QUAERITUR: photo shop program

Which "photo shop" type program is best?

Please balance versatility against cost.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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31 Responses to QUAERITUR: photo shop program

  1. W says:

    “The Gimp” is not as good as Photoshop itself, but the price – Free – can’t be beat. It’s what I use.

    http://www.gimp.org/downloads/

  2. Michael Fudge says:

    There are many choices out there to choose from. Since I am not sure what your end use is going to be, I will give a couple of suggestions.

    As someone who spent many years working in Photography as a manager of a professional photolab and post production facility, I would strongly suggest to stay with ADOBE products. They produce the benchmark software used in the industry. They standby their products with support. Also, their software works as advertised. You might get some other recommendations, but if you go on forums for professional photographers or graphic designers, Adobe is what is used. Their market share is huge and it is due to quality.

    If you are looking for basic overall image correction and cataloging, then I highly recommend Lightroom.

    If you need general image editing, then look at Photoshop Elements.

    If you want a more robust software that will allow you to manipulate images in a more complex manner, then I recommend the full blown Photoshop.

    You can go onto Adobe’s website and read through their comparison charts and decide which one is best for you. The least expensive way to purchase them is through student discounts (about half off).

    Also, be sure to try them out. They have 30 day trials to download that are not limited.

    If you need any help, feel free to contact me.

    Michael Fudge

  3. Don Taylor says:

    Adobe Photoshop Elements has the most value.

    It can do almost everything that the full-blown Photoshop can do. It is fairly easy to learn and costs about $100.

    The GIMP does about everything that Photoshop Elements does, for free, but has a very cumbersome interface.

  4. Steve Skojec says:

    I also use GiMP. It does most of what I need.

    If you want something that incorporates commercial functionality with lower cost, Photoshop Elements does quite a bit of the most useful tasks, and I believe it’s about $100.

  5. Godric Dearing says:

    Hello Fr Z

    As a regular reader of your blogs and one who dabbles in digital photography I can recommend 3 FREE programs in answer to your query:

    The simplest by far is Photofiltre which can do just about anything you want – don’t forget to download the Help file too. It does not handle layers, though you most probably may not need these. Definitely worth looking at first.

    http://www.photofiltre.com/

    Another slightly more complex one is Paint.net developed from and very much better than Microsoft Paint.

    http://www.getpaint.net/index.html

    The last is a highly complex ofering which does everything that Photoshop does but it is also free. I would not recommend it unless you need all sorts of professional style tools.

    http://www.gimp.org/


    I hope this helps.

    It is refreshing to read your blogs – you and Damian Thompson are the only sources in English of news about motu proprio that are not biased subtly or unsubtly against it. May God bless you for it.

    Godric Dearing
    Liverpool, England

  6. dcs says:

    I would go with the GIMP.

  7. Godric Dearing says:

    I could not upload with Firefox so here goes IE7.

    Hello Fr Z

    As a regular reader of your blogs and one who dabbles in digital photography I can recommend 3 FREE programs in answer to your query:

    The simplest by far is Photofiltre which can do just about anything you want – don’t forget to download the Help file too. It does not handle layers, though you most probably may not need these. Definitely worth looking at first.

    http://www.photofiltre.com/

    Another slightly more complex one is Paint.net developed from and very much better than Microsoft Paint.

    http://www.getpaint.net/index.html

    The last is a highly complex offering which does everything that Photoshop does but it is also free. I would not recommend it unless you need all sorts of professional style tools.

    http://www.gimp.org/

    I hope this helps.

    It is refreshing to read your blogs – you and Damian Thompson are the only sources in English of news about motu proprio that are not biased subtly or unsubtly against it. May God bless you for it.

    Godric Dearing
    Liverpool, England

  8. fxavier says:

    The Gimp comes with scripts that will auto-generate buttons and text labels. Nothing beats free if you can go over the slight learning curve. It’s worthwhile to try before splurging on anything more.

