Blender is not a traditional CAD drawing program as, for example, it has no dimensioning tool. Instead it is "the complete software package for 3D modeling, texturing, rendering, animation and physics. It has a complex but merciful user interface, and the entire repertoire of its capabilities are made available through a scripting language, so the creation of 3D games beckons. The software can import from and export to more than 20 different file formats. There is a large and growing community of Blender users who've already contributed numerous add-on scripts that can make your going easier. You'll find a generous number of fine tutorials to guide you up the steep learning curve of this monumental program, plus an active and helpful online user forum." (Editor, Best Free CAD Computer-Aided Design Program)
yWorks develops Web-centric applications such as yEd Graphic Editor which is a Java Swing application. It runs as a native 64-bit application if you have the 64-bit Java Runtime Environment (JRE). I recommend yEd for its powerful automation features which are well presented in yWork's Flash video "yEd in 90 seconds". If you watched the video, then you've seen yEd's magical ability to import Excel data and automatically generate a diagram. It can use any of several layout types to arrange a complex flow chart or network diagram. If you need this then you won't be so concerned that other products are easier to use for basic editing and basic diagrams.
However, yEd is not as powerful as it appears in the video. All the example diagrams are not convoluted so they were able to be arranged flat without overlapping lines, something that never happens with my diagrams. If you are a serious diagrammer then you will also want to augment yEd's limited range of node types. yEd has symbols for Entity Relationship Models (ERM), Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), Unified Modeling Language (UML) and the good old flow charts (but without sort, merge, logical AND and OR). Symbol sets are also provided for swim lanes and grouping. You can create custom symbols by importing bit-maps (PNG, JPG), vector graphics (SVG) and some Visio Shapes but within yEd they have few if any customizations. For example, they usually won't be able to change colour. Development is continuing so I expect to see future improvements in this area.
Luminance HDR did create good results with default settings as well as options to fine tune the image making a suitable choice for amateur and serious amateur photographers. ... One advantage to Luminance is the thumbnails it creates using the different algorithms available. It makes it easy for a user to pick a thumbnail that they like and then make small adjustments. However the interface is cryptic and lacking description and documentation that I found was wanting." (Editor, Best Free High Dynamic Range (HDR) Software)
Basic image editor
I haven't yet found a good 64-bit image editor for basic users.
Paint.NET is easy to use. "makes a very good mid-level photo retouching choice. It has a nice set of photo correction tools including curves, and levels. It has a very nice implementation of layers complete with blending modes, and adjustable opacity/transparency levels. It has a fairly full pallet of selection, painting, and shape drawing tools. It is completed with a selection of filters for adding special effects to your images. All in all, it offers a lot for a free image retouching software." (Editor, Best Free Digital Image Editor)
Advanced image editor
GIMP is "an advanced image editor." That results in "a steeper learning curve than" other image editors because it is so feature rich. ... "If you are inexperienced at using image editing programs GIMP will likely be too overwhelming to start learning on, so I would suggest beginning with one of the basic, or mid-level editors." (Editor, Best Free Digital Image Editor)
Microsoft ICE has "four modes of camera motion to stitch your sequence of images, three fixed and one that you can adjust the distortion and that the 'Rotation motion'. When in this mode just click the 3D icon on the top taskbar, where you can tilt, zoom in and out. When you are happy with your construction then you can leave the cropping to another imaging software or auto crop. The finished panoramic image is exported into JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, HD Photo image, Adobe Photoshop, HD View Tileset and Deep Zoom Tileset." (Editor, Best Free Personal Digital Image Stitcher.)
Nomacs - Image Lounge has "a few inconveniences" but "is really special because of a few other things that are uncommon for programs in this category. For example, it can change the opacity of the interface, open very large images with surprising ease, show them in a frameless view on your desktop, rotate RAW files permanently, build a mosaic based on a target image composed by any number of other images, or pause animated GIF files and save their individual frames. These are all outstanding features, but something I had never seen before is that multiple instances of the program can be connected to work together on the same computer or even synchronize them across a LAN to perform several specific functions on different machines at the same time." (Editor, Best Free Digital Image Viewer)
Picturenaut "is the best choice for the novice photographer." It "the easiest to use of the group. The interface is straight forward and easy to use and yielded decent results using default settings." However, "Picturenaut had problems with the alignment of the handheld images" and it "does not offer as many different algorithms to chose from." (Editor, Best Free High Dynamic Range (HDR) Software)
The best 64-bit paint program is also GIMP but you might find the following programs useful:
Krita "is an open source painting and drawing program, previously a part of KOffice bundle now available as a separate program." It can open raw photo image files but it is weak in photo editing - just try straightening a photo to see what I mean. Its power is in painting because "it is packed with rich tools like artistic text, calligraphy, fill and gradient, various shapes, outline, fill, zoom pan, layer management, channel management, undo, scripts etc. It supports various filters such as kaleidoscope, stereographic projection, phong bumpmap, sobel, edge detection, sectorize, roundify, hipno, tunnel, random pick, HSV adjustment, etc." It also supports many image file formats. (Editor, Best Free Digital Paint Program)
MyPaint is a lot more limited but it "is a fast and easy graphics application for digital painters. ... It comes with a large brush collection including charcoal and ink to emulate natural painting. If you want to look deeper, MyPaint is built around a highly configurable brush engine. This allows you to experiment with your own brushes and with not-quite-so-natural painting." (Editor, Best Free Digital Paint Program)
We haven't found a suitable 64-bit photo organizer. Leave a comment below if you have any suggestions. There are some excellent compatible 32-bit programs in Best Free Digital Photo Organizer.
Inkscape has always suffered from the priority placed on the Linux version which has had all the advantages of a 64-bit version. Now, thanks to Partha Bagchi we have a 64-bit version for us Windows users. Partha is not the developer but he's had a lot of experience with 64-bit GIMP and its add-ons. His timing is good because 32-bit Inkscape is far more stable on Windows that it has been in earlier versions. The 64-bit versions gives us the ability to create larger more complex designs.
Inkscape has "sufficient features to realistically compete with fuller-featured paid products like Illustrator, Freehand and CorelDraw. Plus it avoids many of their quirks and frustrations. Its features include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, grouping, editing Creative Commons meta-data, editing nodes, layers, complex path operations, bitmap tracing, text-on-path, flowed text, direct XML editing, opening the vector file formats of SVG, SVGZ (gzipped SVG), PDF, and Adobe Illustrator (.AI), saving to the same formats except for .AI (as Illustrator opens .SVG), and importing most raster formats (JPEG, PNG, TIFF, etc.) but only exports PNG bitmaps." (Editor, Best Free Vector Graphics Editor)
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