Saturday, February 11, 2017

Photoshop Alternatives

Adobe Photoshop, the go to software for professionals and enthusiasts, for so many years, simply because they do it right and they provide all the necessary tools needed for an artist or a designer to produce a beautiful piece and that’s what anyone wants, results and consistency.

It’s well maintained and regularly updated to utilize the latest technologies and trends for design, that’s why it’s been the popular choice for so many years.

If you’re like me though, and you only need the casual and very basic image manipulation such as crop, resize or optimize images, then Photoshop will seem like an unnecessary investment, but I have to emphasize that it is a wonderful product, but if you won’t be able to make good use of it, then here are your Photoshop alternatives.

GIMP – The GNU Image Manipulation Program: (Free)

Probably the second most popular choice after Photoshop, for the main reason that it’s free and it provides really strong tools which can produce results on a professional grade.

It’s also compatible on multiple platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux), which makes it even more appealing to professionals and enthusiasts out there, simply because no matter what computer you’re on, there is a good chance you’ll be able to run GIMP on it.

The great thing about this software is that even for beginners in design, like me, they can easily make it a base for training and I’m sure if you look around you’ll be able to find many great tutorials on how to produce professional results, using GIMP.

My main use with GIMP though is basic image manipulation as I mentioned before, specifically optimizing images for internet.

Optimizing images for internet helps your users save on bandwidth by stripping away unnecessary information from some images and reducing the quality of the image to be displayed on a web page. That’s why sometimes you would see a “Preview” and then under it “View Full Image” for example.

Their website is also filled with plugins and tools that can enhance the software even more, they are not bundled with the installation because they are so many, and not every person would need all of the tools, saving you from bloatware, basically.

Paint.NET: (Free)

This one has been my favorite for a long time, for my very basic needs, it does the job. Think of it as Microsoft Paint with a boost.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as basic as Microsoft Paint, but it is in no way as feature rich as GIMP or Photoshop. I have this installed on my laptop just in case I need to do some quick image manipulation on the go, it never disappointed and it gets a thumbs up from me.

One of its downsides though is that it’s only supported for Windows, which is kind of obvious from the big “.NET” in its name. However, since I’m mostly a Windows user, I haven’t found it to be much of a hassle, though I’m more than sure that both Linux and Mac OS have software that is as capable or even more from their software resources. Such as GIMP!

It has layers support, gradients, crop, resize, color and saturation and much more. If you don’t want a heavy software to manage your image editing then this would be the choice I would recommend.

Honorable Mention:
 
I didn’t list this up there simply because it’s only supported for smartphones and tablets, mainly Android and iOS, or to describe it more accurately as they do on their website, it is also “an online editor”.

Pixlr:
 
This one is a nifty tool to have on your tablet or smartphone to edit, enhance or add to the pictures you take with your camera.

Its specific target is just that, though I’m sure many people were able to produce beautiful results with it despite what they advertise, simplicity. It will make your family photo album on your smartphone look beautiful and the effects options is truly marvelous. If you edit a lot on your smartphone or have looked for an option to do so, then Pixlr is your choice.

Conclusion:
 
Photoshop is a beast of a software, we’ve all seen over the years what it can do and we were always amazed, though that also requires talent from the user as well, which is not easily obtained. Because it’s so powerful, it can give your wallet a big hit.

Consider the alternatives and see what they can do first, maybe you’ll be able to produce as good of a result with them as you would with Photoshop, if you Google some of the work produced with GIMP for example, trust me, you will be impressed.

Know your needs, and make your choice.

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