Artisteer 2: first impressionsBy neokrates, written on February 22, 2010
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Artisteer 2 is a tool for rapid site design. It claims to be compatible with many popular cms, blogging and similar systems like WordPress, Drupal, Blogger.
Here is the demo version: http://www.artisteer.com/?p=downloads
Now, this version has a trial period and some limitations. For example, it isn’t possible to save the project. (Design can be exported though). But once more, if you want to test, it is ok. There are many amazing things to play with, and if you really like the tool, it is actually affordable. The "student version" is worth 50$ and it fully supports wordpress, css and html.
Naturally, there are some limitations, such as less elements (building blocks for your site), less textures, etc. Drupal and Joomla users will have to buy the "standard edition".
Install and run
After the installation I start the program and get to select what version I want to try. I want the "standard edition" …
In the next screen, I can select what kind of cms, blog or environment I create my design for. In my case it is wordpress, so, I select wordpress option and here it is: full wordpress site page loads in no time inside Artisteer.
Header sets the main theme
Now I am inside the Artisteer. User interface seems pretty friendly, I like it. Why is it friendly? Because I intuitively can do things I expect from this tool. What do I want? Easily start designing wordpress site, playing with colors, with layout, etc….
There is a first menu tab, called "Ideas". There, I start by using "Suggest header" option. I have imagined what my site should look like. Now I want to see it.
What is my site about?
Header will tell this story. Both colors theme and image. After some clicks I find what I want. Skyscrapers, looks kind of corporate and all business, very serious, makes me think of money and success:)
Playing with color
I select “Suggest colors” and it changes color scheme. It is a random pick. But colors always build a harmony. It has kind of inspirational effect on me, because it allows me to actually see how color harmonies feel.
After some clicks I don’t want random any more. I want blue, not some blue, but specific and very exact blue color scheme for my design.
So, I click next menu tab, "Colors & Fonts" . Yes, here it is. I have many options to tune the color scheme the way I want.
I use "Color Themes" drop-down box and test some combinations. I can’t find what I want, so I use the nearest scheme which is mostly blue and called “Siesta”.
There is also a great option, allowing to adjust luminosity and saturation. I wanted my scheme to be a bit lighter but rather neutral. So, up with luminosity, down with saturation.
Now, what background goes with skyscrapers and blue sky? There is an option to choose from some basic textures, but I don’t find anything for my taste. There is really limited choice. Maybe because I use trial version!?
But, I can help it a bit with the Glare Dropdown list. It adds background image to the top of my page, thus changing the overall impression. I choose grid, color is the same as background, I guess, glare is semi-transparent.
There is an option to select image or texture. And a great amount of both to select from. Great! I have managed to come close to the background i wanted. I was searching for metallic or plastic effect, I tried simple diagonal lines and grid textures, but then decided that dotted texture will do better. It is not exactly the metal, but it’s ok.
I think, it is a great tool for those who don’t know much about site design and expect quick results, actually generated and working site. For large and professional projects, and for the web developer scene, i think it is not the right tool. Or, better to say, it can be used in particular places but not as the central or only tool.
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