For anyone in love with blogging, scrapbooking, photography etc, there is always that point where you realise you need or want to alter your images (whether your own artwork or photos, or copyright-free images from the web).
Which means you need an image editor or graphics programme. There are a lot out there (some I covered in previous posts, see below) but things move on fast in web-land, so here’s the latest roundup for you to choose from.
FULL PROGRAMMES TO BUY
These all have a learning curve, and are for the more dedicated digital artist.
Apart from Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro and Serif – all great full size packages at varying prices (all of which have free trial periods if you want to try them), there are also some freebies out there which will also do the job.
The Gimp – is a totally free open source programme which is as complex as Photoshop (you’ll find free online brushes etc, which will work with Gimp) and has online tutorials. It’s not pretty, but is very powerful – and there are versions for PCs, Macs and Windows 7.
Paint is also free, and is for computers that run Windows. Again, there are tutorials – and plugins.
FREE PHOTO EDITING SOFTWARE TO DOWNLOAD
Photoscape – has great tutorials right on the opening page. It’s a very neat-looking programme that downloads then sits on your desktop, and has lots of built-in special effects. Also a text facility. It’ll do greyscale, sepia, grunge effects, automatic thumbnails. Very nice indeed.
Windows Live Writer is a blogging programme, and when you download you also have an option to download the Windows Live Photo Gallery. This organises the photos on your computer, and edits photos with some basic effects such as sepia, auto black&white, adjust colour, tint, saturation, sharpen and also gives you the option to download more photo tools. There is also an online storage facility (up to 25gb – mentioned further below).
FREE PHOTO EDITING SOFTWARE - ONLINE
No need to download any of these programmes – which saves a ton of space on your hard drive.
Splashup – more complex and sophisticated compared to some. You can do some nice special effects including photo montages, plus add text . No need to download either.
PicNik – aimed more towards scrapbookers, don’t let this put you off as there are some very sophisticated auto layouts, text effects with some very unusual fonts, montage effects, sharpens, brightens and more. Well worth investigating.
ONLINE EDITING & IMAGE STORAGE
Photobucket is free (up to 8mg I think), then $20 per annum if you go pro (which means unlimited storage). Photobucket also does all the usual photo editing stuff, you can add text, plus special effects like Colour Splash, add picture frames etc.
Flickr is Yahoo’s image storage and editor, with a free storage capacity of a gigantic 100mg! Flickr is storage only – but is partnered with PicNik (see comments above) for online editing, so you get the best of both worlds! All for free!
Picasa is Google’s image editing and online storage programme. The image editing isn’t as sophisticated as some but will sort out red eye etc. Free storage up to 1mg.
Windows Sky Drive is Windows Live Writer’s online storage facility – free file & photo storage up to 25gb. Use in conjunction with Live Writer and Windows Live Photo Gallery (tick the options to include them when you install Windows Live Writer).
I hope this helps you to make your mind up – and if anyone knows of any others they would like to recommend, I’d be very pleased to add them to the list.