Free Photoshop Alternative

By Ann Young 14 days ago Software Reviews

Are there good free alternatives to Photoshop?

free photoshop alternative

Top 19 Best Free Photoshop Alternatives:

Is there a free Photoshop alternative that can completely replace Adobe Ps in terms of professional photo retouching or digital drawing? Nowadays, Photoshop is a synonym for photo editing and the choice of almost all professional photographers, designers, and web developers. Today I will tell you about 20 cheap and FREE Photoshop alternatives that have almost the same functions.

1. GNU Photo Editor

Best free and open source Photoshop alternative

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Rank (4/5)
Mac / Win / Linux |
Pros+
  • Simpler than Ps
  • Pro photo retouching tools
  • Open source
  • Masks and layers
  • Compatible with Linux
Cons-
  • Poor performance compared to analogs
  • Few video tutorials
 

If you have a Linux system, GNU will be the best choice for you. GNU is, first and foremost, a full-featured open source editor. Its interface and functionality is a bit like Photoshop. There are many tools available for both basic image retouching and color enhancement, as well as working with text, masks, layers, brushes, various effects, etc.

Many photographers, including me, consider the open source to be the strongest aspect of GNU.

photoshop logo   Download Photoshop Free to try it before subscription.

This Photoshop free analog allows you to customize various tools, fix bugs, and create new functions manually. You can do it all without upgrading. The biggest drawback is that you cannot use the full desktop version for MacOS. Only the browser version is available and it requires additional payment. In some cases, it works rather slowly.

2. XnView

Simple graphic editor for digital drawing

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Rank (3/5)
Windows 7 SP1 / Windows 8.1 / Windows 10 |
Pros+
  • Easy to use
  • Basic picture editing
  • Deep color improvement
  • Lots of tools for basic digital drawing
Cons-
  • Isn’t supported by Linux and MacOS
 

XnView is an open source bitmap editor for Windows. It has a very simple interface and tools. A nice feature is that you do not need a powerful PC configuration. It is one of the best Photoshop freeware alternatives. The main tasks of this software are basic picture editing and color correction. It offers some basic digital drawing tools: custom sliders, adjustable colors, masks, layers, brushes, effects, and filters. In general, it is a universal option for amateur photographers and beginning designers. Nevertheless, it has some flaws. Firstly, this photo editing free application is compatible only with Windows. Besides, the interface has not been updated for a long time and today it looks a bit outdated and does not fully comply with modern standards.

3. Canva

Upgraded version for artists

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Rank (3/5)
Windows/Mac OS/Linux |
Pros+
  • Simple interface and tools
  • An amazing text processing tool
  • Suitable for basic picture editing
  • Works with RAW files
Cons-
  • Weak optimization
  • Some tools need extra development
 

This free Photoshop alternative is rather simple and user-friendly. The app contains a large number of tools for color correction and basic image retouching. It can be a suitable option if you are searching for a free Photoshop alternative for Mac. The interface is similar to Photoshop and Lightroom. The fairly developed brushes will be very useful for you.

Moreover, it has two versions: a desktop version with a 30-day trial version and a free web one. Among the disadvantages, I should note that the free version is not suitable for pro photographers because a lot of tools are limited. Nevertheless, it is perfect for amateurs and Instagram bloggers.

 Download free Photoshop plugins for making creative designs and photographs easily.

4. Gimpshop

Best free photo catalogue

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Rank (3.2/5)
Windows/Mac OS/Linux
Pros+
  • Well-developed organizer
  • Fast import, export and photo libraries
  • Suitable for image editing and color correction
  • Open source Supported on Linux
Cons-
  • Not suitable for professional photo retouching
 

This is a powerful photo manager, organizer and editor for basic photo enhancements and color correction. A free alternative to Photoshop, it was created for Linux; however, the software is also available for Windows and Mac. This photo manager and organizer’s functions are the best features of this program. You can import images in various ways, group them into albums, and browse and search in your collection by location, time, tags and people.

It’s an open source photo editor, which is convenient for experiments with various tools for professional photo editing. The user can adjust original effects and filters, work with brushes, and much more. On the other hand, this free Photoshop alternative can’t completely replace the most popular Adobe product. Unfortunately, most of the tools for image editing work poorly and have few additional settings. Moreover, DigiKam isn’t optimized for weak PCs, so you may have long delays.

