To help those who cannot afford the £500+ ($800) for Photoshop or just want something lighter in size, but would like to enjoy the freedom of Graphic design I've concocted a list of free and cheaper alternatives to Photoshop that work pretty much the same
Here are some free and cheap alternatives to the full Photoshop Package:
1) GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)
Current Version: 2.8
"One of the most powerful general-purpose image editors around...Extremely powerful and easy to work with, GIMP is ideal for both amateur and pro photographers, Web designers, or anyone who wants to create and edit professional-quality digital images on a budget."
Compatibility: Windows 7/Vista/XP, MacOSX, Linux.
Personal Experience: When I started to do graphic design as a true Hobby/Commitment. I was told by Mum to start off with GIMP to be sure that I wanted to keep at the endeavours before she made a move to get photoshop for me to use. Overall, it is a decent program! I still use it today if I just need to edit something REALLY quick, as photoshop takes some time to load up especially compared to this. Some photoshop (.8bi) Plugins work on GIMP, you can open .psd (photoshop) files AND Photoshop Brushes (.abr) work as well. It's great if you are starting out, or if you are on a budget. I will say the interface is a bit in the way at times, but, you get used to it
Link To Download
If you use Ubuntu, Go to your software centre and search "GIMP"
2) Photoshop Express
Price: Free, Web based.
"Adobe Photoshop Express is an online version of the popular digital image-editing software. Crop, rotate, tweak, twirl and show off your photos. Sign up for a free account to upload and save up to 2GB of digital images for free. Display your photos to friends and family in various galleries such as grids or with 3D navigation."
Compatibility: Any Operating System with a browser that supports the latest Flash Version.
Personal experience: I only recently discovered this for research purposes and I have to say although it's basic, it gives you a real good taster of what photoshop is like, I haven't used it much, but it loads very quickly, no registration required it's click and go. There are no effects such as the glows and the stroke, that I can see, generally the filters. At the moment, Photoshop Express only supports JPEG files Up to an effective load of 16 MegaPixels, this may be subject to change but I am not sure.
Link to Website
Current Version: 3.5.10
"Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins."
Only Compatible with Windows 7/Vista/XP. There is a Linux alternative known as Pinta available directly from the software centre for free
Personal Experience: I used to use this A LOT when I got my old design tablet in 2008, I used it quite a lot for drawing and I THINK don't quote me it had pressure controlled brush size. Again it had filters photoshop still doesn't have built in, such as a sketch filter and a soften filter (which I ADORED) It was originally built as a more Complex version of microsoft's Paint program available for free. however due to a long time of not using it due to moving to Linux an using GIMP and then, Photoshop I do not know how to use it any more
There is a Linux Version of this program available through the software centre, but it was not very stable on my Ubuntu, I am not sure if this is the case for later versions.
Link to Download
4) Aviary Phoenix
Price: Free, Web based
From basic image retouching to complex effects, Phoenix delivers the key features of a desktop image editor with the simplicity and accessibility of a web-based application.
Compatability: Any Operating System with a browser that supports the latest Flash Version.
An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.
Compatability: Windows, Mac Linux
6) My Paint
MyPaint is a fast and easy open-source graphics application for digital painters. It lets you focus on the art instead of the program. You work on your canvas with minimum distractions, bringing up the interface only when you need it.
Compatability: Windows, Mac, Linux
7) Picpick free photo editing software (Personal HOME use version)
Specially designed for the home user and aiming at giving as much flexibility as possible during the work. Besides being a very easy to use image editor, the application also has graphic Screen Capture options and a set of hotkeys and options enabling you to grab an image on your computer screen, save, print. You can create text, arrows, shapes and more with the built-in Image Editor that includes the latest Ribbon style menu. It even includes some featuresnot found in Photoshop.
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