I use Photoshop, I think it's definitely the most comprehensive graphics package (not to mention v5.5 has Image Ready built in to make web graphics a snap), but if your just making something simple you could definitely get away with something cheaper.
I use PhotoImpact. As far as web graphics go I would stack it up against Photoshop anyday and it costs less than $100. I don't have anything against PhotoShop other than the price - I just couldn't ever get used to they layers thing. PhotoImpact is object based and really slick to manipulate. It also imports .PSD files and can use nearly all photoshop plug-ins.
Oilman, got an url on PhotoImpact?
I think that is a Ulead [ulead.com] product.
Ulead [ulead.com] all the way. They have some great products.
How can you not like the layers? :) Photoshop isn't cheap but that's because it does a million different things that you would probably never use it for. However I did hear that they have a stripped down version strictly for web graphics that's much more reasonable.
(you'll have to forgive me I started using photoshop in highschool and I used it throughout art school so I'm a little biased)
Paint Shop Pro here. Price is right with a fair number of features and available plugins (eye candy).
For 3d stuff, Xara3d is awesome.
Using PaintShopPro most of the time for web graphics, too. It's fast and easy, if not overly featurized.
For the more sophisticated stuff: Corel 8 and Photoshop.
A neat tool for creating favicons is MicroAngelo [impactsoft.com].
For extracting icons: Icon Extractor [gregorybraun.com].
For animated graphics we use ULead's GifAnimator [webutilities.com].
Screenshots: Hardcopy [sw4you.com]
Registered Photo Impact the other day but haven't yet found the time to study the manual - I find it not that "intuitive" by itself, though I've been into graphics (DTP/WWW) for 12+ years.
I have them all just about. I still use CorelDraw (from the corel suite 8) but also have Adobe Photoshop, Ulead GifAnimator, and even the GiMP (which is pretty powerful for an open-source product). I also have micrografix's 3d program which makes nice text but needs optimizing in another program for best results.
Of course, my favourite graphics creation utility is called Seth. ;) Its effortless for me to use :)
It really depends on the graphic demands of the client.
I've worked on some fine art sites, and I don't think any software except Photoshop could possibly have produced the needed results. Even so, I needed the HVS JPEG plug-in to get a small enough file size without sacrificng appearance.
PS is also required when the client supplies funky source materials. Photos with color casts and exposure/lighting problems just scream for Adobe's help. Having a good looking product shot can be criticial for online sales.
For animation, even though I think Ulead rules, nothing beats Photoshop's layers for pre-building the frames. Bronco-busting the GIF color palette is another shining
star in Photoshop's crown.
If you want to see what PSP 6.0 can do www.pinoy7.com Richie Dumlao launched the new domain yesterday and it is impressive!