Useful Software

Photo editing
Specific Tools

PanoramasCopyright / Watermarks
EXIF software
Galleries & Web Pages
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Photo editing


IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP.

... Thumbnail/preview option, Slideshow (save slideshow as EXE/SCR or burn it to CD) ... Batch conversion (with image processing) ... Change color depth, Scan (batch scan) support, Cut/crop ... Effects (Sharpen, Blur, Photoshop filter factory) ... Lossless JPG rotation ... etc

(Note: for Canon cameras offering RAW format, Canon CRW DLLs are available to add to the Irfanview Plugins folder.)

GIMP for Windows.

The GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program, freely distributed under the  GNU General Public License (GPL), and cross-platform (Unix: Solaris, SGI, FreeBSD and Linux, Windows, Mac, and OS/2). It is suitable for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

It is extremely capable and compares favorably with Photoshop. Gimp is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything to be easily scripted, from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures.

And a free online comprehensive guide called "Grokking the Gimp" is available at <> - also downloadable as an HTML tarball.

A utility for viewing and converting graphic files: Multipage TIFF, Animated GIF, Animated ICO support, Resize, Copy/Cut/Crop, Adjust brigthness, contrast..., Modify number of colors, Apply filters (blur, average, emboss, ...), Apply effects (lens, wave, ...), Fullscreen mode, Slide show, Picture browser, Batch convert, Thumbnail create, Screen capture, Contact Sheet create, Multi-page file create (TIFF, DCX, LDF), TWAIN support (Windows only) ... And many many other things...

XnView is provided as FREEWARE for private non-commercial or educational use (including non-profit organization). Note : For commercial use and distribution, it is necessary to register. It is a help for the development of future versions. XnView for Linux, FreeBSD are FREE also for commercial use.

Specific Tools


SharpControl & PhotoControl

This is no longer available from '', but it can still be found at
According to Vtie, "I removed it because I needed some space and I thought nobody would download it. It turns out that I was wrong! For your information, I also wrote another tool, called PhotoControl that does sharpening but also curves, saturation and WB control. You can download it at Unfortunately, I have too much other projects going on for the moment, so I can't invest time in further developing it. Maybe one day... Anyway, thanks for your interest! "

But back to SharpControl, it's a free program by Vtie that is dedicated to digital image sharpening - described by some as the best sharpening tool in the world.

  • Automatically keeps your last settings
  • Improved compatibility with certain 16 bit TIFF files
  • Command line support (for script control). For example: sharpcontrol.exe file=c:\fotos\test1.tif;save=c:\fotos\result.jpg; radius=0.8;intensity=300;control=80; edge=60;quality=5
  • "Paste image from clipboard" and "Copy image to clipboard" funtions. This is very handy if you want to use it from within PhotoShop. Just select the entire image in PS, copy to clipboard, paste from clipboard into SharpControl, sharpen, copy to clipboard and paste as new layer in PS.
  • Van Crittert iterative sharpening. Potentially very powerful, but very tricky to use . If you don't know what this is, leave this parameter on 1x
A tutorial for version 1.1 can be found at

Noise Reduction

Neat Image

Neat Image is a digital filter application designed to reduce visible noise in digital photographic images. It is a tool for owners of digital cameras, flatbed and slide scanners; and is for use by both professional photographers, and digital image processing enthusiasts.

The Demo edition of Neat Image is distributed as freeware for non-commercial use. See the documentation supplied with the software for more details.

General Enhancement

Free Digital Camera Enhancer
Free DCE is a young (and free) brother of the commercial automatic enhancer and batch processor DCE AutoEnhance.

Free DCE does the hard job of noise reducing and automatic balance control for you. The program works best if you have bad light condition (indoor, shadows etc..) and your image is somehow off. So if some of your images are already fine, you won't see much difference. DCE makes very delicate changes...

Skin Blemishes


CleanSkinFX is the most powerful automatic retouch for portraits. It smooths the skin of the object while preserving all the details and crispness of hair, eyes or background. This procedure was exclusively developed by

CS works best on large images from digital camera or film scanners with lots of skin details. The image must be well balanced (You can use ColorCastFX to prepare the image)

Colour Casts


Using Canon PowerShot (and also other) digital cameras many people found that the landscape images were simply bad. The grass was dark, almost black, The shadows were too heavy, however at that day the light condition was great.... ColorCastFX can help you to fix that. And not only landscapes. It works great on any picture where fill-in flash was not used and the camera underexposed the front objects.

Hot Pixel Elimination

HotPixels Eliminator
This is for removing the 'noise' that the CCD may produce in dark shots with long exosures, rather than the odd specific hot pixel that the camera might develop.

BlackFrame NR
The same purpose as HotPixels Eliminator, but using a different method. You take your long exposition night picture and then put a lens cap on the lens a take another picture with the same exposure time. During short period and the same temperature the HotPixels will more likely be on the very same place on all pictures.This second image is subtracted from the original image.



