Recomend a good free Photoshop-type program

I had downloaded a freeware photo editing program years ago, but can’t remember what it was called. Either way, I need a good photo editing program, and hope you can offer some good suggestions. I’m running Windows XP, not Vista, if that makes a difference. I don’t need anything super-fancy, just doing some basic stuff.

There’s the GIMP, which is free and open-source. You could also get a thirty-day trial of Paint Shop Pro XI, which I think is much more user-friendly.

I did find some info on the GIMP, and was intrigued. Anyone else use it and have any opinions on it?

I’ve used Paint Shop Pro before, but it didn’t strike me as particularly user-friendly. I have very limited experience with photo editing programs, though, so maybe it is.

Reply, what exactly did you like/not like about PSP and GIMP?

You could try It’s free and easy to use, but doesn’t quite have the features you would get with GIMP. For my photo editing needs, it does the job though.

How basic are your basic needs? Google’s Picasa will fill some of them, as well as being a very neat photo organiser.

I’m going to be doing some artwork for a friend’s band, so manipulating images and text for CD artwork, T-shirts, stuff like that. So I won’t be professional-quality graphic design, but I’m going to doing quite a bit more than just cropping pics and removing red-eye.

get gimp and try it. It’s a small download and free, so you’ve got nothing to lose…if you don’t like it, uninstall.

I do most of my editing in Picasa. The photo has to be terribly bad for me to bother to launch Photoshop. Also a very good organizer with decent web album and printing tools.

Just FYI, I use Picasa for 99% of all my editing too. It’s the best thing that’s happened to photography since digital! However, you probably do need a real editing program if you want to do more than photo corrections, which is what Picasa is limited to.

As for user-friendliness, well, the more complex and powerful a program is, the harder (generally) it’s going to be to use. I like PSP because it managed to strike a good balance between the two for me. If you can describe in more detail what you’d like to do, maybe we could find a better fit of a program for you? You may not need the full power of PSP, Photoshop, or similar.

Why PSP? I’ve used a number of graphics programs in my short life, and I ultimately stuck with PSP because it was the most like Photoshop without all the Photoshop bloat and Adobe-ness. Adobe has a tendency to reinvent user interfaces instead of sticking to the standard Windows look and feel, and I hate having to learn all their quirks. I started out on Photoshop so I knew how to use it, but I moved to and stuck with PSP since I found version 4 or so a few years back.

PSP is much more of a “standard” Windows app, and it can do almost everything Photoshop can do, and some of the methods it uses to accomplish the same tasks seem more intuitive to me than the Photoshop way.

I disliked the GIMP for the same reason. The GIMP is a Linux app, with Linux underpinnings and philosophies and user-interface design choices, and it’s hard for me as a Windows user to get used to that.

shrug I think you can get used to any program if you use it long enough, and for me PSP just hit the right note for me when I first started using it. I haven’t found anything better yet, so I stick with it :slight_smile:

I use The Gimp for my very meager needs, but the one complaint I do have about it…it doesn’t natively come with “shape” tools. If I want to make a circle, rectangle, or what have you, I have to…umm…I don’t even know what I have to do, because every time I’ve needed to do that, I make one in paint (as in, the cruddy free paint that comes with windows) and copy it into Gimp.

I was looking at free graphics programs yesterday. I haven’t tried this place yet. They are offering their regular software for free at this time, and focusing on a new business plan. I can’t vouch for them other than to say I’m going to try them out.

You might also look online for a copy of Photoshop 7 or something. For most people, the professional level of 8 years ago is more than adequate. It has features I have no idea of even the definition.

I’m very excited about this revolutionary graphics package.


I just upgraded from Photoshop 5 to 7. What are they up to now?

It’s the CS3 version, which I think is equivalent to Photoshop 13 or something.

Deb has been having decent luck with Photoshop Elements 5.0, which is not really “scaled down” Photoshop, but its own editor with ways to both correct photos and create artsy pages. At a bit under $100, it is worth looking at. You can’t manipulate colors at the bit level and some of the other higher quality things that “real” Photoshop provides, but it gets the job done for selecting images out of a scene, removing stray items or blemishes from a scene, and allowing the user to paste together disparate photos at odd angles on created backgrounds.

If you’re doing video work, you can often find Photoshop Elements Premiere bundled with Elements for under $150 instead of paying $99 for each. However, Deb is not doing video, so she did not buy it and I do not know its quality.

The biggest complaint against Elements is that it wants to “own” the photos and it seems you have to export the completed image if you want them stored in a “non-Elements” location; you can’t edit photos in existing files and just leave them there.

I use Ulead PhotoImpact - which is free in the sense that they often give away full version x on magazine cover disks, in order to promote the sales of version x+1 or 2. It does just about everything I can think of, so I’ve never found a reason to want to pay to upgrade

That video program is actually just called Premiere Elements (no “Photoshop” in it) and it is a very good program for video. Not as good as the full-version Adobe Premiere, but it’s $800 cheaper. I use it all the time and have used various other Windows-based programs and none come close to PE. There’s a learning curve (it helps greatly if you are well versed in Photoshop) but once you learn, you can do a LOT with the program.

Re Photoshop 7, I got it recently (I have 6 on two other computers) and I’m very happy with it, and the integration with Adobe ImageReady is much better in 7 than it was in 6. I probably don’t need CS3, at least I don’t need $1,000 worth of CS3 Extended Version. You can probably find a cheap copy of 7 online somewhere. Again though, there’s a learning curve with PS: if you aren’t good at self-instruction or don’t want to take a class, PS is probably overkill as you will never use the majority of its features. But if you’re willing to learn, you can make any hideous snapshot into something worthy of a magazine.

If you really just want to resize and do basic editing and color-correcting, Picasa isn’t half bad.

My purchased graphics program is a version of PhotoImpact and the free ones still haven’t matched it’s features. It’s the best in the price range if you purchase one.

Another vote for the GIMP. Because it’s open-source, it’s customizable. Here are some folks who’ve created a free, customized version that’s far more similar (in appearance) to Photoshop, for those who are accustomed to PS: