1. GIMP

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) remains our Editors’ Choice for free image editing for good reason. It has all the high-end tools you could want for playing with graphics, and naturally costs a lot less than Photoshop; 100 percent less, in fact.

2. Paint.net

Is Paint.net a perfect replacement for Photoshop? Nothing is as powerful, but at this price—utterly free—it is pretty close. For any minor (and some major) picture manipulation, it’s fast, comprehensive, and easy to use. It requires that Windows .NET be installed to work but that’s done automatically if you don’t already have it.

3. Inkscape

Vector graphics illustration tools typically cost a lot but not Inkscape. You’ll be designing, drawing, and shaping gorgeous SVG formatted files in no time with this tool.

4. Icecream Image Resizer

Icecream Apps has a lot of nice programs, but the most useful for designers with a batch of graphics that need a quick resize is the aptly named Image Resizer. Drag images to it, pick a size and a destination folder, and they’ll be converted in an eye-blink.

5. RenderMan
  
This could be the most high-end free software ever: it’s the very tool used to render the images you see in Pixar’s movies. That’s because RenderMan was developed by Pixar in-house for that purpose, but became free for non-commercial use. It’s not going to do you much good without other software such as Autodesk’s Maya for creating 3D models. But budding artists and filmmakers will want to take note. You’ll need a 64-bit system to run it.

6. Pixlr
    
Autodesk’s Pixlr Editor does a great job of mimicking Photoshop—entirely in the web browser. Pixlr is a full ecosystem of apps, with different versions (like Editor and Express) suited to different needs. Or try the Pixlr-o-Matic Web- and mobile apps for simple, quick changes when you’re in a hurry.pixlr

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7. Adobe Photoshop Express (for Windows Phone)

When you don’t need the full strength of Photoshop, but still want Adobe in your arsenal, the low-end, consumer-oriented Express is there to help you with basics of image editing. It’ll auto-fix a lot in your images, plus has photo filters and, of course, in-app purchases to extend functions. It’s for Windows only, you’ll find it in the Microsoft store.

8. Sketchup Make
 
Once owned by Google, SketchUp is now independent, but still offers a free version called Make. It’s for the casual 3D model drawer in the audience. If you want to stick to the browser, they offer a beta of the Web app version called my.sketchup

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