Top 10 drawing and painting tools
January 18, 1999
by Max Green
(IDG) -- Back in the 1920s, the rallying cry in the art world was, "Art is about revolution or it's about nothing at all." Today there's a genuine revolution: With so many drawing and painting software programs available, anyone can dabble in electronic art. Graphics professionals typically use Adobe Photoshop. But why spend hundreds of dollars for a high-end commercial program if your aim is more modest--retouching vacation photos, for instance, or creating new letterhead? A better bet is to test-drive these FileWorld programs, the top ten most popular graphics downloads.
1. Paint Shop Pro: Paint, draw, convert, edit, and doodle with this popular graphics program. Equal or superior to some of the big commercial graphics programs, PaintShop Pro can convert images in batch or single-file mode, create printer's separations, and crop and enhance nearly any image you can throw at it.
2. Microsoft Draw 98: If you already have Office 97, this application makes the OfficeArt drawing tools available in any OLE-compliant application.
3. The Graphics Factory: Create textures, backgrounds, designs, repeatable tiles, patterns, artwork, landscapes, clouds, woods, marbles, and more with this program. Pop-up hints provide tips on using features.
4. DeltaCad: This easy-to-learn computer-aided design program lets you create accurately scaled house plans, business cards, forms, signs, labels, maps, and flow charts.
5. SmartDraw: This package lets you draw great-looking diagrams, flow charts, organization charts, network diagrams, and space plans. This new version features rotation, automatic formatting, and easier access to symbols, as well as drag-and-drop editing, lines that automatically stay connected to shapes when they change size or position, automatic formatting, auto-sizing objects, and lots of clip art.
6. Vue d'Esprit: This virtual landscape generator uses elaborate ray-tracing features to render photo-realistic pictures of any landscape you can imagine. Creating a picture is as simple as generating a terrain, dressing it up with materials, adding meteorological effects, and taking snapshots.
7. Universe 3D Image Creation: This program allows you to create realistic deep-space images that you can use as backgrounds for 3D programs or simply enjoy for their artistic value.
8. Art-O-Matic: This package lets you create 3D images that you can size, rotate, and otherwise manipulate. Art-O-Matic helps you learn more about 3D objects if your knowledge base is slim, and advanced users will appreciate its flexibility for adding lighting effects and adjusting image attributes.
9. PhotoLine: From editing photo files to producing your own, PhotoLine will handle just about any photo-imaging or painting task. It features support for both raster and vector graphics; TWAIN devices; color separations; application of various photo filters; and the usual text, paint, and draw functions found in most photo and paint programs.
10. DrawPlus: The DrawPlus trial version includes all the features of the full version. Powerful design, replicate, and transform wizards are part of a simple interface. It comes bundled with designer TrueType fonts and full-color clip art.
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