A common issue clients run into is editing images for banners and websites. Here are some free image editing programs that will help you maintain a professional presence without breaking the bank.
You may have already heard of GIMP, the free open-source image editor that rivals Photoshop in both power and complexity. Using GIMP, you can accomplish almost anything you’re looking to do in Photoshop, there may just be more steps involved or a few custom plugins to download.
There are a couple off-shoots of GIMP, including GimpShop and GimpPhoto, which both try to make the user interface more similar to Photoshop. However, these aren’t as actively developed, so I recommend sticking with the original. The newest version of GIMP, now loads and processes images faster, and has a cleaner layout. If you want something truly comparable to Photoshop, for absolutely zero cost, GIMP is the best you will find.
Download the photo editor here.
Paint.NET isn’t quite as advanced as Photoshop and GIMP. It’s more of a mid-level editor that focuses on being super easy to use, but has many of the essential intermediate features that would normally require Photoshop, like layers, history, an action manager, and a whole host of effects that will make most image tweakers and amateur designers happy.
I’ve personally used Paint.NET for years to create great-looking graphics for websites, video games, online videos and more. It has everything you need to take your image editing to the next level, and will serve you well. Not bad for a program that doesn’t cost anything, right?
Unfortunately, Paint.NET is Windows only. Download the photo editor here.
Adobe has publicly announced that they are no longer supporting CS2, are no longer maintaining an activation server for it, and Adobe provides a download and activation code for anyone with an Adobe ID.
Photoshop CS2 definitely looks older, as newer versions of the creative suite have an updated interface and new features (most notably all the “content aware” features), but CS2 will give you all of the core features that made Photoshop the standard that it is today.
Technically, Adobe isn’t giving it away though, and in order to legally use the software, you must have owned it in the past.
While there are many choices for a free image editor out there, these four stand out above the rest, and are worth a try.