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Graphics Software Applications

There are various graphics software applications available. It's likely that you've started using some of them before this lesson. The topic of graphics software has been left till last, as there is no point in telling you about them and what they do until you have a better understanding of graphics.

Graphics software applications can be split into the categories of bitmap, vector and animation. Another way of differentiating categories of applications is whether they are proprietary, commercial, freeware or open source.

  • Proprietary - the software application has been produced solely for the purpose of creating and/or editing graphics. This term extends to all software applications, eg Microsoft Word is a proprietary software application for creating word processed documents. Non-proprietary applications can create graphics but that isn't their main purpose (eg MS Word).
  • Commercial - Users have to purchase a software license to use the application. Professional, consumer and educational licenses are available. Consumer packages are aimed at the home user and tend to be less expensive than professional applications, however they have less features. Educational licenses are also available. These can only be used by recognised educational establishments and students. They either have the same features as the professional version or slightly less and are cheaper.
  • Freeware - Users don't have to pay a fee for a license. The software is free to use. There can be restrictions sometimes, eg for educational use only, for non-profit use - check the license agreement.
  • Open source - the code used to create the software application is made publicly available, so that it can be used to do things like modify the code to improve it and redistribute it.

As a student your school/college will have educational licenses. As a professional though it is recommended that you work with proprietary professional (commercial) versions of software applications.

Next: Bitmap Graphics Applications