I have been an ongoing customer of Photoshop for the life of the product with steady upgrades every year. However, today, I canceled my Photoshop subscription. My main reason is that I just don’t use the program frequently enough. I basically use it to crop images or eliminate the background on photos. It’s not like I am an avid photo manipulator or a creative services production artist.
I Googled Photoshop replacement and found two options that look fine to me. Paint.net and GIMP. I am trying the development version of GIMP right now. It’s taking a long time to boot up for sure. OK I’m in.
I hate it.
Ok to be clear, my use case is simple. I want to take a photo and remove the background. Here is the original:
In Photoshop, this is pretty easy with their selection tool. I tried in GIMP, it took a while to figure out the method. (Yes, I looked in the help system) The magic selection tool has thresholds, but I found it very difficult to find the edges in a way that wouldn’t take me an hour per picture. I gave up after ten minutes.
Next I tried Paint.NET. It’s a much smaller download and a nicer looking interface. It also had a magic selection tool, with tolerances. I followed their instructions but found it extremely hard to manage. You have to drag the tolerance and keep adding to your selection.
Finally, I just googled: Remove background from photo. Do you know what came up? My old friend Microsoft PowerPoint. It has a tool called Remove Background under format.
First one on the left. Holy Buckets! I had no idea this was there. Again, I feel like Microsoft has this awesome design tool that NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT!
It took about 20 seconds of fiddling and voila.
In fact, I could have reverted to the original image at any time. It works like “crop” – non-destructive on the image. See, I can keep the rock below.
I could have messed around with the bottom a little more to make it smooth, but this was fine. It’s not a perfect feature. It could use a tolerance spectrum to make it less/more sensitive. However, this is WAY more power than people realize is inside PowerPoint.
Good on ya Microsoft!