What free editing programs do you recommend?

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by robert_beaudoin, Feb 26, 2016.

  1. I started off using pixlr, which is
    fine for now. But I'm thinking of
    using GIMP, I hear it has a high
    learning curve but is the next best
    thing to photoshop.

    Any others that you would recommend?
    I'm looking for free options
    preferably, I don't really have money
    to throw around unfortunately. <_<;
     
  2. SCL

    SCL

    GIMP is a fine program. Although I have used Photoshop for years and also bought Lightroom a couple of years ago, I mostly use GIMP these days for routine post processing....mostly as my preferred OS is Linux, which doesn't work with the others. I recently found an add-on which allows me to save my NEF (Nikon raw) files as JPGs which makes GIMP even more useful. It is different, but IMHO no more difficult than P/S and especially for sharing photos and enlargements up to 11x14 works fine (I haven't yet printed larger ones with GIMP). So far its drawback is the scanning end, although I use Vuescan and it both supports my scanner and works with my version of Linux, I haven't been able to configure Linux to work with the program, so I have to shift back and forth to Windows when scanning. Other than that, once you get the hang of GIMP, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
     
  3. For quick and not terribly detailed editing, such as a little sharpening and cropping and the like, you might look into Faststone Image Viewer. As an editing program it's pretty elementary, but has a lot of file management features, a very good file viewing window, and for some reason I don't quite understand, it's the only program I've found that can change the orientation of a vertical image in a way that always comes out vertical on other displays.
    For changing Raw to JPG, Faststone works well, and so does Irfanview, which is almost entirely devoid of image editing features, but is very fast and ideal for viewing and file type changing. Faststone's interface is not as convenient and intuitive.
    Both these programs will open a Nikon NEF file if the computer has the correct Microsoft codec, but cannot save as NEF again.
     
  4. FWIW, Pixelmator is apparently amazing. It's about US $30, and there is a trial version:
    https://itunes.apple.com/app/pixelmator/id407963104?mt=12
    I don't use this kind of software that often (I just edit with RAW converters) so I can't give you any recommendations. But the GIMP is very well featured. There are lots of extensions available for it. It's not as polished as Pixelmator, so perhaps it is not for people who are only familiar with iOS apps. :)
     
  5. GIMP is a good powerful program. Yes, the learning curve is steep (I'm still toward the bottom of the curve myself), but there are a lot of tutorials and a whole community dedicated to GIMP. Other freeware I use includes Picasa, UFRaw for RAW-JPEG conversions, and Hugin for stitching.
     
  6. Regarding Picasa be aware that Google is dropping support for it next month.
     
  7. Gimp or Irfanview. I started with Irfanview, use both now, but in hindsight I should have just started with Gimp and been done with it.
     
  8. Lightzone offers a lot and is 100% free.
    http://lightzoneproject.org/
     
  9. On Windows, I prefer Paint.NET over GIMP, but that's more due to conventions than capabilities. GIMP is very good. OnOne Perfect Effects is often given away for free in an older version - not bad either. That said, spending a bit on Photoshop Elements or Serif PhotoPlus is worth it - sure, they're not free but they're a good step up in userfriendliness.
    On Mac, I would "bite the bullet" and spend a bit of money to get Affinity Photo. Everything I see about it convinces me enough that it's easily worth it. Haven't tried myself, though, as I'm on Windows.
    None of these programs for me can function as the main program - I find full-blown pixel editors overkill for most I do. Raw workflow programs with decent batch editing are to me more important. Picasa is reasonable, I like tis organisation feature more than the editing though. Lightzone offers quite some in that area, if you check websites like Windows Deal of the Day, you also can get either Cyberlink PhotoDirector or Zone Photo Studio Pro frequently - both really decent programs. If you shoot Sony, the free version of CaptureOne, and actually the free provided programs of camera manufacterers are quite alright too for the price - and a good place to start.
     
  10. I use the GIMP on Linux, like Stephen, but to those who want light-weight software I recommend PhotoFiltre (Windows only) and XNView (Windows and Linux). All free. I think the GIMP is difficult only if you have used PhotoShop and hunt for the same commands. I found PhotoShop and the GIMP equally perplexing when I knew neither.
     
  11. While it is not free I have bought a boxed version of Paint Shop Pro X3 for US$15 and found it little different to X4 then on my dsktop at home... I bought the X3 for my notebook while in the States.
    PSP has done everything I need for the past decade and I tried PS, two versions, and simply did not like the way they are set up to work, GIMP is the same way whereas PSP is more user freindly. But anything worth having will have a steep learning curve.
    Paint dot Net I also got to see what it is like and find it a bit 'clunky' compared to PSP but if you truely have no money it is worth getting.
    If you do go for PSP I suggest you get X3 or later but subsequent versions are not 'better' just have added some handy tools.... anything from v8 will do much of what you are likely to want. Note X stands for 10 so X3 = v13 :)
     
  12. In looking at an editor I check to if it has firstly layers as I use them on virtually every file and they permit a lot of processes too numerous to mention. P.N has layers though unfortunately not adjustment layers which to me is the mark of a good editor. PS, PSP and P.N all have layers, maybe Elements too.
     
  13. Another Vote for PhotoFiltre :)
    Jim
     

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