Image and Graphics Software Recommendations

Thought I would expand slightly on my previous Software Recommendations post.

Here we will be covering open source Graphics & Image Manipulation Software.
First up we have the wonderful:

Inkscape
This is a free and open-source vector graphics editor; it can be used to create or edit vector graphics such as illustrations, diagrams, line arts, charts, logos and complex paintings. Inkscape’s primary vector graphics format is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) version 1.1. While Inkscape can import and export several formats, all editing workflow inevitably occur within the constraints of the SVG format.

GIMP
(GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, resizing, cropping, photo-montages, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks. GIMP began in 1995 as the school project of two university students; now GIMP is a full-fledged application, available on all distributions of Linux, OS X and Microsoft Windows. It is released under GPLv3+ licenses and is freely distributed to (and by) anybody, who can look at its contents and its source code and can add features or fix problems. Up until recently GIMP has faced a hard press due mainly to those who would rather there was just ONE Image Manipulation software suite that being Photoshop because they have spent so much money over the years purchasing liscenses for it that when it is challenged in any way they must justify the huge cost of using Photoshop over the years & so an alternative is out of the question! Granted the amount of plugins available to GIMP is nowhere near the scale PS has but in the end many just use 5 basic extenders for which there are also alternatives for within GIMP alongside this the main gripe many users have had is the clunky feel & look to the GUI but this has changed in the recent version which now uses the GTK3 library for the GUI which results in much better looking GUI & they are now beginning to place things in logical groups.

Darktable
darktable is a free and open-source photography workflow application and raw developer. Rather than being a raster graphics editor such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP, it comprises a subset of image editing operations specifically aimed at non-destructive raw photo post-production and is primarily focused on improving a photographer’s workflow by facilitating the handling of large numbers of images. It is freely available in versions tailored for most major Linux distributions, OS X and Solaris and is released under the GNU General Public License 3 or later. I use this myself & personally prefer this over Adboe LightRoom, the recent 2.0.0 version is a big jump from GTK2 to GTK3 & they have also included a swathe of extras to assist you, there are 1 or 2 small gripes when you use Darktable on a HiDPI display where the sliders result in a 1or2 pixel slider to move & some Icons do not scale up to HiDPI but still this is just as powerful as Lightroom & will just ask you to watch this 15min clip to see what is what: https://youtu.be/VJbJ0btlui0

Scribus
Moving slitly away from pure graphics & Image to Scribus if you need to whip up a brochure for your business, or maybe a PDF that you can send to clients and want something with a bit more oomph than Microsoft Word orLibreOffice Writer can provide?  is an open source desktop publishing tool that can help you create press-ready output. Scribus is similar to tools like Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress. It may not have as many features as those tools, but it is up to the task of creating just about any publication that your small business may need. Like GIMP and Inkscape, Scribus has great documentation.

LibreOffice Draw
In my previous post I mentioned LibreOffice Suite well for simple graphics, diagrams and charts, you might want to turn to. As the name suggests, Draw is part of the open source LibreOffice productivity suite. You can use Draw for very complex artwork, but it’s also well-suited for creating charts and diagrams or other simple artwork for presentations and so on. You might not be familiar with LibreOffice, but have probably heard of OpenOffice.org. LibreOffice is a project that spun off from OpenOffice.org to foster better community collaboration. If you’re already using OpenOffice.org, you can use its version of Draw, or check out LibreOffice. LibreOffice is available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and other operating systems.

Blender
an open source, cross-platform suite for 3D creation. Blender is capable of stunning 3D work—and not just still images. Blender has been used to create animated masterpieces like Big Buck Bunny and Elephants Dream. (See a list of movies from the Blender Foundation on the Blender site.) Few small businesses will need this kind of power, but Blender is on par with proprietary tools if you have need for 3D modeling and such. If you’re running a small art shop, Blender should be part of your toolkit. Blender is available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and more. On the download page you’ll also find “regression files” that are meant to test releases of Blender to ensure that updates don’t break features artists have come to expect. But you can also use the files to get up to see how things are done with Blender. The application also has lots of docs to get you up to speed.

That pretty much sums up this list of recomendations, watch out for more to come.