With an ever increasing reliance on visual mediums to make points known online, it is also increasingly important to have a good image editing software program available to you for minor edits and splices. However, it is always best to get something for free if you can, and with the large amount of free image editing software packages out on the market today, the main problem for a webmaster or photojournalist is to get the best free editing program that you possibly can and simply stay away from the bad eggs.
Below are three of the best free image editing software packages available today, with a detailed comparison of each one, and a recommendation of the best program for you to end the article.
GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a raster graphics editor which is freely available for all major operating systems including Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. The program is usually used as an editing and retouching tool for images, although it can also be used for freeform drawing and has the ability to perform edits such as cropping, editing, resizing, combining multiple images into photo montages and converting between image formats. The program can also be used to create animations.
Picassa is an image viewer and an image organizer that is created by Google. it is offered as a free download since 2004. The program can edit digital photos as well as organize and integrate them into a photo sharing website. With the program download, you can get different application packages for each version of Windows including XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, and you can also get a an application package for Mac OS X, but only with Intel packages. The Linux version of the program is known to be out of date.
The program can also run an iPhoto plug-in for standalone as a photo uploader for Macs.
Paint.NET is photo editing software for windows only which was made by Rick Brewster. It is a great program for a quick image retouch and other types of common additives like resizing, editing, cropping and making collages. It also has a redeye removal feature among many other things that make it a little more professional than the other programs. The only thing is that it does not support high-resolution files.
Although Paint.NET is often thought to be the most basic because it is the easiest to use, it has many of the more professional tools within it. Things such as supporting layers and a history of edits make it more like Photoshop than any of the other programs, and give it more processing power than either of the others as well. Paint.NET is not available for the Mac platform, however, which leaves Apple computer users completely out in the cold when it comes to this great editing software set.
However, the Google program Picassa is hands-down the best program for organizing your photos into certain orders. Although it has the least amount of photo editing properties, it is great when you have a large number of photos with a minimum number of edits and you just want to get everything organized quickly.
GIMP that strikes a great balance between the two programs, although it is also rather difficult to use and has the highest learning curve of any of the three programs that are detailed here.
The bottom line is that if you are looking for a top-notch program with professional editing tools, you can definitely go with Paint.NET and get your money’s worth or lack of money, because the program is free. If you are looking for a quick fix, then the Google program is definitely your best bet. But if you are looking for easy editing and high compatibility with all programs and operating systems, then GIMP is definitely the program for you.
Overall, Paint.NET wins hands-down for the best free image editing software program online. If you have a PC game is definitely a program that you want to pick up and use whenever you can, because it might actually keep you from spending $700 or more on a professional photo editing suite like Photoshop.
If you have a Mac platform, however, then you definitely want to go with GIMP. With a little bit of practice, you can achieve just about everything that you can on the Paint.NET program on the GIMP program without having to convert operating systems.
Are you confused about all of the different image file formats? Confused about the differences between .JPG and .PNG? Check out our article on Image File Formats.