“45 Best Freeware Design Programs” was a handpicked selection of the best the web has to offer in freeware design programs. Some of them were true gems and some came with unpleasant virus surprises (a.k.a. Alch Icon Suite). Also, some Mac users were a little unhappy because of the lack of Mac software (promise to make it up for you guys next time).

Now, based on that list I’m going to make two -even more hand picked- sub lists: the “12 Gems of Freeware Design” and the “Coolest Freeware Design Programs”.

Enjoy!

  • The GIMP 2.2.13

The Gimp

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a freely distributed piece of software suitable for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring. It is a powerful piece of software with capabilities not found in any other free software product.

Note: You will need to download both GTK+ Runtime Environment and The Gimp installers. Install GTK+ before installing The Gimp.

Overview | Download

  • Picasa 2.7

Transfer, find, organize, edit, print, and share images, all with this easy-to-use product. Watch Picasa automatically organize all your pictures into elegant albums by date. Having all your photos in one place means no more time wasted searching for folders or files. The program works with JPEG, GIF, BMP, PSD, and movie files and is compatible with most digital cameras; it detects your USB driver and imports pictures into albums. Editing tools include cropping (standard or custom), removal of red-eye, and enhancing–even switching from color to black and white. Create slide shows set to your MP3s. Integration with Picasa’s free Hello instant picture-sharing software lets you share hundreds of photos in seconds and chat in real time.

Download Picasa with the Free Google Pack

  • ColorPic 4.0

ColorPic

Ever tried using a color picker on a high resolution monitor? It’s impossible. That’s why this color picker has a magnifier attached. Grab palettes of up to 16 colors at once and use four advanced color mixers to select a spectrum of possibilities.

Overview | Download

  • IrfanView 4

irfanview
IrfanView is a fast and compact image viewer/converter. It is trying to be simple for beginners and powerful for professionals. Many supported file formats and features. Features include: multi-language support, Thumbnail option, slideshow, toolbar skins, fast directory browsing, batch conversion/editing, multipage editing, file search, change color depth, scanning, cut/crop, IPTC edit, capturing, lossless JPG operations, effects (sharpen, blur, Adobe Photoshop filters), EXE/SCR creating, many hotkeys, command line options and plugins.

Overview | Download

  • Inkscape 0.45

inkscape
Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, or Xara X using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Supported SVG features include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping. Inkscape also supports Creative Commons meta-data, node editing, layers, complex path operations, bitmap tracing, text-on-path, flowed text, direct XML editing, and more.

Overview | Download

  • Synfig Studio 0.61.05

Synfig Studio is a vector based 2D animation program. It is designed to be capable of producing feature-film quality animation. It eliminates the need for tweening, preventing the need to hand-draw each frame. Synfig Studio features spatial and temporal resolution independence (sharp and smooth at any resolution or framerate), high dynamic range images, and a flexible plugin system.

Overview | Download

  • Bryce 5.5

Bryce

Create breathtaking realistic 3D landscapes and animations with DAZ 3D Bryce. The easy user interface simplifies the design process for a novice or the seasoned professional. Start out building or importing a landscape as impressive as the Grand Canyon. Populate it with buildings, people or any other object you create or from the extensive DAZ 3D library. The Light Lab provides you robust control over your sunsets, moonlight nights or high-noon ambiance.

**Update 7/30/07**
At the official site you wont find any free download link for the Bryce 5.5, because the download is provided via download.com, a direct link to the program @ download.com is provided below.

Overview | Download

  • LiveSwif Lite 2.1

Live Swift lite

LiveSwif Lite 2 is a free Flash maker that lets you create Flash movies, buttons, or banners quickly and easily. It provides several classic vector-drawing tools, including Freehand, Curve, Shape, Spline, Contour, and an in-place text editor. LiveSwif is a typical, keyframe-based animation system. Based on the capability of drawing tools, it provides a path-motion and transform-motion tool. In setting a new position, angle, size, or color in keyframes, LiveSwif will blend the in-between frames automatically. The setup package contains 500 library components.

Download

  • The Font Thing 0.8

The Font Thing

Browse installed and uninstalled TrueType fonts, viewing sample text, individual characters, and detailed font information. Easy font-management functions let you install, uninstall, print, copy, or delete any number of fonts at once. You can even store your own notes with them, filter them according to type (serif, sans serif, and so on), and group them into collections for convenience. This version lets you choose your font colors, set up drop-down lists of standard text samples, rename font files to avoid conflicts, and load fonts temporarily for use without installing them.

Overview | Download

  • Digital Image Tool 1

Digital Image Tool
Do you take any photographs, own a digital camera or work in multimeda or design?
This user friendly tool was created specifically to batch process images quickly, applying flexible resizing methods, rotation, cropping, scaling, watermarking, renaming and more. As a multimedia designer Digital Image Tool has come in very handy…..we made it originally for use in-house but decided to put a little more effort into the program and release it for free to the public!

Overview | Download

  • Quick HTML Color Picker 1.0

color

Quick HTML Color Picker is a free Windows color picker tool. With Quick HTML Color Picker, you can easily pick any color from the screen. You can preview the color, use mouse or keyboard to select the color you wanted, and get the color in RGB and HTML format. You can cancel a capture by “Esc” key or right-clicking. Supports saving HTML color value to clipboard automatically.

Overview | Download

ScreenHunter 4

Screenhunter

Wisdom-Soft ScreenHunter is a free screen-capture tool for you to easily take screenshots. ScreenHunter can capture a full screen, an active window, the client window, or a rectangular area. It automatically saves captures in BMP or JPEG format, so you don’t have to stop each time you capture, and you can capture as many as you like. It also can save captures to the Clipboard to be copied to other programs, such as Motion Studio and Word. ScreenHunter has a selectable hot-key capture (F1 to F10) and delayed capture, and uses virtually no system resources on standby. ScreenHunter freeware version has no expiration date and can be distributed free of charge.

Overview | Download

CutePDF Writer 2.6

CuteFtp

Portable Document Format (PDF) is the de facto standard for the secure and reliable distribution and exchange of electronic documents and forms around the world. CutePDF Writer (formerly CutePDF Printer) is the free version of commercial PDF creation software. CutePDF Writer installs itself as a “printer subsystem”. This enables virtually any Windows applications (must be able to print) to create professional quality PDF documents with just a push of a button.

Overview | Download

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