As a graphic designer, I spend a fair amount of time working with images. Often times I’m creating graphics and images to use on WordPress websites we build for our clients. If you are someone who manages a WordPress website like this, you may be responsible for creating posts and pages that go on a website like this, and often times these posts and pages will contain images. Or, you may have other responsibilities that involve using and manipulating images. You’re probably not going to be editing as extensively as a full-time graphic designer, but you will be doing basic image editing operations like resizing, cropping, rotating, and saving in different file formats.
As we are training clients to use their new WordPress websites, I will often notice that they don’t really know whether or not they have software to do this basic image editing. Or, if they don’t have the software, they’re not aware of the tools that are available. So, I’ve put together a short list of applications that are free, free, free – for both Windows and Mac – that allow you to do some basic image manipulation.
If you’re a Mac user, this one is right under your nose. Preview is a multi-purpose viewing and image editing application that comes pre-installed with every Mac. Not only does it let you preview images, it lets you do basic image manipulation as well. You may find that it’s all you really need.
(Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8)
While every Windows computer comes with Paint, it’s really a poor application for doing any image editing. Fortunately, Paint.NET is a freeware/donationware program developed years ago as part of a undergraduate design project mentored by Microsoft. For anyone who needs to do basic image editing on Windows, I would suggest downloading Paint.NET first and see if this will give you the tools you need. Since it’s free, there’s nothing to lose.
Download at www.getpaint.net
(Windows, Mac OSX)
If you’re looking for something that is a little more focused on photo editing, you can try Photoshop Express. While it does include basic image manipulation tools like crop and resize, it also includes many image adjustment tools like red-eye removal, sharpen, hue adjustment, etc. Because it runs in Flash, it is platform-independent and will work on Windows and Mac OSX. You will need to sign in with or create an Adobe ID to use (which is free)
Login or create an account at www.photoshop.com/tools
(Windows, Mac OSX, Linux)
GIMP – which stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program” – is a free image editing program that is compared in many ways to Photoshop, which is the de-facto standard when it comes to image and photo editing programs. So, if you’re finding that Preview, Paint.NET, or Photoshop Express don’t offer enough features, you might want to give GIMP a try. While it may not have all of the features of Photoshop and can have a rather steep learning curve, GIMP is a favorite among those who want to do more advanced image editing and don’t want to break the bank to do it.
Download at www.gimp.org
(Windows, Mac OSX)
This is sort of a bonus recommendation that goes along with GIMP. One of the downsides of GIMP is that it has a steep learning curve and doesn’t resemble Photoshop. Well, GIMPShop is essentially GIMP, but with a user-interface that is much closer to Photoshop. So, if you are used to Photoshop but just don’t have access to the software, you may want to take a look at GIMPShop.
Download at www.gimpshop.com
(Image by Hung Ju Lu on Flickr)