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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    BEST SOFTWARE

    Two free photo editors anyone can use


    By Ian "Gizmo" Richards

    High-end digital image editors such as Adobe Photoshop and the free GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) are overkill for someone who simply wants to enhance digital snapshots.

    Two less-complex photo editors, targeted at average snapshooters, are much easier to use and produce outstanding results — for free!.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/02/04/05 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-20 at 15:06.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    I agree that Picasa seems to be more "user friendly" and more intuitive

    For the samllest fixes - rotate, red eye, lighting, perhaps crop - Picasa does so easily, elegantly

    And then the 1 click upload to Picasa web albums is unbeatable!

    Aveesh

  3. #3
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    The Windows Live Photo Gallery is a free download from Microsoft which meets 90% of my (purely amateur) photo needs. I like the simple 'Auto adjust' button that fixes exposure and colour balance as well as automatically 'straightening' the shot. There are also built in links to additional free Microsoft tools including a photo stitcher (to build your own panorama shots) and collage maker.

    There's also a very simple undo option that can be applied at any point in the future to revert to the original photo.

  4. #4
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    Facial Recognition
    Facebook Upload

    Another feature that I didn't see mentioned is that Picasa Desktop now includes Face Recognition, like Picasa Web Albums has for a while.
    This is very handy for tagging and sorting photo's, since it will pick out all the faces it can identify, and then allow you to assign a name or contact list entry, and then it will add that tag to any matching face.

    There is an App/Plugin available (not from Google) that adds a button to Picasa to upload pictures to Facebook. It sure makes organizing and uploading large groups of pictures easy! Just search "Picasa Uploader" on Facebook.
    There is also an App called Picasa Tab, which displays your Picasa Web Album in a tab on your Facebook profile.

    One of my main reasons for loving Picasa Desktop so much is how easy it is to download pictures from a camera or memory card. So much better than anything camera software, Windows, or any other software I have used offers. Some cameras that I couldn't get to work without installing their software, Picasa will interface with, were Windows wouldn't. It also will run a scanner, or grab screen shots if you hit the Print Screen button while Picasa is open.

    The other reason I love it is the way it makes organizing and finding pictures so easy! (to give you an idea of my collection, it found over 10,000 faces it could pick out after they added that feature! Umm... These are all pictures I have taken myself, and they all include clothing, just for the record!

  5. #5
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    Picasa is indeed excellent - but I think for a small free image editor Photofiltre is hard to beat.
    I use it in college situations where licenses for Photoshop and Elements are not available.
    It allows you to copy and paste sections and make regular and irregular selections as well
    as provide a clone brush.
    PHOTOFILTRE

    David

  6. #6
    New Lounger Septuagent's Avatar
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    For most purposes I use IrfanView - resizing, cropping etc. For these purposes it is excellent.

    To fiddle (usually unsuccessfully) with adjusting poorly exposed photos I use Paint.NET v.3.5.2 and use either the curves facility or the levels. But I am never very successful with either.
    Septuagent

  7. #7
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    Don't overlook Phto Pos Pro http://www.photopos.com/index.asp?Re...&SoftVer=1.7.6 . They have a free version available.
    It is absolutely loaded with features and options. It is not necessarily intuitve as, someone feels Picasa is, but we are talking way beyond Picasa's features here. I can't imagine how they could make all of the features imminently present or intuitive. The learning curve to see what you have available and where it is at will be worth the effort.

  8. #8
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    I've not used either of these image editors, but do use paint.net:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paint.NET

    It is not Photoshop or Gimp, but does everything I need to do and is free and easy to use.

    How does it compare to the programs you have reviewed?

  9. #9
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    There are lots of good free photo editors out there.

    My issue with pictures isn't editing them but printing. I usually want to print more than one per page, such as 3 4x6 on an 8.5x11 page. The only tool I've found that does this nicely is a plug in for ACDC called FotoSlate.

    Anyone know of any free tool out there that provide this functionality.
    George

  10. #10
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    I use FastStone for most of my image editing, but often a photo can be transformed by adding lighting (spotlights etc), which doesn't seem to be a feature of most free image editing software.

    At the moment I use Photo! Editor (http://pho.to/editor/features.php) to add lighting, but I wondered if anybody had any alternative programs for me to try?

  11. #11
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    one of the best features of Picasa that i rarely see mentioned is that it leaves your original files untouched, so that if you ever want to see what the picture looked like exactly as you took it, you can just open the file with a different viewer and voila, there it is. all the editing, cropping, re-touching, etc. info is kept in a .INI file and it's just applied as you view the picture in Picasa. every other photo editor that i've seen applies your changes directly to the file you are editing -- the only way to save the original as well as the edited photo is to keep two copies, which can be a messy procedure. Picasa does that automatically for you transparently and with no hassles.

  12. #12
    3 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Pressl View Post
    I've not used either of these image editors, but do use paint.net:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paint.NET

    It is not Photoshop or Gimp, but does everything I need to do and is free and easy to use.

    How does it compare to the programs you have reviewed?
    I also use Paint.NET for almost all work I do with images. It's an excellent and completely free application. I have GIMP as wel for more advanced needs but I rarely ever need to use it. Paint.NET fulfills almost all my needs. The big advantage of Paint.NET is that it is so lightweight. It is fast to start up and is very responsive.

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up

    Hi Gizmo,
    I know you've heard this one a zillion times but you "forgot" GIMP an open source image editor that has a lot of the functionality of Adobe's Photoshop (tm). Yes the interface is not as polished as photoshop (tm) and there is / was a plug in called GIMP Shop which helped to overcome the learning curve for a user used to Adobes' product by making the interface more akin to Photoshop (tm). Unfortunatley GIMP Shop has serious issues for anyone running XP patched past SP2 at least on my system ; there are rummors of a fix to increase compatability but I have yet to find a new version that supports XP sp3 or Win7. However GIMP itself works just fine on Win 7.

  14. #14
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    A company that has a lot of top quality audio, video and photo tools is Magix. Their free, Extreme Photo Designer 6 is comparable to PhotoShop Elements.
    http://www.magix.com/us/free-downloa...hoto-designer/
    Not to mention them is missing a quality option.
    Harald

  15. #15
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    I often use different editors for different tasks..

    But for most general work, I turn to Photofiltre. There is a free and a paid version. The direct link to the free version (6.4.0) is here:
    http://photofiltre.free.fr/frames_en.htm

    Picasa is too much "eye candy" designed for my tastes and has functions in multiple places. It also seems to have some problems with updating existing thumbnails and even not doing so via manually updating (this across multiple versions). Not sure why.

    However, Picasa does have a very easy to use function to level those crooked horizon shots. THE GIMP also has such a function but it is harder to use (and find).

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