Four Photoshop Alternatives, Not Equals.

By on May 11, 2013 8:21:07 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

DrJBHL

Join Date 04/2002
+2150

 

A couple of points first. These programs don’t have the huge range of features available in CS6, or the number of programs available in the “Creative Cloud”. Also, although the “Creative Cloud” will cost a bit more, it will allow all updates and new features most prominent among them “unblur” which is an incredible new feature (not great video available here: http://youtu.be/xxjiQoTp864) which many are understandably excited about.

If you wish to read about the economics of the Creative Cloud, here’s a good link. As for me, I’ll be sticking with what I’ve got. In truth, for amateurs and non-professional image processing, Adobe’s tools are a bit “over the top” both in price and in number of tools, effects, etc. You also have to put in some serious learning to make it worthwhile.

Now, as to the alternatives, in no particular order. These might not be all of them, but it’s a fair sampling.

1. Paint.NET: Many useful tools like layers, unlimited “undo” and various special effects. There’s an ever rising number of tutorials and “plugins” to expand the possibilities of this software. No promises regarding whether it will remain “free”.

2. GIMP: Another free program, the oldest around. Very good for “refreshing” snap shots, as well as image creation. Has a customizable interface allowing resizing of widgets, spacing, color, etc. Also, can “Save as” gif, jpeg,tiff and png.

 

3. PhotoPlus Starter Edition: Has many free features, but for $90, the full program (if you’re serious) is well worth it: http://www.serif.com/photoplus/x6/in-depth/ and the Gallery: http://www.serif.com/photoplus/x6/gallery/. Has x32 and x64 versions. To compare with other software, http://www.serif.com/photoplus/ . You can watch a vid here: http://youtu.be/rnnHDCRP5gw .

That’s the “Camera RAW shot”, but I didn’t really want to download the free edition and install it just for a screen shot. From what I read about the free Photoplus Starter, it should be worth looking at.

4. PaintShopProX5:  Great program. I use it. Has plugins and NIK effects package. $60. Worth every penny. Has learning center, multiple tutorials and forums. Has social media features as well.

HAs a 30 day trial version. Well worth taking a look.

 

 

I suggest trying the programs out. You never know what you’ll like or find easy and intuitive. Having worked with PSPX5 (and earlier versions), I can say it’s intuitive, but different from CS6.

I really recommend giving it a try.

I also want to say that what you decide to use should be something you’re going to use, and should have a feature set/usability to match what you really want to do.

I hope this article is of some use to you who might be casting about for an alternative to going to the “Creative Cloud”.

As always, read some reviews of the software. Create a restore point/backup snapshot/backup disk image (your choice) before installing any software. Read the terms of usage. Also helpful, read the user manual.

I get no financial benefit/support/free software from any of the companies mentioned here.

 

 

If you use one of these programs, or some other, please add anything I might have missed and your impressions of it.

27 Replies +1
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 8:51:26 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

GIMP is a great program ... very powerful.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 8:57:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I do a lot of modding for Skyrim.  I have found GIMP (with the free addon for NIF files) to be more than adequate for all my needs.  Occasionally, MS Paint gets used.  Agree with Doc, unless you are a professional, or have lots of discretionary cash (and time to learn) PS is not necessary.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 9:26:39 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I used Paintshop pro for years and loved it. Joined the WC family a bit over 6 years ago. When I decided to skin here there was help available but the only thing that was always sent to me to view were PSD files. Hence the switch to PS.

At this point I have more than I need now with PS so see no reason to need any upgrades and need not to worry about Cloud.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Sign Up or Login and this ad disappears!
There are many great features available to you once you register. Sign Up for a free account and browse the forums without ads.
May 11, 2013 9:41:07 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I have always used PSP....up to and still including 6.

I am now also doing a lot with a ver of Photoshop.... it came free with a graphic card or printer or something....and it's prime advantage over PSP6 is it seems to handle significantly larger images [layer numbers] without falling over.  A current open image being added to and revised is just on 364meg.... 4096x4096 res....and god knows how many layers....

....and it's not the latest whiz thing on the block...it's "just"  Photoshop Elements 2.0

People don't NEED expensive programs.....what will serve them far better is actual competence with whatever program they happen to have....

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 9:44:15 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

GIMP layers are also worth a mention, and I have never had to do that many Undo's to see if it is unlimited, but it is a lot.
 