Pano Tools
(When Helmut's on vacation, visit the mirror site:,
or try

Panorama Tools, written by Helmut Dersch, is probably the most versatile package for creating panoramic images. It can handle every imaginable lens type, can output to many formats and projections, including 360-degree spherical and rectilinear ('flat') formats. It can even correct lens distortion, use multiple rows of images and stitch tilted images. It consists mainly of two packages:

  1. A set of Photoshop compatible plug-ins - work in Photoshop, PTGui, PTAssembler, the GIMP (including under Linux), and GraphicConverter under Macintosh.
  2. PTStitcher combines images to panoramic views. You simply drop all input images onto the application icon of PTStitcher and a panoramic file to be viewed with all major VR-viewers is generated in one step. An updated version of the Photoshop plug-in 'Panorama Tools' is included. Please use only the same version numbers of these programs together.

Panorama Tools is completely free (GPL-licensed)

Also available is PTViewer, an open and free Panorama viewer. It is written in the Java language (v.1.0.4) and should run in any java-enabled browser. From Version 1.4, there is an additional Java-application which runs without any browser on Java 1.1 installations.

- Big Ben's Panorama Tutorials  (Using Panorama Tools and PTViewer)

- Panorama Tools Tutorial for Printable Panoramas


PTGui is a (Windows) front end for the great Panorama Tools package, for creating panoramic pictures. PTGui provides an easy to use point-and-click interface and hides all Panorama Tools' scripting commands from the user.

The trial version is fully functional during 30 days after first installation. If you continue to use it after the trial period, you are required to buy the software. The current price is EURO 49.

See also PTMac


PTAssembler is a Windows helper program for Panorama Tools, Helmut Dersch's powerful panoramic image stitching software. Despite (perhaps because of) its numerous features and capabilities, Panorama Tools can be challenging to use. It requires a lot of time and effort to create the "scripts" needed by Panorama Tools to stitch multiple images into a larger panorama. PTAssembler is designed to make this task as easy as possible. No knowledge of Panorama Tools or its script syntax is needed in order to operate PTAssembler.

PTAssembler is now shareware...meaning you are expected to "register" it (i.e. pay a small amount) to purchase the program. PTAssembler will operate for 30 days without restriction, but some features will be restricted if not registered after 30 days.


PTLens is an add-on for Panorama Tools that automatically corrects for lens pincushion and barrel distortion. Just select the file you want corrected and click the Correct button. PTLens will examine the JPEG file, determine lens focal length and image orientation from EXIF information, use the focal length to lookup lens correction coefficients in a database, then call PTStitcher to correct your image. Alternatively, you can view the coefficients in the info box and manually apply them using Panorama Tools.

Copyright / Watermarks


CopyRightLeft is an image manipulation program oriented toward creating Internet image files.
This program will help you add a copyright bar on or under a picture. There is a batch mode to process several files at once. It can also create a list of the selected images in an HTML file.
Works on Windows95/98/NT and above, and the source is also available.
This program is released under the GNU GPL, so it is totally free.

EXIF software

Irfanview (see Photo Editing)

Irfanview also shows EXIF information, and the latest version (currently 3.80) includes much of the 'Makernote' - it seems to be missing 'ISO' and 'Flash Bias', but does include 'Digital zoom'.


The EXIFutils are a set of command line utilities that extract, add, remove, copy, and replace EXIF data from JPEG and TIFF image files. For more information see EXIFutils Features.

The EXIFutils are available for Windows95/98/ME/XP/2000, Redhat Linux 7.2, MacOS X, and Solaris 8 (SPARC). They are released under a Shareware license. A free demo version is available, which allows use of a restricted set of functionality for an unlimited time. A registration key can be purchased from Reg.Net to enable the full functionality of the utilities.

Exifer (Windows)

Exifer is a nearly free software (you only should send ... a postcard if you're using Exifer frequently) with which you can manage the metadata (EXIF/IPTC) of pictures taken by digital cameras.

Because many image processing software destroys this metadata when saving such files, the idea was to create a backup of the metadata before editing it in any software, and then, after that to restore it back into the processed file. With Exifer you can do this very easily.

Exif Image Viewer

EXIF viewer is a simple image viewer application for photos taken with digital cameras. It's capable of reading EXIF information embedded in photos as well as little thumbnail. Because small thumbnail is already present in most photos displaying it is really fast. EXIF viewer can also provide detailed information about photos (shutter speed, aperture, etc.) and conveniently list them for comparison purposes.
EXIF viewer also displays image histogram. It also features copying/moving and deleting of selected photos.
Single photograph can be displayed in separate window or in a full screen mode.
  1. Under the tool icon -> Options, be sure to select columns for Canon Users, so the Canon-specific 'maker note' information is interpreted properly.
  2. I have gotten into the habit of using this to view EXIF information ( ... and also to do a batch 'lossless' rotation of photos with vertical orientation before processing in PhotoShop).

