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Adobe ImageReady takes the guesswork out of Web production. Easy to use, ImageReady may be the tool Web pixel slaves have been waiting for. ImageReady can be used to build GIF animations, banner ads and image maps, create editable type, assemble graphics into a ready-made table, and compress images to their smallest possible file size so they'll transfer fast through the constricted pipes of the Web.

If you've ever used Photoshop, the interface will seem familiar. You'll feel right at home importing images from Photoshop and Illustrator, and you'll get up to speed that much faster. ImageReady allows you to work visually, combining tools with thumbnail images. Results are displayed immediately. Want to fiddle with the compression schemes on an image? ImageReady offers a choice of different compression schemes, so you can take a look at how your JPEG appears at an 80, 50 or 20 percent compression rate. Want to reduce the colors of an image? Click a button, see the results. You not only get the information you need visually, but ImageReady calculates and displays the new file size and its download time. Next time your client says, "These images have to download in seven seconds or less!" you've got a handy speedometer.

Want to see what your image looks like in Netscape Navigator without firing up the browser? Need to see the same image in Internet Explorer? Both are a pulldown menu away. Creating animated GIFs is simple and straightforward, too, if you are familiar with the Layers interface in Photoshop. Bring your artwork into a layer as a new element in your animation. You can reposition the separate elements, then let ImageReady's Tween function create transitions between key frames. Again, ImageReady's preview function lets you see the effect of your animation while you are creating it. The program does just a few things, but it does them very well, and with near instantaneous results. In Web graphic production environments, that can mean the difference between launch on time or

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