Selected Free Graphics & Image Software
Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, and CorelDraw. It's great for creating posters, illustrations, web graphics and more. Some of its features include; shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping. Inkscape also supports Creative Commons meta-data, node editing, layers, complex path operations, bitmap tracing, text-on-path, and flowed text.
Alternative to: CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, Freehand
With hugin you can assemble a mosaic of photographs into a complete immersive panorama, in fact you can stitch any series of overlapping images into a single image. You can make great panoramic views using a series of overlapping images of the same subject, or landscape. Another great use for this tool is when scanning. Have you ever needed to scan something that was too large for your scanner? Well, now you can scan it in, in several sections until all of it is scanned, then use Hugin to stich the images back together!
GimPhoto is based on the popular open source program GIMP. Although the Gimp is excellent, I always found it hard to get around the program - most likely because I was a long time Photoshop user - whatever the reason, I couldn't get to grips with it.
Then, along came a program called Gimpshop. This remedied the problem by replicating most of the look and feel of Adobe Photoshop. Gimpshops primary purpose was to make users of Photoshop feel comfortable using GIMP. I used this for quite a while, until ...
GimPhoto replicates the look and feel of Adobe Photoshop rather like Gimpshop, but it offers much more besides .. especially if you need a good image editor for professional reasons. There are additional filters (20+), better colour management, CMYK Separation, 16 bit Mode, batch Processing, adjustment layers, styles, and actions. There are also additional brush sets, gradients and patterns too, which makes for a very complete and useful package.
GimPhoto has a lot more depth and features to it than Paint.NET, so if your photo editing or graphics creation is minimal or very occasional, then you are probably better off using Paint.NET as the learning curve isn't so steep. But, if you need a really competent, professional level graphics package, create or edit images for a living, or as a regular hobby, then it's well worth investing the extra time to learn what GimPhoto can offer you.
There are two parts for the complete package GimPhoto and GimPad. Firstly download both parts. Then you must install GimPhoto after that, install GimPad. When they are both installed, you just click on GimPad to start the complete application. Enjoy!
Aternative to: Adobe Photoshop®, Corel Paint Shop Pro®, The GIMP, Paint.NET.
You can easily create funny caricatures as well as a few other image 'tricks' we discovered whilst testing this software (click on the screen icon below to see examples and the images we created). The interface couldn't be any simpler - so it's very easy to use; import a picture, then drag the cursor over the part of the image you wish to modify. You can adjust the size of the cursor, enabling you to drag just a small part of the image or make it bigger for larger selections.
Load in a picture of your friend, a family member, celebrity or collegues, and just have some plain old fun! (This might even keep your children happy for an hour!)
Designed to be immediately intuitive to use and quickly learnable without any assistance, Paint.NET is perhaps the best free graphics package currently available. Anyone who has ever used Adobe Photoshop will be instantly at home with this software.
It supports layers, multiple images, special effects and filters, selctions tools, gradients, history un-do. This is an ideal program to edit, resize your digital photographs, create logos, or banners, or edit photo based images for your website or blog for example.
For beginners, people who only do the occasional photo editing or graphics work, then Paint.NET is absolutely ideal and easily upto the task. For anyone more serious about their image work and wanting to invest more time in learning a more feature rich program, then I would recommend GimPhoto.
Digital painting couldn't be easier with this great natural media paint program. Just select your brush or pencil type, includes oils, water colour, coloured pencil and charcoal to name a few, choose the paper and off you go! Great for any artist, with very realistic digital rendering of the mediums you are using. If you've ever fancied a go with acrylics or oil painting, but without the mess involved, here's your chance!
It has so many uses - I've used it to 'colour' a sketch that I had hand drawn and scanned for example! Works great with a graphics tablet. The only downside is that it saves as BMP format only. To get round this, open the finished image in another program (such as paint.NET above) and save it again in the format you want (jpg, png or gif if it's for the web).
Another similar program that has a simple and beautiful interface, (but less features) is ArtRage Starter Edition. This one is great for children aswell ... my young daughters love it! Just select the 'Starter Edition' to download.
This is a very capeable program for anyone who needs to take more than the occasional screenshot. It has smart autonaming, lots of capture modes (inluding; full screen, scrolling screens, active window etc.), minimizes to tray, keyboard shortcuts, multi-monitor support, thumbnail generation, apply effects to images.
You can also add arrows, highlights, text boxes, or included clipart to your screen grabs to aid in completing presentations or illustrations for example.
