Topic: Homeschool Product Review
I know that I've said a lot about this product already, and have raved about it. Let me tell you honestly, though, that I wasn't always a fan of Graphics Toolbox. When I first began using it, nothing seemed to work. I would read the guidebook and watch tutorials, but still couldn't seem to create anything. This product wasn't like anything I had ever used. Nothing was the same. It wasn't until I played around with it more, watched and participated in more of the training sessions, and just plain used it, that I began to see the value and love this graphics program.
So, what is so different between this graphics program and so many of the others? To answer that, let me give you some history into Graphics Toolbox. For years, Lynda Hollar was a fashion designer. What I didn't know until recently was that fashion designers very often use elaborate graphics programs that allow you to mix and match clothing; take one item of clothing and changing the color of it; take an item of clothing from one picture and put it in another, all kinds of things. As Lynda was using this, she thought about how great it would be if everyone had a program like this to use. A program that they can use for their business to make a professional looking pamphlet or sign. A program that a student could use to make A+ projects. A program that a scrapbooker could use to improve their scrapbooks. A program that anyone could use to make almost anything. The only problem was that the program the fashion designers use is for...well...fashion designers and can cost into the thousands of dollars. So, Lynda went to the maker of the program that she used with her idea of a graphics program for everyone, and Graphics Toolbox was born.
What is it that makes Graphics Toolbox so different than other graphics programs? Well, if you haven't seen some of the things that John Allen and I have created, let me post them again for you.
This is one of the very first projects that I completed using the Graphics Toolbox software - a story quilt. This project demonstrates many of the really cool things that you can do with this program. You can re-size pictures easily, and using Graphics Toolbox, they don't look distorted when you re-size them. I easily created the picture pattern and used the tonal color change tool to make the picture patterns look antiquish. The ribbon border is actually one of 100's of boarders that come with the program that you can customize any way that you want. And, the lettering is easy to use with dozens of fonts.
This is another creation that I made after attending one of Lynda's online training sessions. Can you pick out the six differences between the two pictures? Lynda is presently in the process of editing and adding these sessions to the website. If you watch a couple of them you may hear some familiar voices as John Allen and I weren't shy in asking questions.
I made this for my blog at the beginning of the Olympics. By this time I was more used to the program and it didn't take long at all.
Arranging lettering any way you want is easy with Graphics Toolbox. Also notice that I was able to make them transparent so that they don't block out the picture in any way.
I made the two above items just recently for a couple of special occasions that we held here at the mission for some of the folks that attend. The first one was really easy. I found the picture on the internet, used a matching font to add the words, then framed it with a color coordinated border.
The bottom invitation was made using another baby footprint picture I found on the web. I simply cut one of the footprints out - yes, Graphics Toolbox allows you to do that - and colored it pink. I then flipped that footprint to make the opposite matching footprint. I then framed them and re-sized them to make the two different sizes. After placing the large set and using the copy tool and placing the small prints I added the lettering and the boarder.
Now, this is about the extent of the lettering that you can make with Graphics Toolbox. This is a graphics program and not a word processing program. What the makers encourage you to do if you want to add a lot of lettering is to save the graphics that you made and then upload them into whatever processing program that you use. For small jobs like the above, the Graphics Toolbox fonts are fine.
Let me remind you, that Graphics Toolbox is like no other graphics program that you are used to. You really have to throw out all of the preconceived notions that you have about graphics programs and throw out the things that you have learned. The things that you can do with Graphics Toolbox are amazing and really simple after you learn how to do them, but it is a new way of doing things, so it make take a while to get used to. The above is a snapshot of what the Graphics Toolbox program looks like. As you can see, it also looks different than any other graphics program that you have used. But, if you look closely at the buttons on the right side, you will also notice that you can tell what the different buttons mean and do just by looking at them. That's another really neat thing about Graphics Toolbox. The makers wanted it to be easy to use and easy to find the tool that you need. And, even though it is different and will take time to get used to, the very detailed user's manual is quite helpful, and there are many tutorials on the website with many more to come.
I just can't stop raving about this program. I wish there was more room in this post to describe everything. Like the infinite (and I mean infinite) colors that come with Graphics Toolbox, or the way that you can morph a picture into something new, or all the different things that you can do with the fonts, or ... or ... or ...well, you can tell that I really think that this is a special program.
Now, you might be thinking that if the original program costs well over $1000, and if this program is really all that I claim that it is, then it must be worth well into the hundreds of dollars at least. Well, that's where you are wrong. Graphics Toolbox doesn't cost $1000, or even $500. It doesn't even cost $250. Graphics Toolbox sells for just $149.
Yes, I can hear the comments now - "Even $149 is too much to spend for something that you really don't know anything about. Especially in this day and age." Well, you are right. That's why Graphics Toolbox offers a free 30 day full trial of their program. That's right, you can use it for a month free of charge to try it out! Still leery? Go on over and check out their website by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Check out the tutorials that you can view before purchasing. Check out all of the great Graphics Toolbox features. You can also check out what the other TOS Homeschool Crew members think about it by clicking here. Just check it out. I'm sure that after you look around, try it out, and think about it, you'll be convinced that this is one of the greatest things since sliced bread . And, since this is something that can be used by homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike, I'll end by saying - "Happy Homeschooling"!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent a free download of Great Software Tool's Graphics Toolbox program to try out and review on my blog.