If you've ever tried to create some "easy" photo effects using a not-so-easy tool, you'll appreciate Easy Photo Effects, a free tool that actually makes it easy to apply cool effects to your digital photos. It handles basic chores like resizing and adding borders and adjusting brightness and contrast, but it also has interesting filters such as sepia, colored grid, and embossed effects. With easy-to-access settings for each individual effect and a prominent Undo button, Easy Photo Effects lets you quickly apply, view, and change effects until you get it right. Easy Photo Effects only handles JPEGs and BMPs, but that covers most of most users' images.
Easy Photo Effects' user interface has a unique (and uniquely effective) layout that gathers all the program's controls in a substantial toolbar above the main window. Aside from Open, Save, and Reset Image buttons on the left and About and Update buttons on the right, all the rest of the controls access effects, and each effect has its own Settings button. We quickly realized how useful this arrangement is when we opened an image and started applying effects to it. We tried the Embossed effect, which creates a look like embossed metal. Clicking Undo backed off the effect. We clicked the Settings button above the Embossed filter, and Easy Photo Effects produced a pop-up with a slider for setting the effect's strength and check boxes ignoring red, green, or blue values. The other tools' settings had similar options. The Night Vision filter is pretty cool: It colors the image and adds a circle and image lines that do a good job of simulating a night vision scope. Other filters include Analogica, Topaza, Tilt Shift, Movie, Rotate/Flip, and Black & White. The main view only displays a scaled preview, though.
Easy Photo Effects isn't meant to be a replacement for a full-featured image editing tool, but we bet you'll use it more often than the big apps for most jobs. This compact but capable freeware certainly is capable of earning its keep as the best choice for fast jobs. And you might even get more of them done!