OK, SO PHOTOSHOP COSTS like $650.00, and CorelDraw costs about $425.00 and even Paint Shop Pro (Photo X2), which used to be free a-long-time-ago, costs $99.99.
And maybe you have great artistic talent that needs expression, or just have some photos you’d like to edit, but you don’t have that kind of $$$.
What’s an artiste to do?
Well, here are four free solutions, and each one will give you plenty of editing power.
Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software that runs on Windows. It has an easy-to-use interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools.
It started as a college senior’s design project that was mentored by Microsoft, and is now being maintained by some of the former students who originally worked on it. It was originally going to be a free replacement for Microsoft Paint. Now it has grown into a powerful program that has been compared to programs such as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Microsoft Photo Editor, and The GIMP.
The programming language used to create Paint.NET is C#, with a small amount of C++ for installation and shell-integration related functionality. The source code is available under the terms of the MIT License.
Simple, intuitive, and innovative user interface
Every feature and user interface element was designed to be immediately intuitive and quickly learnable without assistance. In order to handle multiple images easily, Paint.NET uses a tabbed document interface.
Images done in Paint.net:
Features of Paint.net
Layers, which are usually only found in expensive programs! A great support community, that includes a forum, tutorials, and plugins. Frequent updates with new features added.
Special effects like blurring, sharpening, red-eye removal, distortion, noise, and embossing. Also a unique 3D Rotate/Zoom effect so you can easily add perspective and tilting.
Some of the tools include shape drawing tools, a curve tool for drawing splines or Bezier curves, a gradient tool, Magic Wand tool, and a Clone Stamp! There is also a simple text editor, a zoom tool, and a Recolor tool.
GIMP can be used as a simple paint program, a photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, and more.Also known as THE Gimp. GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a free, open source software used for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems – Linux i386 and PPC, Windows XP and Vista, Mac OS X, Sun OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD, and in many languages.
Images done in GIMP:
GIMP is very extensible, and there are lots of plugins and extensions for it. It also has a scripting interface that allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.
PhotoPlus 6 is an image editing program, and it also lets you create gif animations. PhotoPlus is another used-to-be-free-a-long-time-ago program, except that it still is free!
Some of PhotoPlus 6’s features
You can adjust brightness and contrast, color balance, sharpness, hue and saturation, and remove red-eye. It works with layers, and repairs scratched and otherwise broken images. Has a deform tool. You can add text, drop shadows, add bevels. You can create image maps for the web from your photos. You can add “QuickShapes” to your photos – things like speech bubbles, starbursts, and spirals.
Images done in PhotoPlus 6:
There’s plenty more to PhotoPlus 6, and they also have an advanced version – version 8 – for $9.99.
Google’s Piscasa isn’t just an image editing program. It’s sort of a one-stop solution for all your imaging needs.
It will find and organize all your photos
First, Picasa searches your computer and brings up all your photos, sorted by date. It lets you drag and drop your photos into different folders – great for organizing! And you can rename your photos from inside Picasa. You can make albums, password protect albums, add star ratings to your favorites. And more.
Edit and add effects
Basic fixes can crop, remove red eye, fix the contrast and color, and enhance your pictures with just the press of a button. Picasa has 12 new visual effects, including sepia, color saturations, and black-and-white. Use one-clicks or the sliders for more precise fine-tuning. Add captions. Zoom, pan, tilt.
Share your photos
Ever receive pix in email that are about 7 times the size of your screen? Well, Picasa automatically resizes your pix and attaches them to email messages at sizes your friends can see. And it works with most email programs, including GMail. It also can help you to easily post your pictures to your website or to Blogger.
Images done in Picasa:
Advanced users will appreciate Picasa’s EXIF display. It gives you all the camera info that is stored in the photo’s original file – such as camera model, date the photo was taken, even if a flash was used. It also has a RGB histogram that shows you the changes you are making as you make them.
View your pix on your Tivo. Create collages, and then set them as your wallpaper or make a screensaver. Make a picture into a poster. Picasa makes it up to 1000 times larger and you print it at home. Make your pictures into a movie. Make CD slideshows for family and friends – easily. Back up all your pix to another drive, or another folder on your hard-drive. Print them at home, including more than 1 picture to a page (different pix!), or order prints online.
Picasa makes all this, and more, easy for you. Get started with Picasa here.
Did I mention that all of these programs are all free?