Paint Shop Pro from Jasc : This is the easiest to use all-in-one solution for making logo's. Its' most handy features are its' ability to save palettes as text files for easy editing and that by following certain rules you can even make animating logo's without a hex editor. However due to it's rather coarse and inflexible diffusion algorithm the output of this program tends to be poorer than that of similarly priced products.
Photoshop from Adobe : A full featured professional graphics editor with a seemingly endless number of bells an whistles. It's most handy features are it's large array of filters, and the ability to set the diffusion strength, which produces near perfect quality 8 bit images. The draw backs are that Photoshop saves its' palettes as hex not text, is tricky to just paint with, and unless you're careful it may make files with incomplete palettes; a handy feature for most people, but not for us.
Graphics Workshop and GIF Construction Set from Alchemy Mindworks : This is the cheap solution; actually you could use Microsoft Paint in the place of Graphics Workshop (for our purposes anyway - these two products are quite different). This is very inflexible, but it lets you make animating logo's without a hex editor. The technique for doing this is explained in great detail in a document that comes with the shareware version of Graphics Workshop. The document id full of errors, but the author has the basic ideas down and explains things in a very easy to understand way.
Paint and Paintbrush from Microsoft
: This is not a joke. Paint togeter with Paintbrush is in some ways better suited to
making logo files than many of the more costly counterparts. You can even load and
save palettes, edit them with a hex editor, and make them animate the same
way. If you want you can even do the whole project for free by using Debug
(which comes free with the DOS part of Windows), as your hex editor. I'm
not saying that I would willingly do this for any other reason than to
prove it's possible, but if you're strapped for cash, the easiest
sacrifice to make is your sanity.
NOTE : Paintbrush means PBRUSH.EXE that comes with Win3.x and Win95 not Win98; Paint means MSPAINT.EXE that comes with Win9x not Win2.x or Win3.0
WARNING : Don't even consider using Debug unless machine code is your second language.
Hex Workshop from Break Point Software : This is a hex editor. It's mostly useful for editing files, but has some disk editing capabilities ( Note this is the opposite of Symantec's Norton DiskEdit, which, despite its' merits is not very useful to us here). It latches quite nicely to your context menus, which makes it quite nice for general use. My only complaint is that it's search and replace feature is dead slow. You may want to consider writing your own program to handle that kind of stuff; as doing so will literally save you hours.
7-ZIP & 777 by Igor Pavlov : 7-zip and 777 are archivers. 7-zip makes 100% .zip compatible files, but it produces files 2-10% smaller than PKZIP® (in much the same way PKZIP® makes .zip files 1-3% smaller than WinZip (freezip engine)). To ensure the shortest download times, all files Arakaiene places on this site are compressed with 7-Zip. 777 makes files which aren't .zip compatible, but are 20-40% smaller than .zip's. That's like shaving 15-20 minutes off a 5Mb download. Because very few people have 777, it isn't a good way to distribute files over the internet...yet. 777 also needs a powerful machine to compress and decompress.
Borland Delphi from Inprise : This has nothing to do with drawing at all, it's an implementation of a programming language referred to as Object Pascal. As with themes, people soon become bored of the same logo, which has lead to many people producing logo randomizing programs. Whilst due to time constraints I am usually forced to write many projects in Visual Basic, it is a primitive language with a list of irritating limitations as long as the earth is round (VB doesn't support pointers - maybe I should give it some!). Visual C++ on the other hand is a pleasure to write in, but it takes so long to get anything done. Most of the advances that C brought to the programming community have now been eroded by all the strict rules windows imposes now anyway. That's why I prefer Delphi. You get some handy features, and ease of use, and still have your project done in good time.
ICON8 from XCDM Software : Primarily a programming tool. You use it to turn 32*32 .BMP's into icons and cursors. A simple tool, yet remarkable. Instead of making your icons in some poorly designed pokey icon editor, you can design them using all the power, built-in features, and familiarity that comes with your favourite image editor. Then in a few easy steps, convert them into icons or cursors with transparencies and hotspots.
DiskDrag from SpinsterSoft : A disk utility which randomly changes you hard disks' interleave on the fly without data loss. Latest version comes with a patch which fixes the old problem that the data was restored after re-interleave.
Virus Proliferator Pro from VINSASecure : Scans for viruses. Can be set to scan disks, network connections, incoming mail and internet traffic, even other peoples' internet servers. When left unattended it will even scan the internet automatically if a connection is available. VPP removes all viruses found... to a safe location, where it executes them a thousand times or until your FAT is overwritten; whichever happens last.