Photo Editing Tools

I often wonder what software people are using to prepare the photos they post in their blogs. I have seen mention of a couple and so I thought I would list some of my experiences with software.

Initially I used an LE version of Photoshop that came with my scanner. I was never able to find out what made it LE but I suspect it was an earlier version sold to the scanner company at a very good price. Surprisingly there was no option to update to a full version.

I have tried various demo copies but never found anything that was a big enough improvement to part me from my money. OK I am a bit of a miser but when I spend money I want something for it.

In search for something better I have checked out a couple of free tools and must say I was impressed. They are Open Source alternatives to the commercial editors. Many people may dismiss them for this reason but many open source applications are true alternatives developed in line with user needs not corporate agendas.

First was the GIMP. An Open Source alternative to Photoshop. Despite it having most of the options available in Photoshop it was criticised for its quirky interface. This is not a problem if you haven’t used anything else but coming from Photoshop it was quite a change.

This has never bothered me but it bothered some people so much they developed GimpShop. It is a development of the Gimp with Photoshop like interface. This is one of the advantages of open source, anyone with the knowledge can modify, improve and adapt the original program. Both the Gimp and GimpShop are available for Mac and Linux as well as Windows.

The only complaint I have at the moment with the Gimp is that it does not handle Camera RAW. This is not a major problem as the RAW can be converted to TIFF by software supplied with the camera. It can then be edited with the GIMP. All digital cameras that have a Camera RAW option provide a similar facility. Unfortunately these tools often are only available for Windows and often Mac, never for Linux. Linux has inbuilt support for many digital cameras and the list is growing all the time. Check out Rawstudio to see if your digital camera’s RAW format is supported in Linux.

My advice is check them both out after all they are free so what can you lose.

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