5. IrfanView

Professional and free Photoshop alternative

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Rank (3.5/5)
Windows/Mac OS/Linux |
Pros+
  • Professional tools for image editing
  • Digital drawing and color correction
  • RAW format support
  • Low system requirements
Cons-
  • Many functions are limited in free access
 

Irfan View is positioned as try-before-you-buy software. It can be considered as a free Photoshop alternative suitable both for professional and beginner users. The program includes several separate tabs for photo editing, cataloging, working with GIF and video files, converting RAW files and more. Each of them has a user-friendly interface and quite powerful tools.

Thus, the user can perform professional portrait photo editing, create design projects, logos, and banners, and do much more. The image editor is supported not only by the Windows and Mac OS platforms, but is also available for Linux. It’s the best free Photoshop alternative for Mac. Unfortunately, some functions are limited in free access but it’s a good starting point for beginning photo retouchers.

6. Google Photos

Many tools for designers and digital artists

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Rank (3.8/5)
Windows/Mac OS/Linux |
Pros+
  • Excellent brushes
  • Pro tools for digital drawing
  • User-friendly interface
Cons-
  • Poorly developed photo retouching tools
 

Google Photos is an open source photo editor and a free Photoshop replacement for those who often need basic digital drawing tools. The program combines a nice modern interface and photo editing features similar to GNU or XnView. Google Photos has a large number of tools for digital drawing. Of course, this software can’t compete with other Photoshop alternatives in the sphere of photo retouching. However, you can use some basic tools: filters, effects, remove imperfections, etc. The best thing is that the brushes are perfectly developed. They have many additional settings like the most popular Photoshop tools. Still, the main drawback of the program is that it doesn’t allow users to perform professional image retouching.

7. Inkscape

Open source vector graphics editor

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Rank (3/5)
Windows/Mac OS/Linux|
Pros+
  • Advanced tools for vector graphics
  • Optimized for weak PCs
  • Support RAW files
Cons-
  • Not suitable for pro picture editing
  • Poorly-developed masks and layers
 

Inkscape is one of the Photoshop freeware alternatives with excellent functionality for vector graphics. It’s suitable for creating both artistic and technical illustrations. This free Photoshop alternative is a nice choice for beginners in the field of photography or web design. The tools allow you to perform basic photo retouching, create a logo or banner, and use various brushes.

The program is also suitable to perform any tasks related to vector graphics. You can zoom in and visualize them with different resolutions without quality loss. Inkscape supports the standard Scalable Vector Graphics. It has a complete set of tools to cope with complex tasks, and perform conversion and rendering in high resolution. An obvious disadvantage is the small number of tools for image retouching and color correction.

8. Photolemur

Photoshop interface and features for free

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Rank (3.5/5)
Win |
Pros+
  • Lots of features for image editing
  • Good for digital drawing
  • Optimized for weak PC configurations
  • Advanced brushes
Cons-
  • Cluttered interface
  • Doesn’t support batch image edit
 

Photolemur is a good free Photoshop alternative. It has a “complex interface” with many icons. This may be confusing when you open the program for the first time. However, the number of tools and functions is really impressive. Except photo editing, you can also create new graphic compositions, logos, banners and websites from scratch.

Photolemur works with layers, masks, gradients and textures. It can be used with a wide range of scanners and digital cameras. The program interface allows you to open and enhance several photos simultaneously. The main disadvantage is its inconvenient, outdated interface.

9. Capture One Pro

Photoshop and Lightroom in one software

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Rank (4.5/5)
Windows/Mac OS |
Pros+
  • Big set of features and tools
  • Fully customizable interface
  • Fast import and export
  • Well-developed masks and layers
  • Suitable for professional photo retouching
Cons-
  • Requires good PC configuration
  • Difficult for beginners
 

If you are interested in Photoshop free alternatives, this is the best variant for you. Capture One Pro was designed for photographers who use Phase One cameras. The program provides powerful and unique tools for image editing at professional level. You’ll find tools to correct colors, retouch portraits, work with masks, layers, brushes, and more.

The owners of expensive Phase One cameras can use Capture One Pro completely free of charge. You can also use this free software similar to Photoshop on a monthly basis or buy the license and get a stable update. As for the disadvantages, Capture One requires a lot of resources and a good PC configuration. The requirements are similar to Photoshop. Capture One Pro has a complex user interface. It may be quite confusing for beginners. The good news is that the interface is fully customizable.

