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What Are Some Useful Graphics Applications that I Can Learn?

When studying for an associate or bachelor's degree in graphic design, students learn to use some of the various computer graphics applications that graphic designers have come to depend on. These applications include desktop publishing software and general or specific graphic editing software. Learn more about them here.

Types of Desktop Publishing Software

Image editing software allows images to be altered. It may be applied to the following images, among others:

  • Traditional photographs
  • Digital photographs
  • Illustrations

Meanwhile, page layout software deals with the arrangement of elements on a page, allowing designers flexibility in where to put various graphics and text. This software also covers the style treatment of elements on a page.

Important Facts About Graphic Applications

Field of Study Graphic design, multimedia design, and visual communication
Programs Undergraduate bachelor's/associate's; internships
Possible Careers Graphic designer, art director, desktop publisher, web developer, and multimedia artist/animator
Continuing Education Licensure/certification available through software product vendors
Median Salary (2018) $50,370*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4%*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Types of Graphic Editing Software

Graphic editing software allows for the creation or manipulation of material on a computer. Graphic editors come in two distinct types, each with their own functions and limitations.

Vector graphic editors are best for the following:

  • Page layout
  • Logos
  • Typography
  • Cartoons/animation
  • Technical illustrations

Raster graphic editors are best for these items:

  • Retouching and photo processing
  • Photorealistic illustrations
  • Collages
  • Illustrations drawn by hand (on a tablet connected to the computer)

Examples of Useful Graphics Applications

There are a multitude of commercially available graphics applications and many that can be downloaded free of charge. Graphic design students, through hands-on experience, learn which ones are useful for which purposes. Two programs that have become the most widely used of the graphics editors are Adobe Photoshop and Corel Photo-Paint. Recent versions of these programs, which in the past supported mostly raster graphics, now have some vector graphic functionality. Graphic designers frequently use one of the aforementioned applications for the bulk of their work. The following are examples of other commercially available programs:

  • Raster graphics editors:
    • PhotoPerfect, iPhoto, TwistedBrush Pro Studio, Ultimate Paint, Graphic Converter
  • Vector graphics editors:
    • Satori Paint, Microsoft Expression Design, ACD Canvas, Artworks

Free Graphics Applications

Many free graphics applications are available for download on the Internet. Some may serve as powerful graphic editing tools, and most assume the user has some experience using such programs.