Several people have asked what program(s) I use to create the object model maps and other technical illustrations I use here on the blog and in the articles I write.
Unsurprisingly, I use
Now here's the bad news: while
I do it by hand because I want to control the focus of the illustration and what information it includes. Most of the time I only want to illustrate part of an object model or class library, and need to be very selective about the information I want to highlight. I tend to do a large amount of tweaking and massaging to the diagram, for both informational and aesthetic reasons. All in all, it's quicker for me to just start with a blank page and fill it manually, rather than have
To create the final gif image, I turn off the grid, rulers, and connection points in
a) I already have it loaded on my computer, so I'm familiar with it
b) It's got the best 'save as gif' conversion I've found. I've used a few other image editors, and when I save the bitmap image as a gif in them, the image tends to degrade: color gradients become grainy, and text loses crispness. Not with Photoshop; I just accept the default conversion settings, and I have yet to be disappointed.
Now, using Photoshop for saving screen shots as gifs is like using an elephant gun to hunt squirrel. Since I already have Photoshop, I haven't really looked around for another application that does this well. But if you poke around the web a little, you can probably find something that works just as well for this purpose, either as shareware or at least without Photoshop's hefty price tag. Just look for something that's been optimized to create web-ready graphics.