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I want to be able to take a sample image, and be able to fade out the background.

For example, I might take a picture of a bird. Make most of the background almost completely transparent, and have a smooth transition to full opacity adjacent to the subject.

Most of all, I want to be able to save / export to PNG.

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Which operating systems should it run on? –  Jonas Aug 15 '09 at 21:09
    
I would like to be able to run on Linux. I specifically didn't specify an operating system, because I wanted this to be as useful as possible, to everybody. –  Brad Gilbert Aug 16 '09 at 16:35

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

As far as I know, The GIMP should be able to do what you want. It's free and open source.

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Paint.NET if you're on Windows. IMO, a lot easier to deal with than The GIMP, if you're already slightly familiar with Photoshop.

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This was never open source, just freeware with source available. Rick decided to close the source access so it is now a binary only distribution. Now what is interesting is the license talks about source code so technically you could beat some drums and get the source code and require a license change! –  Wayne Aug 16 '09 at 0:34
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I suspect the poster was primarily concerned about the Free Software aspect typically associated with Open Source... ;) –  Ian Aug 16 '09 at 21:04
    
Free is nice. Open Source is better. –  Brad Gilbert Sep 17 '09 at 5:49

Gimp is a great application. However, the learning curve is pretty steep. I have not figured out how to do a simple color replacement or transparency with it yet. The easiest program I have ever used for that is Paint Shop Pro.

After reading about Paint.Net I downloaded it. It beat Gimp Hands Down. A great program for the Novice.

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Programs easily used by a novice tend to be under-powered when you are no longer a novice. If you don't plan on becoming a expert at it, go ahead and use whatever is easier for you. –  Brad Gilbert Feb 15 '12 at 21:40

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