It's good if you understand how the layering process works. I use the GIMP, but It's awkward. But it's basically a process of laying down the text, giving it the color you want. Selection to alpha--->shrink, fill with reflective color, gaussian blur, select all, add layer, color new layer, move new layer to bottom of stack, etc. Or something like that.
I've got a rather hamfisted style in photoshop, I basically use any tool i can find to get the desired effect. But most of the time I use photoshop to paint rather than to make graphics and photomanipulations.
I use the GIMP, and it's almost just like photoshop, except that its not going to win any awards for design as far as the user interface is concerned. I just recently learned how to use th features, esp. the layering thing. You saw one of my results with that Astrobar thingy that I made a few weeks ago (with the glaring flaws).
Try using the procedures according to the directions a few times. After that it will become second nature and you should be able to do the process from memory. I think Cujo used the 3d process when he designed TWs new logo a few years back.
I've actually found the GIMP to be quite workable, but it took some patience. Initially, I just used it as a picture viewer. But I've learned to do 3D text and a lot of other cool stuff. But it is a bit quirky sometimes.
I like learning the processes though, just pressing the script-fu process button is cheap.