There’s no argument about it — Adobe Photoshop remains, hands down, the best photo-editing software on the market. For the home user, Photoshop isn’t necessary for basic and semi-advanced tasks, such as resizing, cropping, and exposure correction. Often heralded as the best free alternative to Photoshop, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open-source application that relies on a community of volunteer developers who maintain and improve the product. Once you launch the program, you’ll find a dedicated window that displays the image, and separate windows to organize the toolbox and layers.When using a large display, or two displays, you have a nice, big workspace to play with your images. Besides image editing, PhotoScape also lets you create slideshows and animated GIFs, capture screenshots, and combine and split images. The Nik Collection is a full image-editing suite offered by Google… and it’s now totally free. This allows you to either download whatever tool you need at the time, or download them all and use them interchangeably.
Serif created Photo Plus Starter Edition as a free version of its paid software suite to give users elementary tools for editing photos. Even the most basic digital cameras will often produce very detailed photos with great colours.
Below we’ve rounded up 11 of the best free photo editing software that you can use to make meaningful edits to your images. Just shy of 20 years old, GIMP (aka the GNU Image Manipulation Program), gets regular updates and is widely known as a great and fairly powerful free photo editor. With this program you can make corrections to colours, enhance contrast, brightness and much more. Use the paint tools for lots of different effects, while there’s also support for layers and ways to extend the program.
Luckily, there’s support for layers which means you can apply edits to only certain parts of an image. A simple but effective editing program, PhoXo is a useful editor which has some great fun applications as well as more serious uses. Probably one of the more dated looking options on the market, don’t dismiss Photo Pos Pro immediately. There’s also a degree of support for layers and masks, configurable effects (and lots of them), and a tool which allows you to automate editing tasks. Keep an eye out for some of the fun features too, like the “Magical” effects which allow you to add fireworks, stardust, bubbles and the like to your photographs.
If all you want is something quick and easy to add a special effect to a photo, PhotoScape could be the tool for you.
Here you’ll find hundreds of clipart images, the ability to add custom speech bubbles, great special effects and even the chance to create animated GIFs. You can even get a little bit creative with the options, with the ability to customise some of the artistic styles on offer.
If you’re looking for something to retouch your photos, then PhotoFiltre gives surprisingly impressive results.
If you want something to make basic, but useful, edits, then PixBuilder Studio has a fair amount to offer. Edit your photos directly from the web from any computer (installed with Chrome) or on your Android phone using Google+. There’s also frames to choose from and you can create a miniature scene using the tilt-shift simulator. Best of all, edits are non-destructive so you can go back to your original image at any time. For more free downloads of everything from recovery software to antivirus and video editing programs, visit our sister site TechRadar’s Free Downloads page! It really doesn’t matter how good your camera is, or how good a video maker you are, you will always find that the raw footage will need work. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a bomb on pro video editing software, so if you just want to edit your clips, add music or other soundtracks or apply cool special effects like transitions, there are plenty of free tools around.


