5 Free Apps for Eye-Popping Graphics

by Sam Dean - Sep. 07, 2011Comments (0)

The worlds of open source and freeware both include many outstanding applications for working with graphics and photos. These include standard fare such as image editors, but it's also worth looking into more unusual graphics tools that you can work with for free. Whether you want to produce splashy graphical documents, enhance graphics on a blog or web site, create eye-catching logos, or more, check out this collection of five great, free graphics apps.

When it comes to open source graphics tools, GIMP gets a great deal of attention, and there are many free online resources available for it, but if you're in search of a free drawing and illustration tool that can compete with Adobe Illustrator and is increasingly useds by web designers for effects, logos and still graphics, give Inkscape a try. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and is well-known as a powerful and flexible drawing and vector editing application. We covered it and resources for getting started with it in this post.

Dia is very similar to Microsoft's Visio application, and was developed as part of the GNOME project's office suite. There are many types of useful diagrams and flowcharts you can do in Dia. You can associate multiple diagrams with each other and work on them in tandem. Dia also exports diagrams in most popular graphics file formats. We covered the application previously in this post.

Gallery is an open source, web-based photo management and album organizer application available for Linux and Windows. Licensed under the GPL, Gallery makes it easy to blend photo management into a web site or blog. There is a Gallery Remote client available for it that lets you upload new sets of photos on-the-fly, and Gallery is available in over 20 languages.

Blender is one of the most popular free, open source 3D animation and graphics applications, for Windows, the Mac and Linux. You can learn how to create a great looking logo, how to execute special effects, and more. Blender has been used to produce striking full-length animated films and is worth getting to know if you haven't tried it. You can also download a great, free book on Blender, with step-by-step project instructions.

Aviary is a truly remarkable suite of free, online graphics applications, and it has won many awards. It isn't open source, but it is freeware, and has become much more than the dedicated image editor that it started out as. You’ll find a vector editor, a color palette editor, a tool for creating visual effects, and more. All of the tools are available for you to use within your browser. Aviary also comes with many tutorials, similar to those found online for Photoshop.
 



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