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As awesome and powerful as Photoshop and Photoshop Elements are, these programs can be both expensive and overwhelming for many users. However, there are several free image editors or design alternatives that can be downloaded for free, such as Delight’s Image Tricks.

Unlike Photoshop, Image Tricks contains all of its tools in a single interface. It doesn’t require opening several menus and panels, tools and stylesheets, to produce particular effects.

Of course, Image Tricks is no replacement for Photoshop and in many areas it doesn’t offer the range of controls found in more advanced editors. But if you’re looking to have some fun with your photos or designs, then Image Tricks could be a very useful tool.

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A free download of Image Tricks gets you 75 core image effects (95 in the pro version), 35 Quartz Compositions (40 in the pro version) and 13 image generators (20 in the pro). As you can see, even without the pro version you get quite a lot for free. So let’s explore a few of the offerings.

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Basic Setup & Tools

First off it’s easy to get an image into Image Tricks. You can simply drag and drop an image from your Finder into the Image Tricks window, or you can import from your iPhoto library. Unfortunately though, there’s no built-in media panel in Image Tricks. Thus clicking on the iPhoto button simply opens up the application itself wherein you drag an image from iPhoto into the image editor.

Other menu bar items include tools for resizing and rotating photos, and pasting in images copied from other applications. When you import a photo into Image Tricks, it duplicates that original, so in that sense it’s nondestructive. However, changes you make and apply to the copy are permanent. After applying all your “tricks” to a photo, you can save it as a PDF, TIFF, GIF, JPEG, or PNG file.

There are plenty of filters for Image Tricks, from basic cropping, color and exposure adjustments, to really funky and outlandish tricks for distorting an image and adding various effects.

With the  free 75 core filters, you can adjust colors (saturation, brightness, contrasts, Hue, Sepia, etc), distort images using Twirl, Bump, Pinch, and more. You can create stylized art for making mosaics and using halftone effects. And you can even blend one or more photos for creative designs.

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How It Works

Basically you select a filter in the right panel and adjust it to your needs or liking. You click the Apply button to apply the adjustments. You can of course click Command+Z to undo an applied effect, and you can also go to the File>Revert to Saved.

But there doesn’t appear to be a way to convert back to the original image after you have applied several filters and saved the image several times. So it’s best to save the image only after you made all your applications, so that you can revert back to the original copy if need be.

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Layer Masks

Image Tricks also includes several dozens masks that you can quickly apply in the same way you apply a filter. You don’t have a lot of control over the masks, but they are quick down and dirty effects you can apply when needed. They also look better once you save them outside the editor.

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Design Filters

If you need to make a quick design backdrop or wallpaper, for example, you can use Image Tricks”˜s Generator filters. The designs are largely template based, but you can adjust the shapes, density, colors, smoothness, resolution, etc. of many of the effects. Many of these designs would require much more work, though with more control, in Photoshop.

Overall Image Tricks is quick, pretty easy to use, and in many ways fun. These sample pieces of artwork provide you with an example of what Image Tricks is capable of producing with a little time and creative effort.

Let us know what free image editors you use for the Mac and what you primarily use them for.

  1. Anupam 3985
    June 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    well organised article

  2. Phil
    June 19, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Thats great articles. all free effects in images and some time we spent lot of time to get these changes done

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