Another great screen capture utility is Faststone Capture, which now unfortunately is no-longer free (it's become shareware). Thankfully, you can still download the last free version they made (v5.3) from here if you are interested. This is perfect if you need something a little more lightweight, but still need the screen capture abilities of 'Screenshot Captor' above, it also has a colour picker built in.
IcoFX is able to create icons for all Windows platforms including Vista. It will also export to PNG with transparency for use on the web, or in other programs such as RocketDock. You can extract images from existing icon sets, import a starting image, or start from scratch. You can apply one of more than 40 effects including drop shadow, select icon size, colour depth, has multiple un-do, and has many drawing tools to achieve the finished article.
The only feature I found lacking was the ability to output as a cursor file (.cur .ani - see program below), but apart from that, you should have every tool you need to create any type of icon you may want to create. Runs WinXP or above only.
An alternative to try, or for Windows systems prior to XP, try iIco. Another good editor, that can produce cursors aswell as icons.
With this software you can create your own static or animated cursors. Many great tools are included for the job, it has drag and drop support, start a cursor from scratch or import an existing image or cursor. This only runs on Windows XP or higher (see above for an alternative for earlier versions of Windows).
Idealy suited to those with digital cameras, or anyone who handles a lot of images (web designers, digital artists etc). It has a nice array of features that include image viewing, management, comparison, red-eye removal, resizing, cropping and colour adjustments. Other features include a high quality magnifier and a musical slideshow with 150+ transitional effects, as well as lossless JPEG transitions, drop shadow effects, image annotation, scanner support, histogram and much more. It supports all major graphic formats (BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, animated GIF, PNG, PCX, TIFF, WMF, ICO and TGA) and popular digital camera RAW formats (CRW, CR2, NEF, PEF, RAF, MRW, ORF, SRF and DNG).
You can use any TrueType font on your system and instantly create a three-dimensional image, with a variety of effects. Useful for making logos for web pages or presentations. You can apply material characteristics to text, using the predefined materials provided, or by creating your own. You can change the size and orientation of the text, or apply a wide range of textures to your text, and then save the static image or animation.
A very versatile colour picker that lets you select colours from websites, images, or anywhere on your screen. It has a magnifier to view right down to a pixel, the ability to save different colour pallets and colour schemes (for different projects). Colours can be adjusted, copied to clip board in one of several formats including RGB, or Hexidecimal.
If you dont need this amount of features in a colour picker, then Faststone Capture (below) has a basic one built in which for most uses is more than sufficient.
All of the images and illustrations in this collection are in the public domain, so you may use them privately or commercially for whatever you wish. This is a very large download (500Mb) so a braodband connection (and the free disk space) are essential. The collection comes complete with the WP Clip Art Viewer Software for browsing the collection.
Admitedly, this isn't the best clip art available in the world, but considering it's free, then it really is worth having.
Do you take any photographs, own a digital camera or work in multimeda or design? If so, then this tool can batch process images quickly, applying flexible resizing methods, rotation, cropping, scaling, watermarking, renaming and more. If you need to prepare images for the web, upload multiple product images to your website or any other image based or related multimedia activity, then this will allow you to bulk process them in no time at all!
UndercoverXP supports JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP formats and can automatically scale front covers, back covers, front + inside, inlays, DVD Boxes, Digital Pictures and CD/DVD labels to the correct sizes. It can print Playstation covers and a variety of label sizes. Other formats can be easily added via a graphical format editor. It's also skinable, if you should want a different look. The program is easy to use and allows you to preview the images as they will appear on your cover. Remarkably, it is only just over 800Kb in size .. and best of all it's free!
It has an assortment of useful features which include:
- Measure objects on the screen such as images, windows and icons
- Capture arbitrary portions of the screen
- Magnify the screen up to 32X magnification
- Read the color of a screen pixel in RGB, hex RGB, CMY, CMYK, HSL, YCbCr, YIQ
- Display rulers anywhere on the screen
- Display a grid overlay on the screen with adjustable grid spacing
- Measure using a number of units including pixels, points, twips, centimeters, or user-defined
- Record measurements to an XML file for later playback or external processing
- Calibrate screen resolution to provide accurate measurements
- Save and restore measurement tool positions using Profiles
- Use predefined Profiles for common screen and video sizes such as NTSC and PAL
- Configure the user interface to show only the information you need
3D Box Shot Maker offers a much more professional way to display any downloadable item you may want to illustrate. For example if you have an ebook to distribute, or you need a box image for a product or some software then this software can produce it for you. You create a couple of flat images, and 3D Box Shot Maker pieces them together as a 3D box, or book image.