Here is a Sins of a Solar Empire planets Gimp project for modders I made. Show the use of labeling the layers with the brush name and grouping layers.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 10:03:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Great post, Doc. I'll have to show this to the wife. I've been teaching her photoshop for her photography but she's said multiple times now she wants to learn something simpler. I'll have to check these out and see if she likes any of them.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 10:47:04 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

@RavenX: Maybe the absolute best thing for her to start with is camera RAW - if your version of Ps has it.

It can handle jpeg as well as RAW files, if her camera exports only in jpeg format.

That's really the best to start working on a photo with. Then open with Ps to adjust curves/hue-saturation, etc. I've found. Not a law, and I promise not to call the Photoshop Police if she doesn't like doing it that way. If she does, let me know as I have a few tips as to work flow and White and Black balance. Also, nice seeing you...hope all's well with your health. 

 

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 10:49:43 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I'll be using photoshop CS6 till it will not run on what ever OS I'm using. That means I have many many years before I have to worry about finding some other program for editing my graphics. My wife still uses photoshop 7 and she's using windows 7 I've tried to get her to upgrade but she says it's working she knows everything about it so why upgrade just for the sake of upgradeing.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 11:18:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,

@RavenX: Maybe the absolute best thing for her to start with is camera RAW - if your version of Ps has it.

It can handle jpeg as well as RAW files, if her camera exports only in jpeg format.

That's really the best to start working on a photo with. Then open with Ps to adjust curves/hue-saturation, etc. I've found. Not a law, and I promise not to call the Photoshop Police if she doesn't like doing it that way. If she does, let me know as I have a few tips as to work flow and White and Black balance. Also, nice seeing you...hope all's well with your health. 

 

LoL, thanks Doc . I'll have to check out this camera RAW. I'm still using the old photoshop CS4. I'm not sure what camera plug-ins it has as I've never used it exclusively with photography in mind until my wife wanted to learn it for doing photo edits on her work. I use it from an artists perspective, not a photographers, so I'll definitely have to check that out. When it comes to various art programs the wife isn't nearly as technical minded. Her photography is just a hobby for her so she just wants simple stuff mostly. She's using some pic program now that works over the web (not even sure what it's called) because she doesn't want to learn abuot layers and glow effects and everything else PS does.

The health's not too bad right now aside from my gallbladder going septic. I have to go get that out, which normally isn't a big deal.....unless you suffer from crohn's. For crohn's patients not having a gallbladder can ratchet up the pain level you constantly feel by ten fold. So right now it's a matter of getting the gallbladder out and then hoping I have some kind of decent quality of life afterward and won't be stuck in bed in agonizing pain 24/7.  

 

I appreciate the kind words brother, thank you.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 12:12:23 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting RavenX,
I'm still using the old photoshop CS4.

It has camera RAW, but CS6 has a far better one. To get to it, browse in Bridge or minibridge, navigate to the image you want and right click (or File>Open with) and choose Camera RAW, I believe. Never had CS4, so I can't tell.

Best of luck with the gall bladder thing, mate. I hope you luck out.

 

This is what camera RAW looks like (CS6). I think you'll agree that she might use those sliders a lot more easily than other programs. The histogram shows some saturation clipping, I believe.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 12:24:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,

Quoting RavenX, reply 9I'm still using the old photoshop CS4.

It has camera RAW, but CS6 has a far better one. To get to it, browse in Bridge or minibridge, navigate to the image you want and right click (or File>Open with) and choose Camera RAW, I believe. Never had CS4, so I can't tell.

Best of luck with the gall bladder thing, mate. I hope you luck out.

I'll give that a shot, Doc, thanks . Not doing much with actual photos I never tried many of the specific photo plug-ins and honestly haven't used bridge for much of anything even though it came with my copy of CS4. I got the license for the copy from a company I worked for in the past and I sure as hell can't afford one on my own now. I imagine CS6 is probably what, $400-$500 still? Definitely out of my price range. I could drop that on hardware but spending that on just software (especially with no guarantee of making money with it) isn't something I'll be able to justify any time soon. If I ever get back to doing actual work with it then maybe, but at that point just as before most likely the company I'd do work for would provide me with a new license. I don't see my-self getting any breaks like that again though unless I seriously luck out. Most people who freelance like I do end up having to buy our own software and licenses.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 12:47:49 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

A great source for software that requires no more than a flashdrive, is totally free and portable is PortableApps.com  Much of what is there also has installed versions, so PA can be a great way to "Try it before you buy it" or see if a program does what you need before you install it.Here is what they have in the Graphics and Pictures section. LINK.

