Aviva Directory » Computers & Internet » Software » Multimedia » Graphics » Image Creation & Editing

The focus of this guide is on a wide range of software designed for photo manipulation, image editing, graphic design, raster graphics editing, and related tasks not already covered in another category.

To clarify, the resources listed here will not include photographers or graphic designers. The focus is on the software.

Photo manipulation long predates computers and photo manipulation software. There are examples of photos of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant being manipulated in the early 1860s, and even some from when photos were on glass and tin plates in the early 1800s. Software has made the job easier and less detectable, however.

Although photo manipulation is often done to deceive viewers, sometimes the goal is simply to improve storytelling by removing details that are not relevant to the point, as a means of self-expression and art, or simply for personal amusement.

Nevertheless, image manipulation software has affected the trust that people have in photographs, and one popular image editing software application has become a verb. Is it real or is it photoshopped? Adobe Systems attempted to halt the use of its Adobe Photoshop product as a verb, given that Photoshop is proprietary software, but it has been unable to remove it from common language.

Photo manipulation might also be used to touch up photographs, removing blemishes and wrinkles, whitening teeth, and other enhancements, as well as airbrushing to add light strokes, minor details, and blurry edges, generally for the purpose of improving the photographic quality.

Another form of digital manipulation is used to restore photographs that have been damaged by natural, man-made or environmental causes.

Photo touchups and restoration are not generally considered to be photo manipulation, although they do involve digital manipulation of the photo. Instead, they might be referred to as image editing, which is also used to refer to the editing of other graphic images, as well.

Image editing involves altering images, which might be photographs, illustrations, or other graphics. Graphic software programs, including vector graphics editors, raster graphics, and 3D modelers, are forms of image editing programs. Many image editing programs can also be used to render or create computer art from scratch.

For the sake of categorization, we will include 3D modeling software in the 3D Graphics & Modeling category, and the vector graphics programs in the Vector Graphics category, as they are more specific to the purpose for which the software has been designed.

Most photo and image editing and manipulation is done through raster (bitmap) graphics. A raster graphics editor is a computer program that is designed to allow the user to create or edit images on a computer screen and saves them in one of several raster or bitmap formats, such as JPEG, PNG, or GIF. The difference between vector and raster graphics editors has to do with the differences between the two forms of images. Vector graphics are created mathematically, through the use of geometric formulas, while raster images are made up of rows and columns of dots, known as pixels, and are usually more photorealistic. Raster graphics are the standard form of a file created by digital cameras.

Raster images include digital photographs, which are usually created in the JPEG (JPG) format. The Portable Networks Graphics (PNG) format is a raster format that supports lossless data compression as well as transparency but is generally used in web applications only when transparent backgrounds are needed, or in logos, as the PNG format is very large as compared to JPEG. The GIF format was hugely popular in web applications when most users were accessing the Internet by dialup and bandwidth was an expensive commodity. Today, GIF images tend to be used mostly as emoticons and images with text. As the GIF format supports animation, animated GIFs were once popular, and can still be found on websites. Other web graphics are often created in various raster formats.

Software intended for graphic design generally allow graphic editing as well, although there are several software packages designed for specific editing or manipulation tasks.

Some raster editors, such as Adobe Photoshop and GIMP, support the use of vector methods for general layout, and elements like text, but deal with raster images down to the pixel.

Topics relating to software designed for the creation, editing, or manipulation of photos or other images are appropriate for this category, with the exception of 3D graphics and modeling, and vector graphics, which are covered in their own categories. Software designed for specific image manipulation tasks is listed in a subcategory of this category.


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