Searching for some programs and software for special photo effects, add a texture on an image, give a vintage or old style photos, with or without black and white? Below are listed some free artistic photo software and picture effect applications, to download on the computer.
Nowadays, photo effect editors are very common, they can make a photo look like an old film, a draw, even a paint oil look alike, called also painterly effect, we can put some light leak on a picture, or even simulate a lomo camera and a flare from a lens.
For whatever reasons you need to add some very special effects or just to improve a black and white or a colored photo, here are listed some freeware specialized with photo effects.
Pixlr Desktop : might be the big giant specialist of artistic photo special effects.
At first i was not sure to download PixlR Desktop because of the need to register and open an account (even if it's free), after a second thought and so after to register and install it on the computer, i was very surprised how nice this free photo artistic effects specialized software was in fact.
For Windows and Mac OSX. You got the basics for editing a picture, but it is not it's main feature, what it got it's TONS of filters, layouts, frames, stickers and texts effects...
A ton and tons, it is truly impressive the quantity, this free photo effects software is featured with, even splash color (called also selective colors), even double exposure and 3D effects. All the special effects are all of excellent quality, the kind that you can apply on a huge photo and print it in very big!
It is more aimed to the people who like the 1 click effect, but you got options on each effects, like the transparency, rotating, etc ...
With this desktop photo effect spending hours on Photoshop was the past!
Pixelitor surprised me by it's Photoshop look like but at the same time it's simplicity, and a quite easy to use photo special effects editor.
This free photo effects software to download on your desktop computer is not aimed to the very beginners, but it has an easy learning curve to master it (it is an effects EDITOR), and once you understand how it work, the world of the photo special effects will not have anymore secrets to you.
It work in a Java environment, mean it work on many different operating system (OS).
For Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It is a very efficient free photos effects and for desktop and it has layers abilities with different blending mode and transparency.
Pixelitor is powerful with a plethora of options and tools. Each important photo effect tool have it's own window to fine tune the effect, also it has more than 70 filters and effects which some of them are unique.
On1 Perfect Effects 10 Free use layers, brush, mask, blending mode, and more tools for more advanced photo effects and local image or photo editing, it's an interesting plugin photo effects to Lightroom and Aperture, but i found it a bit slow and not so smooth (but it is so fully featured that i can understand that).
For Mac OS X and Windows, On1 Perfect Effects 10 Free is so well featured that it is impressive, because it is also a photo special effects editor, it mean that you can edit, adjust locally and transform each single artistic effect, preset or filter you apply on your picture.
Not so aimed at the beginners, even if it has the 1 click photo effects, On1 Perfect Effects 10 Free might be one of the best photo effects software out there, because you feel no limit with this software and the possibilities offered by the tools in it.
XnRetro : For Mac OSX, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android is an Instagram alike for photo effects and it can be done in just 1 click.
XnRetro feature 20 color effects, 15 light effects such as bokeh and leak, 28 frame borders Adjustment like contrast, gamma, saturation, vignetting, noise, etc ... where each feature can be readjusted and changed in densities with sliders, so at the end it's like you got thousands filters and photo effects.
You can also save or share the result with the option to have your photo squared, like Instagram.
G'MIC is a plugin of GIMP (the Photoshop look like photo and image retouching) and if it was a stand alone program it would be even nicer because we need to have GIMP on our computer to use G'MIC.
But when you use G'MIC, all the magic happen, it has thousands of filters effects and presets that you can apply in just 1 click ! For sure each effects is featured with sliders and options to fine tune the special effects on your photos.
For Windows, Mac OS X and Linux it run with GIMP as a plugin, mean you need to have GIMP installed before on your computer to use G'MIC. But if you are a nerd in computing you can download it and compile its source to make it work as a stand alone program.
On the screenshot above i paste some random effects i apply to let you see how good and fully featured is GMIC and the countless menu and sub-menu photo effects.
