Online tools

 

2D image conversion

Zamzar: Free online file conversion (dwg > jpg etc). Doesn’t do Corel Draw files (.cdr) though, unfortunately.

 

PDF conversion

PrimoPDF: Convert files to PDF online. Can handle all sorts of things – Word, Excel, Wordperfect, Open Office, graphics files etc. The downloadable program no longer works for me (some .NET mess dosen’t let it work), but doPDF is a good subsitute. You just select “print”, and then “doPDF” instead of a printer.

xps2pdf.co.uk: Free online XPS to PDF conversion (works great).

 

Video conversion

Handbrake Reduce MP4 file sizes. Output settings = web optimised. Constant quality = 30 (20 is DVD quality, 30 is for a smaller file size without a noticeable drop in quality). Audio bitrate = 64 (low quality, but not unbearable). Picture size width = 576, anamorphic = none.

Vidown Download Tencent videos as MP4. You can download Tencent videos easily if you use their player, but they’ll be in a proprietary .qlv format which is irritating to convert. With this Vidown software, just put in the web address of the Tencent video you want and it’ll download it as an MP4.

 

Online colour tools

Kuler
Adobe’s colour theme website where you can create and share palettes. I use this for vector work or images with a very limited colour range. You can download their free Switchboard program from here, this lets you export the Kuler palettes straight into Photoshop or Illustrator.

Piknik
Helps you pick a base colour for your website / powerpoint presentation etc – just move your mouse around and the screen will change colours.

 

Sundry

Google Sketchup
I love this, it’s saved a lot of headaches. It’s a free, very simple 3D image program. Great for planning images, you can create complex 3D shapes (a restaurant, a city scape, etc), then change your viewpoint until you’re happy with the composition, save the image in 2D jpeg and use it as a drawing guide.

seeklogo
Vector files of company logos.

Spoonflower
Turn your images into textile designs, and print your own fabric.

Favicon generator
Create favourites icons (the little square image that appears next to your web page address in the browser).

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