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PC World

Top 10 hot graphics tools

by Max Green

(IDG) -- The line between professional and personal graphics utilities has blurred. Last month, Jasc Software released a new version of longtime shareware favorite Paint Shop Pro, with vector drawing tools and texture effects that make it strikingly similar to Adobe Photoshop, the choice of many graphics professionals. The programs on this list let you create professional-looking textures, flow charts, and 3D images. Whether you want to create a digital photo album for your family or business cards for your company, these files can accomplish the job. To check out all the drawing and painting files available at FileWorld, click on "More drawing and painting files," link below.

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  1. Paint Shop Pro: The latest version of this popular program features several first-rate painting and drawing tools, and it supports more than 30 image formats, including Photoshop's .psd. It includes drawing tools and digital watermarking for embedding copyright information, and new special effects, such as bevel, weave, and blinds.

  2. The Graphics Factory: Create artwork with textures, backgrounds, and patterns such as clouds, wood, and marbles. Pop-up hints offer help with features.

  3. DeltaCad: This easy-to-learn CAD program can produce scaled house plans and maps, as well as business cards, forms, signs, labels, and flow charts. The demo can be used for 45 days; the program costs $20 to register.

  4. SmartDraw: Draw great-looking diagrams, flow charts, organization charts, network diagrams, and space plans. This version features rotation, automatic formatting, and easier access to symbols. This is a trial version of the program; pricing for the full package varies.

  5. Vue d'Esprit: This virtual landscape generator uses ray-tracing to render photo-realistic pictures of any landscape you can imagine. Creating a picture is as simple as generating a terrain, adding features and meteorological effects, and taking snapshots. The registration fee is $129.

  6. Universe 3D Image Creation: This program creates realistic deep-space images that you can use as backgrounds for 3D programs, or simply enjoy for their artistic value.

  7. Art-O-Matic: Create 3D images that you can resize, rotate, or otherwise manipulate. Art-O-Matic teaches beginners about 3D objects, and advanced users will appreciate its capabilities to add lighting effects and adjust image attributes. This program requires DirectX drivers.

  8. Microsoft Draw 98: If you already have Office 97, this free program makes Microsoft OfficeArt drawing tools available in any application compliant with Object Linking and Embedding.

  9. PhotoLine: Handle just about any photo-imaging or painting task with this program. It supports both raster and vector graphics, color separations, various photo filters, and the usual text, paint, and draw functions. The registration fee is $69.

  10. DrawPlus: The free trial version of this program includes all the features of the $60 full version. Powerful wizards that design, replicate, and transform are part of a simple interface. DrawPlus comes bundled with designer TrueType fonts and a full-color clip art collection and browser.

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