Hi All, to kick off this forum I thought I'd add a list of a few free or open source applications for you to start creating your own reference images and designs. If you have a link to any not listed please add a link, if you have used any of those listed maybe you could add a review? I'll quickly give you my limited understanding of the diferent types of image editing applications. Raster editing: Examples of these tools are Photoshop by Adobe and The Gimp (free). These tools basically allow you to edit each pixel of the image. Each pixel has what they call 'channels' which are red green blue and alpha. By manipulating these channels you can change the tone/colour/contrast etc of all or only selected pixels. There are also layers which you 'lay' over one another, each with different objects or designs etc that allow you to build up an image from different pieces/images. The order in which you lay the layers is also important. These images are stored as a bitmap or similar filetype thereof. Photographs are an example of a bitmap type of image such as jpeg. Vector editing: Examples of these applications are Illustrator again by Adobe and Inkscape (free). I haven't worked with these applications as yet but I do use vector type applications everyday as a design drafter so I'll do my best to explain how I think they work so bare with me Rather than editing each pixel you work with actual lines and curves to build your image. You can then fill in areas with colour and blends etc as you would a raster image, the big difference between a vector and raster image though is how they scale. The big difference! A bitmapped image when scaled just makes each pixel bigger and when printed out gives you that blocky edge look and produces poorer images as a result. A vector image, because it is stored as a mathematical line/curve lends itself to being scaled very easily and therefore prints out very clearly with no jagged edges, a far superior quality output for things like graphic design although I understand that these too have the abilty to edit bitmaps and photo images also. I'm leaning towards a vector editing application for the things I want to do but both have their place and advantages over each other. Here's a short list of the more popular to get started: Raster: The GIMP - http://www.gimp.org/ - Linux/Mac/Windows/Unix Paint.NET - http://www.getpaint.net/index.html - Windows Vector: Inkscape - http://inkscape.org/ - Linux/Mac/Windows/Unix Xara Extreme - http://www.xaraxtreme.org/ - Free for Linux only I think, looks awesome though! Cheers, Mick.