Free Alternatives To Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop has been around for over 25 years and is still one of the most bits popular image editing software available today. It’s so dominant among industry professionals that many designers, illustrators and editors use it as their go to software without a second thought. Photoshop is powerful enough to turn almost any photo into a beautiful masterpiece, and there are few design problems that it can’t solve. It is commonly used to edit photos with tools such as the healing brushes, stamps and patching tools, and it can also be used to create visually beautiful images from scratch such as magazine covers and texts. Photoshop is undeniably an excellent editing tool, however one of its biggest drawbacks is the price tag that comes along with it. As part of the Adobe Creative Suite, it can cost anywhere between £20 a month to £1000s for a full suite licence. For those that can’t justify the high price of Photoshop, there are plenty of free alternatives out there that can achieve similar results. Our favourite free Photoshop alternatives are:
GIMP stands for ‘GNU Image Manipulation Program’ and is probably one of the best free alternatives to Photoshop. It is both powerful and flexible and can be expanded with the use of plugins. Layers, masks, colour adjustments and transformations are all supported and fully customisable, giving GIMP an unrivalled feature set when it comes to free editing software. There is an abundance of user created plugins available, many of which are pre0installed and ready to use, and they replicate popular Photoshop tools. The interface can be a little confusing at first, but the excellent user manual offers plenty of free step-by-step tutorials and troubleshooting guides for beginners.
This free Photoshop alternative offers over 600 effects, overlays and borders as well as the basic photo editing tools you would expect to see such as re-sizing, cropping and removing red-eye. The user interface is remarkably similar to Photoshop, albeit with a few less features, so if you are used to Adobe products you will be able to pick up Pixlr pretty easily. It is a web based tool that can be used within your browser or as an app on both Android and iOS.
This editing tool was originally created as an advanced version of Windows Paint, and still reflects many of the much loved features from the default Windows programme. Paint>NET is not as powerful as Photoshop or GIMP but does offer all the basic features you will need from an editing tool. These features can be extended through the use of plugins and makes for a good Photoshop alternative for those who want to use basic editing tools. The ability to work on multiple photos at once is made easy with quick access tabs and small thumbnails for easy viewing of every open image at a glance.
Another browser based image editor, SumoPaint is highly capable and includes all the standard features you would expect from a desktop tool. It is very lightweight and loads quickly and seamlessly, whilst also being powerful enough to offer some excellent editing tools. There is both a free version and more powerful Pro version for a small fee. Tools include brushes, pencils, shapes, text, gradients and cloning, and they can all be accessed from a toolbar which has a remarkable resemblance to that found on Photoshop. Some tools operate in very different ways to Photoshop, which can offer new possibilities that aren’t available on Adobe’s software, but also comes with its own limitations that may deter some editors.
Based for open source platforms such as Linux and Unix, Krita has been claimed to be one of the best image editing tools out there. It is also supported by Windows and BSD but not available for iOS. It comes as a bundle with the KOffice suite and is a popular choice for open-source platforms. It has significantly less features than Photoshop or GIMP but does have all the image editing features that you would expect.
Designed specifically and exclusively for Mac users, Seashore is an open-sourced image editing tool based on Mac’s Cocoa framework. The tools included are similar to that of Photoshop and GIMP, although as an image editing tool it is not as powerful. The key features you will find on Seashore are brushes, gradients and layers, and the interface is super simple and easy to use.