Photographs are little gems and just like with shaping a rough diamond it requires a lot of work as well as skill to reveal the true and full beauty of a simple snapshot. And there are a thousand different ways to get there. Here are ten image editing programs that may come in handy one way or the other.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program is a powerful and free piece of software that can handle all basic image editing tasks and much more beyond that. The fact that it’s open source and available for UNIX platforms, Mac and Windows makes it extremely flexible.
This is probably the most powerful free photo editing software on the market. It can complete simple tasks such as red eye correction, resizing, cropping, but it also supports layers. The program is open source and a great collection of user created plugins is available from its online community.
It’s hard to recommend one over the other here, so depending on what you want to do with these programs, Paint.NET and GIMP are probably equally great…given you are a Windows user.
This is the perfect tool if you want to create panorama images from a series of photos. It works fully automatic and doesn’t require user input. The program can handle both horizontal and vertical stitching. The demo is fully functional and free. One thing you have to be prepared for though is the amount of system resources this program will occupy, depending on the options you select. The image below was stitched together from six individual pictures. It took less than 30 seconds, but I used simple default settings.
3. Microsoft Reserach Group Shot
If you need to take a photo of a large group of people, chances are that no matter how many shots you take, there won’t be a single photo everyone is happy with. This is where you should give Microsoft Group Shot a chance. With this software you can select your favorite parts in each shot of the series and the program will merge all your photos into the perfect composite image. Unfortunately, it appears the beta software download has expired, however future releases are around the corner.
It’s the New Year and maybe you still need a paper calendar. To quickly create a personal and unique edition, try this easy to use software.
5. Opanda PhotoFilter
Filters can make a photo very interesting and special. But it’s tiring to carry around filters for your camera or play with camera or software settings endlessly to yield the desired results. Easier yet, use Opanda PhotoFilter to post process your snapshots. The program comes equipped with more than 100 different settings simulating Kodak, Cokin and Hoya filters.
6. Foto Mosaik
Create a mosaic picture from hundreds or thousands of photos. See example below.
The mosaic image is the eagle displayed in the top left, the rest of the image is a zoom into the single tiles, indicated by the red frame.
7. Win Morph
Morph, warp and distort images in a professional and high quality way. This program gives you all the freedom you could possibly ask for from a free package. It works as standalone application or as a plugin for various video editors, it offers advanced keyframing, blending and distortion tools for total control and can even do dynamic morphing with various input (JPEG,BMP,PCX,PNG,PBM,TGA,TIFF) and output (JPEG,BMP,PNG,TGA,TIFF,AVI,MPEG and SWF) file formats. Are you sold, yet? No wait, it’s free!
8. Free Digital Camera Enhancer
This is the tool to give your digital images the final touch. Reduce noise caused by bad light situations, smooth skin in portraits, correct the midtones, and add saturation. Naturally, this will work best on bad images.
9. JPEG Lossless Rotator
With most programs, the simple act of rotating your JPEG photo into the right orientation and saving it causes a loss of quality. JPEG Lossless Rotator does the job without recoding your photo. Rather it performs a special lossless block transformation which leaves the quality of your photo untouched. Yes, this is a tool for freaks…or geeks.
That’s about it, on the same note MUO also covered online image editing apps and you can read about them at 5 powerful Online Image Editing Tools.