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Resource portals

Webknot: Excellent compliation of various resource sites, apps, online utilities etc .
http://start.io/webknot

Online (Free) Intuitive Web Builders

There are a lot of these and unfortunately most of them do not really do what they say they will do. Basically, what is needed is an intuitive interface with highly customizable start-out templates – customizable to the extent where your site looks “yours”, that is. And – of course, they have to have a completely free plan with an option to upgrade so that you can freely experiment. I have checked out some of what is out there and two of them really seem to deliver the goods: Weebly lets you create blogs as well as websites. They have a very beautiful template gallery from which you can start out and then everything works with a simple drag and drop interface which lets you add pretty much all that you could wish for. The second one Yola works in a similar way, also very easy to use and versatile.

Both of the above will give you html/css sites. Should you wish to do a flash site however, then of course Wix is absolutely unbeatable.

And incidentally, while I was looking around I also came across these: Very nice seem to be an online, completely free video editor called JayCut and an online presentation platform called SlideRocket.

Online and Free Image Editors

You may or may not have a state of the art image editor such as photoshop installed on your computer. While I cannot say that alternatives will do just as well the following may work as good stop gaps:

Pixlr claims to be the most sophisticated online image editor and it certainly lets you do a lot with your images, which you can also import from flickr, picasa and facebook.

The same also goes for FotoFlexer, again you can import images from various web domains and then play with a lot of effects, as well as add type and shapes to them.

Sumo is a free online image editor with some very nice plugins and a very easy to learn interface.

Phoenix is less sophisticated as far as plugins go however the company which puts out this image editor also has an online procedural filter creator which allows you to create some very impressive filters of your own. One of the really cool online image manipulators isLunapic, which lets you also add animations to still images which you can then save onto your harddrive.

Although not an online application, gimp is completely free and a very close contender to costly image editors such as photoshop.

Color Pickers

http://colorschemedesigner.com/

Excellent (and free!), online color picker which lets you pick a color theme based upon various parameters and even shows you light and dark version of a dummy web page. There are many tabs which let you adjust tonal values, lightness, saturation etc. Also on the top you will see little wheels which operate based upon various color contrast schemes.

Tip: The further you go right with these wheels the nicer your color scheme is likely to be. Analogous usually works better than Complementary – especially for beginners!

http://colormixers.com/mixers/cmr/

Online, free application which lets you decide upon a primary color by using RGB sliders. This primary choice will automatically generate a three color color scheme which the mixers also displays for you on a very simple dummy web interface.

http://meyerweb.com/eric/tools/color-blend/

A very small, but useful, open sourced online application which lets you figure out the intermediate value between two colors which you pick from a color picker.

http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/

Colorwheel Pro costs 40$, but is money well spent for a professional designer or an advanced hobbyist for creating very sophisticated color schemes based upon color theory principles.

http://www.colourlovers.com/

Excellent resource for both color schemes and background patterns, this is a creative community where people from around the world create and share colors, palettes and patterns, discuss the latest trends and explore colorful articles. You need to register with the site in order to be able to share your palettes, however as far as I can tell you are free to download palettes as well as background textures and patterns without being a member.

http://v2010.genopal.com/

Online application which lets you come up with color schemes based upon photographic input.

Type tester for web designers:

http://www.typetester.org/

Vectors and Icons

http://www.vecteezy.com/

Very cool site for free vector art downloads, mostly in .ai or .eps formats. Backgrounds, textures, buttons, clip art and more.

http://www.freeiconsweb.com/

Here you can browse and download over 20,000 high quality Free Icons. If you want to use the icons for commercial purposes, you have to pay to obtain the author’s License agreement. The icons are available in a png format, which means that you can easily use them as buttons as well.

http://www.iconshock.com/icon_sets/

A large collection of free icon sets which are available in a png format (some as large as 512 pixels), which means that you can easily use them as buttons and even as clip art and illustrations.

Images, Backgrounds, Textures, Patterns

http://www.sxc.hu/

Definitely the best truly free  stock photography site online. You do need to register, and then you are ready to go!

http://www.flickr.com/

Flickr has more photographs than any photography portal globe wide. And the great thing is that you can find a lot of photographs and textures/patterns licensed for non-commercial usage on Flickr. What you will need to do is to conduct an advanced search and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and check the boxes which will filter your search based upon creative commons licenses.

http://www.bittbox.com/

Great site, especially for grungy background textures.

http://www.lovetextures.com/

275 really nice background images for websites, especially in the abstract category. The site also lets you search backgrounds based upon color.

http://www.k10k.net/pixelpatterns/

A very good place for all who like pixel pattern backgrounds. ;-)

http://www.theinspirationgallery.com/

Very good resource for seamless borders, especially floral stuff.

http://www.colourlovers.com/

Excellent resource for both color schemes and background patterns, this is a creative community where people from around the world create and share colors, palettes and patterns, discuss the latest trends and explore colorful articles. You need to register with the site in order to be able to share your palettes, however as far as I can tell you are free to download palettes as well as background textures and patterns without being a member.

More seamless patterns and textures:

http://webdesignledger.com/freebies/200-beautiful-seamless-patterns-perfect-for-web-design

http://webdesignledger.com/freebies/100-seamless-patterns-great-for-creating-website-backgrounds

http://www.patternhead.com/

http://patternwall.com/

http://seamlesstextures.net/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/torley/collections/72157594588432564/

Tutorials

http://www.webdesignmo.com/blog/2010/03/02/25-smooth-and-simple-photoshop-tutorials/

Very good photoshop tutorials for creating web site components such as buttons, navigation bars and even simple layouts.

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