While many of us are fortunate enough to be able to take the perfect photo which needs no cropping, brightening, rotating or other editing, most photographers find themselves having to do at least some basic editing sooner or later. MMS has some basic standards that require logos and copyrighted material to be removed, and other editing issues. I personally use Adobe Photoshop, and have friends who use Adobe Elements and Paintshop Pro, but not everyone can afford to buy these programs, or use them enough to justify the purchase.
So, for those of you who might need or be interested in some of the Freeware programs out there that are available to you,I have put together a list of ten reviewed free editing and painting programs. Feel free to add you own to the list, or share your own experiences with these programs
1. PhotoScape http://www.photoscape.org/ps/main/index.php
- Free user friendly program which offers several modules including a viewer, editor, batch processor. It supports RAW, as well as all other major image formats from JPEG and PNG to animated GIFs. The publisher says of their software: “Major capabilities are: viewer, editor, batch editor, page, combine, animated GIF, print, screen capture, color picker, rename, raw converter, resizing, brightness/color/white-balance adjustment, backlight correction, frames, balloons, text, drawing pictures, cropping, filters, red eye removal and blooming. Works with Windows Vista, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98.
2. GIMP for Windows
- GIMP is a popular free and open-source image editor often compared to Photoshop because of all of its powerful features. GIMP uses XCF file format natively. Although this is not a widely used format, GIMP has the capability to save to PSD formats and can read/write to BMP, JPEG,GIG,TIFF, PNG plus several others. Offers a full suite of painting tools including Brush, Pencil, Airbrush, Clone, etc. , a gradient editor and blend tool, transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip. So many features I cannot possibly name them all here. GIMP should run on any NT-based version of Windows (NT4, 2000, XP or Vista).
- Freeware Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or Server 2003. Paint.NET started development at Washington State University with additional help from Microsoft, and continues to be updated and maintained by some of the alumni that originally worked on it. Paint.NET features layers, painting and drawing tools, special effects, unlimited undo history, and levels adjustments.
4. Serif PhotoPlus
- This is a great photo editing program for the beginner, and was flexible enough to allow for some advanced editing and optimization. Currently you can download a completely free, fully-functional version of PhotoPlus 6. General editing includes removing blemishes, and eliminating other unwanted elements, and Automatic Level and Contrast adjustment is an option. If you want advanced editing you haver the option of playing with channels, gamma, hues, and saturation. It also offers an export optimizer, editable text, image slicing and image maps, selection tools, smart shapes, third-party plug-in support, red-eye removal tool, and photo enhancement tools. PhotoPlus 6 works on Windows 95, 98, 98 SE, 2000, NT4, and XP.
- Pixia is the English version of a popular free painting and retouching software that originated in Japan. The biggest complaint I have seen for Pixia is that the tools are unconventional, so if you are used to other editing programs, Pixia can have a steep learning curve. It features custom brush tips, multiple layers, masking, vector- and bitmap-based drawing tools, color, tone, and lighting adjustments, and multiple undo/redo. Like many freeware editors, there is no support for saving GIF format. Pixia is also available for many other languages. Pixia works with Windows 95, 98, Me, NT4, 2000, and XP.
6. VCW VicMan's Photo Editor
- Free photo editing and graphic creating tool. Supports more than thirty popular image formats and a majority of Adobe Photoshop compatible filters, of which a hundred or so have been already imported to the editor. Features include a text tool, gradients, selections by color or region, color replacement, editing in any scale, special effects and so on. The free version used to be an enticement to upgrade to the Pro version, but as of December 2006, the Pro version is free.
- PhotoFiltre is free for private, non commercial or educational use (including non-profit organizations). Offering one-click image adjustments, filters, and effects.. Filters allow you to adjust brightness, contrast, dyed, saturation, gamma correction, and also artistic filters. Also supports batch processing to apply filters, sizing, adjustments and transformations to a large number of images at once.
8. Ultimate Paint Freeware Edition
- Ultimate Paint Freeware Edition supports all popular image formats, and image acquisition from twain-compatible scanners is possible. Some basic features include resizing, rotating, flood filling, and text operations, multiple undo/redo, and symmetry tool. It comes with image filters and special effects, image creation, viewing, and manipulation. Designed to be fast and compact. The freeware version is an older release of the full-featured shareware product.
- Freeware art studio for creating or editing images, simple .avi animations, photos, picture albums and screensavers. Includes features such as: Clipart brushes, soft brushes, smudge and spatter to smooth damaged areas, special effect filters, twain scanner & device support, color-replacement, gradients and patterns, crop, enlarge, resize, resample, skew, rotate by degree, avi and bmp filmstrip animations, tools to produce slide shows, much more. This graphic apps program is freeware, so you can download and use it absolutely free. ImageForge Standard 3.60 supports different languages (including English). It works with Windows 98/XP/Vista
- Free product offered by Google. While Picasa doesn’t have many of the in-depth editing capabilities many editing programs do, it does offer some super and easy to use tools with Picasa's one-click fixes for common problems like red-eye, color, and lighting, contrast, resizing, and the ability to straighten images. It also offers the ability to do some effects such as desaturation, (turning the image black and white) tinting and sharpening.
~Sometimes you're the fly, and sometimes you're the windshield.