Graphics & Publishing

Alibre Design 2011 Personal Edition

When I make stuff--regardless of the material I use--I start by creating a rough sketch of my idea using pencil and paper, and then I launch into the project, typically spending a great deal of time revising and fixing mistakes. In the future, however, I may try to design some projects in Alibre Design 2011 Personal Edition to save time and frustration on the back end. That is, if I can ever master this hobbyist-level CAD program.

Serif PhotoPlus X4

Serif PhotoPlus is designed for photo enthusiasts who seek more creative control and functionality than what novice programs offer, but who aren't ready to graduate to the depth, complexity, and expense of Adobe Photoshop.

Daz 3D Bryce 7

Able to design terrains, water and oceans, skies, clouds, fog, vegetation and architecture, along with strong animation and rendering tools, Bryce is a venerable 3D suite now being developed by Daz As to be expected, Bryce 7 Pro offers close integration with Daz Studio and thus access to the Daz library of digital characters and objects, but there's a welcome new ability to import models in Google Sketchup format, as well as import and export COLLADA and FBX files.

Adobe Acrobat X Pro

Adobe Acrobat is a multitalented business application. You can use it to lock down electronic documents, create press-ready color pages, or produce form-laden documents that feed data to a database. But judging from the beta I tried of Adobe Acrobat X Pro ($728 when released in fourth quarter 2010), the latest iteration will be much more Web-aware, and it will be able to bring new life to formerly staid, static electronic documents.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 9

Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, the new version of Adobe's image editing and organising application, adds a few interesting features, but nothing of an oh-wow nature--unless you're opting for the Macintosh version, which adds several features found in previous Windows versions. But whichever platform you're on, Elements 9 remains one of the better consumer-level image handling applications you can choose.

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