Gimp - Photoshop for free
Those of you who have even the remotest interest in graphic design or manipulating digital photos will have heard of Photoshop. A product of Adobe, I think it's fair to say that Photoshop has been an industry leader, specifically on the Windows platform. It is possible to do the most menial of tasks as well as high end graphic design in Photoshop, and this is the reason for it's popularity, so much so that having something 'photoshopped' has become an accepted colloquialism for digitally manipulating an image. However the cost of this piece of software has become extremely restrictive and this has led to it being a pretty widely pirated package.
There are competitors Photoshop, all of which cost a fair whack, except one that while it still has a way to go offer all that Adobe's resources have done to date, it is great for it's price. It has been christened Gimp, (GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program.) The functionalities offered are more than sufficient for the type of projects I attempt, and for the amateur graphic designer it's a great way of legally achieving the same results you would do with the commercial offerings. It's an open source initiative which means that developers are able to offer add-ons to the core package, so logically over time it should be able to offer some seriously high end functionality.
Oh, so did I mention the price? It's free!!
Check it out @ www.gimp.org. They are gearing up for a new release soon which promises some great enhancements.