At a time of limited new photo opportunities, why not try out some new software for viewing, editing and displaying your images…
Most software applications are available as trial downloads and some suppliers have extended the ‘free use’ period from the usual 30 days to as long as 90 days during the coronavirus emergency.
GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open source program that has been around since the mid-to-late 1990s so there’s been plenty of time to refine it. Available for the Linux, Mac OS X and Windows platforms it provides most of the same features as Adobe’s Photoshop and its user interface is highly customisable. It also supports many of the plugins offered by third-party developers.
Glimpse Image Editor is an open source image editor based on the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Available for Windows (v. 7 or newer) and modern variants of GNU/Linux, it provides a comprehensive set of tools that let users adjust, crop, remove objects, retouch and repair old photos, fix common imperfections like red eye and lens distortion and produce basic animations. The goal of the developers is to experiment with new ideas and expand the use of free software and user input is welcomed.
FastStone Image Viewer (above) is a combined image browser, converter and editor that supports all major graphic formats (including many popular raw file formats) and includes image viewing, management, comparison, red-eye removal, emailing, resizing, cropping, retouching and colour adjustments. It is only available for Windows.
Paint.NET is another Windows-only image editor that was originally developed to replace Microsoft Paint but the latest versions include editing tools like layers, levels and curves adjustments, cloning, an undo history, a gradient tool and support for third-party plugins.
PhotoScape is another open source program that is available for Windows and Mac operating systems. Editing features include resizing, brightness and colour adjustment, white balance, backlight correction, frames, balloons, mosaic mode, adding text, drawing pictures, cropping, filters, red eye removal, blooming, paint brush controls, a clone stamp and effect brushes. Batch processing is supported along with panorama stitching and users can create GIF animations from still shots.
IrfanView is a graphic viewer that has been around for most of the 21st century and is available in many languages as well as coming in 32- and 64-bit versions. It was the first Windows graphic viewer worldwide with Multiple (animated) GIF support and supports embedded colour profiles in JPG/TIFF files as well as Adobe Photoshop Filters. Batch processing makes it valuable for resizing and renaming files as well as applying watermarks.
Adobe is making its Creative Cloud suite of applications available free of charge for two months for current account holders. Follow the procedure outlined by Petapixel to access this promotion. Adobe is also providing free access to Creative Cloud for students and educators through to 31 May, 2020.
Serif has extended the free trial period for its Affinity suite – which includes Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher – from 30 days to 90 days. It is also offering a 50% discount for users who would prefer to buy and keep the applications, both desktop and mobile, until at least 20 April.
ACDSee offers free 30-day trials of its Digital Asset Management and photo and video editing applications along with online tutorials and webinars.
Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 16, an inline video editor similar to Adobe Premiere Pro, is free to download for Linux, macOS and Windows computers. (The more comprehensive, multi-user DaVinci Resolve Studio 16 sells for US$299 in total – which means no monthly cloud licensing.)
You can also see a useful list of six “Top Free Video Editing Software” on the Videoproc website.
Also see Photo Review’s Software reviews.
For more photo software tips see Photo Review’s Photo Editing pocket guide.
And see regular photo software and editing advice in Photo Review quarterly magazine.