Top three free image editors for Windows

Roch was looking for some open source or free graphics programs. I made the assumption that it’s for Windows. So here’s my take on graphics programs.
gimp.jpg Everyone in the open source world knows of Gimp. Gimp was created to be a direct Photoshop alternative. There is even a Gimpshop spinoff that takes Gimp and renames it into the Photoshop tool names if you’re extremely fond of Adobe’s tool but couldn’t handle the learning curve.
Paint.net is a good image editor… quick and dirty. It’s actually more to replace Microsoft Paint, but the features for this are somewhere between Photoshop and MS Paint. I’ll say that perhaps I’m a little biased due to the fact that it’s from my alma mater and my department. Actually, not really. The tool itself is actually very good, but it only works with XP and above. For a quick fix, this is what I usually load up.
Inkscape is a bit more in my type design graphics program. It’s a vector based drawing program, which means it’s really easy to draw things with a tablet. Vector based graphics are more shapes and lines where you can draw logos and bolder lines. Unlike Photoshop, if you draw a line in a vector based program, the application accounts for your hand shaking the mouse a little and compensates. Thus you get a cleaner line that is more similar to drawing with a pen or pencil.
I can say that these three are probably the most useful three that I provide to all of my Windows boxes. I even keep track of these three in a Foldershare folder so a couple of my systems keep up a shared folder of the latest and greatest of freeware/open source applications. Eventually, I’d love to get more readers to share the bandwidth to help with pushing these applications, but that’s for another day.

  • Thanks, Darkmoon! You are correct that I’m on Windows. These look like some great recommendations. I appreciate it. Thank you.

  • Thanks, Darkmoon! You are correct that I’m on Windows. These look like some great recommendations. I appreciate it. Thank you.

  • You mention tablets. I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to do everything on the cheap (I’m buying a new computer and putting available funds into that), but I’m wondering if you have any experience with the small, low-end tablets, like the Wacom Bamboo? I’ve never used a tablet before but have long thought that I could do some interesting things with graphic design if I had one. The cheapest Bamboo has a work area of 6 in x 4 in. Do you think that’s a sufficient entry-level product or should I wait until I can afford a higher end model?

  • You mention tablets. I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to do everything on the cheap (I’m buying a new computer and putting available funds into that), but I’m wondering if you have any experience with the small, low-end tablets, like the Wacom Bamboo? I’ve never used a tablet before but have long thought that I could do some interesting things with graphic design if I had one. The cheapest Bamboo has a work area of 6 in x 4 in. Do you think that’s a sufficient entry-level product or should I wait until I can afford a higher end model?

  • The oldest tablet I have is a Artpad II (serial port). Pretty small. It was neat at the time, but I went and got a Wacom Graphire BT mainly because of the size and wireless. One thing to note on tablets is that your screen is directly correlated to your tablet. So upper left = upper left of screen. So the smaller the tablet, the more minute actions you have to make for detail work.
    It might not bug some people, but it did with myself. But I’m also trying my hand so I can one day be as good as Anthony (good luck with that goal… lol).

  • darkmoon

    The oldest tablet I have is a Artpad II (serial port). Pretty small. It was neat at the time, but I went and got a Wacom Graphire BT mainly because of the size and wireless. One thing to note on tablets is that your screen is directly correlated to your tablet. So upper left = upper left of screen. So the smaller the tablet, the more minute actions you have to make for detail work.
    It might not bug some people, but it did with myself. But I’m also trying my hand so I can one day be as good as Anthony (good luck with that goal… lol).

  • “So the smaller the tablet, the more minute actions you have to make for detail work.”
    Ah, that makes a huge difference. I think I’ll wait. Thanks for your good advice.

  • “So the smaller the tablet, the more minute actions you have to make for detail work.”
    Ah, that makes a huge difference. I think I’ll wait. Thanks for your good advice.