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I love few apps like I love Fireworks. And it all comes down to just two features- image slicing and vector shapes. Not only does it have them (I believe GIMP has some ability to do the two) but it does them perfectly. I’m not a Photoshop guy. I’m a Fireworks guy.

That said, Fireworks is not where you want to be. Layers, slices, effects- all that data is store inside a PNG file. Well isn’t that good you ask? PNG is an open format. Indeed. Well, unfortunately, it does this in a non-open way. To my knowledge, no app can read out this information at all- not even partially like GIMP can for Photoshop files. The only thing you can do is export each file as a Photoshop document. Test out some different options on one file and make sure you get it right. I found that I had to fiddle with the export options before GIMP was able to open the resulting PSD file.

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The GIMP is your friend. I was remarking to some of my cousins the other day that I think we stay with what we know and I bet any good digital artist could switch to something new. And the GIMP can keep up. Yes, it takes time to learn. But I think it's worth not paying $500 every time Adobe announces a more bloated upgrade.

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