Three free alternatives to pricey graphics software

Before you spend hundreds of dollars on Corel Draw, Illustrator, or Photoshop, check out these powerful freeware alternatives.

Paint .NET offers much of the power of Adobe Photoshop and none of the price. Rick Brewster

Why spend big bucks on graphics software when you can get many, if not most, of the same features from freeware? Here are three mui-expensive graphics apps and their free counterparts:

  • Adobe Illustrator Available for Windows only, Creative Docs .NET (yeah, weird name) is a vector-based graphic design tool for creating illustrations, manuals, flow charts, icons, and the like. It offers advanced features like Bezier curves, styles, convert-to-curves, and curved-path text.
  • Adobe Photoshop You've actually got two choices here: GIMP, which is available for all platforms, and Paint.NET, which is Windows-only. Both programs offer powerful, Photoshop-caliber image-editing tools, everything from layers to special effects.
  • Corel Draw Want to sketch, draw, paint, etc? In addition to an assortment of "digital brushes" including chalks, charcoals, and pencils, Artweaver offers the usual array of image-editing tools: crop, gradient-fill, transparency, layers, and so on. It also supports (and, in fact, recommends) tablet PCs for a more realistic drawing/painting feel.
I also have to include a shout-out to longtime favorite IrfanView, which is great for viewing images, making quick edits, and changing formats. Any free graphics apps you'd like to recommend? Hit the Comments and discuss your faves.
 

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