Top 10 Best Free Graphics and Image Editors on the Internet
A few years ago, if you or anyone else had wanted to edit photographs or create graphics from scratch, this meant having to shell out a minimum of $90 for a decent graphics software application. And if you’d especially wanted to play around with the kings of graphics applications and image editors (such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop), you were looking at prices running into the hundreds of dollars.
Because these programs were so pricey, many people were kept from using the great new digital editing and creation tools that could only be had in software like Photoshop, Photo Impact, or Paint Shop Pro. This meant that more often than not, aspiring computer artists and image editors were stuck with the mediocre software that usually came bundled with their printers or, worse yet, limited to aggravating free trials of high end programs lasting 30 days or less.
Fortunately, we’ve come a long way from those days when your only option for creating and editing images was Microsoft Paint. Starting several years ago with the release of Gimp, many developers have come out with outstanding freeware alternatives to their more expensive counterparts, giving burgeoning artists and photographers on a budget access to all the cool, handy and fun tools that they were previously shut out of.
So what are these alternatives? There are quite a few I could list here. However, for the sake of brevity I’ve decided to narrow my list down to what are, in my opinion, the top ten best graphics and image editing freeware applications on the internet. Keep in mind that because they are free, they’ll never quite match the full functionality of industry standards like Photoshop or Illustrator. However, they do come very close– so close, in fact, that you may never feel the need to upgrade to a more expensive program again once you’ve used them.
- Art Rage 2.5 Starter Edition
Art Rage is a paint program that enables users to create digital images with painting and drawing tools that simulate traditional art media, like graphite (pencil), ink, paint, and pastels. This makes it perfect for classically trained artists who want to create art in the style of old school paintings and drawings without having to deal with spilled turpentine, oily rags, pencil shavings, and messy brushes.
- Pixia 4
Pixia is a paint program and image editor that got its start in Japan, but became so hugely popular that it was eventually translated into several languages. It supports layers, transparency, and 8bf plugins, plus has a large number of filters to edit your photographs with. Just a warning, though– the interface is a bit counter-intuitive, so make sure you download the English help file to get a sense for it, or else you’ll be pulling your hair out over the simplest tasks.
Imagine a better looking, enhanced, and updated version of Microsoft Paint and you get Paint.net, a combination drawing program and image editor that comes with a robust set of tools to fix common photo problems, such as poor contrast and color. The drawing tools leave a little bit to be desired; however, it comes with an incredible array of screentone fills, just perfect for anyone who draws comics– especially manga, which relies heavily on screentone for its unique look.
Now achieving a cult-like status among its fanbase, Gimp was one of the first freeware graphics applications to pose a serious challenge to Photoshop’s dominance in the computer graphics world. Once you’ve downloaded it, you’ll see why– the program comes so close to matching the functionality of Photoshop that many feel it does as good a job at image creation and editing as the Adobe giant itself.
Inkscape is a lightweight vector drawing program with an equally lightweight and user friendly GUI. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of Adobe Illustrator (artistic brushes, filters, etc); however, if all you want to do is quickly create vector-based images without being overwhelmed by a bloated interface or more features than you really need, this program is a welcome alternative.
- Dog Waffle 1.2
Dog Waffle is a paint and animation program with an outstanding set of painting tools that mimic traditional art media, plus one of the best set of particle brushes I’ve ever seen called “optipustics”, which allows users to render objects from nature– such as grass, flowers, tree branches, skies, and supernovas– in a very realistic way. If there’s any drawback to this program it’s the interface, which isn’t exactly the prettiest or user-friendliest around. However, learning the program will be worth your while, because some incredible artwork can be made once it’s been mastered.
Irfanview is neither at heart a paint program or image editor, but a hugely successful image viewer that literally sees millions of downloads per month. There’s a reason for its popularity– tons of functionality is packed into a program that is so lightweight that it fires up in milliseconds when you open it. View your images, batch convert them, edit them with a few filters, create slideshows and thumbnails, and wonder what life was like before you downloaded this handy utility.
- DrawPlus 4
DrawPlus, a vector drawing package, is probably as close to Adobe Illustrator as you’ll ever get in a freeware application, even more so than Inkscape. Filled with tons of gradient fills, an animation program, and handy features like Quick Shapes, there isn’t a thing you can do in DrawPlus that you couldn’t do in Illustrator.
It’s a shame that this drawing application and image editor hasn’t gotten more acclaim and recognition, because like Irfanview, it’s a lightweight application that comes jam-packed with filters and handy tools that no serious editor of photographs or image creator could be without, including an .ico creator and batch convertor. In addition to its functionality, Photo Filtre also has one of the best designed GUIs I’ve ever seen in any program, with an emphasis on quick workflow; popular image editing actions that usually take several clicks in Photoshop are reduced to one, and happily, there aren’t a bevy of palettes swarming the interface or a guzillion sub-menus to navigate through when you work. Highly recommended.
- PhotoPlus 6
By the makers of DrawPlus (see above), PhotoPlus is hands down the best freeware image editor and graphics application available right now. Not only can you create images from scratch with it, you can edit your photographs using a bevy of filters and tools; create animated gifs; and even create web page layouts and export them as html. It’s almost like a perfected version of Photoshop, stripped of all its bloated excesses and pared down to the most important functions and features. Keep in mind that in order to use this program you will have to register it and sign up for Serif’s newsletters. But the good thing is that the newsletters are infrequent and almost always offer attractive deals for newer editions of PhotoPlus and the company’s other graphics applications and products. A must have.
To conclude, these are some of the best graphics to have come out in modern times where you can edit images on PhotoPlus and other software because it completes the website and if you have a preventivo realizzazione sito web thrown in for good measure, it will make it stand out among other websites.