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Creating Images with Free Software

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:47 pm
by Bob Yankle
Is anything really free anymore? Well, it would seem so when it comes to photo editing programs - programs like GIMP, Picasa, FotoSketcher, Fastone, Raw Therapee, and Paint.Net, just to name a few, are truly free to the user. Filters like Spektrel, NIK Collection, On1 Effects 10.5 Free Edition, and Redfields' Fine Touch are free as well. But are they any good? I really wanted to find out.

Before I go too much further, I will point out that I am retired and have a lot of time on my hands to experiment with imaging software, and it's something I absolutely LOVE to do.

All of the software used to produce the final image is freeware.

I used Paint.Net as the main hub from which I which I called a goodly number of free filters. Paint.Net has a free download that allows it to use Photoshop plugins with .8bf extensions. You can see the menu in photo 2 below. The program in itself "looks" like a freeware version of Paintshop, but only has about 40% of the capabilities of that larger product, but it DOES include Layers which allowed me to blend my various layers together to get the look I was going go. I used the cropping tool and brightness/contrast sliders from Paint.Net

But MOST of the pure post-processing enhancements used freeware filters. I have included their names below, with a short description of what I used them for:

MV's Plugins, Wire Worm - Paint.net does not have a magical healing brush, nor content-aware fill tools. It's native Clone Stamp Tool is "somewhat" useful, but leaves large round splotches on one's image. Wire Worm works on the same principle but does dynamic color-matching around the edges. I used Wire Worm to remove all the fishing flies from the background

Redfield, Fine Touch - has 10 presets with which one can create textured backgrounds. I used "Impressions"

NIK Collection - Unfortunately, NIK software does not work in Standalone Mode (well, it can, but it loses all Menu Items) - but they CAN be invoked from Paint.Net. At various times I created a duplicate layer in Paint.Net, then called Viveza 2 (structure, shadow management), Color Efex Pro 4 ([Pro Contrast[, [Lighten/Darken Center}, HDR Efex Pro 2 [Outdoor 2], and Sharpener Pro 3 (2) Output Sharpener (global sharpening) individually for work on their own layers, then used the Opacity function to blend with its predecessor before flattening the image and calling the next one.

Finally I saved the image, then opened up the .jpg file in On1 Effects 10 Free Edition, where I used "Dynamic Contrast [Soft]", "Vignette [Big Softy]" and "Borders [Black Border]".

Re: Creating Images with Free Software

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:53 pm
by LindaShorey
When I typed paint.net into my Chrome address bar, I got Warrenpaint.com, a manufacturer :D

But this came up in a Google search:
https://www.getpaint.net/download.html

If anyone is interested strictly in online apps, such as for use with a Chromebook, befunky and Polarr are worth checking out.

Thanks much for posting this topic, Bob. It will be of great value for many folks!

Re: Creating Images with Free Software

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:51 pm
by Bob Yankle
Paint.Net can be downloaded at https://www.getpaint.net/download.html

Re: Creating Images with Free Software

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:01 pm
by minniev
Excellent post, Bob. Thanks for sharing this wealth of free resources, and in addition to that, explaining how to use some of them!

Very valuable post, I'm bookmarking it for lots more study. I use some - NIK, On1 Effects. But there's more to explore!

Re: Creating Images with Free Software

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:07 pm
by Bob Yankle
minniev wrote:Excellent post, Bob. Thanks for sharing this wealth of free resources, and in addition to that, explaining how to use some of them!

Very valuable post, I'm bookmarking it for lots more study. I use some - NIK, On1 Effects. But there's more to explore!
I wonder if anyone noticed this image, which is a depiction of intarsia looks similar to Piet Francke's avatar?

Re: Creating Images with Free Software

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:05 am
by St3v3M
Is this a Challenge? I feel like this is a Challenge and you know how we feel about Challenges - We Have To Accept Them! Challenge On! S-
- Challenge: Be Free And Be Happy

Re: Creating Images with Free Software

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:51 pm
by minniev
This is a great share, Bob, and an interesting image edited totally "for free".

I could not access the link in Steve's post just above, nor could I find it in the challenge section, so I've pm'd Steve and asked him to check on it, in case other folks have the same problem.

It sounds like a great activity so I'll check back later today and see if I can get into it. I've had fun this morning fiddling with a New Orleans street shot in "freebie" software without the benefit of my usual standbys Lightroom and Photoshop.

Re: Creating Images with Free Software

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:58 pm
by St3v3M
minniev wrote:This is a great share, Bob, and an interesting image edited totally "for free".

I could not access the link in Steve's post just above, nor could I find it in the challenge section, so I've pm'd Steve and asked him to check on it, in case other folks have the same problem.

It sounds like a great activity so I'll check back later today and see if I can get into it. I've had fun this morning fiddling with a New Orleans street shot in "freebie" software without the benefit of my usual standbys Lightroom and Photoshop.

Now I know why no one took me up on the Challenge I made in March... I've fixed the issue so Challenge On! S-