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free image editorMac doesn’t count nearly as many free image editors as Windows. This is something you won’t notice if you’re using Adobe Photoshop, Pixelmator or Apple’s own Preview How To Use Your Mac's Preview Application To Edit Photos How To Use Your Mac's Preview Application To Edit Photos Read More application. But you’ll need a second mortgage to afford Photoshop, and Preview doesn’t do much more than annotating and cropping.

Looking for freeware clears the stage of all but a few players, most famously GIMP 5 Websites to Learn GIMP Online 5 Websites to Learn GIMP Online Read More and Acorn Easily Make Quick Edits to Your Images with Acorn [Mac] Easily Make Quick Edits to Your Images with Acorn [Mac] Read More . We decided to take Seashore for a spin. It takes the middle ground between the advanced, but overly cluttered and complicated GIMP, and the beautiful simplicity of Preview.

Seashore

The Seahorse project has been out and about for quite a while, and aggregated a notable followership, but it was discontinued for the last three years. Only a couple of months ago, Seashore pushed out a working 0.5 preview, featuring drastic changes to the interface and functionality.

free image editor mac

Seashore is based on GIMP and developed with the Cocoa framework, and proves once and for all that GIMP-based applications don’t have to be awkward. As an intermediate to advanced image editor, Seashore hasn’t ported all the available features, but enough for the average user.

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free image editor mac

All these can be found in the default application view, with a layer overview on the left and a feature-ridden ribbon on the top which, together with the pop-ups, allows immediate access to all features. These cover selection tools, brushes, filling, effects, nudge, stamp, color picker, crop tool, and more.

Now here’s where Seashore shows itself as an old-fashioned image-editor, but not in a particularly good way. The application misses tools for creating shapes, both free-form and basic squares and arrows. Typesetting is included, but rasterizes itself after creation – which, in human language, means that the text, font type and color can’t be changed later on.

image editor

This can be circumvented by using the selection tool to select part of an empty layer, and coloring it with the fill tool. It shouldn’t be necessary, but it allows you to create a quick square, rectangle, circle, ellipse and free-form shape. This can be made easier by ticking off the aspect ratio checkbox.

free image editor

The effects menu, mentioned above, looks like a blurred dot and arrow. This feature makes up for the lack of freeform shapes, and is again focused around image manipulation. These effects cover a goodly number of things, both fun and practical. You can use the blur and distort tools, 11 total, and the generate and tile tools to create great backgrounds or warp your photographs. The transform tools are especially useful for manipulating multiple layers, including perspective, scale and rotation.

Summary

Compared to GIMP, using Seashore is an incredibly fluid and intuitive experience. It’s obvious, though, that Seashore isn’t intended for seasoned graphic editors, and it isn’t a match for the likes of Photoshop and Pixelmator. Seashore is also an old-school free image editor. Although the effects pane offers an incredible array of features, the absence of simple shapes makes this application mostly appropriate for working with ‘real’ photographs.

What’s you’re opinion on Seashore? Let us know in the comments section below!

  1. Paul P
    September 17, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Anyone interested in Seashore should also check out GraphicConverter at http://www.lemkesoft.com/. It can be used free without restrictions, but the license is only $35. I've been using it for many years, and the developer, Thorsten Lemke has consistently improved the program and maintained compatibility with the new OS-X releases. It can run on Snow Leopard, but you can still get the OS-9 version.

  2. Paul P
    September 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Anyone interested in Seashore should also check out GraphicConverter at http://www.lemkesoft.com/. It can be used free without restrictions, but the license is only $35. I've been using it for many years, and the developer, Thorsten Lemke has consistently improved the program and maintained compatibility with the new OS-X releases. It can run on Snow Leopard, but you can still get the OS-9 version.

  3. Gaming PC
    September 15, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Nice, will check it out, thanks :)

  4. Srivatsan Venkatesh
    September 14, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I can't install and run it from my flash drive. Anyone know how to pull that off? I got it to work with the older one but not the new one.

    • Aibek
      September 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm

      well, I am not a Mac user but I think in order for it to work on the flash drive it should be portable. is it?

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