Best Free Photo Editing Software 2016

This is a brief review of the best photo and image editing software for 2016 and what’s left of 2015.

In this article and the featured video, I will go through a number of graphics editing programs that you can use for resizing and cropping, doing quick edits and color corrections on your photos, or more advanced photo manipulation and retouching.

Most of the programs reviewed have support for multiple platforms including Windows, Mac and Linux.

# Name Features Performance Usability Platform Rating
1 GIMP Excellent Excellent Good Windows, Linux, Mac 9/10
2 Krita Great Excellent Great Windows, Linux, Mac 8.5/10
3 Fotor Great Good Excellent Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Web 8/10
4 Paint.NET Good Excellent Excellent Windows 7.5/10
5 Picasa Average Good Good Windows, Mac, Web 7/10

 

#1 GIMP

GIMP

GIMP is a free open source graphics editor that has been around for many years and was originally designed for Linux. Today it is a feature rich graphics editor that enjoys multi-platform support, and is the best free alternative to Adobe Photoshop.

With GIMP you can do everything from simple cropping, resizing and color correction to photo manpiulation and graphics design with multiple layer support.

GIMP is an advanced graphics editor and has a bit of a learning curve, but there are many resources on the internet to support beginners. The interface is a modular design, which is a bit unconventional for graphics editors. GIMP also supports more advanced features like scripts and third-party plugins which greatly expands the capabilities of the software, such as batch editing.

Homepage | Download GIMP | GIMP Plug-Ins | GIMP Basic Photo Editing Tutorial

 

#2 Krita

Krita

Krita is another free open source graphics editor which is more geared toward painting, illustrations, textures, concept art etc. But it also has all the features, filters and tools for photo editing and manipulation.

With Krita you can do most of the simple stuff like image resizing and cropping, adjusting brightness, contrast and colors, all the way up to more advanced photo manipulation and retouching with multiple layers, selection tools and all that good stuff.

The interface is closer to Adobe Photoshop than GIMP and I personally prefer the Krita interface over GIMP. However Krita does not yet enjoy plugin support and does not have batch editing features.

Homepage | Download Krita | Krita Basic Photo Editing Tutorial

 

#3 Fotor

Fotor

Fotor is a free advanced photo editor but not a graphics editor like GIMP or Krita. With Fotor you can do things such as cropping, resizing, adjusting colors, brightness, contrast and levels.

It also has Instagram-like color themes that you can apply to your photos with a few simple clicks rather than spending a considerable amount of time playing around with color balance, layers and masks on a more advanced graphics editor. Additionally it has a tilt-shift feature that allows you to focus on a part of your photo and create a gradual blur around it, which looks fairly cool.

Fotor is great if you need fast, easy and high quality color adjustments on your photos, and you’re not looking for anything too specific. Fotor is available on Windows and Mac, as well as Android and iOS devices, and they have a web app on their website that can be used via a browser.

Homepage | Download Fotor | Edit online with Fotor

 

#4 Paint.NET

Paint.NET

Paint.NET is free graphics editor that is something in between GIMP and Picasa in terms of its capabilities. You can do all the basic stuff like cropping, resizing, color and brightness adjustments. It also supports layers and selection tools, so you can do some amount of photo manipulation as well, although the features are not as advanced as GIMP or Krita.

The interface is really good though, I prefer it over GIMP. It’s kind of like a mix of Microsoft Paint and Photoshop.
Paint.NET is only available for Windows.

Homepage | Download Paint.NET

 

#5 Picasa

Picasa

Picasa is a free image organizer and viewer that also has some image editing features, it is developed by Google. Picasa also allows you to backup your photos and images to the cloud if you have a Google account.

With Picasa you can resize, crop, retouch and add text to photos. You can also adjust brightness, contrast, shadows, highlights and color temperature, among other things. Picasa also has a set of filters that can be applied, including film grain, sepia, black and white, soft focus and more.

Regardless of what other image and graphics editing software you have installed, Picasa is a good addition purely for that fact that it makes organizing and backing up your photos fairly easy, that’s if you are comfortable with them being on Google servers. Google being a bit flimsy when it comes to privacy.

Homepage | Download Picasa

 

 

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