~ This review is a bit longer than normal, but this is an expensive product. I want to give you a good idea if it is right for you or not.~
I was very excited to review Graphics Toolbox. I can zip around the internet like a Nascar driver, but I am a dunce when it comes to doing anything on the computer itself. My husband seems to magically know how to find/create/fix everything on our computer. I just try not to crash it.
Graphics Toolbox is the brainchild of Lynda Holler. She worked in the NYC fashion industry for over 25 years, using a sophisticated graphics program that cost thousands of dollars. She gathered together a team to help create a program using similar techniques, but affordable for the everyday user.
It will come as no surprise that I have very little graphics knowledge. I am good at copying and following instructions though, and that is what I like about this software. I found it very easy to find the info I needed in the manual. Crew members were also able to take part in training sessions, some of which you can watch in the tutorials. This program is far from simple to learn, however. You will need to put a large chunk of time and effort into it to reap the rewards.
So what do I plan plan on doing with Graphics Toolbox? My main interest is learning how to design things for my blog. That little button over on the top right for my Link & Think blog took me an embarrassing numbers of hours to produce. I used tutorials that I found on other blogs and three different photo/graphics sites to piece it together. (Remember… computer dunce.) I think it probably would have taken me less than 10 minutes with Graphics Toolbox (not counting the time it took to learn how, so maybe 30 minutes total).
Some other uses for this program:
- educational projects
- timelines insert historical pics & customize for your history curriculum
- design photo cards (start your own business)
- fashion design My daughter (11) is about to learn how to scan her fashion drawings in, choose colors, and create different fabrics. Some business ideas for this feature: design paper doll sets; create embroidery patterns; design graphics logos for t-shirts
- digital scrapbook pages
- scrapbooking to learn
- much, much more
Here are a couple of our projects:
My husband is getting ready to open his own lab. He had already created his logo on another program we have, but could not enlarge it without distorting it. He was able to enlarge it clearly with Graphics Toolbox, and also clean it up & refine it.
I decided to create a silly photo to show you some of the program’s features. Hubby helped! You can click on the picks to get a bigger view.
Last year, my kids made this Leprechaun Trap:
I decided to use this photo of Sweetpea and give her a bit of Irish flair:
Here is the cutie-patootie end result:
This is what we did:
- Pulled the image of Sweetpea off using the Irregular Frame Tool
- Changed the color of her dress using Tonal Color Change
- Resized the image to fit in the chair
- Used the Watercolor Pen to blend her image into the background of the chair photo
- Changed the ball of silver foil to gold using the Airbrush Pen
- Erased something stuck to the table by blending it in with the Watercolor pen
Things you should know:
- System requirements: Microsoft® Windows® NT, 2000, XP or Vista 32-bit, 512MB of RAM, 80 MB of free hard-disk space
- Layers vs Pixels – most graphics programs use layers. You create layers & then you can move them around. This program works with pixels. You have to think of it as gluing something down. This can be hard to get used to and you will want to save your work as you go along. Hubby was frustrated with this at first because he is used to layers. He says he would choose this program over any of the others, though, because of the level of control with pixels. I didn’t have as much trouble because I’ve just dabbled with layers.
- Layout – your workspace is to be viewed like a tabletop, not the page you are creating. You can design several different elements on it and then assemble them into your finished product. Again, Hubby had to re-train his brain while it made complete sense to me. (I have a need to see all my pieces while I am creating something.)
- Tools – there are no drop downs. All of your tools are on the right hand side of your screen. When you choose a tool, several options are then given to choose from. It is another thing to get used to, but I it works for me.
Things we like:
- The zoom feature is so much easier to use. You control the zoom with your cursor and mouse.
- The color library is unbelievable! You will be able to match & customize anything you can dream up.
- The Tools are just amazing. You can choose the tiniest detail in an image and change it however you want.
I would encourage you to take advantage of a 30-day Free Trial. 30 days is long enough to read the manual, view some tutorials, and really get a feel for this program. If you can spend some time and get used to the differences, I think you will really be impressed by what this program can do.
The Nitty Gritty:
- $149 for 1 user license, discount for 2+ users
Value: This is a very fair price for all of the features it offers.
See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Graphics Toolbox!
I received the Graphics Toolbox program free for the purpose of giving an honest review. No other compensation was given.
Lis from TOS Crew says
OK… so this might be the only reason I’d wish for a PC instead of a MAC…. That turned out really sweet! 🙂
Lis from TOS Crew says
OH… and Forgot to say~ Wow! your blog is the only one I’ve ever seen with FOUR columns! Interesting! I really love the look at the top! 🙂