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5 Great Graphic Design Programs

Updated on August 25, 2011
Welcome to the Great Graphic Design Programs Hub, I'm sure you will learn  a lot and be educated after reading! Enjoy :)
Welcome to the Great Graphic Design Programs Hub, I'm sure you will learn a lot and be educated after reading! Enjoy :)

So you want to know Great Graphic Design Programs ?

Graphic Design Programs are few and far. Sure, there are many different ones-but only few pump out excellent results and give you all the tools you need to complete your projects. Personally, I like Graphic Design and might even be making it more then just a hobby. This Hub will not teach you how to become an excellent Graphic Designer or anything, but it will go into details on what Programs you should choose for what your aiming for. There is a high demand for more and more online and offline computer Graphic Creators. One of these programs you should have already, one you can get for free, and one will cost you the upwards of more then $3000. Basically, the type of art you plan on doing and what you need for it will determine what program and how much you will have to spend. Personally, I have all the programs I will be reviewing, but to buy from the companies you will need to get the newest version (might be able to find deals using used or older versions from CD.) I will be doing a description on each one, a link to the company site and I will try to include if you can get the one I described or another version for cheaper using eBay or Amazon - so if I have it, from one Graphic Designer to another, it's one of the best deals you will find!

MS Paint Icon
MS Paint Icon

#1 - Good Old MS Paint

Ever think MS Paint was a worthless application Microsoft just ads to its computer packages? Well think again! MS Paint is very basic, but it is a powerful tool! You can make all kinds of effects in MS Paint. Of course MS Paint is free and if your running a PC you probably own it. There really isn't much to explain about it other then it is an excellent Pixel Art tool. If all you want is to play around, make some of your own little graphics in the pixeling style then you need to look no further then MS Paint!


  • Microsoft Windows
  • Comes free with Windows Packages

#2 - Paint.NET

Paint.NET is a super version of MS Paint. Much more powerful adds a ton of effects that the major names do. Made for the "low budget" artist it is hosted free for all. Even if you owned other graphic programs this is a great tool to use in some cases. It helps you make a much larger diverity of images that MS Paint doesn't let you.

Paint.NET Logo
Paint.NET Logo


System Requirements

Minimum System

  • Windows XP (SP2 or later),

    or Windows Vista,

    or Windows Server (2003 SP1 or later)

  • .NET Framework 2.0 or newer (.NET Framework 3.5 SP1 recommended)
  • 500 MHz processor (Recommended: 800 MHz or faster)
  • 256 MB of RAM (Recommended: 512 MB or more)
  • 1024 x 768 screen resolution
  • 200+ MB hard drive space
  • 64-bit support requires a 64-bit CPU that is running a 64-bit version of Windows, and an additional 128 MB of RAM

Please note that Paint.NET uses your hard drive to store temporary files related to undo/redo history. Because of this, actual disk space requirements will depend on the type of actions you perform on an image, and on the size of the image.

Price: Free! Download here: Paint.NET

#3 - Adobe Macromedia Fireworks

Adobe Macromedia Fireworks is much like Photoshop. It's a more user friendly program to use because it is a lot more basic then Photoshop. Fireworks can do almost everything Photoshop can, but it has a better "Web Ready" format to it. Fireworks is my personal choice for graphic design. It has more useful plug-ins then photoshop has but lacks most of its "Photo" elements. Basically Fireworks is to make Graphics, not edit Photos. Even though it can, it's easier to use photoshop for photos. Fireworks also lacks pressure sensibility settings, if you own a Pen tablet. Regardless, it is still the best graphics program in my opinion. Very versatile, if you get it you will not regret it!

Fireworks Logo + Box
Fireworks Logo + Box



  • 1GHz or faster processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 (Service Pack 3 recommended) or Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise with Service Pack 1 (certified for 32-bit Windows XP and Windows Vista)
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • 1GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on flash-based storage devices)
  • 1,024x768 display (1,280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Broadband Internet connection required for online services

Price(For new CS4): $300 (not out yet) There are other versions you can purchuse, I use Fireworks 8.

Site: Click Here

#4 - Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop by far is the most widespread advanced graphics program out! Photoshop, just like it's name allows you to, with complete precision, work on your photos! Not only photos, the program is very effective at making anytime of graphics! Photoshop has sensibility options and a crisp layout. Photoshop and its series isn't an easy-to-use program. It takes time to learn how to do advance things with all of its functions. Photoshop has it's CS4 editions and its Elements editions. There is also Lightroom, made just for photographers. I have Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 (it's old but it came with a package I got before.) Even version 5 allows great pressure controls. This is the ultimate drawing graphics tool for the serious artists and designers.

