The Universe of Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop was created in 1988 by Thomas and John Knoll and launched in 1990. Photoshop is a raster graphics editor compatible with both Windows and macOS.
Photoshop as software has become the industry standard. These lofty standards that the company set aren’t just for raster graphics editing but for digital art as a whole.
When the software was first launched years ago, photoshop was exclusively for macOS. Its system requirements were just Macintosh II or SE product line with at least 2MB of RAM, system 6.0.3 and a hard disk.
In 1993 photoshop was available on Windows as well. After marketing its availability on the two most popular operating systems, Photoshops sales went through the roof.
Now, 32 years later, its recommended system requirements for macOS include the macOS Big Sur or later, and a RAM of 16 GB or more. For Windows, it requires an operating system of Windows 10 or later. RAM of 16 GB or more and a graphics card of 4GB.
Features of Photoshop
Before discussing the photoshop alternatives available for both some moolah and for free. Talking about the features of this advanced photo editing software will make it almost easier to compare this to the alternative powerful photo editing tools available.
Photoshop allows you to build your brand, make memes and encourages you to explore your inner artist with its all-in-one features for creativity. Widely used for retouching, image editing, creating image compositions, effects and website mockup creations. When you save a file on photoshop it’s a native PSD file format.
Adobe Inc. offers the creative cloud. This has 20+ apps, 100GB of storage for data, fonts, portfolio, Rush and Photoshop Express. They also offer a free trial for the cloud as well and different pricing options. There is a pricing model, that depends on whether you’re an individual, business, or in academia.
Paid and Free Photoshop Alternatives
Whether your needs are for a photo editing tool, software with photo editing features, open-source photo editing tools or even just an online photo editor.
There are plenty of alternatives to photoshop both paid and free. We’re positive that our list will have one alternative or more, that will capture your interests.
Free Photoshop Alternatives
While there are many photoshop alternatives available. There similarly is a huge plethora of free photoshop alternatives available to us. These can be software for simple tasks like photo editing. They can also be complex and have a lot of features extremely similar to photoshop. Though for us thrifty kings and queens out there, the biggest advantage of these photoshop alternatives is that it’s completely free.
1. Photopea (Online Photo Editor)
Photopea is one of the best web-based alternatives to photoshop you can use for free. Photopea saves you the hassle of having to download and install another software onto your computer.
It speeds up editing time, especially when it comes to simple tasks such as resizing an image, instead of having to wait for the program to load.
Best Features of this Alternative
- Offers a variety of premade templates to choose from
- Allows you to adjust sharpness, brightness, add blur and more
- Ability to apply layer masks and work with layers
- Has modes for blending similar to Photoshop
- Powerful pen and brush tools
Photopea is compatible with all platforms and comes with native support for CDR, XD, Sketch, CXF, and most importantly PSD. You can export your work using the same file formats.
GNU Image Manipulation program more commonly known as GIMP is an amazing open-source photoshop alternative. Free to use with enhanced image editing capabilities. GIMP is an advanced raster editing software that is similar to photoshop.
GIMP can be used as a free photo editing program, a paint program or even an online batch processing program. GIMP is similarly known for its functionality as an image format converter.
Yes, this photoshop alternative (GIMP) is available for macOS and Windows as well as Linux. Which makes this program an ideal pick for photographers. Of all the free alternatives, GIMP is probably one of the oldest programs around marking it as one of the best in the game.
Features that GIMP is known for:
- GIMP has a huge collection of plug-ins
- For animation, it provides MNG support
- GIMP provides its users with basic image transformation tools like rotate, flip, crop
- There are custom patterns and brushes
- GIMP provides features similar to paint
- Editable tools like texts, layers, masks, levels and curves
- GIMP caters to photographers with its color correction features
3. Pixlr X
Pixlr X was once Pixlr. The newest update Pixlr X comes with amazing tools, features and improvements. With its goal to be one of the best free alternative to photoshop in the market.
As an online photo editing tool pixlr x can be used with any operating system. It has a modern interface with accommodations for both light and dark colour schemes. Pixlr X uses HTML 5 software which makes it compatible with any browser.
Features available on pixlr X for free
- Built-in text tool coupled with stylish fonts
- Photo editing allows you to get top quality vibrance, highlights, and shadows
- Crop is available in preset ratios
- Amazing filters for your photos and images
An alternative to photoshop Paint.NET is a digital photo editing tool. It was designed to be an alternative or a free replacement for Microsoft Paint.
