Free stuff!

Note: This is a “work in progress” that may be modified, amended, changed, enlarged, shortened, hacked about or otherwise rendered incomprehensible. Or even deleted entirely. Without any warning whatsoever. So… er… be warned! All depends on how the mood takes me. Or how much abuse I receive!

Wot? Me? Give stuff away for nothing? Now you’re just being silly.

No. What we have here is a little bunch of totally free photo-related apps that are dead useful to have floating around, just in case you need to do a real quick fix or something. Or even just to play around with.

They’re all free (did I already say that?) and they all run on Windows.

I’ve used (and am still using… when the need arises) every single one of them (in addition to my more heavyweight tools… but not all at the same time of course) and have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending them. In fact one of them (XnView) gets pressed into service virtually every day, being set as my infernal machine’s default image browser.
The one thing they share in common is they’re all incredibly easy to learn and use. They’d need to be, else I couldn’t use them, could I? Duh!

FastStone Photo Resizer
It doesn’t just resize and optimise pics, it can also convert, batch rename, add text and watermarks, and do some basic editing.

Helicon Filter
This is a truly amazing, easy-to-use, photo editing app with some very useful post-processing tools. The really handy thing about it though is a tool that will help to correct barrel distortions… a capability that none of the freebie photo editors I’ve come across so far (far more than those listed here) seem to possess. So it’s worth having for that reason alone. However, it’s version 4.93.2 that’s the freebie so if you’re inclined to give it a spin make sure you download the right one.
Another handy little feature is that it will read quite a number of different RAW formats… including Panasonic’s .rw2 that my existing version of Lightroom won’t even look at!

PhotoFiltre
Softonic’s editor Cyril Roger describes it as a “free image editor that makes a great lightweight alternative to Photoshop for users who want something more simple and easy to use”. Personally I wouldn’t quite put it in those terms (don’t wanna raise folks’ expectations too high) but nevertheless it is a free image editor. With some real handy tools. And dead easy to both understand and use.
The publishers of the app say (rather more accurately)…

Its wide range of filters allows novice users to familiarize themselves with the world of graphics. You can find the standard adjustment functions (Brightness, contrast, dyed, saturation, gamma correction) and also artistic filters (watercolor, pastels, Indian ink, pointillism, puzzle effect). There are more than 100 filters to be discovered!

There’s also quite a few third-party plugins available for it.

Photoscape
Photo editing app that includes such goodies as a batch editor, screen capture, colour picker and RAW converter. You can also do neat things with it like merge multiple pics, create an animated GIF from multiple pics, split a pic into several pieces and so on. Plus all the usual post-processing tools, with quite a few handy effects thrown in for good measure.

Recuva
Ever accidentally deleted images from your hard drive, or even memory card? Well, this little tool could well be just what you’re looking for. It’s a file recovery utility that can recover deleted files from your computer, Recycle Bin, memory card, or even MP3 player. And that includes pics of course!

XnView
A quick and dirty image browser that includes some nice little extras like file format conversion, IPTC editing, slide show etc.

composite

Um. Now here’s a bit of an afterthought. Having said I give nowt away for free, that’s not strictly true. For example, have you grabbed your free copy of the invaluable “Mike’s Field Guide to Stuff Growing Outdoors” yet? Heh heh.

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Page last updated 17 August 2010, 20:54hrs