Photoshop Elements Logo
Photoshop Elements Logo
Photoshop 7 Logo
Photoshop 7 Logo
Narnia Movie Poster made in Photoshop.
Narnia Movie Poster made in Photoshop.


Windows (Version 5.0 Elements)

  • Intel® Pentium® 4 or Intel Celeron® (or compatible) 1.3GHz processor (dual-core processors and those with Hyper-Threading Technology supported)
  • Microsoft® Windows Vista™ (32-bit only), Windows® XP, or Windows Media Center Edition (XP and MCE require Service Pack 2)
  • Windows XP: 256MB of RAM (512MB recommended)
  • Windows Vista: 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • 1.5GB of available hard-disk space
  • Color monitor with 16-bit color video card
  • 1,024x768 monitor resolution at 96dpi or less
  • Display driver compatible with Microsoft DirectX 9 or later
  • CD-ROM drive

Price (Photoshop Elements 7): $140

Site: Click Here

3ds Max Logo
3ds Max Logo

#5 - 3ds Max

3ds Max is the ultimate graphics program in animation for movies or videogames. This 3D world creating software it off the scales in power as far as graphics are concerned! I have full access to this program (thanks to a friend!) and I can't tell you much about it because I cannot figure it out! In order to use this powerful software you MUST read all of the manuals and books on it. I can tell you this software was used to make Guitar Hero! I'm sure many know about it, I'm not sure what else it has made-probably many other videogames. This is as high as it gets in mastery of graphic design. Master this program and you have limitless possibilities in your designing! Due to the power of this program, I will provide many pictures of work that was made in it!


System Requirments vary too much to get any kind of requirement idea! Just check the copy you own or plan on buying.

This is master software, it can be used to make videogames and movies. This means it isn't cheap. Sadly, most people will not own this program due to it's price (although watch out for the older versions that are droping in price!).

Price: A WHOPPING $3,500Site: Click Here

Press Play to watch the SlideShow!(or press the red arrow to move one at your own pace!)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
All this is created and done in 3ds Max!Layer by Layer!Texture by Texture!For an amazing effect!
All this is created and done in 3ds Max!
All this is created and done in 3ds Max!
Layer by Layer!
Layer by Layer!
Texture by Texture!
Texture by Texture!
For an amazing effect!
For an amazing effect!

This animation was made using 3ds Max!

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Well, I guess that's it!

Graphic Design is fun, entertaining, and a helpful skill to know how to do. I hope you learned a lot from this hub and it was well worth the read! If your interested in the programs listed, I will find them and put the links on the very bottom of this hub (not yet added, will add soon!). You do not need to be an artist to use these softwares, it helps but remember-the most important rule about art is it is supposed to be fun! If you liked this Hub please vote, hit thumbs up, and make a comment if you like! I also appreciate anyone who Diggs or Stumbles me and don't forget to check out my other hubs! If you ever have any questions or want to contact me, please feel more then free to! I don't bite, E-mail me and I will try to answer you as quickly as possible!

See, I told you it would be knowledgeable! Hope you enjoyed this Hub and I hope to see you return! Thanks again! :)
See, I told you it would be knowledgeable! Hope you enjoyed this Hub and I hope to see you return! Thanks again! :)


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    • Pete Wolfe profile image

      Pete Wolfe 5 years ago from NJ

      Nice hub, thank you for the information. Cool pictures as well.

    • Anjo Bacarisas II profile image

      Anjo Bacarisas II 5 years ago from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

      superb hub, it was very useful! thanks for sharing this! i did enjoy this page :)

    • profile image

      Wanday 5 years ago

      Informative and educative..great job!!

    • profile image

      jji7skyline 6 years ago

      Gimp :D

    • Casey Strouse profile image

      Casey Strouse 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I've been mostly using Illustrator for my web design work after a friend showed me how it was easier to work with than Photoshop.

    • themespotter profile image

      themespotter 6 years ago from U.S.A.

      Photoshop is the best one out there, for sure.

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 6 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      @Jewelz1313 Thanks for the comment, the funny part of this is I went to college and have a Design Degree...cant find a job without experience! Also, the little dragon there is borrowed from an artist friend (im more of a technical designer, not a fine artist).


    • Jewelz1313 profile image

      Jewelz1313 6 years ago from Branson, Missouri

      beautiful artwork. do you use a pen and tablet too. I have the adobe creative suite CS5 which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Firework, Dreamweaver, and InDesign. Of course InDesign is more for creating business form and signs. I've worked with some of these, but found myself stumped, knowing so much more could be done. So I started going to the Art Institute onlice division to learn the rest. You should definitely look into this as I have found a lot of companies will not pay you what you are worth without a degree. Some won't even give you a second look. With your talent I believe you could go far. Good luck

    • profile image

      Mohammed 6 years ago

      Wow you just woke up the indesign in me...I will invest my time, effort and money to this..Do help me almighty Allah..Thank you so much I really do appreciate..

