The Internet is full of graphic apps, some of them are excellent and seen as the best in this area. For example, Macromedia Fireworks was regarded as one of the best graphic apps until the entire company ( Macromedia ) was purchased by Adobe, a giant who focused on Adobe Photoshop. Nowadays is being regarded as probably the most powerful software for graphics.
There are many examples of wonderful programs that worth to be mentioned and I`ll name only a few of them: Corel Paint programs such as Painter or Paint Shop Pro, Firegraphic, SnagIt or FastStone Image Viewer. All of them except FastStone Image Viewer are shareware software. The following list will contain only a couple of free and excellent alternatives to paid applications such as those mentioned above. I also excluded FastStone Image Viewer since it wasn`t updated for over 10 months at the time this article was released and I have no idea if the project is still alive or the developers are focusing on their shareware software.
Here is the list that I was talking about, all of these programs are wonderful, free alternatives to popular shareware:
It`s the first on this list simply because it`s the most complex from this list and every professional will see it as the main competitor for the most powerful paid product: Adobe PhotoShop. Before learn how to use it at his maximum potential you will need to read a lot of tutorials. However, a lot of people claim that you can obtain the same results as Photoshop while others consider the paid alternative easier and with better results. You will need to try GIMP and see how you can explore his powerful options, I can only say that the installation and the program itself seems to use less resources when compared with his main competitor. It`s open source and it`s being developed and improved so you may want to start using it if you don`t have the money for a paid alternative. It`s already the most complete and mature application from free graphical programs niche not to mention that Linux and Mac OS X users have their own versions. Download GIMP
It`s one of the pioneers when it comes down to free graphic viewers for Windows. I would dare to say that it`s actually the first and most powerful free graphical viewer worldwide. It`s really small and extremely fast. It`s not just another application, but it`s the FIRST graphical application that offered multiple animated GIF and ICO support. It was also one of the first programs that added support for TIF format. Unlike many other companies, the program has almost two decades ( since 1996 ) and it has been developed by only one person: Irfan Skiljan. A lot of other apps copied and reproduced features from this program but none of them surpassed his capabilities. There is a huge list of features ( such as the supported graphic formats and some audio and video ) and an add-ons list that will make this program an excellent choice for both beginners and professionals. Download IrfanView
One of the best photo and image editor for Windows users. It was initially designed as an alternative to the traditional Microsoft Paint but evolved as a more complex tool with a lot of features. There are a lot of comparisons with popular apps both free and paid such as PhotoShop, Corel Paint or GIMP. To name only a few powerful options: support for layers, special effects, unlimited undo, great plugins etc. All of them can be learned easily due to a large online community that will offer a lot of help. Yes, it is a life saver application. Use this software if you`re looking for something that looks like the traditional Microsoft Paint and has features that can be found and GIMP or PhotoShop. It`s the application that was missing, it`s exactly in the middle, easy and powerful for both beginners and professionals. Download Paint.NET
It is free for personal use but for commercial you will need to buy a license. XnView is fast, small and has a lot of features that you will find at other similar programs. I won`t mention all of his capabilities otherwise I would only repeat what others said but there are two things that I liked. I used several times his ``Batch Processing`` feature and impressed me. Sure, every decent photo viewer and editor must have this option but it`s really easy for a beginner to use it. Everything looks pretty intuitive and if you`re looking at ``Transformations`` section unless you`re an advanced user you will feel overwhelmed. It means it`s easy enough for a novice and complete for a professional. The second thing is the online gallery generation engine which is awesome. The IPTC editor is also great if you want to store the images with a lot of information but I’ll let you enjoy the program. Download XnViewTweet