“Photoshop” has moved beyond being just an advertising slogan to become a household term that is a verb as well as an adjective. But, Photoshop is really just a photo editing program. It is expensive and fancy software for editing images. Adobe Illustrator is a standard vector graphics editor. Adobe Photoshop can be regarded as a basic image editor for nearly everything else. Based on Adobe.com, Standard Adobe Photoshop (not the Extended Version) is $599, and Adobe Illustrator is $699. Adobe Illustrator is $699. Design Standard Suite is over 1,000 dollars. What alternatives do you have to Photo editing tools if you are unable to be able to afford Adobe Photoshop?
Below is an overview of my most-loved image editing programs, including some free online editors for photos:
Experiential Level Required: No Experience
Pros: Compact, fast, requires minimal resources, comes with many functions (even more if plugins are installed). Numerous keyboard shortcuts are available, work as a viewer, as well as a basic editor for images, Batch conversions, and slideshow creation. It is precise in its cropping, has numerous options for screen capture, and handles many kinds of files, is simple and user-friendly.
Cons: It doesn’t appear to be able to save background images (file saving involves overwriting the version previously saved each time). Edits to photos apply to the entire image, even if only one part is chosen.
IrfanView is, by far and wide, my favorite image editor/viewer. It’s not designed for the most advanced editing, but it does have numerous useful features that are suitable that allow for basic but also more advanced editing. It’s by far the most speedy and efficient viewer I’ve ever used, with editing features that are missing in most image viewers. IrfanView is fast, compact, and not a resource hog. Flipping and rotating can be accomplished with one key.
IrfanView also provides a range of different screen capture choices, which are very useful. Screen capture gives you the choice of the capture space (whole screen, the window currently in use, or foreground area) as well as the method of recording (timer or programmable hot-key). IrfanView lets you choose to capture without or with the cursor. Screen capture and zoom can be accomplished by another press of the key.
Editing in IrfanView is straightforward. However, it is a lot of fun. Rotate, flip, crop, brighten, sharpen, resize, simple bevels, saturation, hue, add text, etc. Basic editing is easy enough for even a beginner to master without reading the entire guide.
One of my favorite tools can be the ability to crop. In contrast to the cropping capabilities of some Windows applications, IrfanView permits you to view the size of the pixels in the area you’ve chosen. If you try to cut an area only to discover that it’s not enough, The Resize/Resample function lets you shrink it to exactly the dimensions you require. Resize/Resample provides a number of well-known sizes that can be preset to help you make a choice. Resample allows users to reduce the size of images without sacrificing quality.
One unique feature of IrfanView I often use is the Batch Conversion/Batch Name function. The Batch Conversion feature is a great tool for resizing multiple images simultaneously. Also, Batch Rename is great for managing large sets of camera-named pictures. There is even the option to change the name of your transformed images. This is extremely helpful when you want to create a photo disc for someone else and have a lot of high-resolution, 1MB+ photos that must be reduced in size.
All of this is packed into one compact, FREE tiny program.
Experience required Experience Level Required: Intermediate to Advanced.
Pros: Very simple to use, with a wide range of features for editing in-depth and supports a range of output and input formats, including Adobe Illustrator.eps filters, files, and impressive edits in a snap. Many features can be easily modified to suit your individual needs, and a variety of options to export bitmaps.
Cons: Certain functions are more technical than what novices are used to (prior experience using Adobe Illustrator would likely be useful). A resource-intensive program and viewing the files in full size needs to be done with care in order to prevent locking the program. Cropping was a bit of a challenge to master.
I’d like to begin with a reminder that I’m just a novice with Inkscape. However, despite my ignorance of vector graphic editors and even vector graphics generally, Inkscape is still a practical and easy method to design elegant, stunning buttons and logos with no know-how or expertise in graphic editing software. The easiest method to do this is using the text tool. Type your desired words and select a good font and play around using the different filters until you have the desired effect.
A single filter is great; however, several filters can make something look even more stunning. The logo that I have on my blog is the result of doing exactly this. The rainbow-swirled paint splash is actually the result of a square that has various gradients and filters that are stacked on top of one another. You wouldn’t know the way you look at it that it was originally the shape of a square (a grey square, at least, If I’m not mistaken). The process of working with text is easy with Inkscape, as you do not even need to rasterize your text to access the filters.
Filters are abundant. There are a variety of filters available, including the basic (lighten or darken, sharpen blur, etc.) and texture, colorize, “non-realistic 3D shaders,” overlays, materials bevels, and many more. Removing and rotating each component is simple; however, cropping them can be a bit tricky. The process of cropping using Inkscape is actually referred to as “clipping” and isn’t exactly like other cropping tools. I needed to conduct a Google search to find out the reason, but I found only two or three websites that explained the concept in a manner that was understandable. I’ve posted it again on my blog for your convenience.
