When I get inspired, I can come up with some pretty cool stuff. I do almost all of my graphics work in Paint Shop Pro 8. PhotoShop... well, I've never tried it, but I know it costs way too much, and I also know that PSP8 does everything I need it to and a bunch more.
PSP8 has an excellent macro-recording facility. I can record my actions and play them back later, that's cool. Much more cool is that the recorded scripts are written in Python, a well-known programming language. The API leaves a little to be wished for, and I'm not sure I'm a fan of Python, but aside from those minor difficulties, this opens up a whole new world to me. Now I can easily use my programming and mathematical skills to design graphics, making me my design process more effective.
Most of my work involves an untrained sense of aesthetic appeal coupled with math and programming. I tend to feel most comfortable when I can mathematically model an object and design accordingly. I guess it just puts me into what I feel is my "home turf". My first attempt at drawing the DNA icon were pitiful, and I didn't get it right until I actually made one out of a cardboard tube and studied its mathematical properties. My Light in the Window scene involved complex trigonometric formulas and a custom-written PSP8 script to draw the starburst. This site's background involved a script to generate the starscape in the background. Pretty much everything I do lately involves a custom script.
Periodically I'll post scripts I find useful:
Of course, two dimensional graphic design can only get me so far. I'm seriously considering learning Blender or some other 3d rendering environment. All depends on whether I have the time and energy, I guess.