Free Graphic Software

By: , On Monday, November 3rd, 2008

The price of Photoshop too steep for your pockets? Here are some free (and legal) alternatives for you to try.

gimp screen shot

Gimp Screen Shot

Gimp is a great graphic editor with lots of good features, I’d even go as far to say it is the best free alternative to Photoshop available. It supports a wide range of file formats including ico (windows icon files), animated gif files, psd (Photoshop documents), and many more common and not so common file formats. There is also a save for web plugin you can download to add save for web functionality as found in Photoshop. I’ve read some complaints about Gimp’s interface but I found it pretty easy to use, I like the thumbnails in the Open Recent  option of the File menu, as well as the drop down image menu at the top of the docks. Gimp also has an online user community and many other plugins available for download. There is also a portable version available at portableaps.com.

Paint.net Screen Shot

Paint.net Screen Shot

Paint.net is a cool graphic editor, think of it as MS paint on steroids. It supports layers as well as all web formats, no gif animation though. Paint.net also has a user comunity and plugins available which add graphic effects and file support. One cool thing about paint.net which stands out is the image list next to the tool bars which shows large thumbnails of all files currently open in Paint.net, the program also displays thumbnails in the Open Recent option of the File menu like Gimp does, but with large thumbnails by default.  Paint.net is a great program for those looking for something more than what MS Paint has to offer.

Artweaver Screen Shot

Artweaver Screen Shot

Artweaver is a program with an interface very similar to Photoshop. It supports psd and other common file formats, although I had trouble opening some psd files, it also supports gif animation, and gives the user file optimization options, with an image preview upon saving. There is aslo a portable version of this program available from the developer on the same web site.

Inkscape Screen Shot

Inkscape Screen Shot

Inkscape is in a class by itself being the only free vector based graphic program that I know of. Most of the tools are easily recognizable to anyone who’s familiar with design software such as Adobe Illustrator. Some interesting things to note are that Inkscape has a connector tool, like one you would see in software used for creating diagrams and flow charts, it supports editing for a huge array of file formats including ai, and can save as many common vector formats including svg, ps, eps, pdf, and odg (open document drawing).  Inkscape can also export your work as a png file, and has a built in xmpp client that lets you use the program as a white board.

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