10. Luminar

All you need for professional digital artists and retouchers

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Rank (4/5)
Windows/Mac OS |
Pros+
  • Simple interface
  • Professional brushes
  • Supports RAW files
  • Fast photo import and export
Cons-
  • Expensive compared to competitors
  • Lacks an image organizer
 

Luminar is a raster graphics editor that combines powerful tools for image editing and color correction with a nice user-friendly interface. From my point of view, this simple and useful program is the best Photoshop replacement. The real-time display is one of the most interesting features it has. It allows you to preview the result before using the tool.

In addition to a variety of modules for photo editing, you can use it as a drawing tool. The image editor offers a large number of brushes. They can be changed, saved and loaded into the library. Unfortunately, this photo editor is quite expensive compared to its alternatives in my list.

  • Read more about Canva Photo Editor.

11. ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate

Convenient photo catalog and a large kit of photo editing tools

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Rank (3.8/5)
Windows/Mac OS
Pros+
  • Professional tools
  • A large number of functions
  • User-friendly interface
Cons-
  • The price isn’t reasonable compared to competitors
 

ACDSee Photo Studio is known as semi-professional software for previewing, editing and publishing digital images. The program includes many tools for professional image retouching and color correction. The modern user-friendly interface is one of the main advantages of the software.

The program offers direct access to files and folders with the possibility to update their content in real time. This saves time spent on importing images into a separate library. As for disadvantages, it isn’t a free photo editing software. The price is about $99–$199, which is too high for a software solution that has few video tutorials.

  • Read more about Movavi Photo Editor.

12. Serif PhotoPlus X8

Free Photoshop alternative for vector graphics and web design

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Rank (3.2/5)
Windows/Mac OS
Pros+
  • Many tools for working with graphics
  • Basic image editing
  • Fast image import and export
  • Excellent brushes
Cons-
  • More expensive than Photoshop
 

This is a professional vector graphics application for creative work with digital photos. In recent years, Serif PhotoPlus X8 has evoked great interest among web designers. Thanks to its simple user interface and many features similar to Photoshop and Illustrator, the program attracts many users. The most popular tools are layers, gradients, color palettes and styles. Serif PhotoPlus X8 also offers many useful plug-ins for creating designs. You can use them to extend the software’s functionality. The Sketch development team has made the program as flexible as possible. You can create a new image from primitive shapes, as well as draw new ones using the Vector or Pencil tool.

adobe illustrator logo   Download Adobe Illustrator Free to test software before subscription.

13. Acorn

Quick photo editing for beginners

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Rank (3.5/5)
macOS 10.11 and later
Pros+
  • Creates great HDR images
  • Easy-to-use tools
  • Supports RAW files
Cons-
  • Lacks an organizer and batch image edit
 

This program enables you to change the hue, brightness and contrast of your images. This software also works with layers. You can create both HDR and panoramic pictures with the help of Acorn. They have a user-friendly tutorial that will guide you through the process, making it easy to combine two or more images into one. Since it works with HDR images, the software is compatible with RAW files. Of course, you can use the most common file types. The downside is there is no organizer for photos. That’s why you have to use or purchase other software if you want to manage your shots.

  • Read my Polarr Review if you need more Photoshop alternatives.

14. Corel Draw

Best color correction software for Mac

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Rank (3.9/5)
macOS 10.13 and later
Pros+
  • Advanced digital drawing
  • Suitable for basic photo editing
  • Photoshop similar brushes
  • Supports RAW
Cons-
  • The price is higher than Photoshop
 

Corel Draw is the universal software that meets all the requirements of professional users. It isn’t a free Photoshop alternative, but has a great variety of essential photo editing functions. The advantages of the program are its user-friendly interface, RAW files support, a convenient organizer, and many options and tools for image retouching, photo color correction and more. Price is the most important drawback of this program.

  • Read this RawTherapee review if you need a software for color correction.

15. Adobe Lightroom

Online and free Photoshop alternative

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Rank (3.5/5)
Mac / Win / Linux 
Pros+
  • Tools and interface are similar to Photoshop
  • Lots of efficient tools
  • Supports masks and layers
Cons-
  • 40% of the functionality is limited for free
  • Too much advertising
 

This is one of the best “shareware” web apps and a nice free alternative to Photoshop. Remember, if you have a good Internet connection and you do not mind the absence of plug-ins, this free online application is almost the best among the alternatives. It has the same effectiveness as Photoshop on your computer. Upload your image and you will have an opportunity to use layers, masks, clone stamps, selection tools, and everything else that can be expected from a first-class graphic photo editor. Among the drawbacks, Pixlr app does not support batch image editing. However, you can always open several photos at once and apply changes to them separately.

