The poor man’s PhotoShop: Paint Dot Net, or “PDN.”
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This graphics program is FREE! and provides plenty of capability for the casual graphics editing work, and with some investigation, you’ll find it quite able in more difficult tasks.
Besides the native capabilities, it also has an active community of people who develop and share added plugins for the program, allowing you to venture into practical serious editing or to let your inner artist try their hand at something exotic.
One excellent feature is the “tear off” windows for tools, colors, history and layers, so you can have your view of the intricate details, yet keep your work surface uncluttered.
I’ve been using this program for about 5 years and regularly fire it up to quickly create website headers, starting with the layering capability to place text or logos over a background picture.
Give it a whirl. It’s way cheaper than PhotoShop, and will handle most anything the regular and even moderately advanced user can throw at it. What’s not to like about FREE! programs that rival the multi-hundred brand name stuff?