If you just want to retouch images a bit, Photoshop is overkill. Check out Paint.NET, an open-source freeware editor with all the essential tools, including those for cropping, rotating, resizing, adjusting colors, and creating collages.
Paint.NET supports the most popular image formats--JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and others--but not superhigh resolution ones like RAW. However, you'll find such basic effects as Red Eye Removal, Emboss, Mosaic, and Oil Painting, and a few higher-end features such as Clone Stamp, Lasso Select, and Magic Wand. Like a full-fledged graphics package, Paint.NET even supports layers and an actions manager. The interface is very convenient, and the panels are semitransparent, so you won't need to hide them.
Version 3 fixes many old quibbles. Multiple-image editing is done through a convenient thumbnail manager in the upper-right corner of the app; blurry tool icons have been sharpened as well. Paint.NET is far better than Microsoft Paint, and given its free price, it's a no-brainer for anyone who does a lot of minor graphical tweaking.
The new v3.0 release supports drawing gradients, both in color and in a special transparency mode. The latter is often used for fading between two images, or between two versions of the same image. The active image in the screenshot below has a foreground layer that had the Sepia adjustment applied to it, after which a transparency gradient was used to fade between it and the background layer which was an oversaturated version of the original photograph
The new Paint.NET v3.0 release has support for MDI (multi-document interface). This is accomplished by providing a tab strip in the upper right corner of the main window. All open images are placed there, and navigation is very simple, intuitive, and fast. Other new features include a better toolbar interface and a customizable color palette.
Paint.NET can be used to enhance and clean up your photographs. Using the Clone Stamp tool, the power lines that criss-crossed in front of the Space Needle were carefully removed. Other operations were performed that had the effect of smoothing out the image without blurring it, adding some "bloom" (glow), and increasing the contrast.
Paint.NET v2.6 introduces the Curves adjustment, available from the Layers → Adjustment → Curves menu item, which is capable of some powerful and sophisticated editing. This screenshot was edited in Paint.NET in order to add the inset copy of the original image, a border shadow, and overlaid text with shadow.
Paint.NET v2.5 added full freedom to scale, rotate, move, and combine both selections and images
Work with TGA images, which are popular in the game development community and is also the format used for World of Warcraft
Use the various features together to create stunning and original effects:
* Windows XP (SP2 or later), or Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2003 (SP1 or later)
* .NET Framework 2.0
* 500 MHz processor (Recommended: 800 MHz or faster)
* 256 MB of RAM (Recommended: 512 MB or more)
* 1024 x 768 screen resolution
* 200+ MB hard drive space
* 64-bit support requires a 64-bit CPU that is running a 64-bit version of Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2003, and an additional 128 MB of RAM
Please note that Paint.NET uses your hard drive to store temporary files related to undo/redo. Because of this, actual disk space requirements will depend on the type of actions you perform on an image, and on the size of the image.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD