A few weeks ago, one of our graphic designers asked me “Is there any cheaper version of Photoshop or similar software?“. Well, I had no idea about the cost of photoshop or any other design software at that time. But I did know photoshop is one of the best software available in the market.
First, I googled for a quick comparison.
This is what Google suggested and I felt they are still expensive. So, I thought to do some research with my team to find any similar applications to photoshop. We considered the following 5 things to do our research.
- Cost of the software (any free or affordable software)
- Having the same features or more
- Customer reviews
- Expert advice
As we have a small team of designers, I thought to get advice from the experts in the business. So, we contacted 100 top designers in the world to find the best photoshop alternatives.
Let’s dive right in,
What are the Best Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop?
1) GIMP – (Totally Free)
This is the first on our list as it’s free, very easy to use, available on all platforms, and recommended by almost everyone. GIMP is a raster-based image editing software. You can use this software to import, manipulate, edit images to suit your needs. It helps to create new images as you wish. GIMP is open-source (source code can be managed by their users to suit their needs). That means you can create plugins, scripts, and tools.
- Free (Not a free trial or freemium model, it’s just free)
- Gimp can easily be paired with Dark table or RAW therapy, (RAW editors)
- Built-in image adjustment features for photo editing
- Variety of tools like Photoshop
- GIMP uses layer systems, including layer groups, masks, and modes. (Blend mode in PS)
- Very customizable, that if you don’t like the way GIMP comes by default.
- Even you can use GIMP with third party fonts and PS brushes.
- Easy to learn because there are many tutorials about GIMP, even on YouTube.
- Support many file types (jpeg, tiff, gif, pdf, PSD, etc.)
- Windows, Mac OS, UNIX, and Linux.
2) Pixlr Editor
Pixlr is server-based software that can be run inside your web browser without installing a program on your computer. There are two types, such as Pixlr Editor and Pixlr Express. Pixlr Express is easy to use, like Photoshop express. It also works on the chrome book. Easy to use for editing your pictures and making fun collages. You can add text, frames, and other effects, crop, and repair photos, and share them with your friends and family! There are ads in the free version, but they are very nonintrusive.
- Support a lot of extra tools
- It’s server-based, which means you can use it without download it using a web browser.
- User-friendly design (Speed and durability)
- Image retouching
- Digital Inking
- Photo Collage
- Object transform
- Magic wand
- Lasso and Brushes
- Free to use online and as a mobile editing tool.
- Android, IOS, and Web-based.
3) Affinity Photo
When they open up the Affinity Photo, you can see how similar it looks to Photoshop, which is a Hugh plus. Also, you can see the most similar features like a choice of light and dark UI customizable toolbars, tabs, and a massive library. It does perfect focus merging and HDR merging with raw files. The panorama stitching is very good with raw files.
There are some differences from Photoshop, especially the names of the tools. Still, it is similar enough that the learning curve is small. Everything can be rearranged and set up to your specific liking. Their advanced selection refinement algorithms work hard.
- Savable undo History and undo brush
- PSD import and exporting options
- One time affordable fee (Photoshop has monthly subscription plans)
- Familiar user interface and Modules
- Retouching, correction and adjustment tools
- Compositions and creative editing tools
- 120+ Professionally design brushes
- Dedicated Raw workspace (Also support HDR merge)
- Free trial
- Windows, Mac, IOS
4) Krita (Open Source Photoshop Alternative)
Krita is an entirely free and open source painting application. It aimed at more along the lines of digital illustration. Sometimes it better than GIMP because it has more transform options and a wide variety of brushes. Krita is also a remarkable tool for pixlr drawing. Many artists who do pixlr preferred Krita because of its useful pixlr brushes.
- Quick selection menu wheel
- Different types of brushes
- No trials and subscriptions
- Clean and flexible layout
- PSD Support
- HDR painting and python scripting
- Free to use but, you can support the developers by purchasing it from the windows store or steam.
- Linux, Windows, Mac OS
5) Pixelmator (Photoshop Alternatives Mac)
Pixelmator is a low-cost, high-function image editor and easy to use an image editor for Mac. It has many excellent tools for bringing out the best in your photos and creating stunning new compositions from scratch. Pixelmator has functionality rivaling competitors like Photoshop, which can cost many times more. The toolbar is very similar to many other image editors on the market.
I even use this on my iPhone and can recommend this if you are looking for apps like photoshop for your iPhone.
- A lot of tools to support it. Such as Move, selection, painting, retouching, Vector, etc.
- Simple to browse and find photos to import
- You can use an apple pencil o paint, retouch and illustrate
- Compatible with Raw and PSD files
- 16bit support
- CMYK Proofing
- 30 days free trial. Pro version is $39.99
- Mac OS ( It uses macOS core image technology)
6) Corel Paint Shop Pro X6
Corel Paint Shop is compatible with any software that has a learning curve, which is one of the competitive alternatives to photoshop. However, ease of use is essential to get up to speed quickly. So, we can say the paint shop has a more intuitive interface than Photoshop Lightroom while the basic editing tools. The paint shop offers speed of auto-correction, which is excellent. When handling some complex corrections, the paint shop could be a bit slow compared with Lightroom. Still, overall, on the variety of tools and features, it seems that the paint shop comes out ahead.
- Support Jpeg, Bitmap, RAW, Vector, HDR
- Face tagging with GPS
- Paint shop also has a live chat if you had any problem
- Smart carver feature will help you to remove objects from photos
- Auto-selection tools and smart brush
- Customizable user interface with drag and drop layers
- Easily learn by using their video tutorial series
- Scripting engine which will help you to automate your photo editing
- Plugin support ( Adobe Photoshop and 64-bit)
- Save IPTC metadata in RAW files.
