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.
Photoshop, developed by Adobe, was created more than 20 years ago. It became one of the first programs to offer deep digital photo retouching, digital drawing, designing projects, and much more. Despite many positive sides, it has a couple of significant flaws. Its interface is difficult for beginners but there are many video tutorials you can watch to understand it. And to use Photoshop you will have to pay monthly, as it is now a subscription-based service. The minimum cost is $9.99/month. If you don’t want to overpay for this software or simply don’t need all the functionality it offers, I have prepared a list of 20 FREE Photoshop alternative programs for you.
I’ve made a list of the 20 best FREE Photoshop alternatives and have reviewed the programs that can perform professional image retouching: red-eye correction, face/body retouching, applying filters/brushes/plug-ins, drawing effects, making color correction, working with masks and layers, etc.
If you have a Linux system, GIMP will be the best choice for you. GIMP 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 GIMP. 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.
Paint.Net 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.
This software 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 Pixlr. 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.
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.
PhotoScape 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.
Krita 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 GIMP or Paint.Net. Krita has a large number of tools for digital drawing. Of course, this software can’t compete with other programs similar to Photoshop 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.
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.
Photo Pos Pro is a good free program similar to Photoshop. 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. Besides photo editing, you can also create new graphic compositions, logos, banners and websites from scratch.
Photo Pos Pro 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.
If you are interested in programs like Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom, 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.
Affinity Photo 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.
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.
This is a professional vector graphics application for creative work with digital photos. In recent years, Sketch 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. Sketch 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.
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.
Pixelmator Pro 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.
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.
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 Express 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.
PicMonkey is one of the best web applications. It is among the most popular programs similar to Photoshop and Canva. 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.
BeFunky 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.
If you are looking for free software similar to Photoshop that is rather simple, Fotor 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. Fotor 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.
PiZap is a simple web app that slightly reminds me of Polarr. It allows you to perform basic image editing and color correction with one click. The app has HTML5 and Flash versions, so you can use it on any device, such as a laptop, PC or a tablet. The photo editing interface has a dark, modern design with sliders for quick customization that works much faster than tricky drop-down menus if you use a touch-screen device. Like Fotor, it provides many interesting stickers and various effects available to users with a paid account. Unfortunately, this free photo editing software does not support RAW files and any photos larger than 10MB will not be uploaded.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.