Five apps for creating business graphics

Although Photoshop is often the tool of choice for creating business graphics, it is far from being the only tool available.

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.

This article is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Five Apps

1. Corel Painter

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 animations.

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

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2. Actual Drawing

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.

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3. Scanahand

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.

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4. Chasys Draw IES

Chasys 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.

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5. Photo to Cartoon

Photo 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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