I want to draw a picture of a plasmid, something along the lines of this image. i have tried all of the free software i could find does anyone have any suggestions of software that would produce an image this good, preferably free but I'll pay if I have to.
If you're willing to use HTML syntax, you can design something pretty close using http://angularplasmid.vixis.com. It's free, open-source, and comes with plenty of examples of how to create what you're looking for. See below for examples:
This is probably not what you are looking for, but if you want a hands on coding solution, Biopython's Genome Diagram can do something a bit like that. There is a basic example in the Tutorial, http://www.biopython.org/DIST/docs/tutorial/Tutorial.html#htoc196
Gene Construction Kit® (GCK) is a useful tool for plasmid mapping, cloning simulation, and DNA analysis. It has been consistently reviewed as being one of the easiest to use applications for simulating multi-step cloning operations, and offers extensive flexibility in the graphical formatting of DNA sequences - and - generating those colorful, customized plasmid maps seen in publications. You can easily copy and paste graphical maps from GCK to image editing programs, or even create hi-res PDF (Mac) or XPS (Win) exports from within the program.
It's been around since the mid-90's, and was one of, if not "the very first software" for performing these types of graphical manipulations of DNA sequence data.
More information, and a free demo version is available from the website: http://www.textco.com
Check it out!