Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Alternatives to Photoshop and Other Awesome Free Software

If you are like me or everyone else in the world who don’t like to dish out hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars for software, then you have come to the right place.  

1. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

Replaces Photoshop

Photoshop is a powerful and extremely popular photo editing tool (so popular that photoshop is in the vernacular), but comes at a hefty price tag.  GIMP is essentially the “free photoshop” as it can do most of the things photoshop can. Photo editing, retouching, adding layers, background editing and even animation are all within one free and surprisingly lightweight software package. The Developers understand that no two tasks are alike and offer a customizable interface, enabling you to reconstruct GIMP as you see fit.

GIMP is available on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X and is available here.

2. FreeCAD

Replaces AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Creo , etc.

FreeCAD offers a full suite of computer aided-design tools, perfect for mechanical engineering and product design. FreeCAD is capable of accepting open-source libraries or itself as a library itself to other programs. Other notable features are a robotics simulator, a constraint solver and the modelling of all objects by user-defined properties and parameters. FreeCAD is even capable of opening and exporting files in DXF, allowing compatability between FreeCAD and AutoCAD.

FreeCAD is available on Windows, Ubuntu and Mac OS X and can be downloaded here

3. Blender

Blender is definitely the Swiss Army Knife of the list. only is Blender an CGI-grade modelling program, it has integrated tools for UV unwrapping, used rigging and skinning, animation in addition to smoke, particle and soft body simulation. And as if that wasn’t enough already, Blender is capable of  camera tracking, match moving, video editing and an integrated game engine.

While some may argue that all of these features are “OK for a free program”, Blender has been professionally in a number of animated films.

Blender is available on Windows, OS X, Linux, FreeBSD and can be downloaded here.

4. HandBrake

At first glance, HandBrake looks like the standard video converter, but has the ability to rip video files from DVD much like how iTunes and Windows Media Player can take music from CDs. As if this wasn’t a sweet enough program already, the icing on the cake is HandBrake’s ability to optimize video for mobile devices.

HandBrake is available on Windows, OS X and Ubuntu and can be downloaded here.

5. VirtualBox

VirtualBox lets you create simulated iterations of operating systems inside your computer, which provides a safe way to experiment with a different operating system on your computer without fear of permanently damaging your system. Some of the features of VirtualBox include trying out Windows 8 before you upgrade, putting Mac OS on a PC, combine and share desktops with a friend miles away.

VirtualBox is available on Windows, OS X, Linux and Solaris and can be downloaded here.

A tutorial to install Mac OS within Virtual Box will be posted soon.