Monday, January 26, 2009

Photoshop on a budget.

Photoshop has long been used my museum and public history professionals. It is often used to touch up digitized photos, to adjust for glare, colour changes, etc. It is also used to alter images which are to be used online, to make them more visually appealing. However, one of the major problems with photoshop is the price. The newest version of Adobe Photoshop can run upwards of $700, making it a huge investment for museums will small operating budgets.

Recently I stumbled upon some open source, web-based alternatives to the Adobe Photoshop. Pixlr is an online photo editor. Not all of photoshop's features have been recreated, however Pixlr is simple to use, allows for photo manipulation, colour adjustment, layering, and most importantly it is free. Additionally, the Pixlr site actually encourages users to incorporate Pixlr into their own site or service. Picnik is an online photo editing service similar to Pixlar. One of the advantages of Picnik is that it is compatible with flickr, photobucket, picasa, websots, facebook and myspace. This compatibility means if photos are already stored online users do not have to upload everything again. One of the downsides of Picnick is that though the free version does have a number of editing features some of the more advanced features are only available through subscription. FotoFlexer is also compatible with a variety of online photo storage sites. I found the FotoFlexer site a easier to navigate than the Picknick site, as nothing is restricted to non paying users. FotoFlexer houses pretty much all the essential photo manipulation tools and some neat advanced options such as animation and curve manipulation.

These are just a few of the options available for those looking for an open source alternative to photoshop. The majority of online photo editors don't require you to download anything, are user friendly, and work in a variety of browsers, making them ideal for those who need a photo editor but may not be able to afford one.

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