photography, publishing, tools

Fast, free and efficient image editing tools for digital publishing

Need to quickly edit/crop/resize an image for publishing to web, social media? Here are some on and offline image editing tools I use/have tried:

Photoshop is great, has many uses and advanced features, but for more efficient (and free!) working with, and publishing digital images , there are plenty of online and offline options.

As highlighted during a session at the recent news:rewired digital journalism conference, Pixlr is a fast and efficient option for making quick adjustments and saving, I’m referring here to Pixlr Express (there is a more advanced fuller version Pixlr Editor – essentially an online Photosop-esque clone), screenshot below. It’s pretty quick, edits also are snappy, and be in and out in a couple of minutes. For me it’s usually for web and social media publishing, so mostly cropping, resizing, a bit of sharpening and on my way.

Pixlr.com Express screenshot
Screenshot of pixlr.com/express/ in action

Mobile apps are available for both versions – I’d also highly recommend them – see Pixlr mobile apps for Google Play and iOS. See also: a guide to Pixlr Express on Gizmo’s Freeware ‘Edit Your Photos Like a Pro’

One advantage of the full-fat Pixlr Editor is you can sign-up using a Google account and edit and share saved images via GMail to Picasa, flickr or Facebook which may fit some workflows – tip via Nick Summers of The Next Web at news:rewired.

Other online options include Fotor, although a little slower, still provides basic editing and more advanced tools.

Photoshop itself has an online Express Editor, again, not as quick as Pixlr in my experiences, and can only output as JPEGs, but has a good set of editing tools and effects.

For more advanced work, without the expense of Photoshop, try GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) a free piece of software for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. (via Dan Thornton @badgergravling)

Smashing Magazine has some Handy Tweaks To Make GIMP Replace Photoshop.

More online photo editing tools reviewed by The Next Web.

For cloud storage, sharing and more sedate editing and image management, Picasa (naturally linked with Google+ now) has always been a solid (and free) performer. Plenty of editing tool enhancements recently to beef up its offering.

For offline image editing/screen-grabbing, I couldn’t live without FastStone Capture – see the last free version here.

A great, small, efficient tool for screengrabs or image editing – very efficient, with a simple toolset for basic edits, I’ve literally been using it most days at work for several years. Either screengrab or locate an image file, drag the image onto the floating desktop toolbar to edit. You can save out as GIF, JPEG, PCX, PNG, TGA, TIFF and PDF formats.

I find the text overlays/annotations are a useful addition. I have it installed to a USB for use on the go, only a small program file.

Update, 17 November 2014: a great collection here from Ed Walker, Five free image editing tools for journalists: Useful for creating social media graphics, batch resizing and more

Includes, Pixlr, as well as useful tools for collaging, putting shareable, social-friendly graphics together and a batch processing tool.

See also:

Image editing using Google Drive and Chrome apps

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