Heavy on software tools, since i spend a lot of time on 2D and 3D graphics, image processing, digital photography. For traditional media, i don't use anything unusual, but stay tuned...
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Raster images are those from cameras, scanners, or created in paint programs. They're made of thousands of pixels arranged in a rectangular grid. You may have layers and other advanced tools, but generally don't change shapes once they're there. You generally paint and draw over raster images, smear them, dodge/burn/blur/sharpen them, play around in various color spaces, and more.
GIMP - a free open source app roughly similar to Photoshop.
I like Inkscape but don't do enough vector work to have any strong opinions or anything profoundly novel to say about any vector artwork software. So far...
For hard-core C++ programmers, there the AGG library.
I've used POV-Ray for a long time, but rarely to make anything suitable for public viewing. Mostly i use it for experimental 3D scenes, scientific visualization, R&D in 3D lighting and textures, and other non-final-product uses.
I'd use Radiance more often, if i weren't spending all my time doing other interesting things.
Blender is a good 3D modelling tool for making 3D objects. It is not for rendering final scenes, but rather it's to help you design shapes and look of objects to be incorporated into complete scenes to be rendered by POV-Ray or other renderers.
Wings3D sounds like a good modeller, according to others, but i haven't yet gotten around to trying it, though it's near the top of my things-to-try list.
To make 3D bump maps for modelling shapes of rugged mountains, soft rolling hills, or other landscape, i've had too much fun with Geomorph. Documentation and web pages avaiable in English and French.
I've ignored Flash for a long time, unimpressed by the way it made web browsers crash, or a blank rectangle just sitting there, but more and more good works are out there on the web.
Some examples showing nice artwork, or clever programming, or in some other way interesting:
The most common way to create Flash SWF files is to use the Flash application from Adobe (which ate Macromedia, the company formerly associated with Flash) - but this runs only on Windows. (maybe Mac too?) I haven't tried, but suspect it runs under WINE with perhaps some minor functional deficits.
I use Ubuntu Linux and custom Linux from Scratch, and i'm perfectly happy to work on the command line. To create my own flashes, of which there are none non-trivial enough to show yet (as of Nov 2007), i use these tools:
A good tutorial on how to use mtasc and swfmill: The Natural Entry Point Method (Tutorial & Source Files) - Introducing A New Way to Create Flash Applications Using Swfmill and MTASC by Aral Balkan. I found other examples to study. Flash isn't so hard, but it takes time to grok the details and experience striving to re-create fancy tricks seen online.