It is also important to keep an eye on the actual size of your files in Inkscape. If you don’t set the size of the canvas and you work predominantly freeform, you could result in a massive image file without even realizing that you have it. In the event that you’ve been doing this and attempt to increase the size, the performance of Inkscape decreases dramatically, based on your computer’s specifications. It will correct itself, but you may need to wait for a while.
The most advanced feature of Inkscape is the use of paths as well as nodes. While I’m no expert, I’m not familiar with using nodes or paths at the moment. I’ve tried some of them for experiments; however, for the most part, I’m not able to provide a thorough overview of the usage of paths or nodes using Inkscape. Flattening layers is another thing that I think is possible; however, I’m still trying to determine exactly how to do it. This is what the “Advanced” advice is into. If you’re comfortable with Adobe Illustrator, figuring out the paths and nodes within Inkscape will be easy. I was never confident enough in Adobe Illustrator to have a definitive opinion about the paths and nodes features in Inkscape (and haven’t been able to justify using these functions in Inkscape also).
3. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Programm)
Experience Niveau Required Intermediate to Advanced
Pros: Fantastic features listing, with hover-tips that explain the feature icons, it offers a wide range of output and input types which includes compatibility with Adobe Photoshop.psd file, various filters that produce professional editing images, a simple and effective interface, generally faster loading speed than Adobe Photoshop Many options to tweak for improved control, and the ability to reset defaults, and supports various keyboard shortcuts, and the results produced by GIMP are typically comparable to those created using Adobe Photoshop.
Cons: It does not have certain functions from Adobe Photoshop; certain functions may require some time to master. Reproducing some Adobe Photoshop-type results may require additional steps.
After having a little experience in Adobe Photoshop, it took me a while to change from Adobe Photoshop to GIMP, and some tools required me a bit of Google-searching determine. It’s not like GIMP is difficult to learn, but more than I was annoyed and frustrated.
Crop, selection, layers filtering, setting the image’s size, and more. All are fairly simple. Fill, gradient (color and patterns), blur, clone airbrush, and other tools for selection were also simple to use. However, the clone, as well as gradient tools, required some trials and errors to discover. The sizes of the brushes also initially were not as large.
After experimenting a bit more, I was impressed by the possibility of altering brushes in a range of ways. This is extremely helpful when editing the edges and curves. You can alter the opacity, hardness, shape, angle, proportion, and radius of your brush. GIMP can even let you add spikes to create uniquely designed brushes. Modifying the size and shapes proved an essential function when using the clone tool in order to take a specific part from an image. The editor for brushes allows you to create a new brush that is up to 1,000 pixels.
Another useful feature of GIMP is the capability to create new pictures in layers and simultaneously open multiple images. The icon for locator (not certain of its exact name) located in the lower right-hand corner can be helpful. If you zoom too much on an image and you want to find an exact area, then you can move the cursor around the icon and then move it to the location you want within the image.
I couldn’t locate the same number of filters in GIMP as I did with Inkscape. Maybe it’s because they weren’t as straightforward. However, they do offer plenty of possibilities. The real power of GIMP is like Adobe Photoshop. Masks and layers allow you to create a vast range of effects that are not always built-in.
A large number of real-looking, beautiful stunning effects can be made using layers. Similar to the nodes and paths in Inkscape layers and masks, these actions require a higher degree of expertise (layers and masks are available in Inkscape too). It is possible to use layers or masks in order to produce more subtle effects than those I’ve had to do personally. Shiny or colored hair, realistic shadows, and much more can be produced using these tools.
4. Pixlr is an Online Photo Editing Software
Experiential Level Required: Beginner to Advanced
Pros: Three different editors, including Pixlr O-Matic Pixlr Express with Pixlr Editor. They range from beginner level to advanced. Creates stunning photo effects with no effort and lets you save your images online, and downloadable plug-ins allow editing images “grabbed” from the internet with a variety of preset settings and frames effects, lighting effects, and more advanced editing options are available, allowing you to edit your images from any location with a simple interface, a variety of languages are available, no registration needed.
The cons: Pixlr Editor (advanced) and Pixlr Express (novice to intermediate) can be slow when you apply certain effects. Features of Pixlr Editor aren’t as extensive as GIMP, and Adobe Photoshop requires an internet connection and may cause resizing of your photo from the beginning.
Reviewing Pixlr is like looking through three separate graphic editing software programs. I tried and reviewed Pixlr O-Matic, the first with a wide range of settings for the style of the photo and then effects for light over the photograph, and lastly, a framed look around the image. The styles for photos all have intriguing titles, but some appear odd enough to be helpful; for example, the entire image is displayed in an illusion of double-vision.
