If graphics of any sort are part of a digital production, then it is necessary to have either a draw or paint program, preferably both.
A draw program uses vector graphics. Basically all images are manipulated as a set of lines of varying lengths that can be resized, curved or made straight, and enclosed spaces can be filled with colours and patterns. Draw programs make image alteration much faster and easier than their paint counterparts. I find them particularly useful for graphic design in laying out the elements of pictures and headlines in unusual fonts.
A paint program uses raster graphics which means that images are made up of a series of picture elements (pixels) or dots that make up a rectangular grid. This program can be used to add, change or remove aspects of an image by colour or by pixel. Paint programs are indispensible for improving the quality of photographic images. I also frequently use them to clean up scans of my hand drawn pictures.
Draw and paint programs are being developed for Linux, in particular xfig and GIMP, but they are still at a very early stage. For my purposes I find Corel Draw and Photopaint more than sufficient in assisting me in creating graphics. I had previously used these programs on Windows and am pleased that they are now being released on Linux as well.
Copyright © 1999 Katherine Phelps