Are you looking for a Photoshop alternative that has many useful photo editing and designing features as the Adobe software? Adobe Photoshop is a must-have tool for any beginning designer and photographer. But the biggest downside is its high price and a subscription pricing policy. Fortunately, there are a number of more affordable and even free alternatives to Photoshop that offer almost all the functions of the Adobe software, and sometimes even more.
If you want to get free alternatives for Photoshop, keep reading this article. Most of the options described below are available without ads and payments.
1. GIMP – The Best Open-Source Alternative
Platform: Linux, Windows, Mac
A free Photoshop alternative with open source that has been on the market for many years, and today there are versions for Linux, Windows and Mac.
GIMP offers a wide range of tools similar to those in Photoshop, and is a great option if you are looking for a free image editor. The interface is slightly different from Photoshop, but there is a GIMP version that mimics the look of Adobe product, making it easy to switch from Ps.
GIMP has a full set of tools for professional image editing – everything you’re used to is within easy reach, including painting tools, color grading, cloning, selecting, and editing. The development team has also worked hard to ensure extended compatibility, so you can work with all popular file formats without any problems. You will also find a very efficient built-in file manager similar to Adobe’s Bridge.
Depending on you experience, you can use this software in a slightly different way. Check out this GIMP Review to learn more details.
2. Paint.NET – For Digital Drawing
Paint.NET is an alternative to the Windows-based Paint editor provided by Microsoft with versions for Windows. But don’t let this scare you away: this is an amazingly efficient and useful tool, available completely free of charge. The software appeared as a Microsoft sponsored undergraduate project and has become an open source project supported by several graduates.
The focus is on ease of use, and it is mainly designed to edit photos, rather than add artistic touches. However, this alternative to Photoshop has a number of special effects that allow you to easily create artificial perspectives, mix and move pixels around the canvas, select fragments and duplicate them, and more.
A good set of selection tools, layer support, and settings such as curves and brightness/contrast make Paint.NET one of the best free alternatives to Photoshop for editing images, especially if you can do without some of the recent additions to Ps toolbox. Read PaintNet Review to learn more about this program.
3. Pixlr – With Professional-Grade Tools
Platform: Web, iOS, Android
Pixlr comes with over 600 effects, overlays and borders meaning you get more artistic flexibility while enhancing your photos. Here you can perform all the standard adjustments like changing the size of photos, cropping them, removing a red-eye effect, getting rid of a yellowish tint on teeth, etc.
Many users choose Pixlr as a Ps alternative, since their interfaces are very similar, so the getting-used-to process won’t take long. This free Photoshop alternative works smoothly on iOS and Android platforms, and function as an online app.
If your Internet connection is good and you can do without Photoshop plug-ins, you can safely use Pixlr online. Upload your pictures and use masks, layers, selection tools, clone stamps and more to give them a polished look.
4. Krita – For Creating Raster Graphics
Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
Krita is a multi-functional open-source tool designed to create bitmap graphics. The program is aimed at artists and photographers and, due to the abundance of training materials, will suit both professionals and beginner illustrators.
The program offers different options, such as layer management, creating brushes, applying filters and masks, selecting a palette taking into account various color schemes, and more, which brings it at the same level with leading graphic editors and makes one of the best Photoshop alternatives.
One of the main advantages of this photo editor is a powerful engine for creating author brushes, which includes an impressive number of settings with the ability to specify color, shape and density of the stroke.
Besides, you can extend the available functionality by importing third-party brushes and textures that are available for download on the net. If you are engaged in sketching/drawing, this program will help you a lot.
5. digiKam – Digital Image Cataloger
Platform: Windows, Mac OS, Linux
digiKam is a powerful free program with the widest possibilities for working with digital photos. It combines both the editor and the digital image cataloger in one software.
digiKam supports more than 1200 camera models and allows downloading to a computer, from a variety of scanners and external drives via USB ports. The program easily edits photos (color, noise, distortion, sharpness, exposure, effects, etc.), which can be then sorted into albums based on various categories.