Utilizing Pixlr O-Matic to edit a specific image, I finally settled on a “Melissa” setting, which includes a Vignette, and set the frame to “Cornered.” The three effects helped the person in the picture stand out, with a hazy background dark, and damaged look around the edge of the image. Overall it created an aged, elegant look and was done in just three steps.
Pixlr Express provides the same effects for images. However, it allows you to modify them a bit. It provides basic editing features (rotate and crop, among others) and also breaks down other effects, which are incorporated into Pixlr O-Matic. Although Pixlr O-Matic has a phenomenal speed and is very quick, Pixlr Express may take some time to apply certain effects to your photo. Pixlr Express remains a great choice for beginners since it’s fast, easy to use, and extremely simple to understand.
Pixlr Editor is, however, its online counterpart to GIMP as well as Adobe Photoshop. There’s a toolbox brush and layers. Advanced editing and many other features. It’s not as effective as GIMP. However, it is just like Pixlr O-Matic as well as Pixlr Express. The presets allow for more advanced editing possible with fewer steps. It allows you to edit the layer, brush, or masks as well as use filters as well as other basic editing functions for images.
Similar to Pixlr Express, Pixlr Editor had a slow time when applying effects, as it’s online editing. While testing the various version, Pixlr O-Matic had no delay, Pixlr Express had a delay while applying certain effects (not other ones), however, and Pixlr Editor was slowed at times when trying to edit the text or test different effects. Once all is completed, Pixlr can do time-consuming work fun for children.
The only problem I encountered with Pixlr was that it started expanding my photo in a sudden way. It was diminished in size by about 50%, possibly more. It’s possible I’ve missed an option to stop it. However, I’m not sure if it’s a common occurrence.
5. Picnik Online Photo Editing Software
Minimum Experience Required Beginner to Intermediate
Pros: User-friendly even for novices. Basic editing option with a variety of filters and the ability to create collages as well as calendars and other items that look professional when printed with photos. No registration is required. It doesn’t change the size of your photos as a default feature; images can be edited on any computer.
Cons: A lot of options and effects aren’t accessible without premium accounts. The tweaking options might not be sufficient for more advanced users. Registered accounts are limited to 5 images that can be saved.
Apart from the homepage, Picnik looks and acts in a variety of ways, nearly identical in many ways to Pixlr Express. The filters are quite similar. However, Picnik offers better framing features. Certain effects on images differ significantly from those on Pixlr Express. However, some of the more sophisticated features require users to sign up as registered or paying users. Although, it doesn’t need a month’s payment. The premium options offered by Picnik are offered at “as low as $2.08 per month”.
The feature list that is advertised (for Picnik Premium) sounds impressive, and the advantage is that it comes with additional features but with the same user-friendliness. Picnik Premium comes with more effects; collage designs, advanced editing tools, “stickers” frames, and much more. Picnik Premium allows you to use the app without ads and comes with tools to touch up your images (burn and dodge aren’t available in Picnik in default) and batch uploading, and a variety of fonts. Prices begin at $4.95 for a month and go up to $24.95 to get 12 months (where you get the “$2.08 for a month” pricing kicks in). $19.95 for six months for those who want to have half a year more at the expense of an additional month. The six-month plan seems like an insult.
The sum of $25 per year isn’t that huge amount for a new user looking to do lots of editing. If you’re a pro with higher-level skills, then it could be worthwhile to reduce the time spent editing a single image. However, if you’re proficient with software for editing photos, it is possible that you consider Picnik’s capabilities to be too restricted and want more control over your photos.
In the end, the Free version of Picnik is a very useful tool that anyone can benefit from. If you’re not interested in signing up at all, there is no need to. It isn’t possible to save edited photos or edit your history in Picnik However, you can save your original photos in one folder and download the edited photos to another to ensure backups.
What software to edit graphics is actually the best? You’ll have to choose on your own. Every one of them I’ve mentioned (with one exception: Pixlr [Express along with Picnik [Free Version(with the exception of Picnik [Free Version]) each has a distinct function, and all have distinct characteristics.
The most suitable image editing software is based on your experience and the time that you’re at ease with, the frequency you’ll use it, as well as what you’ll usually employ it for. Explore each and then decide on your own. Better yet, try each of them.
If you’re in search of more tutorials, tutorials, as well as other assistance with troubleshooting, make sure you check the site Techie Beginners – a site created specifically for people who are new in the world of technology. Techie Beginners offers help with blogging, computers, and other issues like this that you could run into.
Heather Bjorkman has worked with every aspect of the techie world, from absolute beginners to those beyond her comprehension. She loves helping people know about technology and also sharing her knowledge with others.