This tool quickly grew to be one of the best image and photo editing tools available. It uses a tabbed document interface. The website has various tabs, for donations, and a forum for users to discuss the features of the tools and how they like the software.
- Supports formats like BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG etc
- Unlimited history tool for quick undos
- 3D zoom and 3D rotate function
- Supports multiple layers with blending modes
5. Photos Pos Pro
Photos Pos Pro is organically organized with an interface that is extremely user friendly and easy to navigate. Pos Pro is an image editing suite that easily competes with photoshop.
It rivals photoshop when it comes to enhancing photos and creating breathtaking pieces of art.
Features of this alternative include:
- Tools to frame and collage
- Extension packs
- Magic eraser tools
- 24-hour tech help
- Layers, masks, healing and cloning brushes
5 Paid Alternatives We Recommend
Without any further preamble, let’s get started with photoshop alternatives that require payment
Photoshop is an evergreen platform and the industry has been biased toward it for a long time.
We wouldn’t blame you for wanting to stick to it rather than exploring other photoshop alternatives.
Postud.io (pronounced postudio) offers the very same adobe photoshop online. Yes, the exact platform is hosted by postud.io. It’s hosted on the cloud which means it then provides you with flexibility, scalability, and cheaper cost.
You can collaborate with one or more people or even your entire team on the same platform from any place on the planet. This accessibility of course is all dependable on the user having a decent internet connection.
You pay for how much you use and you’d never have to worry about your laptop not being capable of supporting the next software version update.
2. Affinity Photo
Affinity photo is a raster graphics editor developed in Serif Ltd. in 2009 as a version only available for macOS. Affinity Photo is available for iOS and Windows.
Affinity Photo is the closest alternative to photoshop available. Some would even dare to say it’s more than a photoshop alternative and holds its own as a raster editing tool.
It encourages a non-destructive workflow with its layer-based editing tools. It’s a one time purchase unlike photoshop and it is capable of rendering an image at higher speeds. Some negatives include slow speeds for large files, no image file management, and not as many advanced features as photoshop.
There’s a lion’s share of free tutorials available on their website and the general stance is a “ professional-level platform given out at a pocket-friendly price.” There are also free keyboard shortcuts available for both macOS and Windows.
Some Features of this Alternative include:
- Improved GPU rendering
- Serif Labs RAW engine
- Lens corrections for Canon, Tamron, and Sigma lenses
- PDF export/import
- Panorama Stitching
3. Luminar AI
Skylum launched Luminar ai in December 2020. Since the initial release, there have been two more updates. The newest version of luminar ai came out in 2021, called Lumina AI 1.4.
A photo editing software that is unique because of its use of artificial intelligence. Yes, it is software you have to pay for, but one of the best reasons to try this software is that the prices are extremely affordable. You can also check out their free trial before you open your digital wallet. They also have tutorials you can access available on their website. An honourable mention for a free alternative with a few Artificial intelligence features and tools is Colorcinch.
Best and the Worst of this Alternative :
- The artificial intelligence tools are amazing for beginners
- There are various templates for the new users to choose from. They can learn the basics while having the templates as a basic guide
- The software also offers a clean workspace. The clean workspace also helps with creativity
- This photoshop alternative has no layering options
- It has very few export options
- There is also no way to edit any metadata on their platform
Procreate is a raster graphics editor for digital painting created by Savage Interactive. While this alternative does not support Windows. Its amazing features and tools demand that it is spoken about.
Yes, this photoshop alternative is available on iOS and iPadOS. They have just released its latest version in 2022 (version 5.2)
Features of this Photoshop Alternative:
- 3D Model Painting
- Stroke Stabilization
- Page Assist
- A huge array of layers
- Top-notch resolution for M1s and compatible iPads
As a final comment, before moving on to the next alternative to photoshop. Here’s a quick procreate tip: To fix your threshold, use your apple pencil and long-press on your iPad screen and move it either to the left or right to adjust the threshold.
5. Art Rage
ArtRage is a studio available for any digital artist. It has a full range of tools that resemble and act like the real thing. It can be a canvas for oil paints, or watercolours. It could be a sketchbook, a sheet of paper or a wall even all in one.
It is an alternative to certain adobe photoshop features and is available on Windows and macOS. It is also available on mobile devices with Android or iOS.
Prominent Features of ArtRage:
- Realistic tools to paint with
- Custom brush paint with various depths
- Groups and Layers
- Tracing and Reference image(s)
- Ease of use
While Photoshop is the go-to tool for a reason but these recommendations provided could also help you with your specific needs. They could be more affordable or convenient depending on your user needs and habits