Photo editor software is a computer program that allows a person to edit, manipulate, and otherwise alter photographs that have been scanned or imported into a computer. These types of programs can range from relatively inexpensive or freeware programs to fairly expensive professional photography software that can allow a user to make significant changes to an image. Photo editor software usually uses raster-based graphics that tend to be excellent for making changes to photographs, but are less useful for creating original graphic artwork.
Throughout much of the history of photography, any sort of editing to an image was typically done either while taking the picture, while developing the image in a dark room, or afterward by physically making alterations to the photograph. With the development of computer programs for use in graphical applications, however, digital photographic touch-ups and alterations became possible, with far greater control and reliability than older methods. These types of photo editor software are often used by professional photographers, students studying computer graphics, and home photography enthusiasts.
Photo editor software can come from a number of different developers, and different programs can give users a wide range of options and tools to use. The most common sorts of changes available through this type of program are simple alterations such as basic color corrections, cut and paste, and cropping and rotating images. More complex, user-controlled changes typically come from more sophisticated photo editor software, which is usually fairly expensive.
These types of photo editor software can allow someone to make specific changes to color levels, such as converting between grayscale images and RGB or CMYK color images, for digital and print uses respectively. They can also usually offer users greater tools for selecting and editing areas, such as masking features, layer hierarchies, and the ability to save a selection for easier future re-selecting. These more complex photo editor software programs will also typically allow a user to apply filters and effects to an image.
Filters are often packaged with a program or available as plug-ins for a program, and allow a software user to make dramatic changes easily to an entire image or a selected region of the picture. These changes include adding graininess, motion blur, glowing areas or text, and even changing the photograph to look like a particular art style or technique was used. A picture can be changed to look like it was made using stained glass or mosaic tiles; it can also be altered to look like watercolors, chalk, or markers were used to create the image.