How about Inkscape? It is:
free and open source,
has a perfectly compliant SVG format file generation and editing,
can open a number of other vector formats, with the help of extensions,
can natively import most raster formats (JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc.) as bitmap images, but it can only export PNG bitmaps,
as it is a downloadable software, it runs ...
My first thought was "ok you need something like Greenshot" so, after some search, I found Shutter which offers the features you need (more info in this blog post). You can download it from Launchpad. More details:
Capture options like capture a specific area or whole desktop
Share options like generating shared link and Ubuntu One(which has stopped I think)...
GIMP is a strong alternative.
GIMP is available on OS X, Windows, and Linux. GIMP is free and licensed under the GNU General Public License.
As for your feature list:
all layer effects: ✓
smart objects: ☓ Gimp does not have smart objects to my knowledge.
PNG export: ✓
text (and font properties)- ...
I'm guessing that you don't just crop the image but you have other things you'll be doing with the images before and after they're cropped. So I guess it's worthwhile to take a look at scripting the cropping as well as those other tasks.
If you want to do a facial recognition based cropping, you might want to look at OpenCV. OpenCV has a feature detection ...
Darktable is a quite good alternative for Lightroom. It's constantly developed, open source and free, does not require sign up, and it have number of modules for development of photos, beside a very good cataloguing, mapping and tagging options.
Beside other features it support:
You'll never find a real clone of LightRoom, but LightZone is an excellent free alternative.
Among many other features, it also supports...
Nondestructive RAW Editing
Have you tried Paint.NET ?
It's often the perfect cross between MSPaint and Photoshop for me. It has basic support for a wide range of filetypes, and your basic drawing tools and image operations (resizing, cropping, etc.). It still has a lot of options, but it's free and feels like MSPaint, which I imagine the user is more familiar with than say, GIMP. For ...
There is Paint.NET. It is a free image editing software. It is easy to handle as MS Paint, but contains a lot of advanced features. It supports many different formats. I use it very often to edit images. It is easy to handle and available with translations for different languages.
has a modern interface
supports painting on the image
Try this one SketchBook Mobile Express. It is harder than drawing on your pc, but if you have a tablet is a great option.
From their about section. Feautures:
Full Screen work space with on demand UI
Multi-touch navigation with a 2500% zoom
Up to 3 layers you can merge and toggle visibility
Opacity control on each layer
Import layer from the Gallery on ...
You can use Skitch:
works with Windows/Mac (even Android/iPhone)
circle/comment/arrow/check/etc parts of an image
can take screenshots and crop+edit on the fly
it does not allow highlighting, but the latter is really not obvious to find (requires OCR).
I added 2 annotations on this image with Skitch, I find thempretty smooth:
As already mentioned I would go with Inkscape if you want a full featured SVG editor with great design capabilities and powerful tools.
If you want something simpler however, are looking for a web based solution or Inkscape is not available on your desired platform there is also SVG Edit.
The closest MS Paint clone is Pinta. I regard it as vastly superior to MS Paint, but it retains its simplicity.
All of your needs can be founded easily. Just give it a try.
To install in Ubuntu:
sudo apt-get install pinta
For other Linux distro or whatever your OS choose your flavor from here: http://pinta-project.com/download.ashx
Although it is designed for SVG vectorial graphics, Inkscape is suitable for this too:
freeware / open-source
it saves as SVG, so you can link the original image into the SVG file, this meaning that all your annotations will be kept in that file, while the original image remains unchanged
export to PNG (Export as Bitmap in the File menu)
You can try SNFaceCrop, a free, open source application for windows that has auto face detection and crops it automatically.
SNFaceCrop is a Windows-based application to detect and crop faces from an image file. The detected faces can be automatically saved into files or copied into the Windows clipboard. SNFaceCrop is open source and using OpenCV ...
I'm using ExpoBlending for this task:
ExpoBlending opening screen (ckick image for larger variant)
Easy to import photos (in different formats including nef): Very easy to handle. Works Wizard-style, guiding the user through all steps. Not sure about the .nef format however, as I rarely use RAW images.
Easy and compressive to use GUI: Definitly. As I wrote:...
Hotshots is a screenshot tool with some editing features. It is particularly suitable for writing documentation, but you can use it to highlight some details on a map image or what ever you want.
Some important features:
Free/libre software and gratis
Can take screenshots: all screens, full screen, window, region, free hand region
Can crop ...
LibreOffice Draw can do that:
runs natively on Linux
the text and bubble stick together (as long as you double-clicked the bubble and inserted the text)
drag the pointer/tail
not good: it includes the image in a page sized frame even if you choose to open the image directly with Draw. However if you press Ctrl+A and export selection as image ...
The best image stitcher that I know of is hugin - it allows you to stitch images together that are not in a simple left/right or right/left order.
hugin is free, open source and cross platform including linux & windows.
On Ubuntu just use:
sudo apt-get install hugin
if it isn't already installed.
PicPick is an image editor available for Windows.
It has a free licence for personal use, or commercial licence available (currently US$25).
It has a reasonably modern interface in that it has a context sensitive "ribbon bar".
It supports canvas cropping and resizing
It supports selection resizing
It supports manual image stitching in that you can enlarge ...
For any platform I cannot recommend GIMP enough.
Cross Platform OS-X, Linux, Windows
Free, gratis & open source
You can also extend it with a large number of plug-ins but I would recommend starting with GMIC
For Windows I have to recommend IrfanView. Their website is pretty ancient, but the software is reliable and the batch functions work for everything I've ever needed them for.
Install IrfanView and be sure you also have the extra plugin file.
Open IrfanView and press T to show the IrfanView thumbnail screen.
Browse to the folder that contains the files ...
The only alternative I know of to InkScape is sK1:
I've only used it for simple web design SVG editing, but it appeared to work fine. Less features than InkScape, but it does seem to import from proprietry programmes (such as CorelDRAW) a little better than InkScape. It exports to PostScript, and thus to Adobe Illustrator (5.0) rather ...
ImageMagick should meet your requirements, as your requirements mention a GUI is optional. I'm using that for "batch compression" all the time, which is as easy as
mogrify -quality 70 *.jpg
(this example compressing all JPEG images in the current working directory to 70%).
Support .png and .jp(e)g files: Yes, and many more formats.
Bulk functionality to ...
If you are looking for something to do the drawing for you I think you are out of luck but you might like to take a look at Krita.
Cross Platform, (now including Win8.1).
Lots of online tutorials, including some specific to comics/graphic novels.
Interfaces with a number of graphics tablets and works really well with them, but no ...