This is a very easy program to use, and all you need to do is drag and drop your video clips onto the interface. There is support for most common formats, and the clips are automatically put in the right order. Adding a soundtrack, captions and credits is equally easy and you have the option of saving the finished job as a video file or putting it on Facebook, YouTube or other social media. More control is available should you need it, for example, it’s easy to trim clips and tweak some other other options. Windows Movie Maker is very much aimed at beginners, so while more ambitious users might find it restrictive, it does exactly what it says on the tin. We particularly liked the drawing and selection tools and the range of colour and lighting tweaks. This compact program packs a lot of punch considering its modest download size of 327kb, smaller than a decent photo from a smartphone. Small is beautiful though, as Streamclip enables you to edit, rotate and copy footage and export soundtracks. There were some issues playing back MP4 files, though, and this is very much designed as a program for trimming and file conversion, rather than anything more ambitious. While this program looks a bit long in the tooth and is only designed to work fully with AVI files, there is a lot to like.
As well as all the filters you would expect, such colour and contrast adjustments, brightness and sharpening, you can rotate the footage at any angle.
You do have to dig through quite a lot of menus to uncover this program’s full potential but if you are after a reasonably powerful AVI processing tool, VirtualDub this certainly does the job.
This is the most powerful of all the free editing tools here, with a highly customisable timeline, powerful support for multi-cams, effects you can apply in real time and industrial-strength trimming tools.
Apparently, the people behind Mission Impossible and Batman used Lightworks, so that is a good endorsement.
This is pretty self explanatory, and is designed for video conversion, but you can also use it as no-frills video-editing program. Simply drag and drop video clips onto the interface and it’s easy to put them in order, edit as needed, rotate and flip or convert. But unless you’ve undergone formal training, Photoshop proves a difficult program to master, and is expensive to use.
Downloadable photo editing tools have advanced way past MS Paint, and you really can do almost anything you could do in Photoshop–and sometimes more. Available for Mac and PC, you get a lot of professional-level editing and retouching tools – perfect for designers who can’t or won’t shell out hundreds of dollars to Adobe.
Icons in the toolbox represent actions such as the crop, lasso, paint and brush tools, and you can apply various effects to your photos.
You can customize your toolbar, so you can organize the features you use most, and then revert to the default toolbar when you want to dig deeper into the software’s offerings. This is one of the most powerful and complete online photo tools at the moment, and Google providing it all for free was pretty big news. The tools may take a little time to learn, but by separating out the different functions, the software makes it easier for people to pick and choose what they need in any given moment.
It doesn’t look like Google will be offering patches or updates to these tools, so they may not have much longevity. The software has the basics covered, with tools that let you re-size, apply filters and effects, and reduce red eye, among other functions.
We’ve rounded up 11 of the best free photo editing software for you to try out, with links to download each app directly. However, you might still find that there are issues with white balance, red-eye, lighting or perhaps the odd cropping problem which need to be corrected. You can also sharpen or blur images, fix perspective problems, remove red-eye, add special lighting photos and experiment with effects such as making a photo look like an oil painting. You can customise images with cartoons and the likes, while the ability to add a custom watermark to a group of images can be useful for edits in a hurry.


If you spend some time experimenting with what it has to offer you’ll find plenty of options including paint tools, colour corrections and selection tools. For instance, you can rotate and resize and image as well as tweaking colours, brightness and contrast, add text captions and watermarks, sharpen your photos, remove red-eye and even apply a range of special effects.
You’ll find quite an extensive set of painting and drawing tools, support for layers, smart special effects, the ability to adjust colour and lighting, Photoshop plugin support and more.
And when you want to get a bit more creative, you can add special effects to give it an HDR look, make it look vintage or add lighting effects. Here we’ve rounded up some of the best free video editing software for photographers with links to download each program. The easiest way to add polish and professionalism to your footage is to use video-editing software.
Kate makes it simple to trim and join video files, combine videos with transitions and put together movies with a dedicated soundtrack. As with Windows Movie Maker, this is not designed for more ambitious jobs – it’s not possible to expand the program window to take advantage of higher screen resolutions, for instance – but otherwise, it gives you video editing without tears.
It’s easy enough to join and cut clips without the need to re-encode them, and there is an impressive list of filers – from the basics, like crop and add logo, through to brightness, contrast and colour controls.
While not as immediately obvious to use as the more beginner-orientated programs, Avidemux will deliver great results when you get to grips with it. The task is made harder by the rather scanty documentation, but stick with this program and you will also get good results. The Export tools gives you a lot of control over the finished movie too, and Streamclip can also open multiple files. The interface is very clear and logical and there is an impressive range of filters available once you have trimmed your footage. No matter how much trimming you do, video quality is never lost, as Free Video Dub doesn’t actually re-encode your footage. You also get more conventional video-trimming options as you choose the left and right points through the source movie.
It was originally developed as a free replacement for Microsoft Paint, which comes as part of Windows. Because it lacks certain features of the paid version — the goal is to entice enough that you’ll upgrade — it will only get you so far in your photo editing. There’s also drawing and paint tools along with image transformations, effects and more.
VSDC Free Video Editor makes it easy to save your finished masterpiece, or optimise it for mobile devices or DVD burning. This is isolated to PhotoScape, and won’t infiltrate the rest of your computer with adware, but worth noting. Analog Efex Pro focuses on effects that produce vintage looks or make digital photos appear more natural, while Color Efex Pro provides a ton of filters. It does however, provide tools in an easy-to-use format that allows you to polish photos for your albums. Silver Efex Pro, on the other hand, is tailored for black-and-white images, while Viveza allows you to alter specific colors in the photo without using filters. Take note of Cutout Studio, in particular, which is a toolset designed to help create collages and similar scrapbook-style products. Sharpener Pro allows you to improve clarity and Dfine gives you noise reduction capabilities, and so on.



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