Graphics Software

There are literally hundreds of graphic design tools available, you could spend days browsing the selection on download.com alone. Below is a slightly smaller selection of the more popular software, with a few of their pros and cons. Choose the one that is right for you, based on what you need, what you can afford, and what you'll be using it for.

Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop is thought to be the best, "the one professionals use." It is a very sophisticated program with many tools and effects you soon won't be able to do without. However it is very expensive, and though they provide a tryout version, the save and print functions are disabled. Also it is a huge download for someone on a 56k modem, somewhere around 100 megabytes. Despite the cost and the size, it is still one of the two most popular graphics editing solutions. The other is

Paint Shop Pro
A program almost as good as photoshop, and the one I use almost every day. It is much easier to use, more user-friendly, but as a result is a bit less sophisticated than Photoshop. However it is more than adequate for creating graphics for your website, and is a lot cheaper (and smaller). It also has a trial version, so you can test it out before buying. If you can't afford either Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, an excellent alternative is

Photo Plus
This program isn't as well known as the previous two, but is just as useful, especially for the average webmaster. As I said about Paint Shop pro, PhotoPlus is more than enough to make graphics for your website. It comes with just as many tools and effects, for example: Image Slicing and Image Maps, complete with HTML generation. And it's free. Well, almost. It's free if you don't mind not having GIFs or TIFs supported, but if you can't do without them, the full product costs only $1.

Macromedia Flash
I'm sure you've heard about Flash. It is a very flexible way to create animated, interactive, vector-based websites. Vector imaging is a lot more versatile than regular bitmap images, and takes up a lot less space, however viewers will need to have a plug-in installed to be able to view it. The good news is, almost everyone does have the plug-in installed, because Flash has become so popular.

An easy way to download the above programs (and many more) is by using a file sharing program like LimeWire