Graphics and illustration software
- By Richard W. Walker
- Jun 29, 1998
Robbie Smith, information management officer, the Armys concept
analysis research facility, Bethesda, Md.
"Its harder finding training on [Lotus Freelance Graphics
96] than it is on, say, Microsoft products. Weve developed in-house training for it
because there isnt as much commercial training available for Lotus products."
Paul Braunschweig, system engineer and team leader,
Environmental Protection Agency, Denver
Feds who run agency publishing and graphics shops are loyal to the graphics and
illustration software theyre used to.
Take users of Adobe Illustrator 7.0the top-ranked program in the GCN survey.
"Were a big Adobe infestation here," said Charles Devillier, chief of
technical services for the Air Force at the Pentagon. "Illustrator is a big workhorse
Devilliers staff uses Illustrator 7.0, along with Adobe PhotoShop 4.0, the No. 3
programand, at 41 percent, the most widely used among survey respondentsand
Adobe PageMaker to provide illustrations and layouts for publications, invitations,
pamphlets, presentations, posters and the Web.
Jason Spradley, an illustrator for the Imagery Production Branch at Langley Air Force
Base, Va., is another Illustrator 7.0 fan.
"I wouldnt give it up for anything, " he said. Illustrators tools
are more flexible and smarter than those of other programs, he said.
"For example, if Im drawing an irregular path and Im using the pen
tool, as I arc around the circle I can put two points in, and it will automatically curve
those two points," he said.
Another plus: The program lets you import almost anything and edit it, Spradley said.
Corel Corp.s CorelDraw 7, the surveys second-ranked program, also has
"To me, its got everything," said Dennis Laffoon, an illustrator with
the Graphics and Electronic Imaging Department of Vandenbug Air Force Base, Calif. Laffoon
said he likes the programs abundance of clip art and its ability to import and
"It makes it so handy to go back and forth between applications. Its pretty
slick," said Laffoon, who creates everything from signs and posters to presentations.
At the Armys concept analysis research facility in Bethesda, Md., information
management officer Robbie Smith applauds the versatility of CorelDraw 7s drawing and
editing tools, which his staff uses to create graphics illustrating results of studies.
Adobe PhotoShop 4.0 and PhotoShop 3.x, the surveys third and fourth ranked
programs, also have federal devotees.
John Aschenbach, an electronics engineer at the Federal Aviation Administrations
technical center in Atlantic City, N.J., has been using PhotoShop 4.0 for about six months
to produce images of airport structures for an air traffic control tower simulator.
"Its easy to use, pretty intuitive," he said, adding that 4.0 has a
good selection of tools and that it imports and exports files easily.
At the FBIs New Orleans office, computer specialist Joe Hardy finds PhotoShop 3.x
just right for formatting and editing photos of fugitives as well as for general office
"Even those people who arent too computer savvy can sit down and in a few
minutes learn how to acquire an image, print it out or enhance it," he said.
Roger Port, technology transfer engineer at the Federal Highway Administration in
Kansas City, Mo., uses PaintShop Pro 4.0 from Jasc Software Inc. of Minnetonka, Minn., to
move pictures between different formats.
"I photograph new technology, put it in e-mail and send it out to others to look
at," he said. "Its a very nice little program."
One fed GCN talked with ran into a difficult learning curve when his agency tried to
use PaintShop Pro 4.0 to integrate graphics with office publications and newsletters.
"We had continuous problems with it," said Bill Burns, chief electronics
technician at the Health and Human Services Departments Indian Health Service in
Phoenix. "Maybe it was more that we werent familiar with it and didnt
have time to sit down and just go through it. But its not real
Lotus Freelance Graphics 96, rated No. 6 in the survey, is "fairly easy to use,
fairly intuitive," said Paul Braunschweig, a systems engineer and team leader at the
Environmental Protection Agencys Region 8 headquarters in Denver.