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VicMan's Photo Editor 
VicMan's Photo Editor 7.0 (Free, Windows) - is a versatile image editor with intuitive skinnable interface. This award-winning application is free of charge and comes with a wide range of essential features for both novice users and professional designers. With Photo Editor you can refine your digital photos, draw artwork naturally and effortlessly, produce superb graphics for the web. 

Whats the differene between "flattening" layers.....and "merging down" layers?
I don't use PS, but here's some general information with a Corel PHOTO-PAINT slant that may be of interest. 

When you edit separate layers directly and like the way they all look stacked, you can simply flatten them together for that particular visual result. But if you merge layers (using specific merge criteria) you decide exactly how they combine with other colours in the image. 

For example, the Multiply merge mode "...multiplies the values of the source and base colors and divides the result by 255. Unless you paint on white, the final result is always darker than the original base color. Multiplying black with any color produces black. Multiplying white with any color leaves the color unchanged." The Lightness mode "...uses the lightness value of the source color and the hue and saturation values of the base color to create a result color. This merge mode is the opposite of the Color merge mode." 

Microsoft Plus! image editing related
I bought Plus for XP, recently, then I installed it. I was expecting a Microsoft Plus that added great features like Plus 98. But, it was nothing like that. First, there was 4 measily little themes. And the fish screen saver, which if you want more fish, you'd have to pay for it. Well what was the $...for anyway? And the games! For heavens sake. Why put a stinkin lite edition into a $...collection of programs. And there are other programs that I might not fool with anyway.
For those who are looking to buy this, please note that you at least need a 500 megahertz computer, 64MB of RAM, and a 3D video card with 16, I repeat 16MB of video memory.

If Microsoft had added such things as an Antivirus to the program, more desktop themes, FULL EDITION Games, and less steep requirements, then I'd recommend this to everyone.

So if your at the store, leave this on the shelf!!!

PS - This program is a prime example of Bloatware.

AceDesign 1 Pro - image editor
AceDesign 1 Pro offers outstanding performance, a simple interface, and unbeatable cutting-edge tools.Create striking Web graphics with ease. Exploit the power of layers and do the impossible with filters and special effects.

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