5 Light and Free Image Editors

While Photoshop, Fireworks, and Illustrator may be the most feature-rich and popular options for web and graphic designers, sometimes there may be situations where a lighter option would be preferred. Opening Photoshop for very simple image edits isn’t always the most efficient option. I have searched and reviewed these 5 image editors that are easily available for download. These software are light, fast, really easy to use, and have all the necessary image editing tools required for simple jobs.

Now I do not disagree that Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks are the life blood of the  industry. But having said that, all these software are also complicated for some users, strains the CPU, have really large sizes, and most importantly carry a price tag. So if you are a small time user who wants to perform relatively simple edits to images, you would certainly hesitate in shelling out for such software. And that’s quite understandable.

After all, why would someone pay hundreds of dollars for Photoshop if he/she just has to change the color contrasts or lighting of an image?

Also the number of available free image editing software is also quite large. So large that it may confuse you beyond measure. In an effort to work around this confusion we present yo 5 free image editing software that are light, fast, easy to use, and gets the job done.

1. FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone

This software meets all the criteria that we have set for it. It is light (only 5.13 MB), fast, free, and have loads of important features. The most striking amongst them is its ‘full screen’. When you go full screen and move your mouse to the edges of the screen, different types of tool menus will drop down.

The available features include Clone stamp, different types of lighting adjustment, a screen capture tool, conversion to grayscale, sepia, and negative colors, red-eye removal, an image comparing facility, a great image viewer, a versatile slideshow feature, and some other significant smaller features. In addition, this software has an astonishing amount of tools and controls to retouch the color of an image.

Now when I list down the features like that, it may seem very long, but when you compare it to Photoshop and other such software, it lags behind by miles in a number of features. But the comparison with Photoshop is unfair. This software is only 5.3 MB and when compared to size of size of Photoshop, which is in GBs. It’s beyond belief to see so many features packed in so less a size. This software has an easy user interface, is light weight, and works fast making it the best software for performing simple edits.

2. PhotoScape

PhotoScape

PhotoScape is another free image editing software that is steadily gaining popularity among professional photographers and designers. It has a great feature of converting digital camera image formats like RAW into PNG, JPEG and other main stream image formats. Just like FastStone, it is also a great image viewer and has the standard image editing features such as clone stamp, crop tool, lighting adjustment tool, and color adjustment tools. However the most important features of PhotoScape are batch editing functionality, a color picker tool, and file rename tool. It’s a little bulkier than FastStone, around 20 MB (still way too lighter than Photoshop), but the number of features are comparable to its size.

3. IrfanView

IrfanView

First launched in 1996, IrfanView has now become a widely accepted choice of an image viewer by many photographers and designers. It is really small (1.6 MB), fast, compact, and really easy to use. IrfanView is one of the best options to view PSD files without opening up Photoshop, which takes lots of time to open. Thus it’s a very useful tool in watching the contents of multiple PSD files at a glance. It is also a good image editor with powerful and efficient conversion tools that can convert multiple files at once. It’s a great tool for embedding a watermark, cutting, cropping, effects like sharpen and blur, and metadata editing.

4. Inkscape

Inkscape

Inkscape is an open source freeware that could be used to create and edit vector graphic files. It is the best free option to create and edit SVG files and have features that are comparable to bulkier and paid software such as Adobe Illustrator and Freehand. Its size is only 34 MB and the image sizes it creates are highly optimized to facilitate usage in web. Inkscape is small, fast and light. It uses an open source vector graphic format known as SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and is already a choice of web-designers for creating vector images. Its number of features is not comparable to illustrator, but it has some features that illustrator doesn’t have; such as direct editing of SVG sources, one click paint bucket fill, and direct painting of objects.

5. GIMP

GIMP

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is your all inclusive, free solution to all types of basic image editing needs. It’s free, fast, small (only 77 MB), and has so many tools that will make a graphic designer forget Photoshop. While that might be an intended exaggeration but atleast dramatically reduce his/her dependency on it. For all other non-graphic designers, it is a complete image editor with all the most used tools of Photoshop and could be used to perform varieties of edits to all types of raster image formats. And the best part is that its open source, thus free for use.

About the Author:

Gaurav Agarwal is associated with WPIntegration, a specialized division of ipraxa – which is a full scale solution providing web agency, offering services like Convert PSD To WordPress Template and Integration with WordPress (the third party application). Subscribe to our Blog RSS or follow us on Facebook, Google+ , Linkedin or Twitter for updates on WordPress Integration Service.

Published January 23rd, 2013 by

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7 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Tim, January 23, 2013

    IMHO I wouldn’t consider GIMP “light”.

    • Steven Snell, January 23, 2013

      Hi Tim,
      GIMP is definitely more robust than the others on this list, but compared to the full version of Photoshop it is still pretty light.

  • Suteki, January 24, 2013

    i really like to use photoscape..
    light and easy to use :D

  • Karl, January 27, 2013

    Inkscape for me is the best open source freeware i think it is easy to use. Thanks for sharing these great resources.

  • Ariel Acosta, January 30, 2013

    Thank you for the post, I just used GIMP before, and I am downloading PhotoScape to try it.

  • Will, February 3, 2013

    I like the GIMP because i like using Photoshop tools. Thanks for sharing good resources.

  • Chris, April 17, 2013

    I am also using adobe Photoshop when ever i want to edit my pictures.After reading your post i agree with you that Photoshop,firework are not the one image editor in the world we should try these tools and others.I definitely try these five tool.Thanks for sharing such an informative resource.