Graphic designers consider Photoshop as the Holy Grail, the pinnacle of design. Not to mention, it’s the world-famous software that is always contemporary, up-to-date, and latest. With all the advanced features, there’s no point in seeing why it wins the hearts of all the great designers across the world.
But with the price tag attached, it can be hard for the beginners to take on their design path. For occasional users, free alternatives to Photoshop can fill the space to the extent of usefulness.
Before you spend hours to scour the right design software, we’ve made the job easy for you. We’ve compiled a list of 10 free substitutes. From basic editing to light graphic design, prepare to be amazed with the best of both worlds.
GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It’s one of the alternatives of Photoshop free enough to provide you with the best raster editing tools. For those having a limited budget, this cross-platform open-source program is available for several operating systems.
Whether you need to retouch your photos or want to restore them into complex creative projects, the manipulation here is beyond powerful. Using the same software, you can also create icons, graphic design elements, and art. The flexibility and extensibilty is commendable with high level of customization, along with its ability to recognize multiple file formats. Also, the community system is pretty solid if you’re looking for answers, suggestions and feedback.
While it’s all so cool, a few drawbacks finally make their way. With so many tools and clutter, a beginner can get confused. The UI is also outdated and there are no drawing capabilities of the software.
Another free substitute for Photoshop, PhotoScape X inclines more on the photo editing side of the popular software. The tool has over 20 features, which include batch editing, GIF creation, photo splicing, filters and effects, image stitching and so on. Of all the free alternatives to Photoshop, PhotoScape X offers beginner-friendly filters and tools to inspire your creativity. However, on the low side, some users might find the interface troubling due to poor navigation and clutter. If you’re using heavy files, this free substitute for Photoshop can slow down a bit. Also, certain parts of an image may be difficult to edit due to the limitedness of selection tools.
Paint.net started as a college design project that turned into a simple yet powerful tool. As an openware software, this one features an intuitive and innovative UI along with unlimited undo, supportive layers, special effects and other tools. The best thing about this software is that you can work on several documents within one window and switch between them while you work.
To make things even simpler, the text for each tab is replaced by a thumbnail image. Anyhow, it’s also the fastest image editor you’ll get because of the extensive underlying effort. Whether you have an energy-efficient system or a fast one, Paint.net starts quickly and is responsive to every click.
While it could be a tool of unlimited potential, it only operates on Windows and doesn’t support PSD files. Other cons include lack of UI plugin management and no text correction after effect application.
Who doesn’t recall Pixlr – the free online photo editor?
You may have used it to edit personal images, but Pixlr X is one of the generation of the software rolled out to compete in the line of free alternatives to Photoshop. Pixlr X comes with advanced tools and improved features for those seeking out alternative to Photoshop free of cost.
Since its web-based, it runs on HTML and works on any modern device and any OS. The usability extends for people using it. The coolest thing is that it offers both light and dark color schemes, making it more appealing. The basic features include canvas arrangement, image crop, background removal, filters, effects, retouching, and so on.
On the flip side, you can’t access Pixlr X if you don’t have an internet connection. Some of the tools are a bit slow and installation of additional font sets isn’t all too easy.
When it comes to mentioning free alternatives to Photoshop, we can’t possibly miss RawTherapee. Considered yet another free substitute for Photoshop, it is a powerful cross-platform raw photo processing software that develops raw files for both new and polished photographers.
With a few clicks, you can get high-quality images, sort the photos, adjust the colors, improve the exposure, increase clarity, and do a lot more. You can also create collages and add frames to your photos. Above all, it also lets you download extensions as per your needs.
The minus point here is that the number of users is limited and there aren’t as much tutorials of the software available. But we think you can tackle it if you’re a solo user and want to experiment with something new.
For those who want to take their creativity and artistry further, Krita offers something that other platforms lack. Unlike the other free alternatives to Photoshop, this one is inclined towards providing illustrations, concept art and panting like that of Adobe Illustrator. The best bit is that it also supports PSD files, which turns in favor of designers looking for a Photoshop replacement.
Krita is full of fun features to work with. You can color your artwork with a pop-up palette. There’s also a tagging system where you can swap out the displayed brushes. You can also access the used colors and their setting with a few clicks. From importing brushes to adding texture packs, Krita is bursting with benefits for artists of all kinds.
However, the only downside to this software is that it doesn’t support RAW files; you have to create a document from scratch. There’s no history toolbar, the system can be slow at time, the documentation is outdated, and the touch controls lack precision.
SumoPaint also shares the privilege to present as a Photoshop alternative. It’s mainly a painting app like Krita, where you can use filters, painting tools, image manipulators, community support and a much more. For anyone looking for a mid-range editing tool without a price tag, SumoPaint is a considerable option.
Since it’s an online tool, this photo editing tool runs on Flash-based browsers. But if you want to use it online, you can use the SumoPaint Air, the offline pro version with all the features unlocked. Also, it supports multiple image formats and allows you to save in the same formats as well as the app’s native format.
Since it belongs to the acclaimed clan of free alternatives to Photoshop, it runs on ads, has limited support for PSD format default to Photoshop, misses out on the pen tool, RAW filter and auto-snapping, and lacks rulers or guides.
Another software that stands in the line of rivals of Photoshop is the Photo Pos Pro. It is a visual editor that comes with advanced tools, letting users enhance their photos and create stunning art pieces.
Overall, the software has a smooth interface, which is easy to organize and understand, unlike GIMP. Whether you want to manipulate images or remove the objects in the images, you can use the novice or expert layouts as per your requirement and adjustment levels. Also, it’s available on several other platforms, making up for everyone to use the tool conveniently.
The only drawbacks you can experience here are that the export size is a bit limited and that the software can be slow at times. Also, the expert mode can give you some trouble while you’re trying to figure your way through it. Other than that, Photo Pos Pro is something you should be getting your hands on right now.
Another competitive free Photoshop alternative, Photopea is a web-based platform to gratify your design itch without spending a dime. First thing’s first, this program saves you space on your PC because all of the work is cloud-based, which you can access anywhere and anytime. While it could take you sometime to load images to edit on Photoshop, Photopea reduces the editing or resizing time.
It’s best with all operating systems due to its online presence, but you can’t work on it if you don’t have an internet connection. Anyhow, it supports all the major formats, which is probably a plus a freebie can give you.
InkScape is more of the Illustrator look-a-like than the Photoshop. But as it allows designers to use vector images for their work and helps them make basic adjustments like image cropping, cutting, and pasting. Using this tool, you can even convert raster images into vectors, which is the biggest advantage of this tool.
Just be careful when you’re working with heavy files as the software can sometimes be prone to crashing. It could also feel a bit limiting if you’re opting to use your photography skills than the designer ones.