There is a lot more software out there than just photoshop. I’m going to discuss some of my favorite free tools to manipulate images.
If you’ve ever used this tool, you’ll know it is better than any other free or paid panoramic stitching solution out there. With this tool you can even hand hold your camera as you take a panorama. It takes care of any movements, tilting of the camera, barrel distortions, vignetting, and any camera distortions you could think off. The program can also be used to align and create HDR images. There are a variety of methods for creating panoramas. It is also very much evident that the program was coded very well, with interchangeable components, and other wise design decisions. However, the UI isn’t the most user friendly. It needs a getting started page, but other than that, this is the best panorama stitching program.
This is a great program for editing RAW photos. Most of the RAW image editors are Linux only, but this one works on both Linux and Windows. It allows you to navigate through your files, and makes it easy to batch process files. From the browsing tab you can apply saved out profiles to your images, and then send the image to the queue to be processed. If you want to spend more time on an image there are a variety of sliders that can be used to manipulate the image. Many of these manipulations are better done in GIMP or photoshop, so make sure you don’t go overboard with the sliders.
The best free program for vector graphics. I don’t create vector graphics much, but if that interests you try out this program.
Not the best program, but as GIMP cannot yet handle 16-bit graphics, this tool can be used to do some preprocessing on a HDR photo, before you have to convert it to 8 bit to process it with GIMP. Hugin can also be used to create HDR images. Hopefully GIMP will introduce the ability to edit in 16-bit soon as these HDR tools are very limited in what they can do.
You’ve probably heard me mention this one a few times. G’MIC opens a window with a ton of advanced filters. It has the best noise reduction filters, and sharpening filters. It has some great filters for manipulating color.
Adaptive edge detection
I don’t need a edge detection filter that much, but when I do this is much better than the default methods. This filter has also been ported to G’MIC
This will allow you to use any photoshop plugins. In reality all the photoshop ones are way expensive, and there is usually is a fun GIMP counterpart, but it is kinda neet that you can use photoshop filters in GIMP.
Fakes an out of focus lens blur. Does a really good job. I love this filter.