Paint.Net: A Free and Full-Featured Photo Image Editor
Pronounced "Paint DOT Net, this free image and photo editor is the brainchild of Rick Brewster. Paint.net started out as an undergraduate senior design project guided by Microsoft to be offered as a free replacement for its Windows paint program. But the project took on a life of its own and has advanced to a level where it compares very favorably with some of today's leading photo/image editors.
Paint.net is a very user-friendly and powerful program that incorporates plugins you'd expect to see only from expensive software kits. Paint.net offers photo and image manipulation through gamma adjustments, color correction filters, special effects filters, alpha channels for overlays, paintbrush, magic wand functions, layering, and other plugins. Paint.net also has an avid user community that contributes add-ons on a consistent basis for the program. These accessories are downloadable through its official website.
While Paint.net isn't a full-blown image editor when compared to high-end packages, it manages to incorporate many of the features that are most useful for graphic designers, photographers, and anyone who needs an easy to use program to quickly and efficiently edit photos or images. The program is constantly being revised to improve its performance, and it has gained a strong reputation as a solid graphics program.
If you are a college student, you may find that Paint.net bridges the gap between expensive photo editing programs and low end programs that fall short of usefulness and depth. The amazing thing about Paint.net is that it is not only free of charge, (contributions are always welcome, however, to help Paint.net development continue), but offers a great deal of functionality and features that all levels of designers, pro or amateur, can take advantage of.