Let’s face it. Spending half a thousand dollars just to brighten or crop an image is not an option. If you are a blogger, for example, who does not need some serious editing of your images, then buying Adobe’s Photoshop program just to serve this purpose is not practical. I have been asked many times, if there is an alternative program for editing images that one can download for free. The answer is of course “yes” and a “lot”. But not every image editing program out there is worth downloading. In this post, therefore, we decided to pick 15 excellent free (open source) programs that you can download or use for free. Most of these programs can actually perform the basic editing capabilities of Photoshop. Depending on what you need, please feel free to choose the right free picture editing software for you.
GIMP, which is an acronym for “GNU image manipulation program”, is one of the oldest and most popular alternatives to Photoshop. It is also the closet to Photoshop in terms of features and image manipulation capabilities. GIMP is cross-platform and supported by a large community, with lots of tutorials available to learn about this program.
This open-source program is actually made to mimic Photoshop, and said to be much better than Gimp. However, the program is relatively new so it does not have as many features yet compared to GIMP.
03-Adobe Photoshop Express
If you do not know it yet, Adobe actually has a free web-based photo editor that’s a great alternative if you do not have Photoshop. This program features all the basic functionality of Photoshop as well as a few advanced features and interfaces.
Splashup, formerly Fauxto, is a powerful editing tool and photo manager. With the features professionals use and novices want, it is easy to use, works in real-time and allows you to edit many images at once. Splashup runs in all browsers, integrates seamlessly with top photo-sharing sites, and even has its own file format so you can save your work in progress.
Seashore is an open source image editor for Mac OS X’s Cocoa framework. It features gradients, textures and anti-aliasing for both text and brush strokes. It supports multiple layers and alpha channel editing. It is based around the GIMP’s technology and uses the same native file format.However, unlike the GIMP, Seashore aims to serve the basic image editing needs of most computer users, not to provide a replacement for professional image editing products. Also, unlike GIMP, Seashore has an all-new Cocoa UI that will fit right in on Mac OS X.
06-Krita, which means crayon in Swedish language, is a digital painting and illustration software based on the KDE Platform and Calligra Suite libraries. Krita is free software and distributed under GNU General Public License. Its design emphasizes on creating artwork from beginning to end as opposed to manipulating existing images, and as such has been influenced to an extent by software such as Corel Painter. Krita, however supports a very different feature set than the most comparable applications, for example Krita developers included the ability to work with both bitmap and vector illustration on one hand, but deliberately choose to avoid high end photography plugins in favor of features more specific to painting and drawing.
07-Pixia is the English version of a popular Japanese painting and retouching software for full color graphics. It supports mask, layer and many other editing functions. You can use your own customized brush tips and even use an image file as a brush tip to create unique effects. Its user-friendly interface is suitable for beginners as well as experts. Pixia supports the most common editing techniques and presents a user friendly interface.
An innovative graphics editor for the Mac. It’s designed from top to bottom for pixel artists-people who make low-resolution raster art like the sprites you see in old video games. But it’s great for artists of all arenas: Pixen is like a very powerful MSPaint or a simpler, more agile Photoshop. And best of all, it’s free!
A Windows-compatible photo editing software that enables you to fix and enhance digital photos, create stunning bitmap graphics and even web animations.
Another free pixel-based image editor that offers its users an intuitive and clearly presented interface. Unlike Serif PhotoPlus SE, which obviously draws much of its inspiration from Adobe Photoshop’s interface, PhotoFiltre does it own thing, but in a very intuitive way. The tools and features are very easy to explore without referring to the Help files.
A software that helps you instantly find, edit and share all the pictures on your PC. Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with folder names you will recognize. You can drag and drop to arrange your albums and make labels to create new groups. Picasa makes sure your pictures are always organized. Picasa also makes advanced editing simple by putting one-click fixes and powerful effects at your fingertips. And Picasa makes it a snap to share your pictures, you can email, print photos home, make gift CDs, instantly share your images and albums, and even post pictures on your own blog.
This program lets you paint creatively with the help of a huge range of painting tools. You can create sketches from photos or just experiment with colors. For professional users, Artweaver offers layers, group layers and support for the PSD file format. It is also possible to load and run Photoshop compatible filters (only Artweaver Plus).
13-Photo Pos Pro Photo Editor
A free photo editor that offers a wide variety of possibilities in the fields of image enhancing and editing. Using the editor, you can perform various tasks–from simple basic tasks to complex tasks; you can edit existing images, create new works based on existing images as well as create new works from scratch and more.
A web-based photo editor with a layout that looks so much like Photoshop CS. It features an intuitive interface and lots of editing tools such as layers, filters, magic wand, styling, text editing, and a lot of other effects. It does not require signup so you can actually start editing a file in seconds.
15-VCW VicMan’s Photo Editor
A versatile image editor with an intuitive interface and a wide variety of features. This powerful application is user friendly, offering simple image editing, high productivity and easy customization.