I've been playing around a bit with paint.net and I'm really impressed. Once you get the hang of things (like layers and alpha values and magic wands) you can achieve some really nice effects. I started using it for image manipulation and then wanted to create some custom buttons etc. There are some great tutorials in the forums for doing things like glass effects and the like. Now I'm no graphic artist, and I realise that paint.net is missing some features that are in Gimp (also excellent but a bit disorienting for someone like me who's new to all this), but I can still manage to do some pretty fancy stuff with a bit of help. For example the buttons I've been using on my blog were created in paint.net by following various tutorial. A few examples:

 

I can also claim credit for the bullets we're using in the PowerPoint template for the MSDN Roadshow. Oh yes, I expect to dine out on that one for a long time to come....

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