Image-editing software can help you alter images that you may have downloaded from the Internet, scanned for your business card or webpage, or taken with your digital camera. This type of software is incredibly helpful to have around. However, the most popular image-editing applications – Adobe Photoshop and its simplified brethren: Photoshop Elements, Corel Paintshop Pro, and Macromedia Fireworks, can be rather costly. Why not save some clams and get some programs that are absolutely free?

Paint.NET is an image and photo manipulation software that runs on Windows. It was developed at Washington State University by computer science students, and was intended to be a juiced-up freeware replacement for the MS Paint software that comes standard with all Windows operating systems. Paint.NET has many powerful features such as special effects, layers, unlimited undo, masking, color, tone and lighting adjustments. Whew!

PhotoPlus Starter Edition is free software that is chock full of features we’re sure everyone will use: image maps, image slicing, smart shapes, export optimizing. Uh, what? But really, it does have great things like red-eye removal tool, all sorts of photo enhancement tools so you can touch up your pictures, and did we say that this is free? Sorry Mac users – PhotoPlus 6 is for Windows only.

GIMP for Windows
Gimp for Mac
GIMP (which means “GNU image manipulation program”) is a popular open-source image editor developed by volunteers. It was created to be an open-source replacement for Adobe Photoshop. We recommend this software for people who are more comfortable with computers – it’s a bit more confusing to install and navigate than PhotoPlus and Paint.NET. It’s also available (and originally created) for Linux users.

GimpShop is a version of GIMP that is supposed to be friendlier to Adobe Photoshop users. GIMPshop users have found the interface of GimpShop to be easier to navigate than GIMP. In many instances, Photoshop tutorials can be followed in GIMPshop with no changes or with little modification.