Weekly art websites: free open source software for creating professional art

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This week's selection of art websites includes five sites where you can download free, fully-functional open source digital art-creating software.

1. GIMP - http://www.gimp.org/
GIMP (otherwise known as the GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a full-fledged digital art program for photo retouching, image composition and in-depth photo manipulation. A free alternative to Photoshop for Linux, UNIX, Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X platforms.

2. Inkscape - http://www.inkscape.org/
Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor that uses the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. SVG allows you to create and edit resolution-independent images. The program is suitable for creating logos, text-based images, design-based compositions, web-based graphics or technical illustrations. A free alternative to Illustrator, CorelDraw or Xara X for Linux, Windows (2000/2003/XP), Apple Mac OS X platforms and some Unix-like operating systems.

3. Blender - http://www.blender.org/
Blender is a 3D animation and computer graphics modelling program used to create, manipulate and render graphics in three dimensions. A free alternative to Softimage XSI, 3D Studio Max, Maya and Cinema 4D for all major operating systems.

4. Jahshaka - http://jahshaka.org
Jahshaka is an open source program for video and audio editing. The software can be used for swift cuts and changes to video files, complex effect creation in real time, animation, painting and designing on top of moving video, and music creation. A free alternative to Final Cut Pro, Premier Pro and After Effects for most major operating systems.

5. Picasa - http://picasa.google.com/
Picasa is a free program designed by Google for organizing, editing, cloud-based photo storage and sharing your family's happy snaps. There are two versions, the browser-based Picasa Web Album and the downloadable desktop version. Using the software you can create slideshows, publish your photos online, automatically tag faces, make location-based photo maps and store your photos online. A free alternative to Apple's iPhoto and Flickr's premium subscription accounts.

For links to more open source programs visit: http://ubuntulinuxhelp.com/top-100-of-the-best-useful-opensource-applications/