Free Image and Photo Editing Software
Free drawing and painting programs, photo manipulation tools, image and animation creation software
Free Drawing and Painting Programs, Image/Photo Manipulation, Photo Editing, Animation Creation Software
This page lists free programs or tools which you can use to create graphic images, edit pictures, manipulate or modify digital photographs (photos), create animations (animated graphics) and otherwise draw or paint an image. The tools often handle a variety of formats, such as GIF, JPEG (JPG), PNG, TIF, BMP, and others.
Commercial alternatives like the famous (but expensive) Adobe Photoshop are not listed below. In my opinion, though, if you are simply looking for something to draw the one-off picture, such as if you want to draw a logo in the process of building your website, the free stuff listed below are more than adequate.
If you need something to stitch photographs together to create a particularly wide-angled panoramic photograph (or even tall photographs or 360 degree shots), you might find one of the programs on the Free Photo / Image Stitching Software: Make a Panorama from Separate Pictures easier to use than manually piecing the photos together.
NOTE: If you are here looking for the 3D graphics software that was previously listed on this page, please note that they have been moved to their own page, the Free 3D Graphics Software: Create 3D Content for Games, Videos, Film and Animation page.
Free Drawing and Painting Programs, Image Manipulation and Photo Editing Software
Krita is a digital sketching and painting software for a number of systems. It has a wide variety of brushes including pixel, smudge, duplicate, filter, hairy, hatching, texture, chalk, colour ("color" in US English) smudge, curve, deform, dyna, experiment (Alchemy), grid, particle, sketch and spray. Other features include the ability to rotate or mirror your canvas; vector tools like normal text, artistic text, calligraphy, selection, path, fill and gradient; raster tools like a number of shapes and lines (eg, ellipse, polygon, rectangle, star, etc), crop, move, perspective grid, the ability to select in different ways (eg, freehand, polygon, outline, etc) and act on that selection (eg to fill it), zoom, pan, etc; layer management; filters (eg, colour adjustment, brightness, contrast, desaturate, raindrops, oil paint, pixelize, motion blur, sharpen, gaussian noise removel, etc — there are far too many to list here); support for different colour models (RGBA, Gray, CMYKA, Law, YCbCr, XYZ) and colour management; etc. It supports numerous file formats for import and export, such as PSD (ie Photoshop images), PNG, JPEG, JPEG-2000, Windows BMP, TIFF, PDF, PPM, PGM, PBM, EXR, OpenRaster document, etc. Supported platforms include Windows, Linux and FreeBSD.
MyPaint is an open source painting software that comes with a large number of brushes, including pencil, charcoal, smudge, ink, etc; support for creating your own types of brushes; unlimited canvas; layer support; support for pressure sensitive graphics tablets; and so on. Windows and Linux versions are available, as well as a plugin for GIMP (see elsewhere on this page so that you can open and save MyPaint native files with that software.
This program, mtPaint, lets you create "pixel art" and manipulate digital photographs. It presents you with a pixel grid of your picture, at varying zoom levels, so that you can accurately paint or edit it. It works with pressure sensitive graphics tablets, supports multiple layers (up to 100, at the time this was written), has numerous brush patterns, user-defined gradients, undo, multiple image clipboards, gamma correction, a variety of effects (eg, invert, greyscale, isometric transformations, edge detect, sharpen, "unsharp" mask, soften, Gaussian blur, emboss, etc), crop, rescaling, screen capture, etc. The program works in Windows and Linux, and is open source, under the GNU General Public License.
- Pencil — 2D Animation Software
Pencil is an open source (free) animation drawing software that runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. That is, you can use it to draw pictures that you can string together to form an animation or cartoon. This cartoon can be exported as a series of PNG images, in a Flash file format (which you can exhibit on your own website) or as a QuickTime movie (the QuickTime movie export only works in the Mac OS X version at the moment). Sound can also be added to cartoon. The program supports both bitmap and vector graphics.
- PhotoPos Lite
This is a photo and graphics editor that lets you work with multiple images simultaneously, edit and enhance those pictures, apply filters to your photos, use basic shapes and paint brushes to draw your pictures, use flood fill, apply simple gradients, apply special effects, print your pictures, etc. This is a Windows program.
- Helios Paint
This freeware paint program may be used to create and edit images on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Unix. Features include a pencil for editing pixels, a variety of lines (curved, straight, freehand), a paint brush with resizable heads, a spray can with resizable nozzle and a global spray facility, shape tools (star, moon, heart, regular polygon, freehand), paint can with colour bleed sensitivity, text entry, HSB/RGB/contrast/gamma adjustment, image filters (invert, grey, black and white, colour, sharpen, blur, edge feathering, edge detection, oil painting effect, emboss), image colour and transparency adjustment, zoom in and out, selection and moving tools (scissors, lasso, wand), undo and redo, printing with page auto-fit, etc.
Dia is a diagram creation program inspired by the commercial "Visio". A drawing program rather than a painting one, it has many facilities to help you draw diagrams, including special objects for drawing entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, etc. It saves files to a custom XML format, but can also export to other formats like EPS, SVG, XFIG, WMF and PNG. Other features include the ability to print multi-page diagrams. Dia works on Windows and Linux. Source code is also available.
IrfanView is primarily an image viewer that can double as a simple image editor that can perform tasks like resizing of images, converting images between formats, renaming of files, etc. It is able to perform batch conversion of images and pictures as well as batch renaming of files, which is a handy feature when you have many files you need to process.
- GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program
GIMP, often touted as a Adobe Photoshop replacement by its fans, allows you to create and edit images and photos. It has the usual facilities found in many commercial paint programs such as a variety of paint tools (Brush, Airbrush, Pencil, Clone, custom brushes and patterns, etc), full alpha channel support, layers and channels, transformation tools (rotate, scale, sheer, flip), multiple undo and redo, selection tools (rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy, intelligent, bezier, polygonal), animation support (including MNG), numerous file formats (BMP, GIF, JPEG, MNG, PCX, PDF, PS, PSD, PNG, SVG, TIF, TGA, XPM, etc) including conversion between different file formats, and so on. Supported systems include Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD and Sun Solaris. This is an open source program.
- Google Picasa
Picasa is a photo editing program that allows you to edit and organise your pictures on your computer. You can add visual effects to your digital pictures, write captions, pan, tilt, zoom, crop, eliminate red eyes, change the contrast, colour and enhance them. Other features include the ability to create slide shows, upload your photographs to your blog or website, burn them to CD or DVD, make a desktop image, create a screensaver, etc. The software is available for Windows and Linux.
- Tux Paint
Tux Paint is a drawing software designed for young children. It has cute looking buttons, sound effects and a mascot that encourages children as they use the program. Supported systems include Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD and NetBSD.
Paint.NET is an image and photo manipulation program that supports layers, unlimited undo and redo, special effects, drawing tools (tools for drawing shapes, splines, Bezier curves, etc), etc. It runs under Windows 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista. It requires the Microsoft .NET Framework (hence its name).
- Inkscape - open source scalable vector graphics editor
Inkscape is a scalable vector graphics (SVG) editor. It is open source, and versions are available for Windows 2000, XP, 2003, and OS X.
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