Tuesday, 07 July 2009

Some of the best photo editing software

The photo editing software packages available for PCs range from easy to use basic tools that cater for the simpler tasks to highly sophisticated programs that require many hours to become familiar with the vast functionality. The quality may vary, but the best photo editing software for PC will depend on what you need and how you intend to use it. A number of packages stand out. These include Google's free Picasa 3, the open source GIMP 2, Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X1 and Adobe Photoshop.

Picasa 3 must be one of the easiest photo editors to use. Not only is it capable of enhancing and transforming your photos, it is a powerful organising tool as well.

Picasa 3 is available as a free download from Google. Once the install has completed, Picasa will search your PC for images and organise these into albums. Large thumbnails make finding your pictures simple. Simply select any pictures that you would like to share and upload these to your own Picasa Web album. Create a slide show of your photos for use on your blog or Website.

Picasa has three editing screens for Basic fixes, Tuning and Effects.

The BASIC FIXES screen includes the most commonly used features. Click the STRAIGHTEN button and a grid appears over the picture. A simple lever allows for quick and easy correction. An I'M FEELING LUCKY button automatically corrects the colour balance, contrast and colour saturation. You may add FILL-LIGHT using a lever, and RETOUCH pictures by copying spots from one part of a photo to another.

Use the TUNING screen to add HIGHLIGHTS and SHADOWS, change the COLOUR TEMPERATURE and to automatically correct lighting problems.

The EFFECTS tab provides a range of special effects that include B & W, SEPIA, WARMIFY, TINT and GLOW. FOCAL B & W allows you to transform a colour photograph into black and white while leaving a key feature of the picture in colour.

Picasa provides a facility to apply automatic fixes to a collection of pictures in a single step.

GIMP 2is a powerful open source graphics editing tool. It is available as a free download. GIMP 2 features a comprehensive toolbox to touch up, correct colour and light, and to transform a picture completely. A whole range of FILTERS, editing tools and LAYERS may be used to fix and transform photos and any other graphics.

Expect to spend several hours to find your way around GIMP. It is not quite as simple to use as Picasa, but the time will be well spent. Full tutorials and help screens are available for download from the GIMP site.

Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X1 is a commercially available product that retails for about $60. Paint Shop Pro was formerly Jasc software and the earlier editions were available for a free 30 day trial. Corel have not opted to continue with this tradition, so you will have to pay to use it. This latest edition of Paint Shop Pro is the simplest version to use to date and has a very powerful AUTO-FIX button that will correct most problems.

The features include a full range of editing tools that allow you full control over what you do with your pictures.

Adobe Photoshop has set the standard for photo editing software. It is also easy to use and includes tools to organise your photos. Again, there are many automatic tools for correcting single or multiple pictures. Adobe Photoshop is available for about $100.

For most purposes, Picasa 3 provides enough functionality for almost any purpose. The main drawback of Picasa is that it does not have a facility to resize photos, something that can be achieved easily using any of the other products. However, its unsurpassed ease of use and other features make Picasa a real winner.

For professional work, GIMP 2 provides everything that is needed to manage your pictures at an unbeatable price. Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo and Adobe Photoshop are both easier to use than GIMP at a cost. The functionality of both of these products is fairly comprehensive.

Many photo editing software packages are good. The one that is best for you is that one that manages what you need to do most effectively.

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