GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open-source Photoshop alternative. I’ve used GIMP on many occasions and find it to be a powerful tool for “the rest of us”; meaning those that can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on graphical editing software we’ll only use some of the time. It only takes a minute to download and with the amount of help available on their website only takes a couple uses to learn fairly well. I’ve been able to edit and retouch digital photos with GIMP along with creating my own images from scratch – including images with advanced shadow and lighting effects.
This is a cool feature I just learned about. You can create different images and arrange them in a storyboard and use this tool to animate them. Can anyone say stop-motion photography?
GIMP has great tools for photo retouching including red-eye correction, color balancing, advanced cropping, among other advanced tools to correct barrel distortion and vignetting. You can also use the channel mixer to create stunning black and white pictures where you can choose one color to stand out. GIMP also has a magic-wand-esque tool to match colors and cover up imperfections in photos (or the people in them!)
Not only can you edit pictures, you can use GIMP to create your own images.
Extensive online documentation
Because GIMP is open-source, there is no user’s manual. Instead, they have created online tutorials to help beginners and even advanced users of GIMP learn new “tricks”. These are a great place to start, as they teach all of the basics and help uncover hidden features you didn’t even know GIMP had.
File format support
In addition to being supported on various versions of Linux, Mac OS X, and almost all versions of Windows, GIMP supports a huge number of file formats. You can even open and edit Photoshop .psd files!
It’s not a mistake that GIMP has been included on list after list of “must-have” freeware for your PC. It’s a powerful program that will help you accomplish many things. I highly recommend you download it and give GIMP a try!