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.