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Seashore Review: Free Image Editing Software for the Mac

written by: Hollan•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 9/25/2009

Do you need image editing software without paying through the nose for Adobe Photoshop? You might like Seashore.

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    Seashore is open source image editing software for Mac OS X. It is based on GIMP's technology, but the interface is much more user friendly for the Mac. If you just need a very simple image editor this might be something for you. It's pretty bare bones, as far as image editing is concerned, but if you already have iPhoto the two of them together may handle all of your image editing needs.

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    Downloading and Installing

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    This is actually easier than downloading most Mac OS X software. The website has it ready to download (for free!) and after it shows up on your desktop all you have to do is unpack it. Once unpacked, open the Seashore file and you will be ready to go.

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    Seashore is no where near as complex as Adobe Photoshop, and it isn't entirely intuitive in its design either. It looks like many other image editors on the Mac, like Pixen, which is nice. Each tool bar is separate, and there are even layers you can work with, which is a huge plus.

    Seashore's biggest problem is it is hard to figure out how to do what you want. Unless you have used GIMP, you may not be able to figure out how to even crop an image, something that should be simple. The steep learning curve is a real set back for the casual user.

    The interface is similar to that of Adobe Photoshop, so if you have worked with that it might be simpler for you.

    Seashore comes with a very good guide. It is not a complete guide, since the software is still being updated, but it will most likely serve your needs. Once you find out how to properly utilize it, you will love what you can do. Cropping images, burning and dodging, textures, paint, smudging and several kinds of cool effects are available.

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    If you want to do a different kind of image editing than that provided by iPhoto (which is quiet remedial) you will love Seashore. The fact that it provides layers alone was a selling (or downloading) point for me. This is not professional level software, but that is okay. If you need to do some hobby-level image editing there is no need to spend a lot of money when you can do it for free!

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    Seashore is a strong piece of software. While it might be confusing to figure out at first, if you are a novice, the guide that it comes with is so helpful you shouldn't have any problems if you read it. More in-depth than iPhoto (although there is no sharpen mask!) this should serve all of your casual image editing needs.

    Download Seashore.