I am wanting to get into the couture cookie designing area for cookie favors for weddings and the like. I now have a once used edible printer outfit and have no idea where to begin, as far as, software for a beginner.
One that maybe free would be good since I have no idea what I an doing.
Well, if you're looking for an image editing program, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is available for Linux Mac, and WinDoze, and it's free (both "free as in beer" and "free as in speech"). It handles all the common image formats, and most of the uncommon ones, and does most (but by no means all) of what Photoshop does.
And if you have difficulty printing from GIMP (not terribly uncommon), and your used system didn't already have some sort of edible printing software installed, then whatever operating system you have should include a utility that can print a picture.
AAnother option is Photoshop Elements (~$70), a scaled down version of the industry standard graphic design program Photoshop. You should be able to find a class on Photoshop at your local technical school, community college, or adult education program.
So far as I'm aware, the only major things that Photoshop does, that GIMP doesn't, are things like adjustment layers, and CMYK color gamuts. And I have no idea whether Elements does either. Certainly GIMP has the advantage that it costs you absolutely nothing other than the time spent downloading it.
Some years ago, Popular Photography ran a Photoshop layers tutorial. I downloaded the base images for the tutorial, and did it in GIMP. Just so I could report back to them that everything in the tutorial could also be done in GIMP.
AElements does support adjustment layers, but it doesn't support CMYK.
The main advantage with Photoshop is the wide availability of books and classroom training, but if you are fine sticking with online tutorials (or you can find a GIMP class in your area) then GIMP would be a good option.
There is also the learning curve...both GIMP and Photoshop are difficult for beginners to learn, but the Photoshop Elements interface is more friendly to newbies.
I would say that, based on using Photoshop on various colleague's machines, its learning curve is quite a bit steeper than GIMP's; whether GIMP's is steeper than that of Elements, I cannot say, as I'm too cheap to pay for Elements (much less Photoshop), and haven't had any opportunity to try it.
I will say that if you know one image manipulation application, the learning curve for the others gets a bit shallower (but may have a few "gotchas"). (I'm also familiar with a fairly old one, Lemkesoft GraphicConverter)
I do use Adobe Illustrator (and bought a very out-of-date version thereof, for my Mac Performa).
All of the "prepress" I've done both for my handful of (outsourced) edible printing projects, and for my Christmas cards since I got my color laser printer, has been done in GIMP, on my G4 "Bionic Desk Lamp" iMac, with the Christmas cards printed from Preview.
Thank you. I will look into GIMP this weekend and see how user friendly it is.