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Button Shop 3

{rw_text}Giveaway of the day for December 27, 2008 is Button Shop 3 [1].
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{for=”Features as Described” value=”10″}The developer claims that you will be able to make a button for your websites within 5 mins – it can be done within 2 =P.
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”10″}Very easy to use. All you need to do is know how to read =).
{for=”Usefulness” value=”7″}While not everyone has websites for which they need buttons for, the ‘buttons’ can also double as avatars, or signatures, if one is creative enough.
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Installation and registration were successful. Nothing had to be run as Administrator.

This program is not for the professional, but rather for the newbie. For those digital artists out there, this program will not be very useful because you will have more control over your button if you make it in image editing software like Photoshop, Gimp, etc. But for the rest of us not so talented people, being able to create relatively aesthetically pleasing buttons quickly is pretty nice.

That being said, this program comes with tons of templates. You just pick a template you like, and them customize it to your liking. Each template is fully customizable – from the background color/image, to the text and other effects, you will be able to customize any template to your liking. If you are brave enough, your final product does not even have to look anything like the template you originally used.

Okay so, enough small talk. Lets get to the meat of this review. This is what the program looks like:


As you can see, the interface of this program resembles Microsoft Office 07 – the ribbon is a rip off from Microsoft. Usually I get pissed when programs just copy Microsoft color schemes/look, but in all honesty, this program pulls it off well – I cannot complain. What I can complain about, however, is the gray that surrounds the button. I don’t know about you, but I personally dislike that gray. So, first thing I did, and I suggest you do to the same, is go to Help -> Options -> Display -> Drawing area background color. Chose ‘transparent’ from the drop down menu. Now the program looks like this:


Such a nice improvement, don’t you think? Anyway, in order to create a button you must use a template. I wish the developer had added in an option to be able to start off from a new blank button, but you cannot. Everytime you create a ‘New’ button (Ctrl + N or click the “New” button up top), you will get the default template look. The default template look is the one you see in the above screenshot. This is more of a annoyance then a problem because you are able to fully customize your button so in the end your button does not have to look anything like the template you used. So, you chose/change your template from the menu on the right labeled “Button Templates”. Just find the one you desire, and double click on it. It will replace the button you currently have up with the new template you chose. The templates are broken up into groups. The groups really don’t mean much except that they help categorize the templates. There are tons of templates to chose from – I cannot possibly describe them all, you will have to look through them yourself.

Okay so you have chosen your template, and now you are ready to customize your button. Well you customize your button via the options available in the ribbon up top. The ribbon up top has 4 tabs: Button, Effects, Edge Effects, and Help.



This is what a “Round” button with “Corner” 100% looks like:


This is a “Tab-up” button with “Corner” 100%:


This is a “Tab-down” button with “Corner” 100%:
















“Color” just changes the color of the gloss effect (all the screenshots above are white). Lastly, “Visibility” changes the opacity of the gloss effect – the higher the value the more ‘visible’ the effect will be. All the above screenshots are at 67% visibility.


To this:


That being said, you can change the color of this light effect from “Color”. From “More” you can change the “Visibility” (opacity) of the light effect, and where on the button it is located, horizontally (0% is left) and vertically (0% is top). In the above screenshot, the light effect is at 100% visibility, 50% horizontal position, 100% vertical position.


“Visibility”, as always, allows you to change the opacity of this reflection (the above SS has it at 40%). “Distance” is the distance between the reflection and the actual button. The distance in the above screenshot is 0.


“Button Shadow” allows you to turn on/off the shadow of the button. You can also change the color of the shadow, the visibility, and the location of the shadow in relation to the button (X,Y coordinates).

Button with black, 100% Visibility, 6 X, 6 Y shadow:


Button with no shadow:


“Grayscale” just turns your button into a grayscale image – no colors. “Grayscale” button:


Edge Effects:

Button with red glow, size 10:


Button with no inner stroke:


Button with yellow line size 2:


Button with no outer stroke:


Button with black size 2 outer stroke:


This is what a button looks like with yellow size 2 inner stroke, and black size 2 outer stroke:






Okay, so you have customized and created your button to your liking. What now?

Well if you like how your button looks and you know you will like to use the same look in the future, you can turn your button into a template. You can either save the template as a single file on your computer (a single file that you could e-mail or send to other people), or you can add the template into one of the groups that you can access from the “Button Templates” menu on the right. To do this, click on the circle with a yellow star button that is located in the top left of the program window. Then go to Templates. To save the template as a single file, go to “Save Template…”. To save the template and add it to one of the groups that you can chose from “Button Templates”, go to “Save Template in Group…” and chose your group.


It is worthwhile to note here that you can create your own template groups if you want. Just press the “…” button under the “Button Templates” menu.

Okay you saved your button as a template. Or maybe you didn’t. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that now you want to be able to actually use your button. So now you must save your button as an image file. Click on the circle with the yellow star again. Go to Save Image. If you turned on “Pulse Preview” and would like your button to look like that, chose “Save Pulsing Image As…”; otherwise, chose “Save Image As…”:


Be sure to save the pulsing Image as an Animated .GIF unless you want individual images of each frame of your button. You can save your images in all popular image formats.

After you have saved your button, there is one more thing you can do. You can generate HTML code so you can insert the button directly onto your website. If you know how to generate the HTML code already, there is no need for you to mess with this. But if you don’t, this program will generate sufficient HTML code for you. Again click on the circle with the yellow star. Then go to “Create HTML Code”. You will see this window:


From “Button Image” you must browse your computer and find the image of the button that you want to use. You should have saved your button as an image prior to doing this HTML coding. You can make it so that a different image appears if someone mouses over your button – just check “Mouse Over Image” and browse to the image you would like to appear. You can do the same when someone clicks on the button – check “Mouse Down Image” and browse to the image you would like to appear. You can also have the program code in for you the URL that the button would be linked to – chekc “Link to” and type in the URL. Mouse over image, mouse down image, and Link to are all optional – you do not have to use them. After you are done with that, you have the option of generating just HTML code, or HTML code with Javascript. For most people, HTML code should work just fine. After you have decided that hit “Create”. You will be able to preview what your button will look like at the very bottom. Scroll over it and click on it to make sure it works properly. Then you can either copy the code and insert it directly onto your website (hit “Copy”) or save the code into a HTML file onto your computer (hit “Save”). Be sure that when you are putting the code onto your website, you correct the locations of the image files.

That describes this whole program. Long @$$ review, geez. I have a few problems with this program, some of which I have mentioned above:

Free Alternatives:

Use any image editor

You can create buttons with any image editor, such as Paint.net or GIMP. It will not be as ‘easy’ because you will have to start off from scratch, but you will have more control over your button. You will also not be able to generate HTML code for your buttons, but that can easily be done with some research on google.

Cooltext.com [33] (thx giovanni)

You will be able to create really nice buttons from here. You don’t have to download anything and it is all pretty easy to use. However, you will not be able to add your own custom image to it.

PMnet Verdict: Button Shop 3 is a good program for making buttons in a quick manner. The buttons that are created are pretty nice and the great amount of customization you have over the buttons is great. The ability to generate HTML code is also nice for beginners. However, the limits on the shape of the button is a big con because some people might not want the rectangle, oval, or anything in between shaped button. Button Shop 3 will not be very useful to professionals who like to be more creative then this program allows, but for beginners this is a nice program. You decide for yourself if it is a keeper or not for you.