The Photoshop free download is one of the hottest trials offered by Adobe Software. Available for thirty days at no cost, its provides a way to test drive Adobe’s flagship product before you buy. If you are interested in Photoshop, there are many reasons you may want to consider a free trial download first.

Among professionals, Photoshop is the number one image editing software in the world. This is for a good reason. Photographers, graphic designers, website professionals, artists and even dentists all find it to be an invaluable tool. It is essential for producing today’s modern looking work. Adobe CS4 is the latest incarnation of this almost magic software. It included an easier to use interface, content-aware scaling and open GL performance that make it an essential upgrade from CS3. Photoshop Extended provided extensive three-dimension tools for those working in film and graphics.

Photoshop can retail for as much as $999. That’s a lot of money if you’re not sure it’s the right product for you. Fortunately, Adobe offers a free download for a thirty day trial period. To do this you must first create an Adobe account. Registration is required for activation. After that, the software download is fairly effortless. After thirty days you must either purchase the full version of Photoshop or your copy will no longer work correctly.

If your interested in other Adobe products besides Photoshop, you can obtain free trials of complete suites. These include the CS4 Design Premium or CS4 Master Collection. These software bundles contain many top programs, such as Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver and more. The difference is these packages are not available for free downloads. You must purchase a low-cost DVD set, usually ten to fifteen dollars, and install the programs manually. After thirty days the same conditions apply. The advantage to this system is that the DVDs can act as a backup after you fully purchase the software.

Aside from the Photoshop free download, there are other options to save you money. Adobe offers steep discounts to educators and students. But be careful, these editions are often hard to upgrade in the future. Volume licensing and other discounts are available. Check out the free trial. What do you have to lose?

Free Alternatives to Photoshop

Anyone who’s ever dabbled in website design has probably needed to use image editing software at one time or another. To many it might appear as if there are only one or two options out there. The primary option being an expensive program from Adobe called Photoshop that costs around $300, and a few others like PaintShop Pro and Pixelmator that range from $50 to $100. However, there are two other powerful options that are completely free.

Gimp

While the name might conjure up thoughts of a Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” Gimp stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program (GNU is free software licensing system). The best feature of Gimp is its price tag…free. This open source software is a powerful alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop featuring the ability to create graphic designs through layering images.

It has an extensive plug-in library that continually grows, offering new features for graphic image manipulation. Some developer or user might create a plug-in that makes a photo look like a velvet painting. You can then download these plug-ins and use them free of charge in your version of Gimp.

Gimp also supports the Adobe Photoshop format for paintbrushes. These are a powerful tool within the application that are generally themed and make it easy to add potent imagery to your work. Paintbrushes may be themed around gardens, Japanese letters, Goth imagery, cars or just about anything you can imagine. They’re a flexible, powerful way to take your logos or website images to the next level.

Find this program at http://www.gimp.org.

Inkscape

Another powerful, free program for creating images is Inkscape. Unlike Gimp, which is a raster-based image manipulation program, Inkscape is a vector drawing program. While Gimp is intended for editing photos in the jpg, png or gif format and best suited to handling photorealistic images, Inkscape’s vector drawing is great for icons, logos and more cartoonish images.

Vector drawing programs are based on building, coloring and manipulation shapes. Raster programs like Gimp are pixel-based and this means that when you scale an image to a larger or smaller size, you run the risk of losing image fidelity. Programs like Inkscape and their expensive cousins (Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw) are the perfect tool when you want to create logos that might be presented in many different dimensions.

Most clip art that is not photography based is created using some sort of vector drawing program. Inkscape uses the Scalable Vector Graphic file extension (.svg) which is open standard and means that your graphics file will easily transfer to other programs and be usable.

Find this program at inkscape.org.

Is Open Source for Everyone?

Of course! It’s free! That’s the whole point. There are downsides to using these applications. While you can find hundreds of books on using Adobe’s Photoshop, you’ll only find a handful on Gimp and Inkscape.

Some people love to buy books to learn, but I say that’s actually a disadvantage because again you’re out another $30-$50 bucks per book.

There are plenty of video tutorials on You Tube that can teach you how to use the programs and become very competent. So the investment you make will be time, not money.

If you’re in need of a program that will help you create images for your website that are compelling, but can’t afford a copy of Adobe’s Photoshop – you’d be wise to take a look at these two amazing open source graphics programs.

Learning Photoshop is Challenging and Fun

Learning Photoshop is a challenging process that can be a lot of fun. But, let’s face it – Adobe Photoshop is a complex application that can be frustrating. More than a few budding graphic design artists have questioned their sanity while trying to master the intricacies of this program.

Like many advanced software applications, Photoshop is designed to be fully functional and useful for all levels of graphic design work. Beginners can learn to do simple photo edits rather quickly, while the pros will work with multiple layers and create stunning effects that are unrivaled. The tools and processes available are what makes learning Photoshop a little tricky. You have to learn in a step-by-step fashion. It’s difficult to just jump in and do much without mastering the basics first. I know, because I’ve been there and at one time almost gave up on learning it.

Time spent learning Photoshop can pay off handsomely, though. Aside from using the program for fun and personal productivity, there are many opportunities to make good money here. Since graphic design and editing isn’t the easiest thing to learn, there is great demand for people who are skilled and able to work with complex projects. Accomplished graphic design professionals are always in great demand, and there is more than enough work to go around.

One skill in great demand is web design. You can use Photoshop to create unique, stunning headers and site designs and businesses will pay you very well to do this. Web design isn’t a skill that any “do it yourself” type can pick up easily. You can’t go down to your local bookstore and purchase a book on web design and expect to whip up a professional quality site overnight. Not to mention the time required for learning Photoshop or another graphics editing program to create the actual design elements.

Adobe Photoshop tutorials were hard to come by before we had the Internet. At one time, you pretty much had to attend formal training classes held at local technical schools or universities. There has always been an abundant supply of books and manuals that focus on teaching Photoshop skills, but like many tutorials designed to teach professional level applications, they fell short of being practical for most students.

Now, you can find a nice selection of training courses for learning Photoshop online that begin with the very basics and work up to advanced topics in a step by step fashion, the way it should be. The best tutorials are video based, giving you the opportunity to literally practice the required skills as you watch the video. Supplementary training material can be printed from PDF files. This gives you the opportunity to master Photoshop using tools and presentations far superior to their predecessors, at a fraction of the cost.