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?