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26 thoughts on “Image Software

  • Mervyn Carter

    I use and recommend

    It’s perfectly OK importing .tif files, scaling them and altering the pixel per inch factor, then exporting them as .jpg if you require

    It’s stable, easy to use and it’s free


  • Paul

    Gimpis free and easy to use. It contains no adware or anything, and if you’re familiar with photoshop or paint shop pro, it’s similar enough to be able to get your head around.

  • Techno

    I find GIMP too complicated for simple tasks. For simple cropping and re-saving as a JPEG I use MS Paint that is preinstalled on my computer.

    But then I am an idiot.

  • alexno

    I don’t recommend saving the images as jpgs, other than for web or leisure use. You lose too much, such as with the images of the letters in the later post. The long letter from Maharajah Singh has become unreadable.

  • Clark

    Gimp – GNU Image Manipulation Program – is free software. That means free as in freedom, as well as being free as in “free beer”.
    Watch out for the “freeware” programs. You may not have the right to publish images edited with these. With Gimp, your work remains your own.
    It’s about licensing. Here is the GNU General Public License (GPL), which protects freedom of software and documentation:

  • joe richardson

    Hi Craig, I very much enjoy reading your posts, and usually (though not always!) agree with your opinions.

    The simplest way to adjust your images is to use Paint, which is included generally with all versions of windows.

    Open the image file with Paint; select “Image” from the menu bar; select “Stretch/Skew”; key in the number 10 in both Horizontal and Vertical; press “Enter”; select “File” from the menu bar, and choose “Save as”, then choose a different name to the original name. This should reduce the size to something around 1 percent of the initial size.

    If the image is too small, or still too large, then adjust the number keyed in to the “Stretch/Skew” function, and repeat the procedure.


  • Clark

    Even some “paid-for” software restricts your freedom. A friend of mine bought the “limited edition” of a well known image editing suite. I asked her what “limited edition” meant, and she said that it didn’t include some elements. She hadn’t read the EULA (End User License Agreement) – I did, and it turned out that the limitation was on her right to publish her own work if edited with that software.

  • Clark

    PNG is a good format to save to. You can vary the compression of the file, and it can compress in a manner that loses no detail. It has different types of compression for text, diagrams and photo’s, so you can retain the sharp edges of text – JPEG tends to blur them.
    PNG is also a free format, ie it is not restricted by a software patent.

  • CheebaCow

    Well it looks like I missed the boat, but I will still chime in and recommend Gimp. Absolutely terrible name (try selling the idea to your tech illiterate boss that you should deploy something called Gimp across the corporate network), but it is completely free, open source and does almost everything. Open the file, scale it down to something like 1280 pixels (maintaining ratio) then save as .jpg at 60-80% quality. 80Mb file becomes 40-60Kb =)

  • lwtc247

    Craig, why don’t you consider purchasing some software?
    Purchased software (retail box) often comes with good tutorial (inc video) manuals etc.

  • Clark

    No, DON’T purchase software! Proprietary software does not respect your freedom, the EULAs are unfair and restrictive!
    Instead of purchasing, get free (GPL) software, and make a contribution to the project. That really helps everyone.
    Free speech,
    Free software,
    Free society!

  • Nextus

    I’ve designed a lot of icons for software at a large commercial company, who only have MS Paint (XP version) on their standard corporate desktops: it’s awkward and far too limited, so I tended to do any image manipulation on a personal laptop using Gimp. Gimp is great, but it’s heavyweight package and there’s a steep learning curve; some people (inc an art student) have asked me to provide them with a simpler package because they found it unintuitive and couldn’t get to grips with it. (Paint.NET usually meets their needs.)
    I’ve only rarely encountered freeware restrictions on content – with PDF processors, for example – and a couple which impose watermarks (and rapidly uninstalled them). I’ve just checked the EULA of Visualizer Photo Resize, and there are no such commercial limitations on copyright. However, I noted (with some unease) the following geopolitical restrictions:

    “6. EXPORT RESTRICTIONS. You agree that you will not export or re-export the SOFTWARE, any part thereof, or any process or service that is the *direct product* of the SOFTWARE (the foregoing collectively referred to as the “Restricted Components”), to any country, person or entity subject to U.S. export restrictions. You specifically agree not to export or re-export any of the Restricted Components (i) to any country to which the U.S. has embargoed or restricted the export of goods or services, which currently include, but are not necessarily limited to Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, or to any national of any such country, wherever located, who intends to transmit or transport the Restricted Components back to such country; (ii) to any person or entity who you know or have reason to know will utilize the Restricted Components in the design, development or production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; or (iii) to any person or entity who has been prohibited from participating in U.S. export transactions by any federal agency of the U.S. government. You warrant and represent that neither the U.S. Commerce Department, Bureau of Export Administration nor any other U.S. federal agency has suspended, revoked or denied your export privileges.”
    I’m not sure what to make of this. Is it a mandatory requirement for US software developers under federal jurisdiction? Or are they voluntarily being patriotic bigots? How widespread is this clause?

  • Clark

    Windows does have an effective “back door”; Microsoft can force software updates even if Windows Updates are turned off. As they can modify the software remotely, they can effectively take complete control of any Windows machine:
    Even Ubuntu has some proprietary components – the “binary blobs” in the Linux kernel. You can get completely free systems at the link below (but a few pieces of hardware, notably some wireless network cards, are not supported). Since ALL the source code of these systems is published, any “back door” could be seen by programmers:
    Thanks for the BitLocker link, Mark.

  • pete

    I agree with Paul, Faststone Viewer is free, quick and easy to use. Once you install it, select batch convert from the tool-bar and this will allow you to select the files you want to convert, you can convert them to a more compressed format (like Jpg) and how much you want to compress them (percentage – the more you compress the more fine detail is lost). Converting them will not delete or overwrite your originals unless you choose to. If the dimensions of the originals are not to your liking you can resize them at the same time if you wish.
    At some point, using the Faststone program will generate a message asking you for a donation for the software, but if you click on the “don’t ask again” box it will not be repeated.
    Almost any program you use to manipulate the images will leave its own signature hidden in the image information data, if you don’t want this you will need a second program to remove it…

  • Jon

    @Clark – we’ve discussed open source before. But as a full-time programmer, I am in a quandary – if I regard all proprietary software as restrictive of freedom, then I am effectively talking myself out of a job! Unless of course I can find work in a company that makes its software free, and charges for value-added services. Sadly those kinds of jobs are rarer than hens teeth, and meanwhile since I am not of independent means, I need to apply my skills to put food on the table.
    Interestingly, I once had a good first interview with a company that does indeed give its software out for free, and charges for customisations and hosting. But when I enquired about whether I would have to work for their customers that do research on military drones, the job was “switched” to a different territory (i.e. I was security checked and found to be a risk). So it’s not a clear-cut ethical consideration, and for me something else had to come first.
    Gimp gets my vote though, I use it myself.

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