Alternatives to PhotoShop

Photoshop is wonderful software and I have loved it for many years. I just recycled by floppies from the early version I bought for my MacSE when I moved last year. I really didn’t need them to prove anything to upgrade any longer since there’s no place to insert floppies any more. Upgrading from version to version, the price of the software does not slap you in the face like it does if you are buying it for the first time. For the kind of editing I do for my blog, there’s just no justification for spending that kind of money – particularly when there are so many alternatives that are free.

Applications you download

  • GIMP. GIMP is the granddaddy of the free alternatives. It’s open-source and the word GIMP stands for SNU Image Manipulation Program, it’s very name signaling its open-source street cred. It’s available for Windows, Linux and Mac. It has tons of bells and whistles and there are users who swear it’s even better than Photoshop. If you tried GIMP a few years back, its user-face is easier and more user-friendly than it used to be.
  • GimpPhoto: Based on GIMP with a more PhotoShop like user interface. For Windows and Linux.
  • Photoscape: This is a Windows only program. Sasy Scarborough at swears by it and has done a great tutorial on using it, including a movie.
  • Paint.NET is another Windows only program. It was supposed to just be a replacement for MS Paint, but it’s grown beyond that old program into a decent photo editing application.
  • ChocoFlop: This is a Mac only program that takes advantage of Mac’s architecture to allow fast, non-destructive photo-editing. It’s no longer being updated and developed, but is still available and totally free.
  • Pixelmator: A super cheap ($14.99) alternative to PhotoShop for Macs only. Seriously, for $14.99 you get content-aware fill. What more can you ask for?
  • CinePaint: Actually it’s designed for making animated films, but has great image-editing capabilities and it’s free. Mac software.
  • Pixia and Phierha: For Windows users. Created to make anime/manga illustrations, it’s a powerful image editor. Phierha is an newer version of Pixia with more features and a redesigned interface.
  • Inkscape: Inkscape is more accurately an alternative to Illustrator, but has a lot of good tools for editing. For Linus, Windows and Mac.
  • PhotoPlus: has standard image editing tools plus drawing brushes. Windows only.
  • Mac Preview: Preview is not just for peeking at your photos before deciding which to keep and which to toss. You can crop, edit, add text and do manage basic photo-editing tasks with the free app that comes already loaded with your Mac.
  • PhotoFiltre: Windows only. If you want maximum flexibility to add lots of filters, this image-editing program is very focused on allowing you to add filters. There are more than 100 filters with this program.
  • ToyCamera AnalogColor: Even people with PhotoShop will want this little app though it’s not free. (¥1,050 or $13.35.) It’s super easy, full of effects and they work so fast that you can lose yourself in trying them out. For Mac and PC.

ToyCamera AnalogColor is well-named because it’s so much fun to play with it.

Web-based Editors

  • PicMonkey: Gidge and Gogo love this one.  It has an easy collage-making interface and tons of special effects you can use on your photos. PicMonkey is so free you don’t even have to give them your email address. No registration required!
  • Splashup: Integrates seamlessly with Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket, SmugMug and their own photo-hosting at SplashUp. Lets you edit several photos at once and feels like an application.
  • Photoshop Express: Yes, an alternative to Photoshop is Photoshop! This is a web-based version of Photoshop with some useful tools like dodge and burn and fun effects like color pop that lets you make a black and white picture with one pop of color.
  • G-Plus Creative Kit: If you have G-Plus and upload your photos there, you can edit them using their creative kit. It’s super-easy and there are lots of fun effects and basic editing options. Making a duotone has never been easier.
  • Aviary – the new photo editor that directly links to Flickr. Works on your mobile phone and with Facebook. Very easy to use.
  • FotoFlexer: In addition to lots of retouching tools, effects and other basic tools, this lets you work with layers, curves and liquify. It also integrates with most common photo-hosting sites.
  • LunaPic: If you are in love with effects, this might be your favorite. Works with Facebook, Picasa, Flickr and Photobucket.
  • The interface is a little confusing,  probably due to non-native English speakers doing the translation. However, there are so many toys to play with in adding fancy effects and filters to your photos, you won’t mind experimenting.
  • Super easy with fun effects that you can run through one after another. It’s also entertaining to use the Pixlr-Matic retro effects. The work window looks like a developer tray and when you move your cursor the developing fluid ripples under the cursor. Who knew editing could be such fun!
  • Big Huge Labs: Helping you do cool stuff with your digital photos since 2005. Make your own movie poster or magazine cover. Try out fun effects. It’s a great place to play.

Splashup integrates seamlessly with many photo hosting sites.

This and other tutorials are all featured at the Blogger Carnival at SL9B. With tutorials from eight bloggers, the Blogger Carnival will have lots of tips and in-world sets for your to practice your new skills. It opens Monday, June 18th.  Blogger Carnival at SL9B

Updated to add and Big Huge Labs.

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