It's a low-cost alternative to Photoshop, an excellent digital painting tool for beginners and intermediate users that also has a better name than "Gimp."
There's no doubt that Photoshop reigns supreme in the digital editing world -- so much so that the program name is effectively a verb, especially online, although we're not aware of any reputable dictionaries that have adopted that officially. The big challenge with Photoshop is, of course, ponying up the money to afford a copy.
While some do circumvent that requirement, there's also a keen market for low-cost and, indeed, free Photoshop-style programs. The Gimp has long been the open-source, no-cost Photoshop tool of choice, but there are other alternatives, such as Artweaver. Sure, it's not as well known as The Gimp... but it's also not named after a leather-bound submissive, either.
Artweaver is available as a free download from (not surprisingly, perhaps) Artweaver's Web site
. The basic program comes with English and German interfaces, but additional language packs are available for a variety of language needs, as well as plugins for a number of other applications and artistic endeavours. Having said that, Artweaver's pitch is pretty clearly at the beginner or very low level intermediate user. While it'll support BMP, GIF, JPEG, PCX, TGA, TIFF, PNG and its own AWD format, PSD support is limited in that it'll automatically flatten any imported PSD you throw its way.
Artweaver's interface is relatively simple, and somewhat reminiscent of the way Photoshop (and, indeed, Paint Shop Pro) used to look, which fits in well with the program's stated simple goals; it's intended primarily as a digital painting tool, with support for things like Tablet entry and as many artist's brush styles as you'd care to name. As an additional plus, at least in our quick testing, it's also got a much smaller system overhead than Photoshop -- but then, what doesn't?