If you’re a graphic designer or photographer, Photoshop is one of the most powerful photo editors that you can use over time. It can be quite expensive even with Adobe’s most basic plan that will cost you around $120 per year to use Photoshop. Thankfully, there are free photoshop alternatives which offers the same features at an affordable price and even at zero cost.
Let’s go through the five best free alternatives to Photoshop that will help you to create and edit your images like a pro.
Gimp is a powerful open-source photo editing software that can do anything Photoshop can with zero cost. It includes advanced filters and effects, the ability to work with layers, color adjustments, and is compatible with most image file formats including support for photoshops PSD files.
Gimp layout has been described by many people as being clunky, especially from those that have been longtime users of Photoshop. GIMP is really easy to use if you’ve never used GIMP do check out their numerous tutorials located on their side.
It’s available to download for Linux, Mac, and Windows.
2. Photo Pea
Photo Pea with a high learning curve it offers many of the same features as Photoshop and GIMP making it a great free online alternative to those programs.
All of the features are included for free you’ll find the primary tools along the left with others located in the menu bar on the right.
It even supports working with layers, if you want to change the look of photo Pea, go to more in the menu bar, then theme. There are various options such as black, silver, iron, blue, snow white and danish purple.
You can import PSD, XCF, Sketch, and other image file types. When you’re finished with your project, your photos can be exported in a dozen formats including JPG, PNG, SVG, and many others.
Like I mentioned earlier, Photo Pea has a high learning curve but is capable of doing more than any other photo editor mentioned in the list. So, it’s better to learn how to use it.
Paint.net was released in 2004 as a more advanced alternative of Microsoft Paint. It has evolved quite a bit over the years and now includes blending and layer support, automatic filters and external plugins created from the community that can be added to expand its capability.
Even with its outdated look, the user interface is intuitive with the primary tools located along the left with additional tools located in the menu bar.
Paint.net is only available for Windows. You can get it from the developers’ website for free with the option to donate. If you prefer you can get it from the Microsoft Store, they offer a paid version that the proceeds supporting the development of paint.net
4. Photoscape X
Photoscape X is feature-packed and even supports RAW files. Other notable features include a photo viewer, collage maker, gif creator and there are tons of filters effects and various other tools to transform your image.
The layout of the tool is simple without too much clutter which makes it a great choice for beginners.
Photoscape X is only available for Windows 10 and Mac. For those of you running an older version of Windows, the link to photoscape 3.7 is still available on their homepage. On Windows10, they do offer a pro version of photoscape X on the website and the Microsoft Store for around $40 with additional tools for advanced users.
For most people, the tools in the free version of photoscape X will be enough to satisfy their photo editing needs.
iPicky also has a separate collage maker and graphic design tool. It’s completely free with all of their advanced features included at no extra cost.
With I picky you’ll find most of the basic and advanced tools you would ever need. The other tool sets available include photo effects, retouch etc.
You can work with layers to add photos, text, stickers. You can also create shapes, frames, and textures with painting tools.
If the user interface is too bright for you, clicking on the light bulb in the lower left lets you toggle between a light and dark theme.
The only downside to I picky are the saving options which are limited to JPEG and PNG other than that it’s a fantastic photo editor.
Pixlr is easier-to-use. Pixlr Express web apps both run using Adobe Flash with flash slowly being replaced with the newer html5 standard. So, Pixlr had made the decision to discontinue these apps when a flash is no longer supported.
Pixlr X replaces Pixlr Express while Pixlr editor gets replaced with Pixlr Pro which costs $5 per month. Pixlr X and Pro are both available right now but the expected retirement of the flash-based apps and Pixlr Pro not being free, the only editor of these two I can consider for this article is Pixlr X.
Krita is an open-source program that has improved quite a bit and includes a ton of features. In addition to the standard editing tools, it’s a large number of brush customizations and the painter’s palette has made this program popular with people that do creative image design.
Krita offers a manual on their site which includes tutorials and a getting started guide. It is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Befunky is great for those of you with limited experience with editing photos. It includes the basic tools to easily boost your image quality.
In addition to their photo editor, befunky also has a collage maker and designer tools for graphic designers.
When you launch befunky, all the tools are located along the left. While some are included with their free version and those marked with the star will require that you upgrade to their paid version.
In the edit, essentials color is a great place to start for enhancing your image. There are other toolsets that you can play around with including the ability to add text. When you’re done editing your photo, the image can be saved to your computer, Google Drive along with the ability to export your image Facebook, Dropbox, Pinterest, and Twitter.
If you need those additional features which are lock behind the paywall, befunky will cost you $6.99 per month or run you about $4.99 a month if billed annually.
Just like some of the others mentioned online photo editor, it has a separate collage and design maker. It offers a simple and easy to use interface with the basic editing features included along with some that are more advanced.
Fotor does offer more tools than befunky and some are only available to pro users. The pro features are marked with a diamond icon. If you are using a pro feature, it will place a watermark on your photo
The ability to use a dark theme while editing is a cool feature. To switch to the dark theme, go to settings in the lower left and select darker that will make the interface easier on your eyes.
If you upgrade to Fotor Pro to unlock all of the features pricing is $39.99 per year or $8.99 per month.
10. Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo is a program where you can do everything which Photoshop can do with no issues. It might actually be better to use Affinity as Photoshop alternative because it seems to be less bloated with improved stability and less crashes than Photoshop.
It’s not free but it’s one-time fixed cost of just $49.99 for Windows and Mac.
I’ll quickly go through the honorable mentions as Photoshop alternatives that might be worth your time to check out for quick and easy tweaks to your photos.
11. Adobe Photoshop Express: online editor offers the most basic of features and only supports JPEG files but if you only need to make minor changes it might work for you.
12. Polarr Online: photo editor is worthwhile even with many of its features locked behind a paywall and less than desirable user interface at least it lets you export images in jpg PNG and tiff which is more than I can say for most free online photo apps.
13. Ribbet : is another one with free basic features that requires an upgrade to premium to use the advanced tools. On both slow and high-powered machines, we tested the responsiveness and switching tabs seemed slow but on the bright side, you can switch between a dark and light theme.
14. Google Photos: They are limited with features set but a good tool to make a few quick changes.
15. Pixelmator Pro: Pixelmator pro is a Mac OS program that has been gaining popularity lately with tools and features similar to photoshop. It’s available in the AppStore for around $40.