  9. giovanni says:

    Second what Michael Fudge wrote. PS is the industry standard. If you don’t care about sharing, interacting, or getting published, the others might work fine, I’ve not used them.

    Lightroom for photography only. If you shoot “raw” you definitely want this.
    Elements for basic but powerful editing program.
    Full PS for the best of the best. Try Elements before advancing to full PS.

    Glad I could contribute, if only a little.

  10. Esther says:

    Aloha Father.
    I like Paint Shop Pro. I use the old Jasc version 9. However, now Corel has taken it over. It runs about 50.00 or so. You can try it free for 30 days at http://www.corel.com.
    Esther

  11. Brian says:

    Just as a caution: there seems to be some evidence that Adobe (as a corporation) is a contributor to Planned Parenthood:

    http://www.lifenews.com/nat2378.html

    I’d avoid them and their products whenever possible.

    In Christ,
    Brian

  12. Vincenzo says:

    Esther wrote:
    “I like Paint Shop Pro. I use the old Jasc version 9. However, now Corel has taken it over. It runs about 50.00 or so. You can try it free for 30 days at http://www.corel.com.”

    I use an ancient (Jasc) version of it too.

  13. Diane K says:

    Father – do you need something compatible with Vista or is it for an XP machine?

    I was using a free trial of Adobe Lightroom, but didn’t realize the program was around 300. It was Vista compatible and a charm, but is outside of my budget.

    Does GIMP and some of the others have Vista compatibility. I’m stuck with Vista right now on my laptop. It would be more costly for me to backtrack to XP at this time, so I’m trying to ride it out.

  14. RichR says:

    I have posted a few photoshopped photos here. I use a $25 program called, “PhotoSutdio 2000″ from Arcsoft (www.arcsoft.com). It gets the job done. I think that it is better to get a ismpler program and learn how to use it well than to spend mega-bucks on a high-end program and only learn 10% of the functions it offers.

  15. Marcin says:

    I would also suggest GIMP. Although to be fair I have to disclose that it is not sufficiently capable for my professional stuff (16-bit grayscale images of cells under the microscope).

    Otherwise (web, photo) it’s great and free.

  16. Father,

    go GIMP. There was a comment above about its clumsy interface, but I love the interface. If you don’t like it, or if you’re used to the PS interface, there are addons available that change the interface, including one to emulate PS.

  17. Jason says:

    I 23rd The Gimp.

  18. Lurker #59 says:

    Father Z. and Diana K

    The GIMP works very well and works with Vista. The program edits using layers, like Photo-Shop. I have been able to use the GIMP on low end systems without a problem. It is a rather technical menu structure with myriad of options but the interface is rather self explanatory. The software allows for a wide variety of image manipulation.

    It might not be as advanced as the current generation of Adobe Photoshop, nor does it contain built in templates, but it is everything that an older version of Photoshop was say 4 years ago.

    The price is free of course.

  19. Godric Dearing says:

    Sorry, I seem to have repeated myself earlier.

    I note there are many devotees of “the Gimp”. This is a fine program but definitely not for beginners in the field. The two other free programs I mentioned earlier will work extremely well for most of your needs as will a “pay for” program e.g. Photoshop Elements. But why pay when the two other excellent free programms are available? Tutorials and a help file are readily available for Paint.net in particular.

    Dr G D

  20. B. says:

    The Photoshop-lookalike Gimp that SubjectOfRome mentions is called GIMPShop and can be found at Gimpshop.com.
    It’s possibly the best compromise. The Gimp behaving like Photoshop, for free.

  21. Mike says:

    Gimp is great for the open source communists (from each programmer according to their ability, to each user according their need) but if you want to actually get things done then you’re looking at the Adobe products: Photoshop elements for basic to intermediate users, full Photoshop for power users, and Lightroom for digital photography work-flows. If you absolutely have to have a free product, then check out Picasa — http://picasa.google.com — if you’re a Windows user, or just stick with iPhoto if you’re a Mac user.

