Sunday, February 6, 2011

Best & Worst - Photo Manipulation Software

At the moment, more so than ever, more of us are having to be financially vigilant and incredibly budget conscious about how we spend our money. The current global recession is forcing us to think twice about how we spend our hard earned money and more often than not it is our hobbies and recreational activities that are the first to bear the brunt of our cost cutting endeavours.
So when I find an incredible bargain then I am apt to share it, and if that incredible bargain is FREE and delivers more than expected then I will happily sing it's praises.
Sometime last year (or maybe even the year before) I was looking for some software to use for tidying up my photos. By that I don't mean how they are organised or stored on my laptop, but how I can manipulate the original image file to get the final picture I want to print and scrap.
I had previously used the software that came with my printer (but that shall remain nameless as I don't want any law suits). I really liked this software and occasionally still use it now, but somewhere along the way, one of their product upgrades changed the way it worked considerably and now it just doesn't have the functionality I liked about it and nor is it now as user friendly. Hence my search for a replacement.
At the time I wasn't working so my price range was very limited. I could afford somewhere between nothing and FREE and there wasn't much allowable movement from there. So I "googled" every combination of "photo", "FREE" and "download" I could think of.
After a few tries and misses I finally found the freeware download I have used ever since, and have recommended to all my friends both scrappers and non-scrappers alike.

"Insert Drum Roll here..."

The software is called Photoscape and you can find out a whole lot more about it as well as download your own copy HERE. It's now on version 3.5 though.
This isn't a paid commercial for it, they don't know I am writing about it, so I'm not getting anything in return and I doubt the creators will ever see my praise, I just think it is a fantastic piece of software that everyone should / could use.

So why do I think it's so great??

  • It works on both PC's & Macs
  • It's very user friendly - you don't need a manual or three week training course to operate it... just follow your nose
  • You don't need to import all your photos in the software library, you just browse for them wherever you usually store your photos
  • There are heaps of pre-determined photo sizes as well as custom-sizing. This is great for cropping photos to print at photos booths. You can pick from a long list of standard sizes which you know will fit standard photo paper - makes life easier & cheaper
  • There is an option to edit photos individually or in bulk - though I have only ever used individual editing
  • Photo collaging templates included with a variety of styles and sizes all with a click and drop in your choice of photos to populate the template - so easy to use
  • Large selection of built in photo frames and speech bubbles, even though I only have a couple that I use all the time
  • Most if not all editing options have pre-sets as well as scaled variations to enable you to select/de-select/set levels to achieve exactly the look you want. The pre-sets are great for the beginner and the scaled variations provide plenty of space to play for the more experienced user
  • Heaps of built in filters to adjust the look of your photo including aging to look like vintage photos, various film stock, age-distressed old photos
  • Handy editing tools for red-eye reduction & cloning (yes I know they are fairly standard tools now)
  • Easy set up for standard photo paper sizes including allowing you to specify how many photos of a particular size to print out on the page - i.e. you set how many per row and column and the software automatically determines the size of the photo
There are heaps of other great features I haven't mentioned, but I am sure you will see them all once you start using the software yourself. I just know you will love it as much as I do.

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