Nowadays, Photoshop is such a big name in photography that it has become a verb, just as Google. But it comes with a non-attractive price tag, which makes people look for alternatives. If you are a professional photographer, who is starting his freelancing career or if you just need to edit an image from time to time, here are some of the best free Photoshop alternatives.
Gimp is an open-source free Photoshop alternative, compatible with all the major Operating systems – Windows, Mac and Linux. It offers a lot of tools and is quite similar to the big brother Photoshop, to such extent that you can choose a version of Gimp which mimics Photoshop to the latter.
In Gimp you will find all the useful tools, such as selection tools, painting tools, correction and cloning tools, making it a great no-cost alternative for your photo manipulation and editing needs. Gimp allows you to work with all the major file types and has a capable file manager built-in.
Very useful editing app, Pixlr, which is available for iOS and Android is quite similar to Photoshop and comes with more than 600 effects, frames, overlays, plus the regular tools, such as cropping and red eye removal. All these features make it great for on-the-spot photo editing. Pixlr provides a user-friendly interface, which you can find online as well as offline, so it can be used to enhance selfies and alter blog photos.
Our third pick in the list of free Photoshop alternatives looks like Paint on steroids, but it’s really useful. Started as a small Microsoft project, Paint.net emerged as a free alternative to the largest photo editing software. It has lots of tools and adjustment options, so you can alter perspective, clone areas of your picture and play with lightning to get the perfect picture.
If you love to use vector graphics, Inkscape is the alternative to go with, as it allows you to use SVG. These are the main format files and Inkscapes has a good SVG integration and provides lots of advanced features, like cloned objects and markers, which are hard to find in other editing programs. Apart from that, this open-source editor is similar to the big names in the industry, such as Corel Draw and Photoshop.
Seashore is one of the free Photoshop alternatives for Mac users. It works on Cocoa framework and is an open-source editing software. Since Seashore uses the same native file formatting as Gimp and even offers similar tools, some users misinterpreted it as Gimp’s version for Mac, even though the two are not connected in any way.
You can find all the major photo editing tools in Seashore: the gradients, the multiple layers, transparency, Alpha channel support and plugin support, but they are not as powerful as those offered by Photoshop itself. However, the friendly interface of Seashore compensates for this and leaves you free to enjoy the editing process.
PicMonkey is a web based alternative to Photoshop, which lets you edit your images right from the browser. The editing options are pretty similar to Instagram, so you will find lots of filters, blemish removal tools and other flaw-removal tools to play with. However, you need to use them cautiously, as they can easily destroy the image altogether. PicMonkey has some funny add-ons as well, so you can add hats or other details to your images. Being a web-based editing tool, PicMonkey has a very intuitive interface and advanced features. You can choose from textures, shapes and even add text to your pictures. It not only supports the traditional image formats, like jpeg, tiff and png, but also supports bmp and gif, which is a huge plus. Like all web-based editing tools, it can be accessed from anywhere, which is another advantage of this type of free Photoshop alternatives.
PicMonkey was designed to fill in the footsteps of Picnik, which was bought by Google. The engineers, who designed Picnik, joined their forces again and came up with Picmonkey.
SumoPaint is another web-based editing tool which comes with lots of brushes, gradients, symmetry tools and a good dose of funny features, such as party hats and masks. It’s not a comparable rival for Gimp and other entries in this list, but it is fun and easy to use. And free!
Krita works on Windows, but it’s made with Linux in mind, so if you use BSD, Unix and Linux, you will find this editing tool custom-made. Krita provides lots of effects and tools for editing and comes with Koffice suite. It works with all the main file formats and manages to stand out as a great editing program, without competing with Gimp or Photoshop.
CinePaint was used by lots of Hollywood studios, so it comes with a good dose of fame. It is a powerful retouching tool which renders incredible 32 bit color exactness. It has frame manager tools and it works on open-source OS, such as Linux and Unix and even Mac OS X. CinePaint supports a wide array of file formats, from the regular bmp and jpeg, to the gif, png and xcf. You can retouch images as well as videos, which is why it was used by Hollywood producers, who designed animated feature films with it in the past. The only major drawback is the fact that there is no stable version for Windows right now.
This versatile image editor can run on all the open-source OS, Mac and Windows, which is a great asset. Released in 1996 as a pixel art tool, GrafX2 now offers a lot more than that; it is being designed for drawing in index color mode. You have a great variety of effects and brushes to choose from, as well as transparency, color cycling and palette editor.
GrafX2 supports all the common file formats.
Canva is more than a free Photoshop alternative, but it needs to be included in this list. It’s a web-based app which helps you design any type of image, from infographics to blog images and social media content. Canva takes it beyond simple image editing and provides thousands of design elements, some free, some paid, stock photographs, fonts and layouts. Before you worry, the free elements are more than enough for your editing needs. And if you do want to buy an element or stock from Canva, the fees are smaller than regular ones.
Canva allows you to upload your own images and content to create any type of image in seconds.