I’m going to finish off this apparently never-ending series with some programs you have to download- but still free, or free versions of larger programs you have to pay for. [I was careful here and only downloaded programs available from sites like CNET.]
The first is Paint.Net, which was developed in conjunction with Microsoft – and it looks like it. Which is actually quite confidence building if you are used to Microsoft products.
It doesn’t have an enormous range of effects, and there is only limited tuning compared with Sumopaint, but I found it easy to use. For example, the ‘Undo’ button is very close to the Effects button, handy when you change your mind. But I wish the tuning menus didn’t appear right over the image you want to tune, so you can’t see what's happening without moving them.
The ‘Help’ section is reasonably helpful to a novice – for example the explanation of layers and blends is actually comprehensible! And the on-line forum has Tutorials written by users, including some for Newbies, although I haven’t tried any of them yet…
As in Pixlr you can play around with ‘Curves’ in the ‘Adjustments’ section, to change the colours of the image.
This is ‘Tile Reflection’ - under ‘Effects’, then ‘Distort’.
You can change the tile size and angle, amongst other things.
These used the ‘Clouds’ filter - you need to click on ‘Render’ first to get it. At first I got a murky grey image – as you might expect given the name – but applying the ‘Difference’ blend [left] or ‘Negation’ [top right] made a big difference. The bottom right image is a multiple exposure of the other two made in Picasa.
Also in the ‘Render’ section are two Fractal effects, Julia -
and Mandelbrot. The colours don’t seem to be affected by the original image – and I’m not sure if the patterns are either – but fun if you like fractals, and it might be interesting to recolour them in another program.
So – if you don’t mind downloading a program rather than accessing it on-line, and you want something simple, with what appears to be more effective help than Sumo or Pixlr, it is worth looking at Paint.Net, especially if you are a Microsoft user as a lot of the commands will look very familiar.
Thanks to everyone who sent encouragement for Monday – the portfolio is under way, but I think the biggest problem is going to be reducing it to a sensible size…