free alternatives to Photoshop

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free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:01 pm

I need some suggestions as to what can substitute for Adobe Photoshop. This is for my mom's Windows Vista computer and she is balking at paying $80 for Photoshop Elements, much less the $600+ for regular Photoshop. Do you have any suggestions for similar photo functionality as Photoshop at low cost (or better yet free) and relatively easy to use? Thanks for you assistance.
Laptop: HP Pavilion 17-e016dx. AMD A8-5550M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 8550G integrated video, 17.3" display, 1600*900 (HD+) resolution, SD card reader, Windows 8.1 (DL Classic Shell)
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:04 pm

In before that guy comes in and tells you to "google it".

I use Paint.NET: http://www.getpaint.net/

It's free, and it was relatively easy teaching my girlfriend how to use it.
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:06 pm

will your Mom know the difference between vista and ubuntu? Why not do her a favor, install ubuntu and gimp?
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:09 pm

GIMP is available for Windows; cutting the whole thing over to Linux just to run GIMP isn't necessary.
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:20 pm

just brew it! wrote:GIMP is available for Windows.
http://www.gimp.org/windows/
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:33 pm

What does your Mom intend to do with her "Photoshop"?
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:45 pm

Another satisfied Paint.net user here, although it depends on the intended application. For image resizing, minor touch-up, and basic softening/sharpening/artistic filters, it has a pretty good selection, including a simple layers capability. There are also third-party add-ons to enable support for features such as RAW image manipulation, although the last time I played with third party add-ons I encountered stability issues. GIMP goes up another step of complexity with correspondingly more power, somewhere a bit above PSE from what I can tell.
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:06 pm

It's pretty common to find Elements bundled with other things (such as scanners), which might be something to keep an eye out for if/when you're in the market for something else.

For casual users, I think Elements is actually a lot better than full photoshop, as the UI isn't designed around the assumption you've used it for 8 hours a day for the last ten years and so know about all the hidden features that only become available when you hold down the right magic key or click on the three-pixel toolbar triangle, etc. For the same reason, among the products that don't cost money, I'd steer a casual user towards Paint.net rather than GIMP. On the other hand, if she's serious enough about learning the product that she might buy a book to help her learn, you can find a lot more covering Photoshop (even Elements) than Paint.net. But there are video tutorials for Paint.net (and virtually everything else) online, of course, if she's comfortable going that route.

The other potentially major issue is filters and plug-ins. If she has or wants to use those (something that came with her digital camera, say) odds are it's only going to work in PS or PSE (and possibly GIMP -- I'm not sure how broad its compatibility is)
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:36 pm

I have to admit that I needed a free photo editing tool a while back, I used Gimp for that task, and I absolutely hated the experience.

The UI is very Hardcore-Linux like, they try to clone something and add their own touch and mix Mac and Windows on the same box, and the end result is unusable in my opinion.

Since I've been doing only minor photo modifications lately, and I mostly shoot in RAW, I am very happy with Canon editor (not the photo studio or something, but the simple one) and IrfanView for high quality resize, sharpen. That's the only reason I dual boot to Windows + very rarely games.

Of course with new digital cameras, and more experience, there is no need to do per channel sharpening blurring and noise reduction, so maybe that's why I'm happy with those simple tools lately.

P.S.: Ok I just installed Gimp on my Ubuntu laptop, and after working two years in mostly Linux it seems a bit less hostile than it did few years back. But it still jumps at you unlike Photoshop.
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:48 pm

Anarchist wrote:will your Mom know the difference between vista and ubuntu? Why not do her a favor, install ubuntu and gimp?


No need to do that (i.e. use ubuntu). She would lose a lot more if she lost Vista.
Laptop: HP Pavilion 17-e016dx. AMD A8-5550M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 8550G integrated video, 17.3" display, 1600*900 (HD+) resolution, SD card reader, Windows 8.1 (DL Classic Shell)
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:55 pm

for very simple cropping/ resizing / ect. Irfanview.
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:58 pm

If she's doing just basic stuff, as danny e. stated Irfanview would work, as would Google Picasa.
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:33 pm

Adobe Photoshop Express / Online is free and continues to improve. It has the familiar "Photoshop" name, and is very easy / simple to use with most of the basic features.

http://www.photoshop.com/tools/overview

I would also recommend Picasa for desktop, as others have pointed out, for basic photo enhancement utilities.
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:09 pm

Yeah gimp is great, but probably just as much overkill as Elements would be.

I'd second a vote for Picasa as far as lightweight goes. It is what my girlfriend uses with great success. It doesn't trigger her Luddite tendencies!
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:58 pm

+1 for paint.net

then again, i usually get by with mspaint because anything more is for sissies.
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Re: free alternatives to Photoshop

Postposted on Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:04 am

Another +1 for the windows gimp crew! love it. I haven't used JASC'sPaintShot Pro or Adobe Photoshop in years!

Just don't forget to d/l the free vector editor too to work side-by-side with gimp:

INKSCAPE ( http://inkscape.org/ )
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