How to Splice Images for Web Design

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Splicing images for web design is an important function that has several benefits for website architecture. It usually takes additional software program not bundled with Windows or Mac – at least, not if you want to splice images on anything other than a basic level. A few of the programs used for this are Adobe Photoshop, Fireworks and Adobe Illustrator; with Photoshop being the most popular.

Splicing Images – The Photoshop Method

splicing-imageWhen you splice images for web design, there’s no need to try and gauge how the end result will look beforehand; first, lay the template down. The changes are best made afterward, when you use the Slice Tool in Photoshop to snip off the menus, title bars, image-rich headers and other page components. Make sure you save these (Photoshop makes it easy) so you can easily re-render them on the finished image.

The next step involves setting the width by height dimensions of your intended image, so that you can fill it up with spliced buttons, headers, logos etc. Keep in mind that the completed image will serve as a background for your website; text must be readable so avoid contrasting colors. If you’re using a software program like GIMP, then cut and drag images onto the layout. In Photoshop, you can use Adobe Illustrator to create the images you want, define them as Smart Objects, and then drag them onto your web design template.

This is where the Slice tool takes over, for the most part. After you click and drag a lined box around your design, you’ll be presented with more options. Divide the image in any way you want (use the Divide Slice option) and insert into natural image breaks in your design. It’s up to you where you use the image slice, but natural breaks in the image tend to render better – unless your Photoshop skills are top-notch and you can blur mismatches or use the Clone Stamp tool expertly. For help, use the Zoom tool to increase your precision and accuracy in image slicing. When you’re finished, save the file with the appropriate extension and then open it in the browser of your choice as an HTML file to see how it looks.

Remember, Photoshop isn’t the only graphics editor that can accomplish image-splicing for web design; as long as your graphics editing program of choice has a “Slice” tool in the Tools folder – it’s usually shaped like a scalpel or knife – then image-splicing can be accomplished.

Benefits of Splicing an Image

In web design, almost every professional uses image splicing. The host of benefits it confers includes the following:

  • useful for loading images in parts, instead of using massive resources to load a huge image file
  • gives greater control over image loading for slower internet connections
  • for several different reasons, you may want the separate parts of a spliced image to hyperlink to different websites; this can be very good for SEO, for example

When searching for image editing programs, the single crucial property you should look for is raster graphics editing. The quality and abilities of programs vary, but without this base ability, your web design image program will be limited to cut-and-paste.

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Chris is a father of 4 and works full time as a network engineer. He loves The Office, P & R, brewing (and drinking) beer, and of course Web Design and SEO.

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