• What operating system will the software be running with?
• What kind of hardware specs do you have for your graphics tool to work?
• What kind of Budget do you have?
• The skill needed, is it for beginners or for experts?
• Types of Projects, for print out or for web design?
With these in mind, you can narrow down your searches in categories, reviews and online advices with your selection. To scale down on the wide selection available, I will be describing and evaluating graphics software that is most frequently used, namely Adobe Photoshop, Coreldraw, Adobe(Formerly Macromedia) Fireworks & Gimp
– this was developed by Adobe Systems Inc. in 1988 by Thomas Knoll. From then on, it released more and more versions, upgrading and adding more features to it. The 12th and latest version is Adobe Photoshop CS5(Creative Suite).
Photoshop is a faster editing program. Raster graphics or bitmap, is a data structure representing a generally rectangular grid of pixels or points of color. Thus, it interprets data as pixels and has a limited amount of information that can be stored. It has become the industry standard, so standard that the word “photoshop” has become a verb when referring to editing pictures.
o It is popular with photographers and designers because it allows you to layer images and work with it independently.
o Wide range of Filters to improve bitmap area
o Sharp preview image, allows detection of imperfections
o Organized and professional color management
o Smart Objects allows duplication of images without affecting the original
o Needs a ton of processing power - and heavy applications will need an upgraded computer
o Originally built for photo editing, not for web design
o Humongous file size, around 12 MB for a single page
o Difficult to learn when handling layering and exporting to web.
– released 1989 by Michel Bouillon and Pat Beirne. Latest version is X5 or version 15. This is a vector based program used to make vector art. This means that the artwork is created using mathematical equations. This allows you to enlarge or scale down an image without losing any integrity in the design.
o You can get vector file as large as you want without pixilation
o Great with making company logos
o Ability to color separate in print mode of the program
o Some companies cannot handle corel files - so you will need time to convert it.
o Designed for drawing and not much for editing.
– a hybrid application that handles both bitmap and vector file formats. Developed by Macromedia, until purchased by Adobe in 2005.
o Specifically designed for web creation.
o Light on the memory consumption and speedy handling of files
o Excellent mix of both bitmap and vector tools
o Very flexible when handling PSD(photoshop) files
o A third of the price of Photoshop
o Excellent features of handling pages or frames of a web in a single file
o Integrates easily with Flash and dreamweaver.
o Not as popular as Photoshop
o Reports of crashes and bugs
o Average text rendering
o Image artifacts present during preview
o Missed layers when opening PSD files
– is an abbreviation for GNU Image manipulation program. Primarily an image(raster) retouching and editing tool and tailored for most systems. This was released on 1996 by Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis and is sometimes referred to as the poor man’s photoshop.
o Its open source so it’s basically FREE.
o A lot of features similar to photshop
o Great for picture editing for beginning photographers
o Works well with Linux
o Needs some getting use to.
o Supports only RGB colour, CMYK support due to be added.
o Needs effort in installing advanced features
If interested in free downloadable photo editing software, here are more examples: Paint.net, Photopos, PEdit, Irfan View, Stoik Imagic, Digikam, Visual Box, My paint, Paint Star, Photscape, Acorn, Seashore, Pinta, & Pixia.
In the end, its all about personal choices so I hope this article has guided you on the solutions you’re seeking for picking the right graphics tool for you.