Here are the 5 best free alternatives to Photoshop
Can’t afford Creative Cloud but want all the power of Photoshop? Here are the best free editing programmes that you can use instead of Adobe’s.
Photoshop has always been the go-to choice for everything, from making quick reaction memes for the work Slack channel to professional editing and colour grading.
You can get a Creative Cloud subscription with Photoshop for $20.99/mo right now, or you can get Photoshop and Lightroom for $9.99/mo if you are a first-time customer.
At first glance, that seems like a reasonable price, but what if you’re trying to save money right now or would rather not sign up for another subscription plan?
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Well, you’re in luck because there’s a lot of free photo editing software out there for you to choose from. Even though they don’t have cloud storage or work on more than one device like Adobe’s solution, these options don’t cost you anything.
1. Pixlr Editor
“A tool for the browser!?” I hear the screams of creative professionals, which are quickly followed by laughter because it can’t compete with Photoshop’s power and capabilities.
I would tell you to look again, because Pixlr Editor is made by AutoDesk and has some very powerful tools. You can use curves, blur, sharpen, noise level, and a lot of other tools without having to pay a dime.
There are some downsides, like not being able to open all file types, not having rulers or guides, and not having a pen tool, but this is a good choice if you’re using Chrome (or Edge) and want to make a quick change to a photo.
Speaking of user interfaces, Photo Pos Pro has a unique feature that goes beyond the basics of a good free Photoshop alternative, like support for layers and masks. As you go from being a new user to a more experienced one, you will want to change the interface to fit your needs. You can do that with Photo Pos Pro.
Yes, there are some problems, just like with the software we talked about before. Sometimes the software doesn’t work right, and you can only export files up to a certain size, but you still get an interface that looks a lot like Photoshop’s and has its own extensions and plugins to make it easier to use.
If the name reminds you of MS Paint, that’s a good thing. This was meant to be a more advanced version of Microsoft’s long-running graphics editor. Now, before you skip this part and move on, you should know that Paint.NET can do a lot more than you think, and it fits a lot of features into Paint’s easy-to-use interface.
This is a good choice for beginners because it has layers and blending modes, rulers and guides, and a great history tool. But since it doesn’t have slice, patch, or spot healing tools and doesn’t work with RAW files, you won’t be able to use it when you go pro. Still, this is a great book for someone who is just starting out.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP (that’s what it stands for, so get your mind out of the gutter), is one of the most well-known free alternatives to Photoshop. It’s great for photographers who want a programme that can handle their edits, no matter how simple or complicated they are.
GIMP is full of features, but you can’t edit RAW photos with it. If you can get past that and spend some time getting used to the complicated user interface, this software will cover all your needs.
And finally, we’ll talk about another free option that photographers highly recommend. Krita looks and feels a lot like Photoshop. It supports rulers and grids, comes with templates already installed, and has a wide range of features and effects.
There is no history function, and the app can be a little slow at times, but if you can get past those things, it’s a great editor that won’t cost you a dime.