There are a lot of image editing options available, and they vary widely on many dimensions – whether it’s the cost, the features, the ease of use, or the platform. We’ll go over a few of them here.
Adobe’s Photoshop has been almost synonymous with high-end image editing programs for a while now. And it’s somewhat justified too – there are a few things that Photoshop does that almost no other image editing programs out there seem to do. Take smart objects for instance. I haven’t seen other programs out there that can create and edit smart objects (if there are any, do let me know – I’d love to find out!). For some types of projects, this kind of work is necessary, ad that’s when you really need Photoshop.
But Photoshop, which was super expensive to begin with, is now a recurring subscription!! Yes – you heard that right – you now need to buy a subscription in order to use the latest version of Photoshop! You can get the entire Creative Cloud bundle (which includes Photoshop) for $9.99 a month. Doesn’t sound terrible, until you realize that this is an annual contract – so you are committing to about $120 for just a year. Over time, this can really add up. And if you want to subscribe just monthly, it’s an astonishing $29.99 per month!
On top of that, Photoshop is not an easy program to use – there is certainly some learning curve there, and you have to take some pains to get to know what you are doing.
So my thoughts are – use Photoshop if you really really need to (and you may) – but only if your really need it. Because for most image editing needs, there are may many options out there, and many of those are totally free!
Which brings me straight to GIMP – my absolutely favorite totally free image editor. Like Photoshop, GIMP is also a desktop software. It’s terrific really – you can do most of the stuff you can in Photoshop here, and it will probably be good enough for most of the work you want to do.
PIXLR is a web-based too for editing images. It has many pros. It’s web based, so there’s nothing to download or install. It’s easy to use. It’s also free, and who doesn’t love that? You can create a new image, or you can edit one you already have on your computer. you can easily do stuff like erasing parts of the image, adding test to the image, and so on.
The cons? Well, it’s just not anywhere close to as feature rich as Photoshop or Gimp. But for basic image editing, it’s good enough.