Poladroid does one thing but it does very well, just drop a JPG in the application, and wait it finish to develop the photo (go to the preferences or options to change the default folder of the app) after few minutes your picture will be saved where you setup your preferred directory.
For Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, Poladroid truly simulate the Polaroid effect, even the time it take to develop the picture, so have a bit of patience and watch your picture slowly appearing on the paper like it was really taken with a photo Polaroid camera and when it's finish the Poladroid software will automatically save your photo.
A little tips: Better to square your picture before to drop it in the app, rectangle photos will be cropped where you might not like.
Google Nik collection is now free from March 24 2016! It is a very powerful photo effect suite which can do almost anything from a fake HDR to a very contrasted black and white photo or a vintage texture with old film effect.
The Nik collection is composed of 7 to 8 little freewares, which will transform your photo in black and white, give an old film effect, will sharpen your picture or simply process your RAW or enhance your pictures, All this freeware collection are composed of:
Those Nik collection freeware are very high end quality freeware, and can be used in a professional environment (they are actually used by many pro photographers).
XnSketch is specialised in transforming pictures and photo in sketch look alike or a pencil draw.
XnSketch is a one click application to transform any picture or image, but XnSketch has many cursors to fine tune the effects you want to apply.
Very easy to use and fun too, XnSketch has 18 different effects like: black strokes, white strokes, pastel, different pencils, colored sketch, opacity adjustment, edge control and strength, contrast control, brightness slider and so on and on.
From Macphun software, Filters For Photos is actually free (it might change one day), and yes it is an exclusivity for macOS - and Mac OS X, after all, the company is not called Macphun (see Mac Fun) for nothing.
Filters for Photos is a one click photo effect to apply on a picture, with some options if you want to, depending the filters you are using. But do not make a judgement mistake, Filters For Photos is powerfully featured with mask, inverted mask and brush, to apply an effect on a specific part of the picture, if you need to!
The MathMap freeware is a very powerful application which can literally transform your picture in what you want. As a plugin for GIMP (Windows and Linux), or as a stand alone application for Mac OS X or Windows, MathMap will surprise you with its huge possibilities.
MathMap is very well known for the Droste effect like the example on the image of the infinite loop of the camera lens.
- Tips: If you have installed the software as a stand alone on a Mac (on a Mac it's the only way to use Mathmap), i recommend strongly to click on "Help/Intro Movie" to see, at least, how to open an image in MathMap, because it is not an usual way (i had a very hard time to find it out, so don't tell to anyone).
The Fun Photos Free application has 2 purposes, the first one is to put a special effect on a photo, the second one is the very nice print option (below, more about the print options for photos).
But let's speak about the special photographic effect of Fun Photos Free, it is a simple 1-click photo effect, choose between the 15+ effects, export your picture and it's done.
Take a look at the printing side of Fun Photos Free, you won't regret it, for a free photographic software, you will be happy to see what Fun Photos Free can do to print your pictures.
With Image Tricks Lite, you won't see the end of the photo effects listing, though some of them are a premium/pro feature (specified "pro" in the listing), but you still will have plenty enough to play with million of effects.
The Image Tricks Lite software is exclusively for Mac users, and surprise by its simplicity to use, it's just a one click photo effect, with some options to tricks and adjust the effect, when there is the "visor" available. Image Tricks has plenty of frames and borders, it is also fully featured with overlays and many other things that are too long to list here.
In the Web Browser: Free online photo effects and filters >>
You might also be interested with the last entry in the blog:
Nowadays our smartphones have more computer power than a 10 years old desktop computer. Technology is evolving fast and with it, the language acquiring new words like smartphone or selfie.
We are doing everything with our phone, from a GPS assistant to photograph or record a movie in full 1080p HD, even post processing those images, and i don't even speak about playing 3D games, read some news on internet and so on...
At the end, when we compare how we use our phone the most, in percentage, I can say safely that we barely use it to call someone, and this is why i call mine a photophone.
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