Graphics and illustration software

—Robbie Smith, information management officer, the Army’s concept
analysis research facility, Bethesda, Md.


"It’s harder finding training on [Lotus Freelance Graphics
96] than it is on, say, Microsoft products. We’ve developed in-house training for it
because there isn’t 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 they’re used to.


Take users of Adobe Illustrator 7.0—the top-ranked program in the GCN survey.


"We’re a big Adobe infestation here," said Charles Devillier, chief of
technical services for the Air Force at the Pentagon. "Illustrator is a big workhorse
for us."


Devillier’s staff uses Illustrator 7.0, along with Adobe PhotoShop 4.0, the No. 3
program—and, at 41 percent, the most widely used among survey respondents—and
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 wouldn’t give it up for anything, " he said. Illustrator’s tools
are more flexible and smarter than those of other programs, he said.


"For example, if I’m drawing an irregular path and I’m 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 survey’s second-ranked program, also has
enthusiasts.


"To me, it’s 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 program’s abundance of clip art and its ability to import and
export applications.


"It makes it so handy to go back and forth between applications. It’s pretty
slick," said Laffoon, who creates everything from signs and posters to presentations.


At the Army’s concept analysis research facility in Bethesda, Md., information
management officer Robbie Smith applauds the versatility of CorelDraw 7’s drawing and
editing tools, which his staff uses to create graphics illustrating results of studies.


Adobe PhotoShop 4.0 and PhotoShop 3.x, the survey’s third and fourth ranked
programs, also have federal devotees.


John Aschenbach, an electronics engineer at the Federal Aviation Administration’s
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.


"It’s 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 FBI’s 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
use.


"Even those people who aren’t 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. "It’s 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 Department’s Indian Health Service in
Phoenix. "Maybe it was more that we weren’t familiar with it and didn’t
have time to sit down and just go through it. But it’s not real
customer-ease-of-use-oriented."


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 Agency’s Region 8 headquarters in Denver.

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