't think of programming projects for himself and when a designer isn't inspired to come up with projects of his own in his free time. After all, graphic design is a field with lots of ...


6

Get a nature journal and spend a few weeks making a go at it. Small things are good so you can focus on the basics of observation and not get overwhelmed by the subject. You'll make lots of mistakes but don't criticize too early. Just draw. A lot. And draw everything you see. Any sketchbook that seems convenient will work. I like Moleskine's Cahier books ...


5

In 2004 I found myself halfway between both worlds, as I had been for most of my life -- I'd been doing web since HTML 3.2 in the dot-com days; raised with an Apple //e by parents (a choreographer and an educator) who allowed and encouraged me to spend a lot of time with art. Design is not art, and in fact some of its more algorithmic patterns line up nicely ...


5

Adobe Fireworks is a cheaper alternative to Illustrator, but it can still handle vector graphics. The downside is that you'll miss out on features like Live Trace, Live Paint, and a lot of the filters. Also, you can try Inkscape for free. Both, however, are a different workflow than Illustrator. Also, if you're looking for a free Photoshop alternative, try ...


5

As more of a programmer than designer my self I find that it helps my creative process when I "design in the browser" instead of Photoshop. I usually start with HTML and CSS to get my basic layout down and use Photoshop if I need to create buttons or other graphical elements. This also speeds up the process and makes development much faster. When I use ...


5

Software is not an important concern. The most important concern is: can you draw? Since you are "totally newb at visual art" I assume that means you are not good at drawing and need to start with that. Realistically, if you are already a game programmer then stick to that and find a good artist to work with. There are always lots of artists looking for a ...


4

Definitely start with just a pencil and drawing pad. You don't want to spend money on an expensive tablet just to find out you don't like it and won't stick with it. That said, it depends on what your goals are, but drawing from life is the best way to understand whatever it is your trying to draw. If you just want to get better at drawing objects in ...


4

I'd hesitate to say almost every graphic designer has taken the career path you indicate. Most start out with some artistic sense and then build upon it. There is an important distinction between "artistic skill" or sense and "drawing" which your linked question refers to. Every successful designer must have an artistic skill or sense. One must understand ...


3

Doing free little jobs is pretty much called a form of spec work and is frowned upon by most of the industry. But you can do it all you want on places that do 'crowdsourcing contests'. They tend to produce awful work for no money that benefits neither the designer nor the client, but they exist. What I'd instead suggest you do is work on your own personal ...


3

well you can also try applying AGILE coding principles too. it has worked great for us. Whether you are creating pixels or coding.. its basically the same thing. Up until the last few years..the software industry has for many years been building things in a linear fashion, ie generate a HUGE spec ( usually based on a lot of assumptions ) and then build that ...


2

The internet is usually my source for Creativity, but also reflection out in nature helps spur up creativity. I can't draw very well, but after watching more and more tutorials and videos, I'm getting more and more confident in creating things for the Digital Realm. Here are some of my best resources, other than Dribbble or DeviantArt. Web Design ...


2

There's an old advertising classic that is really important for anyone trying to tap into their nascent creativity: James Young's A Technique for Producing Ideas I've mentioned it elsewhere, but I'll hit the high points of Young's approach here. Gather raw materials: Flood your brain with the subject at hand. Digest the material: Study what you've found ...


2

Play in Photoshop. Make lots of mistakes and try out lots of designs quickly. Don't worry if they don't turn out the way you want. Finish them and move onto the next. The only person who has to see them is you. Judge them against designers work that you like and try to figure out what they did to take it the extra mile. Find the designers you like on ...


2

The most helpful thing I ever did when learning Illustrator was mastering the Pen Tool. At first I didn't really get it and couldn't use it effectively. Now it is one of my most powerful weapons. How to learn it? Place as a background image a fairly complicated image. I chose the Queen of Hearts from a deck of cards. Trace it using only the Pen Tool and by ...



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