Help me find new digital image manipulation software!!

I’m really fairly proficient with software. I’ve been using the free Dell version of image software that came with our PC. I also have the free version of Arcsoft that came with one of our Canon cameras. So far all I’ve done is simple stuff like cropping and removing red-eye and they are OK for that.

I want to get a little bit more aggressive in cleaning up photos and masking backgrounds and combining images and they just don’t cut the mustard.

What software would you recommend? I’d like to keep it under $100. but I also want something that is intuitive to use and doesn’t require 6 months of classroom instruction.

Thanks!! :smiley:

Have a look at GIMP, which is a free Open Source graphics package available for Windows, MacOSX and Linux. I’ve not used it myself as I use Photoshop, but everything I’ve seen and heard about it has been good. Here’s the official site.

How about free? Google Irfanview and GIMP.

Photoshop Elements 4 is pretty good and about $90 or less. Gimp is a bit more frustrating to use in my experience.


I use Ulead PhotoImpact; it often appears for free on a magazine coverCDs (which is where I got it); so far I have not found it lacking in anything I have tried to do (including the sort of stuff people generally call ‘photoshopping’).

Paint.NET is powerful, easy to use, and free.

I use Paint Shop Pro. It is $79 and has all the features of Photoshop but I find it much easier to use.

Really? I’ve got a copy of this at home and never installed it. I should give it a go. I’ve used Ulead’s PhotoExpress with some luck, pretty neat features.

I mostly use Photoimpression by Arcsoft if I want to do any low level editing.
That and Picassa by Google, free.
Oh, and ACDSee too.

I haven’t purchased an image editor since about '01 when I bought Microsoft’s ImageThis(?). I probably have about 10 different editors (that’s what happens when you acquire three scanners, three dig cameras, four printers, and a new computer in the last five years) and each does things a little different than the next.

I have played around with Photoshop too. Too expensive and complicated for my tastes.

I’m on version 8 here and I just got a covermount for PhotoImpact XL - I can’t quite work out whether this is supposed to be better or if it’s a stripped-down version.

The version I’m currently using does everything I can think of; it’s object-oriented, so you can throw a bit of text on an image, then deform it (in a wide variety of ways), apply a texture to it, apply other effects such as bevel and drop shadow, but at the end of all this, you can still edit the text or change the font. It also does layers, masks etc quite nicely, has a good selection of pressure-sensitive(if you have a tablet) brushes and paint effects and has a gallery of materials, lighting and particle effects, and so on. It also records macros and does batch processing/conversion and probably a whole heap of stuff I don’t even know about.

I don’t work for Ulead, BTW.

From, XL looks like an updated version of 8, or maybe the patches for 8.
In any case I learned what the differences are between Express and Impact.
Express is for beginners and Impact is for all users (beginngers, imtermediate and Expert). So they probably share some of the same features with Impact having the more advanced stuff.

For ten bucks more, buy a Wacom Graphire tablet. You’ll get a copy of Elements 3, plus Corel Painter Essentials 2.

Besides, working with images using a mouse is like trying to eat with chopsticks while wearing boxing gloves.