Whether blogging or preparing a presentation, you should always take advantage of the power of visuals. When creating quality graphics or editing photography, Adobe Photoshop is probably one of your first thoughts. With Photoshop’s various products ranging up to $980, the price tag may not be as appealing as the notoriety. Fortunately, if you’re looking for ways to visually enhance your projects without biting into your budget, there are a plethora of free photo editing options available.
First up is GIMP, a free image editing download. Though learning to use GIMP can be a bit of a challenge, it may be worth the frustration depending on how much time you intend to invest in your projects. GIMP features a laundry list of functions that closely resemble those of the well-known Photoshop, sans price tag. Keep in mind, however, that capability and functionality are two separate issues, and a Photoshop veteran may find that while GIMP feels familiar and is able to produce results similar to those of Photoshop, the functions are quite different. Even for a seasoned design pro, it’ll take some time to become accustomed to this one.
Microsoft PowerPoint is a tool that many of us already have at our fingertips but have probably never considered as an alternative to traditional photo editors. PowerPoint offers several features that will allow you create your own graphics and even edit existing clip art. Because PowerPoint is not intended for use as an image editor, its functionality in this aspect is limited. It’s definitely worth a shot, though, if you’re not attempting anything too complex. From basic graphics with witty quotes to visually stimulating infographics, PowerPoint has the potential to get the job done. Just be sure to save your work as a JPEG.
Pixlr is an online editing tool that offers three free easy editing options: Pixlr Editor, Pixlr Express, and Pixlr O-Matic. Each option provides capabilities that are slightly different from each other. For example, Pixlr Editor is great for creating graphics from scratch, Pixlr Express can be used to add cool customizations to existing imagery, and Pixlr O-Matic is the way to go for enhanced editing of your digital photography. Pixlr is also available as a mobile app!
There is a steady trend in the use of infographics, memes and gifs, and the suggestions named here represent only a drop in the bucket of free photo editing options. Conduct some online research, ask around and try some options out for yourself. Only time and patience will determine what software is best for you and your project, but I’m sure it’ll prove to be time well spent.
Tori Chambers – Content Specialist