Feb 14, 2010

Tools for Creating Buttons

I just finished a new post at the Integrated Learning Services blog about how to use your own custom buttons in Captivate. This had me thinking -- what is the best way to make buttons? My strengths are in web coding and not graphic design but I enjoy tinkering with graphics design and I am trying to learn more.

I used to do this in Paint Shop Pro. PSP has some great built in button shapes that I can use. Some of these buttons are quite elaborate and would take a lot of time for me to create on my own. In addition to the built-in shapes, I've mastered using the bevel technique to create my own buttons. This works fairly well but I'm limited in what I can do easily. For example, I don't have a technique for creating buttons with a glassy look.

Recently I've started using Adobe Illustrator. Because it does so well with vector graphics I thought this may be a better tool to use. However, I haven't found any pre-built buttons to work with (maybe I'm missing something) and the bevel tool is much different than PSP. I have not mastered this yet and all the tutorials I've seen on the bevel tool are for doing 3D graphics, not buttons.

After my experience with AI, I'm thinking of going back to PSP for my button needs. However, I'm wondering if I should explore Adobe Photoshop's capabilities for buttons next.

What's your go-to-tool for creating buttons?


Stuart Orson said...


Did you get any tips from this post? I have the same predicament as you.

I need to create buttons for an interface. Which tools did/do you now use?

Jonathan Shoaf said...

I still use a combination of paint shop pro and Adobe Illustrator. I'll often start in Illustrator and use paint shop pro to apply any finishing touches. However, I really don't create a lot of buttons any more. I tend to use standard hyperlinks most often. The buttons I have created, I've standardized on and just reuse from project to project.