Cheap Photoshop Alternatives
Adobe Photoshop CS3 is pretty mega-expensive. So much so, I'd guess that most graphic artists have illegal copies on their home computers. I don't condone that, just stating what I suspect is the case. The companies many of them work for, however, have legit copies, so I guess that's something.
I used to have Adobe CS2 on my PC. When my PC died, I lost everything. All 3 harddrives. It was a mess. When I decided to go out and buy a Mac, I had to decide whether or not I wanted to pay the billion dollar price Adobe felt CS3 was worth. I didn't take long for me to decide it wouldn't be worth it; I'd put my graphic design company on hold and wasn't actively designing blogs at that time, so it was a logical decision. A few months later, however, I realized I missed making blogs, and started seeking out Photoshop alternatives.
While there are a number of these available (Paint.net, GimpShop, Gimp, Seashore) I am only going to talk to you about one -- cos it's absolutely fantastic, and I'm able to do 99.9% of what I was doing with CS2. For example, the blog you see below is something I created with what I consider to be the best alternative.
(You can see the entire blog via my Blogbunnie portfolio.)
A blog design created by Blogbunnie.
Buy Photoshop Elements Now
So what did you use?
Adobe Photoshop Elements.
How much does it cost?
About $70 if you buy it from Amazon
About $100 if you download from Adobe
What can it do?
You can do your photos in this, you can create art in it. I was never a CS2 expert, and I'm sure the CS2 experts will frown at my comparing the two, but if you're only doing small things, like basic graphic design, basic photo editing, etc, this is the product you want; I never even touched 80% of the menu options on CS2, for cripes sake.
How do I get it?
The fastest way would be to download it from the Adobe.com website. But that will cost you more than buying it from somewhere like Amazon.com.
How easy will it be to learn?
If you're switching from CS2 or 3, you'll notice Photoshop Elements functions a bit differently -- you will have to tool around a bit, but believe me, a lot of the functions are still there, just in a different location. But, in my opinion, it's a very simple interface. Much easier and less complicated than others I've seen. If you can surf the net, you can figure this out.