Rectangular Selection Tool

Rectangular Selection Tool

So for 10 years I used the same Graphics Program, one an employer bought for me when it was new out Paintshop Pro 8. I suck with it because it did everything I needed and I got to know it inside out.  Basically I was comfortable with it. Apart from that after version 8 had been released the company was sold to Coral who very quickly managed to destroy the programs usability.  ( To be fair I only tried version 9 which I disliked so much I never tried another version of it).

Fotosketcher Watercolour 9

Fotosketcher Watercolour 9

So what’s so wrong with sticking with the same program if it does what you need and what is so difficult about changing your software ? Well in the last 10 years programs have progressed the newer programs can do what I need quicker and better than the old one could. Not only that but they can also do things which the old one couldn’t and I have managed to develop my work even further than I thought.

I’ve also found that relying one one single program to fulfil all of my graphics needs could also be a bit of a mistake. Certain programs do different things better than others.  Krita is a great painting program, Paint.net and GIMP great graphics software. There is a range of specialist software available to do all sorts of graphics functions, reducing the size of files, manipulating photos, 3d, animation,  even making Celtic Knots.

PhotoSketcher 2.09

PhotoSketcher 2.09

It is so easy to stick to what you are used to, to keep on using a specific program, even if it isn’t the best at doing what you need it to. In fact, in the short term, it will probably be quicker to use the program you know rather than having to learn a new one. Having said that most graphics programs are similar to one another (excluding the specialised ones).  Most raster graphic  based editors have selection tools, many have layers, shape tools, colour correction etc. What will take you time to learn are the differences. I like using keyboard short cuts and I still try to use the Paintshop Pro ones no matter which graphics program I’m actually in!

You may find that one single program does fulfil all of your needs, if you only want to paint the Krita will be fine for you, however if you want to produce a range of images and effect, and depending on how you want to use those, you will probably find it will be best to use more than one.

In making this site I have set out to review as many of the free, fully functions pieces of graphics software that I can find. I have got a bit fed up of visiting sites only to find that the software has limited functionality and you need to pay to open it up. I have nothing against paid software, I just wish people would pretend it’s free if it isn’t. I don’t profess to be an expert with graphics and I’m certainly not an artist but I do have over 14 years experience of using graphics programs so I hope you enjoy my trawl around the free stuff available.