Thursday, November 5, 2015

Good, Free Imaging and Graphics Tools


If you are on a budget and aren't satisfied with the graphics utilities that come with your computer's operating system, these offerings are worth taking a serious look at. I've used many of them myself and have looked at dozens of others. This is a short list of my favorites.

"Free" means you might have to register or sign up and provide an email address. Some applications are open-source. All of the applications listed here are fully functional with no time or usage limitations.

Graphics Utilities (Stand-Alone and Web-Based)

Pixel Color Pickers

ColorPic
Pick up the colors of individual pixels and palettes of up to 16 colors at once and use four advanced color mixers. Copy and paste RGB and HEX values.

http://www.iconico.com/colorpic/

ColorPix
Grab the pixel under your mouse and transform it into a number of different color formats. Small and fast. Copy RGB and HEX values.

http://www.colorschemer.com/colorpix_info.php

ColorZilla
This is a browser extension that assists with color related tasks - both basic and advanced. It includes a Color Picker, Eye Dropper, Gradient Generator and other advanced tools. Grab a color reading from any point in your browser, change it and paste it into another program. You can analyze the page and inspect its colors. You can also create advanced multi-stop CSS gradients.

http://www.colorzilla.com/

Web-Based Color Referencers, Converters and Schemers

ColorSchemer.com

Color Schemer
Web-based color conversion/scheming utility. Also offers several downloadable stand-alone applications.

http://www.colorschemer.com

EasyRGB.com

RGB-to-HEX conversion, color harmonies, monitor calibration and other utilities.

http://www.easyrgb.com/

Adobe Color CC (formerly Adobe Kuler)

Adobe Color CC lets you try out, create and save various color schemes. It is available in browser-hosted variants, and in desktop versions and as a mobile app.

https://color.adobe.com

Screen Capture

FastStone Image Viewer

Screen-capture and much more. Basic image editing, file browsing, slide-shows, email. Free for non-commercial and educational use.

http://www.faststone.org/

XnView

XnView Screen
A great utility I recommend to anyone who works with graphics files. View and convert graphic files, create slide shows, digital contact sheets, and much more. This application does just about everything. It supports more than 500 graphics formats.There are several versions, including one for iOS.

http://www.xnview.com/

Paint and Photo-Editing (raster-based)

Paint.net

Image and photo manipulation software for Windows. Basic Photoshop-like tools, reasonably sophisticated. Requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.

http://www.getpaint.net/

GIMP

GIMP Screen
GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It runs on many operating systems and in many languages.

http://www.gimp.org/

Drawing (vector-based)

Inkscape

InkScape Screen
Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor similar to Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. Inkscape uses the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) an open XML-based W3C standard, as the native format.

http://inkscape.org

Serif DrawPlus

This previous version or Serif DrawPlus is available for free (requires a sign-up process for unlocking).

http://www.serif.com/free-graphic-design-software/

Image Organizing/Viewing

FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone Image Viewer 
Screen-capture and much more. Basic image editing, file browsing, slide-shows, email. Free for non-commercial and educational use.

http://www.faststone.org/

XnView

XnView
XnView is also a great photo organization/viewer utility. View and convert graphic files, create slide shows, digital contact sheets, and much more. This application does just about everything. It supports more than 500 graphics formats.There are several versions, including one for iOS.

http://www.xnview.com/