- X6 old version available for $17.50 in Amazon. You can purchase the latest version using their website.
PicMonkey has some new tools to help you to make amazing photo projects. You can create and design collages. They have a lot of templates, even for social media platforms that you could use. PicMonkey lets you store images on their hub or cloud. PicMonkey offers easy to use tools such as other alternatives in this list. It’s a user-friendly version of Photoshop alternatives with so many cool new options, including texture skins and cropping tools.
- Edit and touch up pictures
- A good tool to create stylish graphic designs
- Everything for Social media
- Graphic fonts and support various templates
- Mobile App
- Free trial. Three packages available such as Basic ($7.99), Pro ($12.99), Team ($33.99)
- Web-Based tools like Pixlr, Also support IOS and Android.
Acorn is a good image editor. It can work with varieties of formats and has all the major modern editor features such as layers, colour adjustments, text editing, some vector tools, filters etc. All the basics are well covered, so it’s sufficient to get work done for sure. This costs way less than Photoshop.
Acorn is undoubtedly one of the easiest Photoshop alternatives for general use with raster/bitmap graphics. Despite its simplicity and routinely get better results with it than expensive alternatives. Its combination of vector tools and text tools with raster illustration tools is beneficial for the production of high-resolution technical illustrations for use in web and print publishing.
- Non Destructive Filters
- Vector Tools
- Clone across images and layers
- Layer masks
- Curve & levels
- Crop Tools and brushes
- RAW, PSD and robust file support
- Snapping & Alignment
- Photoshop brushes can be import
- Mobile App (IOS only)
- 14-day free trial support, after that $29.99 (for both mac and IOS)
- IOS and Mac OS
9) Canva (Online Photoshop Alternative)
This app is the best design tool for beginners. Canva makes creative graphics and documents in dozens of standard sizes a breeze. It is incredibly easy to use and offers beautiful templates, graphics, stock photos and more. All the templates and images and illustrations are interesting. They give you options to choose your pixel size, add in your .png files, alter background shapes and colours, add lines and shapes, flip or rotate images, etc. Plus, all these features are for free. Compare to other apps where you must pay a monthly premium for better options.
- Free to use
- Cloud-based (don’t need to download any software)
- Collage making
- Instagram story templates, video and movie maker
- Business Logo, book cover, blog designer
- Best free tool for social media
- Simply Everything
- Free (forever) in-app purchases are available. Have two packages called Pro $9.95 and Enterprise 30$
- Web-Based, Android, IOS, Mac OS
10) Adobe Photoshop Elements 12
Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 continues to bring you the power you expect out of a Photoshop product with easy to use features that provide plenty of fun and exciting effects along the way. Today your photos and videos probably everywhere. Your computer, camera, smartphone, or even your tablet.
You’re probably looking for a way to get them all in one place. With this tool, you can now take your elements photos with you wherever you go. View and share your pictures on your smartphone or tablet with the new mobile album connection, and it easy to bring your photos and videos from those mobile devices into your computer. So everything is where you need it. Simply you can empower your creative vision and turn your snapshots into something spectacular.
- Content-aware move tool (quickly move objects from one place to another)
- One-touch frames effects and textures (add depth to your photos)
- Pet eye feature ( to fix up photos eye with a single click)
- Auto Smart tone feature ( Intelligent photo correction)
- Straighten tool (to strengthen photos and filling missing background)
- Easy to share (share with friends and family in the new private shared albums)
- Not found
- Windows, Mac OS
It was released in 2004 as an advanced alternatives of Microsoft Paint and designed for Windows. Hence It has evolved over the years. It has a lot of options. Even with its outdated look, the user interface is intuitive with primary and additional tools. However, Paint.net is not as feature-rich as Photoshop.
- It has blending and layer support
- Automatic Filters
- External plugins created from the community that can expand its capability
- Support a lot of plugins
- Various file formats such as WebP and HEIF
- XMP metadata
- Many language translations are available.
- Free to download but, you can also support the developer by purchasing it from the windows store.
- Windows 7 or newer.
Fotor is a great full-featured image editor with various tools for processing images. The editor has everything you need to work with images. You can make your photos look so professional, and there are so many great features that are entirely free. Fotor does the simplest things to advanced editing. Makes your pictures look excited. Fotor doesn’t bother you with in-app pop-ups. The additional purchases are not needed to create something professional. It is one of the best options for photoshop alternatives.
Still, if you want to expand your options, the add-ons are quality and only a dollar or two. Usually, you can customize things that you can’t do, such as adjusting the structure, so you can make the self-portraits that are too overwhelming to look natural to some extent. Fotor is worth to purchase the pro version. You can apply some cool effects that are bold and different from your packages. It isn’t like a typical photo editing app. Check it out no matter what your skill level is. Fun, creative, and cohesive.
- An online photo editing tool
- One-click enhancements
- Collage creator (Personalized collages)
- Full-featured effects, frames, borders, and 200+ stickers to expand your creativity.
- 100+ Special effects (like film, nostalgic and retro, etc.)
- Free to use but it has premium options like Online Pro and Windows Pro for $9.99/month
- Web-based, Android, IOS and Mac OS.
This is a quick comparison of all similar applications. Feel free to add any favorite photo editing apps you like in the comment section.
I’m Jhon Max from Nevada, USA. I’m graduated as a computer engineer and I have more than 10 years of experience in app developing, web developing and software developing.
I welcome you to my site, Archies of Tech. The main objective of our website is to provide you with information on apps, games, software, which are similar to some of the popular applications available out there.