When designing graphix for a webpage, I see that they are often broken up into many small parts. For ex. the border around a section. How is this done? Do you make the pic you want, then break it into pieces or create each piece individually? Is there any tutorials around that explains this process? And do you make the background, pic or whatever oversized, then shrink it or...? It just seems that when I make a graphic, then need for it to be larger, it looks really crappy when I increase its size.
I just use Photoshop (I'm too poor to afford other programs ;-) and HTML-Kit most of the time. I can achieve most anything I want with it, albeit with slightly more work involved, than when using a myriad of programs, too.
Photoshop (and, of course, a text editor) is essential, then I'd say that either Flash or Illustrator would be the next.
I use Illustrator for my layouts, photoshop for touchups and effects, and fireworks to slice it up. Fireworks and Imageready (that comes with the newer versions of Photoshop) both are tools to "slice" the page you designed into smaller loadable parts and place them in tables and export to HTML so you just need open your favorite editor and add or take out what you want.