In addition to standard function, this alternative to Photoshop boasts curves adjustments, panorama connections and more. So, if you need not only a regular photo editor, but also a handy cataloger, digiKam can satisfy your needs.
6. Inkscape – Popular Vector Graphics Editor
Platform: Windows, Mac OS, Linux
Inkscape is a fairly popular open source vector graphics editor used by many professionals. It offers customizable design tools to help you create and manipulate beautiful artworks. Technically, this is a direct replacement for Adobe Illustrator, but also Inkscape can be used as an alternative to Photoshop.
Inkscape comes with all the basic features of SVG – paths, text, markers, clones, alpha channel, transformations, gradients, textures and grouping. Inkscape also supports Creative Commons metadata, editing nodes, layers, complex operations with contours, vectorising bitmap graphics, editing text directly in the image and in a figure.
If you are just learning photography or web design, this free Photoshop alternative will come in handy. It allows zooming in/out and visualizing vector graphics with different resolutions not compromising its quality.
7. Sketch – For Vector Graphics
Price: Free trial or $99/year
Sketch is referred to as a top-quality vector graphics programs created by designers for designers, namely those engaged in web design.
The development team worked hard to please the community with a flexible tool that supports infinite zooming and allows working with all sorts of vector shapes. This program is easy to use and helps to generate a new graphic form from basic shapes. Besides, you can create a completely original project from scratch with the help of the Vector and Pencil tool.
The software is fully user-oriented, which is evident when you first launch it and see the straightforward interface. The variety of tools resembles those of Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, which makes Sketch a great alternative to both. Here you can use gradients, layers, style presets and color picker. Being very popular among designers, the program can be advanced with community-crafted plug-ins.
8. Affinity Photo – For Professional Retouchers
Platform: Mac, Windows, iPad
Price: Free trial or $49.99 (one-off payment)
This is a wonderful alternative to Photoshop, which is compatible with Ps-native format and lots of other formats. It is initially oriented on pro photographers and designers, attracting them with a lower price if compared with Photoshop. We believe that this is one of the best Photoshop alternatives with the subscription-free payment system.
The developers claim that their product works on higher speeds, has fewer crashes and unlimited undos, but it largely depends on the capabilities of the device you use this program on, as Affinity Photo is designed for the newest quad-core technologies.
This alternative to Photoshop is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, so you can choose the version you need.
9. Luminar – For Quick Image Editing
Platform: Windows, Mac OS
Price: Free trial or $89
This program is available for both Windows and MacOS, has an ultra-modern and intuitive interface, making it incredibly convenient to work with.
Basically, Luminar is used for quick photo editing, offering dozens of built-in filters and presets for the task. Among other useful tools you can find such basic functions as color correction, gradients, noise removal, sharpness, cropping and layers.
The coolest feature of this alternative to Photoshop is its built-in artificial intelligence, which eliminates the need for manual editing and allows you to enhance photos literally lightning-fast. Unlike many other Photoshop alternatives, Luminar has a RAW Develop Engine. This means that you can upload and edit pictures in RAW format without sacrificing speed or quality of work.
10. Capture One Pro – The Best Professional Software
Platform: Windows, Mac OS
Price: Free trial or $299 or $15/mo
Many photographers believe that Capture One Pro is a worthy alternative to Photoshop. This powerful photo editor has tons of benefits.
In Capture One Pro, you can organize your pictures into folders and work in only one window. You can also use, save and load presets for modules, not to mention all other basic image editing functions.
For those, who pay a lot of attention to colors, Capture One Pro will be an ideal option. Correction and white balance tools, as well as a separate panel for adjusting the skin tone, give all the possibilities so to achieve perfect results.
If you want to get even more Photoshop alternatives take a look at this blog post from FixThePhoto.