Answering the question of what the best graphic software is is like trying to answer the question of what car should you buy. Just like buying a car there are a huge number of variables that need to be considered, such as price, ease of use, software features, purpose, and the list goes on and on. Also, like buying a car, one needs to understand the intended use, why buy a large SVU when parking is hard to come by, and the buildings do not offer parking spaces for over sized vehicles? On the other hand, I am not sure that purchasing a ultra compact car is the most ideal if you want to go to the mountains all the time in all kinds of weather and you want to take 5 of your closest friends and camping gear. The same is true with buying any software.
For help I have narrowed the categories down to the following three: High End Photo/Graphic Editing, Graphic Layout and simple and easy to use page design software. Each of these categories has a number of options, but I believe that I have found the options that are the most stable and offer the most features for their price.
When it comes to editing photos and creating custom graphics the all time leader has to be Adobe PhotoShop. Some might disagree with me, but with the support of most of the graphic community and print shops around the globe, the final verdict is PhotoShop. This software has all the features needed to edit, create, modify, or develop any type of graphic or photo that one can imagine. Having used this software, I find myself intimidated by the software and sometimes there are too many options. However, for the professional graphic artist, this is the universal software on the market. One can create and save their files in a large number of file types making all projects compatible with a print house somewhere.
Corel has produced the PaintShop Photo-Paint X5 software in competition to Adobe’s PhotoShop. Like Photoshop, this software also has a large number of software features to help you create the graphic that you desire. What I personally like are some of the built in templates or ways to quickly modify your photos. You can change the look and feel of your artwork quickly and easily. I found this software a bit more intuitive than Photoshop.
If you are in need of graphic design software more geared toward page layout then the first product that I would recommend is Adobe InDesign. This software is designed to help you make the most out of your graphic document. The software provides precise control over the layout and layering of text and graphics. Plus it will allow you to prepare your work for print, web and even mobile devices. Being able to work with other graphic software and even to easily create PDF files makes this software ideal to use in creating any graphic document.
Corel’s CorelDraw Premium is equivalent to Adobe’s InDesign. Like InDesign, CorelDraw allows you to create all kinds of materials from web sites to brochures to vector graphics. I personally have always liked the look and feel of Corel Draw and have found that options and tools are placed in logical locations. The ease of use of this software provides a friendlier user interface than the InDesign product.
If you are looking for a simple to use software with all the features that most amateurs need to make their content look good without spending lots and lots of money then I suggest Microsoft’s 2010 Publisher. The picture editing tools will allow you transform your pictures into master pieces. The software comes loaded with all kinds of templates and even more can be downloaded from the Microsoft web site. The software even offers an easy way to share your documents whether you save as a PDF file or email directly from the Publisher Application.
Another great product for the amateur graphics person is by Broderbund. They offer a product called The Print Shop23.1 Pro Publisher Deluxe. This software program has tools for both layout of the page as well as graphic software to manipulate your photos and graphic files. Like Publisher this software has a number of pre-built templates to choose from. The user interface is rather intuitive and the help provided will step you through your issue with confidence.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, there are a number of great software packages out there, all with a wide variety of options, features and tools. I always suggest downloading the trial version and see how the software works for you. This way you can see if it has the tools that you need, is user friendly and intuitive to use before you buy.