Monday, May 26, 2014

Free Software for creating & editing images

I often create business cards or leaflets for people and business. Today it is so easy to have your own business card and many companies like Vista Print offer their own design solutions for you. However, if you really want to make it unique you can create your own with some amazing software that is free!

The first program I am going to share with you is Inkscape which is available for all operating systems (Windows, Mac OS and Linux). This is a vector graphics design software, and as they say on their website, it is similar to Adobe Illustrator. You can import images, re-size them, add text on top, put images side by side and lots more.

Another benefit I've found from Inkscape is that it can open pdf files to edit them. You can only use the file in a limited way but an advantage is you can extract images from the pdf file.

Once you've designed something in Inkscape you can export it as an image to then use elsewhere. The export is only in png (portable network graphics) format but that can easily be changed to another format. For example I use Gimp, another editing software, which can change the image from png to jpg (a common form of image compression) which is more widely used.

Gimp is an image manipulation program which can be used for photo retouching, as well as many other uses. It is similar to Adobe Photoshop and can do most things that Photoshop can do.

It is great for re-sizing an image, cutting part of an image out (you can even edit people out and put them on a different background) and many more uses. You can also export the image into another format and/or export it to a lower resolution, for example to use on a website. There are loads of tutorials online for how to use different aspects of Gimp, just google what you want to do and you often find someone has documented the steps you need.

There are many tutorials online for how to use these excellent tools and I hope you have found this useful.

Here are some examples of images I have created using these programs.

Two images blended with Gimp

Business card created using Inkscape

Background changed and round corners added to a photo using Gimp