Free or Cheap Photo Software
August 15, 2005 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Is there such a thing as free photo editing software? My 6-months-free-with-computer deal ran out, and Microsoft Paint isn't worth a plug nickel. All I really want to do is resize and crop pictures easily. If there's nothing decent available for free, then I'd be interested in the dirt-cheap category of software, too.
posted by Miko to Computers & Internet (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Get Picassa from Google. It works great for this, and its free.
posted by gus at 12:39 PM on August 15, 2005

There's also the GNU Image Manipulation Program (the GIMP). Free, both as in "free beer" and "free speech."
posted by CrunchyFrog at 12:42 PM on August 15, 2005

Best answer: IrfanView does resize and crop without a lot of ther cruft.
posted by smackfu at 12:45 PM on August 15, 2005

I think XnView is the best free image editing software available.
posted by kdern at 12:45 PM on August 15, 2005

Second on IrfanView.

Second on GIMP, but it's probably too heavy and feature-rich for your needs.

Also, if you ever end up shooting to RAW files, Rawshooter is fabulous.
posted by selfnoise at 12:54 PM on August 15, 2005

I've had trouble setting up and using GIMP* being a windows luser and not really motivated to get it working (being that i'd rather use photoshop, etc), but it looks real powerful; it's definitely overkill for resizing and cropping, but it's probably worthwhile to know how to use it if you'd like to do anything more complicated.

* yeah yeah, i used the installer, and that went smoothly, but there was some library problem or some such with the fonts, and it seemed to use an annoying large amount of resources
posted by fishfucker at 12:55 PM on August 15, 2005

Best answer: I second Irfanview. Version 2.92 is a standalone .exe, <1 meg, and it resizes and crops as well, and as easily, as any program ever created.
posted by box at 12:57 PM on August 15, 2005

FF - you might need to install the GTK library, which has.

GIMP does have a tendancy to kind of creak and do minor odd things on Windows, but I've gotten used to it and it works famously for a program that costs $600 less than Photoshop.

Some photographers also swear by Paint Shop Pro, which I haven't tried. It's a pay software, but costs a lot less than Photoshop.
posted by selfnoise at 1:00 PM on August 15, 2005

Last night I went through about 350 digital photos from a recent trip with Picassa and I am totally in love with it. It intuitive and extremely easy to use. In 2-3 hours I cleaned up, cropped, sharpened and organized a huge set of photos, without ever having used a photography program before. It is a great way to manage your photos, with easy tagging and the like. You can even choose a set of photos and have Picassa burn them to CD as a slideshow for a gift, or create a website with the photos and an thumbnail index page. Grandma will be thrilled.

This is the same week I downloaded Google Earth, so I am deep in Google fanboy mode right now...
posted by LarryC at 1:12 PM on August 15, 2005

Picasa = Awesome.
posted by Jairus at 1:12 PM on August 15, 2005

I used to use Graphics Workshop, it crops, resizes and converts between formats (and it's shareware). But I got Photoshop LE so I could use the "save for web" utility that shrinks the size of jpgs from 250K to 50K without much degradation. I think it was ~$75 at staples.
posted by 445supermag at 1:14 PM on August 15, 2005

Doesn't Picasa fuddle with where your photos are stored? That's the rap (fair or unfair) I've heard about it.
posted by selfnoise at 1:18 PM on August 15, 2005

Thanks for the question and answers -- this is very timely for me, also.
posted by dreamsign at 1:40 PM on August 15, 2005

I'm a huge Irfanview fan, but I bet Picassa is the more appropriate solution.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 2:17 PM on August 15, 2005

I'd like to formally start the rumor that Irfanview was written by unemployed kgb using classified cold war technologies.

It's awesome, small and light.
posted by craniac at 2:31 PM on August 15, 2005

Irfanview is great.

You might also try checking out Paint.NET. It's has some surprisingly good features, considering it's freeware.
posted by xulu at 2:33 PM on August 15, 2005

Paint .Net is a pretty useful program designed to be a (much better) replacement for Paint. It includes a LOT of features over Paint. And it's free.
posted by KirTakat at 2:33 PM on August 15, 2005

Dammit, beaten by xulu
posted by KirTakat at 2:33 PM on August 15, 2005

I've found Paint dotNet to be not only free, but actually quite useful for doing what you want to do. It also seems to have a number of powerful features, too*.

*That is -- there's a bunch of stuff it can do that I have NFI about. The same is true of Photoshop ;)

DAMNIT! On Preview, beaten by everyone. *sigh*
posted by coriolisdave at 2:38 PM on August 15, 2005

I second Paint.Net.

Picassa's image manipulation features are slick but don't actually modify your file until you export it. Which gets rather annoying after a while as you can't just tweek a few pictures and then zip up the original folder as it won't have your modifications.
posted by ralawrence at 2:41 PM on August 15, 2005

I've had Picassa for quite a while and must have changed a setting at some point - that I can't find now because any changes that I make to my pictures are saved right away and the original is then put into a subdirectory called /ORIGINAL

I very much like the way Picassa organises my pics and updates new pics imported from my camera (although I don't use Picasa to do the transfer, I stick to Zoombrowser) The other thing that Picassa is great at is emailing pics because of its interaction with gmail.
posted by jeffmik at 3:45 PM on August 15, 2005

Computer magazines are always giving away last years version of this or that graphics editing program. Get thee down t' newsagents and have a look.
posted by seanyboy at 4:28 PM on August 15, 2005

Miko posted "All I really want to do is resize and crop pictures easily."

Picasa is perfect for this 'cause it doesn't mess with your originals unless you tell it to.

selfnoise writes "Doesn't Picasa fuddle with where your photos are stored?"

Only if you buy into their folder system. It's quite usable without doing so.
posted by Mitheral at 5:31 PM on August 15, 2005

I hesitated to post this until I re-read cheap, free, crop & resize only. If you have MS Office, you probably have a program group called Microsoft Office Tools. Look in it for Microsoft Photo Editor. I'm not sure if it's installed by default. It's not much, but not much sounds like what you're looking for.
posted by klarck at 5:51 PM on August 15, 2005

Picassa, picassa, picassa. Free. Easy. Did I mention free and easy?
posted by filmgeek at 9:53 PM on August 15, 2005

Response by poster: Reporting back: Thanks for all the comments, and the apt descriptions of the programs and consideration of my simple needs. I chose to try Irfanview, downloaded and installed it in under 5 minutes, and immediately put it to use. It's wonderfully simple and easy to use, the commands are intuitive, and it's fast. Great recommendation. If I get more ambitious in the long term, I might try some of the other suggestions; but for making homemade layouts and custom avatars, this is perfect. Thanks!
posted by Miko at 7:18 AM on August 16, 2005

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