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We compare 10 free image editors including GIMP, iPhoto, IrfanView and more.
Even the best photographers sometimes need to touch up their pictures – for the rest of us happy snappers, some digital artistic licence is often a necessity to get a decent end result! So how much should you spend on an image editing program? The answer could be nothing at all.
We compare 10 of the most popular free image editors for their capabilities and ease of use to find the best choice of virtual photo lab. Our tests assess:
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Team leader - Technology
Computers, Gadgets, Internet, Tablets and personal media devices
Our test report compares products across these 28 criteria.
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The overall score is a combination of the following:
Advanced editing (35%)
Basic editing (25%)
Ease of learning (10%)
Help information (5%)
Initial setup (5%)
Covers the most common editing functions – cropping, resizing, red-eye reduction, auto-adjust image settings (colour correction, balance, contrast), image rotation, batch editing, image straightening and conversion to grayscale/B&W.
Includes before and after previews, size of the preview, editing history functions and editing processing speed.
Includes any tutorials, video (including official YouTube instruction) and other assistance such as wizards and documentation.
Can the program process and display RAW format images?
Is a resize tool available?
Can the program convert colour images to black and white?
Retouching can be useful for restoring or enhancing images. For example, removing skin blemishes.
Are there clear tools for working with multiple image layers?
Does the program preview images with thumbnails?
Is it available on Windows?
This column shows which products have been discontinued and which are still available in shops. 'Active' indicates they can still be found in shops and 'inactive' that they are discontinued models.
Covers retouch/effect brush tool, special effects/filters, cloning tool, layer handling and border designs (picture frames).
Takes into account the ease of becoming familiar with the program. Covers file formats, plus navigating to and selecting pictures for editing.
How well it handles images of different formats.
Is a crop tool available?
Is a red eye reduction tool available?
A camera flash can cause pupils to appear red in photos. Red eye reduction can fix this.
A tool to correct angled images.
Used to duplicate and blend a portion of the image.
Can you apply edits to more than one image at a time?
Is it available on Mac?
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