Photoshop is probably the most popular non proprietary piece of software in the world. It is compatible with both Mac and PC and can be used by a variety of personnel. I know designers who use it, mom’s who use it, I even know a group of grandmothers that use it. The only problem is that it cost’s multiple hundreds of dollars to get the fully featured version, and even the simple version usually will cost around $60. For the broke college student or the person who just does not have that kind of money to shell out what options do they have? Well they actually have several free options and today I am going to tell you about some of them. We will start off with my personal favorite;
PAINT.NET is by far my favorite alternative to Photoshop. It is much simpler to figure out and has a lot of awesome features built right into it. You can color correct, add filters, design logos, add text, the list goes on and on. But probably the coolest feature, in my opinion, is the community built around the program. People from all over the world have posted tutorials on how to use this piece of software. And if you need a feature that is not built into the program you can probably find a plugin that will do the job. Some plugins will even allow you to import and export Photoshop files so you client does not have to know you do not use Photoshop. Or you can easily download Photoshop templates and still be able to edit them in this free alternative. The possibilities are almost endless with PAINT.NET
GIMP is my next suggestion for a free alternative to Photoshop. It may have a strange name and a strange mascot but it is very powerful. It tends to lack a lot of the community built plugins but a lot of experienced designers prefer GIMP over PAINT.NET due to the amount of complexity that you can achieve right out of the box. And it can seem to be a bit more modular, I find it easier to customize my GIMP work area then I do on PAINT.NET
And my final suggestion is something you most likely already have installed on your computer, Paint. Paint was designed by Microsoft back in the early 90’s to allow you to edit pictures or draw some cool things on your PC. The program has not progressed a lot since then, but the user interface is very simple. If all you need to do is resize or crop your photo then this is probably your best bet. And the nicest thing is, if you have a PC, you already have the program!