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I'm not good at graphics so need something intuitive. I've used Paint Shop Pro products up to version 9 and they're alright, but whenever I add text to a graphic it seems to make the graphic "fuzzy" (or maybe it's me?) so I'm looking for a better alternative but there's so much stuff out there its' confusing. Plus I prefer first hand account from users. Every sales pitch sounds the same after a while, you know? Tx!
However when it comes to site graphics you need to establish what graphics are being used for what before you start. This is why there are different programs that handle different types of images.
For example: Photoshop will produce a better JPEG of images of people scenery and such. And Illustrator will give you a crisper PNG when it comes to text or structure images for your site (rounded edges)
Gimp and Inkscape are the free open source equivalent of Photoshop and Illustrator. Even though there is a learning curve to them, just spend some time doing some tutorials you can find online, and you should be fine.
I never heard of Inkscape before, but it sounds awesome, too.