Look, Photoshop rules, but there are some pretty decent alternatives to Adobe’s platform — and some of them are even free.
While many don’t boast the full gamut of what Photoshop promises, you may be content with some stripped-away features, if the price is right, of course.
It’s worth considering what features you do and don’t need. For example, not everyone who uses Photoshop needs precise cutting tools. With that in mind, here are some Photoshop alternatives.
GIMP (If you’re sick of paying)
Weirdly named but we’ll go with it, GIMP is an app that many artists gravitate to when they’ve been burned on Photoshop. It’s free and offers many of the same features as Photoshop.
Moreover, GIMP is widely compatible with most computer operating systems and is quite user-friendly. It’s also open-source, meaning you can install user-generated add-ons at will. If you’re gravitating away from Photoshop and want an application with a familiar feel, it might be worth giving GIMP a try.
Just continue to refer to your work as “Photoshopping” an image, cause if you say you “GIMPed” something, you might get some strange looks.
Affinity Photo (If you’re after a lower cost and a similar experience)
Available for $85 in Australia, Affinity Photo is a close alternative to Photoshop, available on Mac, Windows and iPad (no Android version). With a much cheaper price tag than Photoshop, Affinity Pro might be worth getting simply for the savings.
You might actually find it better than Photoshop, considering that it has a big focus on stability. It also offers unlimited undos, something that Photoshop doesn’t have. You can give Affinity Photo a go with a free trial.
Canva (If you want an easy and basic image creator)
How could I resist talking about Canva? Not everybody needs to use Photoshop and for what it offers, it’s a bit of a system resources hog. Canva, considering it’s browser-based, doesn’t put as much stress on your system, letting you quickly produce images without many problems. I’ve used the free version of Canva for years and it’s quite a nice program. It’s also Australian.
Just, of course, be aware that it’s not anywhere near as in-depth as some of the other photo editing software on this list. Canva’s free version doesn’t allow you to snip objects and make them transparent, but it does offer one of the best easy-to-use photo editors out there. Canva is available on Android, iOS, macOS, Windows and Linux. A paid version is available for $12.99 per month or $119.99 per year.
Capture One (For a breath of fresh air from Adobe)
Another Photoshop alternative is Capture One, which does pretty much everything Photoshop does. Although it’s not as user-friendly to begin with, it can be customised to fit your editing needs. It even has customisable keyboard shortcuts for getting around quickly.
Additionally, RAW files are supported and the application is available on Windows PCs or MacOS. You can download a free trial today, or buy it outright for $300. A monthly subscription is also available for $24 per month, or $179 per year.
Pixlr (If you want a basic browser-based image editor)
The last app on our list of Photoshop alternatives on our list is Pixlr, a browser-based image editor like Canva with deeper Photoshop-like functionality. Free and not resource-intensive, Pixlr does some of the basic features you might want out of Photoshop, like background removal, layers and transparency. That being said, it offers less advanced features and keyboard shortcuts.
Pixlr is available on PC, MacOS, Android and iOS for free, with a subscription version available for $6.75 in Australia.
This article has been updated since it was first published.
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