- There are free Photoshop alternatives you can use if you’d rather not pay for the leading photo editing and graphics app.
- Some alternatives like Pixlr X and Canva work in a web browser, while most others need to be installed on your Mac or PC.
- Here are seven of the best free Photoshop alternatives you can use to make illustrations and edit photos without investing in an expensive app.
There’s little debate that Photoshop is the leading graphics and photo editing software. Whether you use a Mac or PC, if you are a serious graphic designer or photo editor, you no doubt have a subscription to Adobe Photoshop because no other program comes even close to its capabilities. But not everyone needs this powerhouse program. If your needs (and budget) are more modest, here are seven of the best free Photoshop alternatives for the PC and Mac.
One of the elder statesmen of freer photo editing apps, the original version of GIMP (which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, a reference to the original operating system it was developed for) has been around since 1995. It’s available for both Windows and Mac, and comes with a formidable array of features, tools, and capabilities. While it can’t match the newer AI-based editing tools in Photoshop, GIMP has layer support, brushes and selection tools, color and exposure correction, and much more. To master this app, you will probably need to take advantage of the online tutorials, of which there are many.
Paint.Net is so-named because it was originally intended as a sort of high-powered replacement for the bare-bones Microsoft Paint utility in Windows. It’s easy to use thanks to a clear and straightforward set of tools including selection options, brushes, and unlimited Undo. Its features are somewhat limited, though, compared to high-end editors. You can work in layers, for example, but there are no layer effects like you’ll find in Photoshop. In addition, Mac users will have to look elsewhere since this app is only for Windows.
You can use Pixlr X with both Windows and Mac because it’s a photo editor that runs in a web browser. Despite the fact that it’s a web app, it offers a lot of features with a Photoshop-like interface; the toolbar on the left side of the page lets you apply filters and effects, perform color corrections, crop and resize, add graphic elements, and more. Pixlr X even has basic support for layers. You can use the app for free, but some premium features (including templates and support for very high resolution images) are locked behind a $5 per month subscription service.
Perhaps the biggest speed bump to using Photoscape X is its unusual and sometimes challenging interface; unlike most Photoshop replacements, Photoscape X doesn’t try hard to look or work like Photoshop. Nonetheless, there are some good reasons to try it out. The program is completely free and is available for both Windows and Mac. It also has some great features you won’t find in a lot of other alternatives. In addition to basic photo editing with filters and effects, it has easy tools for creating collages, combining different photos, performing screen captures, and more. There’s even a very powerful batch editing tool, great if you work with multiple images at once.
Krita is a free, open-source paint program and photo editor aimed at graphic designers and illustrators who want to create digital illustrations. It is available for Windows and Mac, and if you like the app, you can make a donation, but all features are available even without payment. If you are familiar with Photoshop, you’ll feel right at home in Krita, which even supports the Photoshop PSD file format. You’ll find layers, HDR, and a heavy emphasis on features like brushes and effects.