  22. Mike in Kansas City says:

    Gimp is great for the open-source communists (from each programmer according to his ability, to each user according to their need) but if you want to actually get some work done without fiddling with GTK install packages or junk like that, there is Picasa on the free side of life and then Adobe with Photoshop CS, Elements, and Lightroom if it’s worth money to have it done right.

  23. Vincenzo says:

    B. wrote:

    “The Photoshop-lookalike Gimp that SubjectOfRome mentions is called GIMPShop and can be found at Gimpshop.com.
    It’s possibly the best compromise. The Gimp behaving like Photoshop, for free.”

    Father Z.,

    I decided to experiment with GimpShop after reading the comments above. I tried it instead of (plain) Gimp due to the Photoshop-like interface (which might be helpful if I ever start using Photoshop again.) I’m sure it will take a while to learn the tools but I made this rather quickly, though I wanted to do some things with the text that I don’t know how to do yet:

    http://i11.tinypic.com/6pfpquq.jpg

    Vincenzo

  24. Brian Day says:

    A couple of others have mentioned Paint Shop Pro. I’ve used it since version 5 (Jasc) and am now using verion 11 (Corel) which is now called Paint Shop Pro Photo XI. I find that it does everything I need as a non-professional, and it even handles RAW files!

    Corel has been trying to keep up with Photoshop CS3. The software is probably 1 generation behind so the latest version 12 (X2) is probably equivalent to CS2.

    For $99 (or $50 on sale), the value cannot be beat.

  25. William says:

    Gimp is great for the open-source communists (from each programmer according to his ability, to each user according to their need) but if you want to actually get some work done without fiddling with GTK install packages or junk like that…

    Ok, you just tripped my switch. Sorry.

    This is the most ridiculous comment I have ever seen on this blog. First off, getting to the point which may interest Father Z, if you use the Gimp Windows Installer, you don’t have to fiddle with anything – You just install and run.

    Second, your comments about “open source” are way out of line. Programs like the Gimp work according to a simple principle: Programmers who desire to do so, contribute code on the understanding that no one else is going to be able to appropriate THEIR work for a proprietary product.

    No one is forced to work for free. No one is forced to contribute code. And no one who freely chooses to contribute to the common good is forced to see their hard work stolen by lazy layabouts who just want to ride on the backs of others.

    Communism has nothing to do with it. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  26. I also recommend the GIMP. Use the link below has an extensive guidebook, which can be either bought or downloaded (or read online) Since if you buy Photoshop, and want to really be able to use it, you’ll have to buy a guide book, GIMP is cheaper even if you buy the guidebook.

    http://gimp-savvy.com/BOOK/index.html

  27. Hijikata says:

    Hello Father, I use Paint.net and it is an awsome program. Plus, it is free.

  28. apart from all the above – reasonable – tips, there is Lightzone, at http://www.lightcrafts.com/products/ which while not free or even cheap ($149 basic, $249 full version with batch capabilities), makes image editing much easier by using paradigms specific to digital photography (most older apps were paint programs first, then used to retough scans made from prints tec.)
    There is a free trial available. If you are not good at remembering complex procedures, but want to be able to do some reasonably complex editing, this one rules.

  29. jane says:

    Fr. Z-
    I teach art. I have bought the CS version of Photoshop, but it is totally expensive. So this year I bought 6 licenses of Photoshop Elements for $89 each. I use Macs, so I don’t know if Adobe offers Photoshop Elements for PCs…but I highly recommend it for all your photo needs.

    jane in memphis

  30. Michael Beaupre says:

    in 28th the Gimp, and specifically GimpShop if you like Photoshop.
    -Pax

  31. Diane says:

    All I can say, Fr. Z – is thanks so much for making this post. Now that Lurker has said it will work with VISTA, I think I will give it a try. I really like Lightroom for quick edits, but don’t have the $300 right now.