Businesses large and small periodically need to create
custom graphics for marketing and other purposes. Although Photoshop is often
the tool of choice for creating business graphics, it is far from being the
only tool available. This article discusses a variety of graphical tools that
can be used to create varying types of business graphics.

article is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Five Apps

1. Corel Painter

is a relatively high end graphics editor. Even so, it is
surprisingly intuitive. Anyone who has a minimal amount of experience with
graphics editors should have little trouble using this utility. Even so, there
are plenty of advanced features thrown in for good measure. Some of the more
advanced features include layering, effects, and the ability to create

Corel Painter sells for $429, but a 30-day trial is
available for download.

2. Actual Drawing

isn’t what you would normally think of as an application for
creating business graphics, but in the interest of variety I wanted to talk
about it any way.

Actual Drawing is a Web development utility. The reason why
I chose to include it is because often smaller organizations struggle to create
visually appealing Web content. Actual Drawing allows you to build Web sites
without writing any code. Of course there are plenty of tools that do that. What
makes Actual Drawing unique is that it places a very heavy emphasis on
graphics. The application has its own graphics editor that even offers features
such as effects and layering.

Actual Drawing sells for $59.00, but a free trial version is
available for download.

3. Scanahand

is a utility that can be used to create custom fonts. Sometimes a graphic just
isn’t complete without just the right font to go along with it. When you can’t
find the font that you need, you can use Scanahand to create it. The software
works by providing you with an empty template. You can print out the template
and then draw the letters for your font. As an alternative, you could use a
graphics editor to create the letters. Once the template is completed, you can
scan it and then create a font.

Scanahand sells for $59.00, but a free trial version is
available for download.

4. Chasys Draw IES

Draw IES
is a free tool that rivals commercial tools. Although it is
primarily a graphics editor, Chasys Draw IE5 can also be used to create
projects such as animated cursors, videos, and screencasts.

As a drawing or photo editing tool, Chasys Draw IE5 will
likely be suitable for all but the most demanding applications. The application
is extremely feature rich and can be extended through the use of plugins. Those
wishing to use Chasys Draw IE5 for marketing purposes will be happy to know
that it is capable of producing print quality CMYK images.

5. Photo to Cartoon

to Cartoon
is a utility that can convert a photograph into a cartoon. This
type of application makes it easy to create graphics even if you have no
artistic talent.

The interface is simple. You merely load a photo and then
use slide bars to control the complexity of the outline and the number of
colors. You can also add a speech bubble or edit the image.

Photo to Cartoon sells for $25.00, but a free ten use trial
is available for download.

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