General Question

LAPIII's avatar

What is the best free downloadable image editor?

Asked by LAPIII (3points) August 26th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

15 Answers

benseven's avatar

Well, ket’s begin at the beginning. What Operating System are you running?

Some common OS are Linux, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X Tiger, and Mac OS X Leopard, for example.

Skyrail's avatar

You could give GIMP a try, I use that and it’s multi-platform. But as for the ‘best’ I couldn’t give an answer as I only use GIMP because it works for me.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Nice to see you here, Lap.

I use IrfanView for most image management tasks, such as resampling or converting, making thumbnails, and minor adjustments to contrast or color balance, etc. It has a rudimentary paint dialog, but it won’t do for anything fancy. If you want something to retouch photos, scrounge around for an older copy of Corel Photo-Paint on eBay. It’s just as capable as Photo$hop, but a hell of a lot cheaper.

Lightlyseared's avatar

A Photoshop CS3 extended trial?

benseven's avatar

Just a thought. If Corel Photo-paint were as capable as Photoshop, it too would probably an industry-leading image editing and design application.

Just a thought.

Summer's avatar

I like Picasa… it’s free and easy to use.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@benseven – Corel has never had the marketing clout that Adobe has. Don’t assume best selling means best performing. I got a couple of flurve that says you’ve never even seen Corel Photo-Paint.

argaudette's avatar

You should be able to find a few things at at certain bay I know. There are usually some pirates around this certain bay. Other than that, try what others have suggested and

benseven's avatar

@Ichthe… Matter of fact I have used Corel PP, and I tend to rate the usability and features of software through use, rather than sales figures. Xara, Corel, all wannabees. There are numerous features present in Photoshop that simply do not exist in CPP, and therefore to say it’s as capable as Photoshop is, on a purely technical level, misleading.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

But can you name 3 features of Photo$hop that are

1) Not in Photo-Paint
2) Useful to an amateur shutterbug
3) Worth $649 for CS3 compared to $429 for Corel Draw Graphics Suite? (Corel does not market Photo-Paint as a separate application any more. Pity.)

benseven's avatar

Well let’s begin with point 3, shall we?

We’re not comparing CS3 and Corel Suite, and if we were you’d lose this argument even worse than you already are. CS3 comprises multiple industry-leading applications that are industry-leading for a reason.

Features of Photoshop not present in Photo-paint, and yet useful to the amateur Shutterbug:

1. Panorama treatment. Photoshop feature auto-alignment and auto-blending for panoramic photo sequences, with fantastic results with a low learning curve. Note these are two features but I’d rather roll them into one to avoid argument…

2. Automated HDR treatment. Yes, HDR isn’t necessarily for amateurs, but it is gaining popularity as a technique and it’s not particularly hard to get into.

3. User Interface. Photo-paint is powerful, but far more technical, steeper learning curve etc.

So, I met your challenge… What remains is the fact that the question is about a ‘free’ downloadable image editor. Corel is not free, and if you’re going to spend the money, it might as well be on Photoshop – why is it you think it’s on top? Could it be that it’s better? Surely Not!!

Stop pretending your has-been graphics app has any worthy standing in today’s Adobe-dominated market and answer the damn question.

I’d second GiMP, though its support for PSD files is tainted by the lack of layer styles support.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@benseven, I can see that you have a very strong opinion here, but money talks, and for the kind of money Adobe wants for CS3, you’ll need a good deal more than your opinion to convince me or anyone else that it’s worth it. I’ll allow that it could be the best graphics editor out there, but it is undeniably the most expensive. It is, in fact, one of the most obscenely expensive applications I know of. $649.00??? You can buy a pretty good camera for that.

As to your specific points:

1) Photo-Paint has an option to combine multiple images to produce seamless panoramas from multiple images. It’s been in there since version 9.0, at least. They call it “stitch,” not “panorama treatment,” so you must have missed it.

2) HDR Treatment – “isn’t necessary for amateurs” – you made my point for me, so I don’t need to.

3) User Interface. This is pure, unsupported opinion on your part; PP wasn’t particularly hard for me to learn. See opening paragraph.

And no, Corel is not free, but you can pick up used versions of it very cheaply. I suggested it because we are somewhat in agreement on one point; there isn’t much out there that’s both free and suitable to task. GiMP looks promising, but all things Gnu tend to be somewhat user-unfriendly. I’m happy with Corel, but I would have to download GiMP to kick the tires, before I could recommend it to someone. Support for .PSD files is a non-issue, as Photo$hop is the only application that produces them, and if you already have it, you don’t need GiMP.

Incidentally, I don’t feel like I’m losing this argument. Anybody else think I’m losing the argument?

benseven's avatar

I’ll bow out then, this is a huge waste of time, and clearly you’re a massive Corel fanboy who I’m not going to manage to convince!

I don’t agree with the price of Adobe CS3, which is why I didn’t pay them for it. Think what you will on that matter.

The unfriendly UI is not just my opinion, but one held by many. Have a quick Google.

The reason I mentioned PSD support is that believe it or not, the files spawned by the industry leading app are very nearly considered a standard file format for layered images – one accepted by many printers and other professionals. Therefore PSD support in the GiMP can be useful for those needing to handle a PSD without splashing out on their software.

You’re not losing this argument, but you’re not winning it either. The fact is if you look at what, technically speaking, is a better app, it’s Photoshop. If you’re looking at what gives you more bang per buck (as you’re obsessed with the cost issue), it’s probably Photo-paint. However, neither of those things are up for debate here – I picked you up initially on the statement that Photo-paint ‘is just as capable as Photoshop’, which simply isn’t true.

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