I'm a fan of open free technology. Not only is it useful but it's free. For beginning artists and designers, that's key. So here is a list of kick-ass free applications and some plugins that help extend their functionality.
Gimp is the closet alternative to photoshop there is. There are a few things it lacks, but that's where plugins fill in the gaps.
- Liquid Rescale: Content-aware rescaling. Keeps the features of the image while rescaling along a single direction.
- Pandora Stitch: together multiple images to make a panorama.
- SaveForWeb: Find optimal compromise between minimal file size and acceptable quality of image quickly
- ISO Noise Reduction: Implements an ISO noise reduction
- GimpPublishr: Publish images to Picassa and Flickr directly from inside GIMP.
Blender is my favorite 3D program and it works fine out of the box. It can do so much more though with the inclusion of a few plugins and add ons.
- Blender People: Really cool animation script similar to Massive.
- Julia Fractals: Generate complex fractals.
- Hynds|Studio Blender Fur Library Volume 1: Great collection of animal fur
- add_mesh_Gears: Add a gear to your primitives
- L_system_Forest: Generate 3D, mesh based, trees.
Inkscape is a fine alternative to illustrator. These plugins really make it shine.
- ExtrudeEffect: extrude polygons to "3d", also make "string art"
- InkscapeAreaCutter: For Webdesigners, layout for sites, slice area into .png images
- Puff: Fluffs elements!Â :-D
- Inkscape Effects: Aaron Spikes set of extensions is now included in Inkscape.
- Place Objects on Path: This extension places objects on a curve.
Firefox, the little browser that could. Firefox has ballooned in user size over the years and for good reason. It's solid and has a giant collections of plugins. These are my personal favorites.
- firebug: View and edit html, css, and numerous other things. Must have for web designers.
- Adblockplus: I remember how ad infested the internet is when I surf without this.
- Noscript: Don't get infected by visiting less than legitimate sites.
- delicious bookmarks: Delicious keeps all my book marks sync across multiple computers.
- Greasemonkey: Greasemokey allows you to run custom scripts on websites to improve their functionality.
Wordpress is my web framework of choice. It's easy to use and best of all it's free. Like firefox, there is a giant plugin developer scene. I install these plguins on every site.
- all in one seo: Makes handling meta information a breeze.
- login lockdown: Prevent brute force password attacks
- wp super cache: dont crash your server if you hit the front page of digg. This serves static html instead of running php processes.
- wp optimize: Post revisions and plugin options can make your database grow to unwieldy sizes. Use this to keep it clean.
- wp database backup: Speaking of databases, they are the heart and soul of your website. Keep yours safe with automatic back ups emailed to you.
What plugins do you use the most? Let me know in the comments.