Let’s look at two new programs for making beautiful pictures, either completely created by the user or starting from photos.

A powerful program called The GIMP is available free at . There are versions for Windows, Macintosh and Linux systems, but if you want Gimpto run it in Windows, you should first download an additional program: GTK+ Runtime Environment, also from GIMP is often characterized as a free equivalent to Adobe’s Photoshop, not quite as rich in features, but close. If you do a search on “Gimp Galleries” at you will find many examples.

A more powerful program is the new Xara ExtremePro. The Windows version of Xara Xtreme Pro is $249, and Xara Xtreme is $79, both from . Xara Xtreme, whether Pro or regular version, is considered to be a full-featured competitor to Adobe Illustrator, which sells for $599, a much higher price.Xara

When you’re dealing with programs like this, you are into professional areas. The best way to see what they can do, and whether you would be willing to spend the time to learn them, is to go to some of the Web sites and browse their art galleries.

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