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 years ago from Canada

      Nice hub, thanks!

    • profile image

      TajSingh 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I use Photoshop for pretty much everything from editing photos to creating graphics. I haven't tested Adobe Macromedia Fireworks yet. I might give it a try to see the difference.

    • higrant profile image

      higrant 7 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria

      Great hub! I'm a graphic artist knowledgable in CorelDraw, Photoshop, fireworks etc. I want to learn 3DS Max. I need some tutorial on it. Thanks for this great hub!

    • dsmythe profile image

      dsmythe 7 years ago

      Great hub! I'm an Adobe fanboy so obviously Photoshop is what I use. I want to learn how to use 3DS Max. People still use MS paint?

    • Bmosaics profile image

      Bmosaics 7 years ago from USA

      Photoshop is by far my favorite graphic app. I use it almost on a daily basis.

    • M. T. Dremer profile image

      M. T. Dremer 7 years ago from United States

      There are definitely a lot of graphic design programs out there. The free ones can be hard to find and the commercial ones can be ridiculously expensive. Photoshop is my go-to program, though I've seen the power of Adobe Illustrator (I just can't figure it out myself). Before photoshop I used Paint Shop Pro, though I'm not sure what that program is like now. DAZ Studio and Poser are great for 3D rendering too. Thanks for the list!

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 7 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      @ Graphic Design

      The main reason why I didn't involve Corel is because its more of an "Artsy" program designed for painters, not general graphic design work.


    • profile image

      Graphic Design 7 years ago

      Awesome hub! But what about Corel Draw?

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 7 years ago from Rep Boston MA


      Also Fireworks can do most of what Photoshop can if you wish to get the add-ons (or create your on add-ons). Its a good time-saver and overall much easier to learn then the complexities of Photoshop.


    • profile image

      blue2x 7 years ago

      Fireworks hands down, if your work is web or screen design only, there's no need for the extra filters / options in Photoshop. Fireworks can do the job in lesser time

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 7 years ago from Rep Boston MA


      Thanks for the add ons! I only included 5 in this list so I couldn't ad gimp. I based my choices on availability and quality. Not on price, because these are just tools. Free programs like blender come with laws on making and selling on a large scale. Anything made with MS Paint, Paid Fireworks, Paid Photoshop, or Paid 3Ds Max are all your own work and can be legal sold as you wish.


    • tobkum profile image

      tobkum 7 years ago

      You should definitely give mypaint (, GIMP ( and Blender ( a try. These are free alternatives to your mostly expensive programs. Which doesn't make them bad, just cheaper ;)

      Great hub anyways!

    • Neil Ashworth profile image

      George Poe 8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very good hub.

    • Nik Aberle profile image

      Nik Aberle 8 years ago

      Great Hub, only comment is that 3DS Max really is something else in it's own right. Once you hit 3DS Max you've crossed over into special effects, modeling, and animation and left the realm of graphic design. Awesome images for each program though!!

    • profile image

      patriciarose7 8 years ago

      awesome information you have provided on this Hub page and I do like the pictures too.

    • Freshalex profile image

      Freshalex 8 years ago

      I use Photoshop and Illustrator for most everything I do, I would even blog in illustrator if I had that option!!

      I can't believe you left out GIMP. My partner uses that. I don't like it.

    • Mac Mission profile image

      Mac Mission 8 years ago from bangalore

      I love this hub since i love to work in animation

    • ChrisSnil profile image

      ChrisSnil 8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great hub, some nice suggestions :)

    • Wallpaper Queen profile image

      Wallpaper Queen 9 years ago from Malaysia

      Great Hub. Nice to know the information about graphic design as i am interested in this field... thumbs up

    • britneydavidson profile image

      britneydavidson 9 years ago from united kingdom

      great hub.i think fireworks is bit easy and nice but for more advanced picture creation photoshop is the best and 3Ds Max is something really different...which is amazing.thanx for thia information sharing

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 9 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Nice hub, I use Photoshop but I also have a version of Macromedia Fireworks which I have never used is there a quick and easy manual for it anywhere or do you just use the help files?

    • sceptic profile image

      sceptic 9 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Very informative hub, makes wish I was a graphic designer!

    • WHoArtNow profile image

      WHoArtNow 9 years ago from Leicester, UK

      Great hub Thranax, I've got to admit, I didn't even know about 'Print Artist' but I use Adobe CS3 anyway! 3DSmax is awesome, its just a shame its so expensive!

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 9 years ago

      Thumbs up! I wanna check out paint.NET. Many years back I used a software called "Print Artist." It was very user friendly and versatile, and I used it alongside PhotoShop to create graphics for my web-pages.

      Thanks for the hub. :)