If simple, fun editing is all you need, try Toolwiz Pretty Photo
The best photo editors are generally quite complex tools, and learning how to use them properly can take considerable time and effort. Which is fine if you’re a professional photographer, say. But if you just want to play around with some photos you took last night, before you share them on Facebook, perhaps, you might prefer something simpler -- like the free Toolwiz Pretty Photo.
This really isn’t a serious photo editor, and the chances are you’ll realize this almost immediately. Open an image of any significant size (greater than around 2,000 pixels on an axis) Pretty Photo complains that it’s “too large” to be processed, and demands that you resize it.
Still, that’s probably still just about acceptable for fun images you’d like to share via Facebook or Twitter, say. And as you browse the Pretty Photo menus, you’ll find the program does have plenty of other interesting features by way of compensation.
Click Image Filter > Art Filters, for instance, and you’ll have instant access to 55 filters, any of which can be applied to your photo with a quick double-click. Canvas, Sketch, Polaroid, Film, assorted emboss effects and a range of interesting colour tweaks can all be applied in a flash.
One weakness of the Art Filters is they have no tweaks, no way to adjust the strength of the effects. But if you need more control then there are other, more customizable filters you can apply: Motion Blur, Fill Light, Emboss, a nice Pencil Sketch, and more.
If you’re working with a portrait shot of someone then Pretty Photo offers a number of fun makeover tools which you might enjoy. You can add eyebrows, eyelashes or eyeshadow to someone, for instance. Give them a wig, hat or necklace.
And there are a surprising number of options here, too. If you think that picture of your dog would look funnier if you gave him glasses, for instance, then you’ll find Pretty Photo gives you more than 100 frames to choose from.
You can also add a vast range of objects to your images, anything from simple shapes, speech bubbles and text, to cartoon characters, symbols and other clipart.
And there are a few more conventional photo editing options here, too. So you can crop and resize an image, for instance, or adjust brightness, contrast and colours in various ways. Or use various paint options to retouch skin, for instance, removing blemishes or adding a little extra glow.
Frequent interface irritations mean none of this is as easy to use as it should be. There are very few keyboard shortcuts, for instance, so to delete the currently selected object you can’t simply press Del: you must click Edit > Delete Selected.
Still, if you’re just looking for a simpler way to have fun with photos then there’s no doubt that Toolwiz Pretty Photo fits the bill: it’s free, portable and includes lots of tools and options to explore.