Good free image manipulation software?

I’m no kind of artist and Photoshop is way more than I need. I’m looking for some simple and hopefully simple to learn freeware so I can experiment with different filters and mess around with color values in photographs–I’m trying to work out an idea I have so I can communicate it more effectively to the talented people who will actually do the work.

Any recommendations?

Thanks for all help.

GIMP is the only option I’ve used. If you’re avoiding Photoshop’s complexity, then GIMP might also be too complex.

Irfanview is free and pretty gppd. is what I use for routine and minor image manipulation, which is usually adjusting brightness or color curves.

Seconded. I use GIMP for creating and manipulating icons for our website.

I use Adobe Photoshop CC (the newest, fanciest version) all day at work, and GIMP at home, and don’t feel as though I’m really missing anything at home. Any of the stuff you would do for typical home photo manipulation (color adjustment, filters, cropping, etc.) GIMP can do every bit as well.

Google + photo has basic editing built-in (crop, filters, etc.)

I’ve turned on a few beginners to Google’s Picasa and they found it very intuitive. Lots features including filters, crop & rotate, contrast & colour correction, effects, etc. I don’t think it’s still being developed but it’s still available for download.

I use GIMP and, both of which have already been mentioned. IMHO, is a little more intuitive and has less of a learning curve, but GIMP has more features.

Both have a ton of add-ons that you can install.

Thanks everyone!

I will once again put in a word for PhotoScape.

I seem to be literally the only person on this board who uses it–I don’t know why.

I want to second Picasa. It’s the easiest to use out of the mentioned options for basic photo manipulation. And it’s fast as hell.

I will second this, but I must admit, I found a book at the library that got me through it. It’s very complex, you most likely will need some sort of learning aide.

I’ve used Gimpshop - which is basically a more intuitive skin for Gimp that cribs from Photoshop a bit. Not used it for a while - I have an old copy of Photoshop Elements as well. But it seems a nice middle ground.

Since you specifically want to work with photographs, digital darkroom software might suit you better than image editors.

LightZone ( ) has recently(?) been Open Sourced so you can download it for free. It’s available for Windows & Mac as well as Linux.

Thank you all again for the suggestions.

Probably thanks to you I use it. But not GIMP. I hate GIMP with every fiber of my being, and have for years. I forget why, but it’s probably because it’s a PITA to use.

IIRC, Adobe has a free, online Photoshop with reduced functionality, but all you really lose are some of the fripperies that a noob doesn’t need.


I tried GIMP for several months, and couldn’t get it to do anything useful. Then I got a (library) copy of Beginning GIMP by Akkana Peck. That book made it all clear and simple.

At the very least , they should have a direct download link, instead of going with cnet or that other one. The minute I seen that, sorry, but no.