Galleries & Web Pages


ImageWalker allows you to manage your image files visually. It simplifies the process of viewing, cataloguing, and publishing digital images. Its features include; web page creation, thumbnail generation and printing, batch image conversion, slide show and screen saver.

Additionally ImageWalker can generate over 20 types of Web Pages for your images from a simple and easy to follow user interface. This allows you to easily publish your Images on the web in minutes.

It has an unlimited trial period with no obligations.


Thumber is a multi-purpose digital imaging tool -- a "Swiss army knife" for digital camera owners and imaging enthusiasts. Thumber (which runs on Windows 95/98/NT) automates many of the routine tasks associated with digital images. Thumber can be used to create web pages, display image information, rename files, add comments, view and edit images, and more...

A shareware utility, it has the option to create resized versions with links to originals, as well as the thumbs, and is also able to extract and display any EXIF information with each image.


ThumbHTML enables the rapid deployment of digital images to the web. You choose the folder containing the images you wish to show, and use the program to generate thumbnail copies (and other sizes). Simply click the 'create thumbnails' button. You then choose the number of images to be displayed per page and a page title, and click 'Make HTML'. That's it - all you then have to do is to upload the entire folder (including the thumbnails sub-folder) to the web.

There are a number of additional configuration options, including user-selected colours and drop-shadows. You can create pre-defined sets of re-sized copies of your images with one click using the 'batch resize' facility. ThumbHTML is free software

  1. See also



VirtualDub is a video capture/processing utility for 32-bit Windows platforms (98/NT/2000/XP), licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It lacks the editing power of a general-purpose editor such as Adobe Premiere, but is streamlined for fast linear operations over video. It has batch-processing capabilities for processing large numbers of files and can be extended with third-party video filters. VirtualDub is mainly geared toward processing AVI files, although it can read (not write) MPEG-1 and also handle sets of BMP images.


TMPGEnc converts *.AVI file to MPEG1, the format which is used in VideoCD. Using variety of option in TMPGEnc, you can compress your video file in high quality.
TMPGEnc enables us adjust bitrate, quantize matrix, GOP structure, Interlace and many other parameter so that you can create most appropriate movie file depends on your purpose.


Cam4you is a freeware set of utilities (no longer requiring registration since version 4.5.0, but still hoping for donations)  for operating the camera via the computer, with the camera plugged into the USB port.

It can be used to download pictures directly from the camera to the computer, and includes the ability to recompress AVIs in another format during the download. The Cam4you site includes a link to download a free DivX 4 codec which can then be used to for the recompression.

AVI Compression Converter

AVI Compression Converter includes a free trail version, which is fully functional but incorporates an initial popup, and a couple of  random pauses (- only very minor annoyances, but can be got rid of by buying the product for 9.99 USD).

As with Cam4you, a new compression codec is required, but the free DivX4 codec from the Cam4you site works fine here as well.


Windows XP has a small application called 'MovieMaker', which can be used to convert MJPEG AVIs to WMVs, and from there one can convert to any other format.

Motion JPEG Codecs

PICVideo™ MJPEG Codec v2 - Fastest Motion JPEG Video Codec This is the perfect codec for viewing Motion JPEG files on Windows Media Player. The PICVideo MJPEG Codec offers incredibly high-speed compression and decompression of Motion JPEG streams. The PICVideo MJPEG Codec is both a Microsoft Video for Windows Codec and a Microsoft DirectShow Transform Filter Codec  -  $18 Special Offer for Non-Commercial Users

Note that the shareware (unregistered) version will add the PicVideo watermark when decompressing, as well as when compressing.

60 day trial version

Main Concept
This codec allows for high-quality, realtime Motion JPEG encoding. It also enables you to view Motion JPEG files created on another computer, even if you do not have specialized hardware involved.
Operating systems: Windows 95, 98, 98SE, 2000, Me, XP, NT - Price: $19 (download version)

The decoder contained in the archive is free for non-commercial use, the encoder is provided for evaluation. The encoder works without restrictions for the first 45 minutes after starting your computer, after that it adds a MainConcept logo to  the captured video (which results in 2-3% fps loss).

Lead Video Codec
After the initial 30 day evaluation period has expired, LEAD's MCMP/MJPEG evaluation codec will begin writing an evaluation notice into any video frame that it saves. If you wish to compress video after the 30 day evaluation period is over, and do not want evaluation information written to each video frame, you may purchase the LEAD codec for $29.
(Decompression may still function OK?)

DivX Codecs

DivX ;-) v3.11 alpha
The last official version of a hacked version of Microsoft's MPEG-4 WMV video codec. Most movies on the net are encoded with the DivX 3.11 alpha codec, though its legitimacy is questionable.

The first released legal version of the DivX codec, developed from scratch, initially as an open source project, but later as a closed source product by DivXNetworks.

Also available from the Cam4you site near the bottom of the page at

The latest version of the DivX product. Currently free for private use.

A continuation of the original DivX open source project. Still under development, this is a free and high quality ISO MPEG-4 compliant video codec.