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How to get cool images and graphics without paying for Photoshop

Can’t afford Photoshop or Illustrator for all those snazzy design effects and graphics? No problem. There are some amazing open source, free or cheap design tools out there to help you create just about anything!

1. Inkscape [http://inkscape.org/]

Inkscape is an amazing open piece of source software for vector graphics, with freehand drawing, shape tools, text tools and more. It has an active forum for support (sometimes a worry for open source) with both written and interactive tutorials. Inkscape works on Windows, Mac and Linux.

2. Paint.NET [http://www.getpaint.net/index.html]

Like a scaled down version of Photoshop, but free, Paint.NET is an image and photo editing software with layers, a variety of tools and special effects, including a unique 3D rotate/zoom effect for perspective and tilting. It boasts an active and helpful support community and also has tutorials and a huge variety of plugins to expand what you can do with it. Paint.NET is only available for Windows.

3. Pixlr [http://pixlr.com/editor/]

Quite similar to Paint.NET in terms of features, but with a browser version, mobile and tablet apps and a free desktop Essentials version for both Mac and PC. There is also a paid version which, if you like it, will give you enhanced versions of the free features, plus extra tools for only $1.99 per month (or $14.99 for the year).

4. PicMonkey [http://www.picmonkey.com/]

A browser-based photo editor and collage maker, PicMonkey has a wide range of editing tools, textures, touch-up features and overlays in the free version, and for only $4.99 per month, you can get rid of the ads and get premium fonts, double the effects and more.

5. Phonto and Vont [http://www.phon.to/ and http://vont.phon.to/download]

These are great if you just want a basic app on your phone to add text to photos or videos.

6. Stencil (Formely Share As Image) [https://getstencil.com/]

Highlight text on the web and turn it into an image, or find an image and add text quickly with the Chrome extension. With the free version, you can create up to 10 images per month, but with limited backgrounds and icons. Add the paid version for $9 per month and get access to templates, over 640,000 background images and 200,000+ icons and graphics.

Use any or all of these and your designs will only be limited by your imagination!

Canon by Zorah Olivia licensed under Creative commons 4


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