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How Do I Choose the Best Image Processing Toolkit?

By Maggie J. Hall
Updated May 17, 2024
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The best image processing toolkit depends on the level, type, and versatility that the user requires. Photographers often use image processing technology that allows manipulation of two dimensional image data. Animation artists, graphic designers, or programmers might use software that also allows animation and dimensional conversions or that changes image format. Engineering or laboratory specialists generally require specialized programs containing image segmentation that allows measurement or analysis of statistical data.

A conventional photography image processing toolkit equips users with the ability to alter or completely changing specific aspects of still photographs. The image processing algorithms allow the software to shape, sharpen, and smooth entire images or individual subjects within the picture. The user can control color palettes, hues, or saturation levels as well. Brightness, contrast alterations, and red eye removal are also typical photography enhancement tools. Elaborate programs offer image editing tool options that include adding, deleting, or rearranging specific items in a photograph, along with automatically or manually filling in empty spaces or adding text.

Programs may allow users to work with virtual copies of photographs, keeping the original image intact. Animation artists and graphic designers might use an image processing toolkit that provides standard photographic options, but that also provides functions that can transform two dimensional still photographs into three dimensional images, or create three dimensional logos. Image processing applications might include animation functions or the ability to change camera angles and focal points. Certain programs also provide video editing capabilities. Image processing toolkit products may also provide complex organizational modules that provide greater versatility for storing or transferring images.

Software that can alter photograph data for hardcopies, mobile devices, video streaming, or website image visualization is generally equipped with extensive compression and formatting features. Some image processing toolkit software enables designers to incorporate interactive features when building websites that might include arrows, buttons, or shopping carts. Interactive features might also enlarge images with the click of a mouse or open photo galleries.

Medical laboratory specialists usually require an image processing toolkit that segments or separates photographic details according to shape or size by assigning different colors for particular characteristics. Image filtering might be used by engineers to depict specific lines or angles of a presentation. Mathematical modules then measure and compare data. Professionals often use image software for designing and testing everything from automobiles to wind turbines. Highly technical image processing toolkit programs sometimes enable users to incorporate specially written algorithms, providing specific functionality.

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Discussion Comments
By KaBoom — On Oct 14, 2011

The idea of a medical lab using imagine processing is pretty interesting to me. I remember how much trouble I had looking at things under the microscope when I took biology in college.

I would imagine medical lab technologists would probably have the same problem. It makes complete sense they might use some kind of imaging processing tools to help them analyze their data.

By starrynight — On Oct 14, 2011

@Azuza - I see what you're saying. Also, professional level image processing tools tend to have professional level pricing. (And by that I mean insanely expensive pricing.)

One thing I wanted to point out though, is that people are starting to come out with a lot of open source software. Open source software is free, and a lot of time it can perform the same functions as the paid version.

So if you're an "average consumer" and you want to try a professional level image processing toolkit, search and see if there is a free version.

By Azuza — On Oct 14, 2011

I was a photography major in college, so I have some experience with imagine processing toolkits. When I was in college, I learned to use a fairly complicated program that's the industry standard. It was great for making art work!

However, the average person does not need all those tools. If all you want to do is rotate your photo and maybe brighten it up a little, all you need is the software that came with your computer. Most operating systems come with a very simple imaging processing toolkit that is just fine for someone who isn't a photographer!

By Oceana — On Oct 13, 2011

I took an image making course in college as part of my art major. I would have loved to take the higher level classes afterward, but the teacher was so difficult and cold that I could not stand to deal with him another semester.

We learned how to realistically manipulate photographs and incorporate objects that didn’t belong while making them believable. The professor made it so incredibly hard to get an A, even though I worked really hard and tried my best.

I could have taken three-dimensional art and website design, for they would have really helped me in my field, but because of his demeanor, I didn’t. Maybe someday I will get the chance to update my education and learn how to use other types of image processing tools.

By StarJo — On Oct 13, 2011

I work in the ad department of a newspaper, and I have to use an image processing toolkit every day. The best toolkit for people like me who have to build ads using photos after processing them is one that includes one program specifically for image handling and another one for constructing ads easily.

Often, I have to use the image software to convert photos to black and white. Then, I use the ad construction software, because it is much quicker and easier to add text, shapes, and frames in this program. It is possible to do these things with the image software, but it will take much longer and is somewhat frustrating.

The cool thing about the ad construction program is that I can do little things to manipulate the photos as well. I can add a semi-transparent colored box over a photo for a cool color effect. I can incorporate a photo into an octagonal frame, or I can drag the edges of the photo around to frame it with a custom shape. However, there are certain vital things that can only be accomplished with the image processing software.

By kylee07drg — On Oct 12, 2011

I use an image processing toolkit at home to touch up my own photos, which I then print out on glossy photo paper. This is the way I get my photographs, because I no longer own a film camera.

I love the red eye removal feature. I often forget to turn off the flash, so a lot of my subjects end up with shiny red eyes. All I have to do is click on the removal tool and click in the red area of someone’s eye to get rid of it.

I can also edit photos if something got in the picture that I didn’t intend to be there. I once was taking a photo of my parents on their anniversary when a bird flew over and pooped on my mom’s shoulder. I was able to edit that out of the picture by cloning the fabric of her jacket over the spot.

By shell4life — On Oct 11, 2011

I am a graphic designer, and I have always worked with the same image processing toolkit. Over the years, I have upgraded the program a few times, but the basic functions remain the same.

I use the program most often to adjust the lighting in photographs to make them appear attractive and highly visible in publications. Sometimes, people give me photos that are either way too dark or washed out, and I can adjust the brightness and contrast by dragging an arrow around until the right mixture appears.

Also, some photos have an unattractive yellow or green tint because of the lighting in which they were taken. I can remove this color cast by adding an overlay of a different color. If a photo is too yellow, I will add blue, and if it’s too green, I add red.

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