I have the PortableApps platform software on both a flashdrive, and also installed on my main rig so that I always have the portable versions at my fingertips.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 1:15:55 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I have CS2, but much prefer Paintshop Pro 7 for creating graphics. It's much easier to use and, it's already been said, it's how you use it that counts

I also have Paintshop Pro X2. That's more useful for editing photos for the togs amongst you.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 1:46:31 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

If I'm mostly doing an editting job that won't need more than your basic filters, I prefer to use Paint.net because I find it quicker and more responsive. If I'm doing something where I'll be needed to do more drawing or advanced filters, I'll use GIMP. Also while not really a photoshop tool, if I ever need to make fancy text I use Inkscape to make a Vector Image and export that to bitmap because I don't like either Paint.net or GIMP's text tools (you can apply any Inkscape filter or gradients directly to text objects).

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 1:52:51 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

 Great post, Doc!!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 2:33:53 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

After optimizing the image in #10, I made this processing the image in cs6 back when I was thinking of submitting this for a seasonal wall:

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 3:16:57 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
back when I was thinking of submitting this for a seasonal wall:
...and why didn't you?

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 3:30:19 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Didn't see any interest from the folks in the thread...

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 11, 2013 3:34:51 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,

Didn't see any interest from the folks in the thread...

I would download it, looks awsome!   1920x1080 hint, hint

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 12, 2013 6:51:42 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I love Photoshop. I use version 9 as that was the freebie Adobe let slip away along with Illustrator. I started out with Paint.Net and played some with Gimp and PSP, in fact I still have them. Like some I could never afford PS let alone justify the expense. I once checked out the cost of CS6 Extended. I could do some serious upgrades to my apartment with that kind of money. I'll stick to my freebies thank you.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 12, 2013 7:46:17 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Uvah,
I'll stick to my freebies thank you.

You are FAR better off with a 'freebie' you understand well than the world's most powerful program you simply get lost in.

It takes 2 to tango....and the most important of the duo is the user....and NOT what he uses...

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 12, 2013 7:57:34 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DPCloud,

Quoting DrJBHL, reply 18
Didn't see any interest from the folks in the thread...

I would download it, looks awsome!   1920x1080 hint, hint

I'll think about it.

Quoting Jafo,
Quoting Uvah, reply 20I'll stick to my freebies thank you.
You are FAR better off with a 'freebie' you understand well than the world's most powerful program you simply get lost in.
It takes 2 to tango....and the most important of the duo is the user....and NOT what he uses...

The learning curve for Photoshop is steep for a long time, and when I can, I watch creativeLive for webinars. Luckily for me, Lesa Snider, Ben Willmore, David Cross and Khara Plicanic do these free webinars on a host of subjects, both fundamentals and advanced. Also, I'm lucky to have found such great teachers. I think Hankers first put me onto it.

For anyone with Photoshop who wants to understand starting from the beginner level, I really recommend this webinar:

http://www.creativelive.com/courses/photoshop-beginners-lesa-snider

Enrollment only requires you have a free account.

You can also cruise the website for other courses. This month, on 5/30, 5/31 and 6/1 there's a course on Compositing 101...which I will attend.

As for instructional videos, here's the link:  http://www.creativelive.com/courses/filter?tid_1[]=664&date_filter[min][date]=&date_filter[max][date]=

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 12, 2013 6:09:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you want a Paint program that actually looks like Paint try ArtRage.  It's pretty excellent.

http://www.artrage.com/

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 12, 2013 10:35:05 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

thanks for your research into this Doc... along with everyone's input... makes an interesting thread..

bookmarked...  

IR taught me how to do the XP bootskins with the loading bar different colours instead of just black... I had to use Gimp for that procedure.. couldn't do it in PS.. sometimes it's good to have a coupla programs in your arsenal...

really miss IR 'round here... he was such a trail blazer...  

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 13, 2013 4:41:12 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

the Creative Cloud thing probably confused some (it's just the name of the subscription), but there are also real cloud apps. i am pretty amazed how capable they are nowadays.

Sumo Paint: http://www.sumopaint.com/app/

Pixlr Editor: http://pixlr.com/editor/

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108432  walnut2   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000297   Page Render Time:

Home | About | Privacy | Upload Guidelines | Terms of Service | Help
WinCustomize © 2014 Stardock Corporation. All Rights Reserved.