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How to Convert PSD Files to Valid Coded Layouts

Mar 25, 2008
Photoshop is one of the leading graphics editing software packages, so it's no wonder that it is being used for complex web design projects. The creation of Adobe ImageReady has also made the process increasingly easier for web designers to design and slice a layout into a valid coded layout. But what exactly is required to take a Photoshop image and turn it into the next best thing in coded layouts?

Options in PSD to HTML Operations

In general there are three options when coding a layout from Photoshop: outsourcing the work, slicing it in Adobe ImageReady, and then simply coding from sight.

Outsourcing a PSD to HTML job can be expensive, but it gets the job done. Most companies promise a turnaround time of a couple of days, which is about what it would take the average computer user to do so. Companies that perform PSD to HTML jobs also offer browser compatibility, resolution compatibility, and XHTML valid layouts: something the average web designer doesn't always know how to do.

Slicing the layout in ImageReady is another option for web designers. This is generally seen as the easiest way to go about coding a layout by one's self. ImageReady allows designers to output sliced portions of PSD files into tables or CSS elements depending on the settings. The code and CSS is then output for the web designer to tweak and optimize. Do not expect ImageReady to create a perfectly sliced and optimized layout there is almost always extended work even after the resulting slice.

Next, we have the option of simply coding by sight. This involves looking at the PSD file in Photoshop as a source, and then coding the CSS and HTML from scratch. This method gives more options and flexibility in coding, and also allows for much more optimization. This method almost always takes longer than the other two methods, and is generally only preferred by professionals who know what they are doing.

PSD To WordPress and Joomla Operations

If you are creating a layout for WordPress or Joomla, then there is much more work to be done. If you are new to the WordPress or Joomla scene, it his highly recommended that this work be outsourced.

WordPress and Joomla layouts often require specific knowledge of the content management system, and even demands knowledge of PHP code in many areas. Because of this, most beginning web designers steer clear of WordPress and Joomla layouts, and instead outsource the work to web design companies.

WordPress and Joomla layouts tend to cost more, on average, to produce sine there is so much more work involved in the coding process. Be prepared to pay as much as twice the price for a normal CSS or HTML layout.

Final Thoughts on The PSD to HTML Process

Web designers have several options in designing and coding layouts via Photoshop. Learning to do so can make web designers a pretty penny but even outsourcing coding services can wind up making web designers a nice profit on their designs.

Keep in mind that WordPress and Joomla templates can usually be sold for higher prices, but they cost more time or money to create. In the end a web designer should weigh the benefits and shortcomings of outsourcing the work, while keeping profits and costs in mind.
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