"Before I proceed, let me just say that I by no means need to
use an image editor professionally, in fact my image editing needs
are almost limited to cropping, resizing, and some minor enhancing
here and there. I wouldn't know a Photoshop killer/alternative if
it hit me in the face. So I believe that the real value of this
post is in the comments that will ensue (hopefully). Your input
will be an integral part of this post, as I also seek to learn a
lot from you guys"