There is a program called Micrografx Suite, that though not free, is very reasonable in price. I bought that before I got my first Photoshop. By using it, I learned a lot about layering, and resizing, masking, adding special effects and so many other things. The suite is only about $45. and it has a picture publisher, on the same order as Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro, it has a designer, where you can create vector images, and even an animation section in it as well as a way to create 3D images. It's well worth the money. I still use it for some things, like creating castles and cool stuff like that.