Downloads for Better Digital Photos

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Preston Gralla, PC World
PC World
Monday, February 16, 2009; 12:19 AM

Want to make the time you spend with your digital photographs more productive, useful, and fun? With free or free-to-try software, you can edit photos, add special effects to them, eliminate blemishes, create self-running slide shows, assemble photo albums, and much more. No matter your level of interest in photography, from beginning hobbyist to professional, we have 12 downloads that can help.

(If you're ready to start downloading several of these tools, check out our "Downloads for Better Digital Photos" collection.)

Photo Editing

Whether you need to do something as simple as cleaning up red-eye or you want to use a selection of powerful, professional-level photo editing tools, these downloads can do the job. We've even found one that lets you take any photograph and add effects that turn it into a work of art.

If you have photos that you need to resize quickly, with no muss or fuss, try this free program. In addition to resizing your photos, it can zoom, crop, rotate, sharpen, soften, and change the contrast and brightness.

To resize a photo, just open it in the program and enter a new size, and the program goes about its work. You can resize using a variety of measurements, including pixels, millimeters, and centimeters. Before the resizing happens, the app tells you how many kilobytes the new photo will be as compared with the original, along with how much time sending the new photo via e-mail would take. Particularly useful is the program's batch mode, which can resize multiple photos in a single pass.

The photo editing tools are on the right side of the screen. When you choose one and select your options, you'll be able to see previews of the finished photo as you work, so that you can alter your changes if necessary.

Download Free Picture Resize Starter | Price: Free

Want a program with Photoshop-like features, but without the hefty price? Grab the free, open-source GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), one of the most powerful open-source applications of any kind that you'll ever use. The software packs a ton of editing tools similar to those in Photoshop, including layers, filters, effects, and masks.

You'll certainly find simple tools such as a red-eye remover, but the real reason to use this program is its array of high-level functions. Like Photoshop, The GIMP can be tough to figure out for novices. But anyone who wants to perform professional photo editing without paying a cent will want to try this one right away--it's one of the greatest software deals of all time.

Download The GIMP | Price: Free


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