PictBear 2.04

Beginner friendly paint tool and image editor for PC

  • Category:

    Retouching & Optimization

  • Version:

    2.04

  • Works under:

    Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows XP

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free
  • Vote:
    4.8 (25)

If you're looking for a functional photo editing tool but you aren't willing to spring for an expensive professional platform like Adobe Photoshop, PictBear is one of the best free alternatives on the market. Just keep in mind that it might not be a powerful enough tool to meet the demands of professional graphic designers, and the downgrade from a more robust photo editing tool could have noticeable effects on your output. But users who aren't willing to splurge will find a tool that more than pulls its weight for a free utility.

If you're transitioning from a tool like Adobe Photoshop, the user interface in PictBear may seem incredibly outdated and rudimentary. Rather than making use of the smart layers of floating tool bars that modern photo editing tools are known for, PictBear looks more like something out of Windows 95. High level tools like those for opening, saving, and printing files dominate the icons on the upper tool bar, while the panel on the left is dedicated to actual photo editing functions like crop and rotation, text, and line drawing. All of the fundamentals are covered here, but it's certainly not the most robust in terms of features. The right panel allows for tool specific functions and more in depth features like shifting between layers and picking palettes. While there's a bit of a learning curve to how the menus function, the design is pretty intuitive, and the icons do a good job of explaining what you can expect from each tool without being overly reliant on noisy text. And if you're willing to dig in to the functions here, you actually have a lot of control over the interface. PictBear makes use of tabbed interfaces, so you can customize a platform that really suits the individual needs of your project. Then there's the inclusion of scripts. With PictBear, you can create any number of automated resources for your photo editing process and allocate them easily to short keys so you can avoid the sort of redundant tasks that are common in photo editing and art design.

There are countless different varieties of picture formats today, and PictBear is impressive in the number of formats that come supported. While you won't find compatibility with every format under the sun, you can save and import photos in popular formats like jpg and gif as well as more esoteric formats like bmp, pcx, and jsf. A feature you might not expect that's a huge advantage for physical artists is the support for pressure sensitive tablets like WaCom. That makes it easy to sketch up a picture in the real world and then make the necessary changes without skipping a beat. This is the kind of software that gives back as much as you're willing to invest. New users will find the basic functions easy to understand, but professionals willing to dig deep and customize their experience will find a lot to love as well.

Pros:

  • A powerful and completely free image editing program
  • Includes support for touch sensitive tablets and screens

Cons:

  • Interface can take some time to get used to
  • Isn't as generously supported as more expensive platforms

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