  • Read more about iPiccy photo editor that is Photoshop alternative too.

16. Photoshop Elements

Simplified Photoshop free version

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Rank (3.5/5)
iOS / Android / Win |
Pros+
  • Easy interface
  • For basic picture editing
  • Many tools for color correction
Cons-
  • You cannot upload and edit multiple photos at the same time
 

This is a simple and properly-developed Photoshop free online alternative from Adobe. All tools are logically ordered and, unlike in Photoshop, everything is immediately available, even if you have never used any photo editor before. You do not need to install any browser plug-ins; you only need to have Flash. You can start improving pictures after you upload them into the program.

Photoshop Elements Editor supports only JPG files of less than 16 megapixels and a maximum width of 8,191 pixels. It has a variety of tools and allows you to perform fairly good image editing because the available tools are almost the same as Photoshop offers.

  • View more about how to use Photoshop Elements Free.

Ps Elements Editor is a web app loaded with tools that you can customize according to your needs. Its only letdown is that the app does not support many formats and is a Flash app (not HTML5).

Its absolute advantage is that the app is very accessible, even to a complete newbie. I wish Photoshop was just like that.

If you have Flash in your browser, you won’t need to install any other plugins. The files you can edit must meet the following requirements: JPG file format, up to 16MP, and less than 8,191 pixels wide. I wish they were more straightforward about the width, though.

Some of the tools are being tested (the dodge and burn, for example), and I really hope to see some new tools in the future. However, I wonder if Adobe is going to keep updating the Photoshop Elements Editor, after all, they built it in Flash and not HTML5.

17. Seashore

Perfect Photoshop alternative for Instagram photos

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Rank (3.2/5)
Windows/Mac OS/Linux |
Pros+
  • A lot of tools for photo editing
  • Can create banners and logos
  • Excellent text tool
  • HUB cloud storage
Cons-
  • It is not for professional portrait editing
 

Seashore is one of the best web applications. It is among the most popular Canva and Photoshop alternatives. The picture editor has many functions for photo editing. Moreover, you can store photos, organize stored photos, and create various design projects, banners, logos, and many other useful things. Among the strengths of the photo editor, I will highlight working with text. I don’t consider it to be inferior to Photoshop.

PicMonkey has a well-developed HUB tab including cloud storage and a convenient cataloger. As for disadvantages, I note that when using this image editor you cannot perform professional photo retouching. Besides this, a large number of tools and features are available only after the upgrade to the paid version.

18. Aurora HDR

Quick free Photoshop alternative to use online

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    3/5
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    4/5
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Rank (2.5/5)
Mac / Win / Linux 
Pros+
  • A lot of tools for photo editing
  • A huge number of effects and decor elements
  • Nice brushes
  • RAW files are supported
Cons-
  • Functionality is limited for free
  • Many ads
 

AURORA HDR is an online app that combines a variety of pro tools and is suitable for amateur photographers or beginners. It is one of the Photoshop freeware alternatives that offers useful and trendy effects, textures and advanced settings to decorate your photos. In addition to the basic functions – for example, removing small objects, and color correction – it has separate modules to create collages and graphic design. Unfortunately, this picture editor contains just 60% of the paid content. In addition to this, you will constantly be distracted by advertising, which occupies more than 40% of the working space.

 Download Free Photoshop Actions for fast photo editing.

19. Illustator

For collages and creative photo effects

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    1/5
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    2/5
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    3/5
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    4/5
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Rank (2.5/5)
Mac / Win / Linux |
Pros+
  • Fast and responsive
  • A large number of seasonal decorative elements
  • RAW files are supported
  • Well-developed brushes
Cons-
  • A limited number of functions without registration
 

If you are looking for free software similar to Photoshop that is rather simple, Illustrator can be an excellent choice for you. It is one of the simplest web image editing applications with a standard set of features. You can crop and rotate images; adjust sharpness, brightness, detail, contrast, and shadows; apply various photo effects; adjust the photo frame; and add stickers – and this is just the basic part of all the features the photo editor offers.

You can add different makeup options and remove skin blemishes. This feature is sure to impress those users who are engaged in portrait photography. Illustrator allows you to work with individual images, create collages and use ready-made themes. Among the cons, it requires registration and cuts a large number of functions for unregistered users.


Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more