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2D artists make tiles, textures, GUIs, HUDs and skins for game addons. Skins are largely what make or break the appearance of something, any warping or poor quality will really stand out so you
cannot skimp or take shortcuts in this area.
Tools of the Trade:
Industry standard is Adobe Photoshop, but applications such as Paintshop Pro, Gimp, Adobe Illustrator all achieve largely the same results if you know how to use them.
You have to be born an artist to become one. By that I mean, if you don't have natural ability well this isn't really something you can learn. You should also be equally good at old skool paper based art / sketching as well as digital design. Oh and don't underestimate the importance of creativity.
Photoshop - Adobe.com
The industry-standard used by all the pros. A very powerful program used by Web designers, photographers, and video editors. nVidia DDS plugins for photoshop are recommended in the case you're going to use this editor.
Paint Shop Pro - Corel.com
An easy to use program that allows you to create professional digital art.
Macromedia Fireworks - Macromedia.com
A popular alternative to Photoshop.
Xara Xtreme - Xara.com
GIMP (free) - Gimp.org
This program has many diehard artists who absolutely swear by it. Commonly compared with Photoshop.
Inkscape (free) - Inkscape.org
A free vector graphics image program.