Is there a free Photoshop alternative that can completely replace Adobe Ps in terms of professional photo retouching or digital drawing?
Photoshop is a synonym for photo editing and the choice of almost all professional photographers, designers, and web developers.
But if you are looking for free photo editing software or just don’t want to overpay for unnecessary features, this article will be useful for you. Today I will tell you about 20 cheap and FREE Photoshop alternatives that have almost the same functions.
This is a multifunctional online tool for photo editing, designing, applying effects, filters, adding text, cropping or resizing pictures. You can work with layer styles, masks, smart objects, text layers, etc. for deep portrait retouching and color grading.
It’s open source and supports PSD, Sketch and XCF files (Photoshop, Sketch App and GIMP).
Talking about Gimp vs Photoshop, the main advantage of this photo editing program is an open source. Gimp is the best free choice for Linux, but it is also available for Windows.
Having an interface similar to Photoshop, it provides a lot of tools for photo editing and color correction, working with text, masks, layers, various effects, etc. You may use Photoshop .psd files in Gimp to create a surreal Photoshop double exposure.
Many professional users like that an open source allows them to correct various tools, fix bugs, and create new functions manually, without waiting for the next update.
The most significant disadvantage is that you cannot use Gimp for Mac OS. Sometimes it operates rather slowly, so it isn’t well-optimized.
Verdict: GIMP is a full-featured open source editor. There are many tools and photoshopping portraits tips for basic retouching and color enhancement. This Photoshop free analog allows you to customize tools, fix bugs, and create new functions manually. The biggest drawback – no full desktop version for MacOS.
PaintNet is a good option for beginners who want to find free photo editing software like Photoshop. This is a high-quality and easy-to-use program.
Its main advantages are a very simple interface and well-thought-out tools. You do not need a powerful PC configuration. Keep in mind that Paint and PaintNet are completely different programs that have different tools and functions.
The weak side of this program is the opportunity to install it only on Windows OS. In addition, the interface looks a bit outdated and doesn’t fully meet modern standards.
Verdict: PaintNet is an open source bitmap editor for Windows. It is one of the best Photoshop freeware alternatives as it offers custom sliders, adjustable colors, masks, layers, and filters.
In general, it is a universal option for amateur photographers and beginning designers. Besides, the interface has not been updated for a long time and today it looks a bit outdated.
DigiKam is a powerful photo editing program, organizer, and manager created for Linux. It is also available for Windows and Mac.
Using this perfect managing tool, you can import images in various ways, organize them into albums, and browse/search in your collection by location, time, tags, and people.
The open-source program allows you to experiment with different tools and professionally adjust various effects, filters, work with brushes, etc. At the same time, it isn’t completely suitable for people who need a free photo editor like Photoshop.
The thing is that most of the tools for image editing work poorly. DigiKam isn’t optimized for weak PCs; therefore, you may experience long delays.
Verdict: A powerful photo manager, organizer and editor for basic color correction. A free alternative to Photoshop in terms of photo management. But DigiKam isn’t optimized for weak PCs.
If you are looking for a free program that combines functions of several Adobe products, RawTherapee is the best choice for you. It is open-sourced and designed for easy file cataloging.
The program’s functionality is focused on working with photos in RAW format. It also includes many tools for color correction, noise reduction, rotation, exposure control, changing shadows and light, adjusting tone settings, processing EXIF data, cropping, etc.
Verdict: In a nutshell, RawTherapee is something in between Photoshop and Lightroom. Talking about the disadvantages of this software, I want to mention that it isn’t very convenient for working with masks and layers because these tools work with a delay.
PhotoScape is a powerful software like Photoshop, which is available both in a free and in a paid version. This software is quite popular because it can be used by professional or amateur photographers, designers, and Instagram fans.
The program is equipped with several separate services for photo editing, cataloging, working with GIF and video, and converting RAW files.
Each of the tabs has a user-friendly interface and quite powerful tools. You can design logos and banners. The image editor is supported not only by Windows and Mac OS platforms, but it is also suitable for Linux. Unfortunately, some functions of PhotoScape are limited in free access.
Verdict: PhotoScape can be considered as a free Photoshop alternative suitable both for professional and beginner users. The program includes several separate tabs for files of different formats.
You may edit portraits, create design projects, logos, and banners, and do much more. It’s the best free Photoshop alternative for Mac.
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Verdict: Darktable is a free, open-source program for editing and cataloging RAW images. This is the best choice for event and wedding shooters who make basic picture editing and color correction, and who work with batch editing.
If you’re an average user, this program is helpful just to crop a picture. Poorly developed brushes and lack of optimization for weak configurations are its noticeable drawbacks.
Users that need a photo editor like Photoshop often give their attention to Krita. It is a free, open-source software program that combines a nice interface and features similar to GIMP and Paint.Net. First of all, Krita is designed for professional digital drawing.
However, you can also take advantage of basic picture editing tools: apply a filter, effect, expand, display, remove minor flaws such as pimples, and so on. The perfectly developed brushes make this photo editor similar to Photoshop. Besides this, lots of additional settings are integrated.
Verdict: Krita is an open source and free Photoshop replacement for those who often need basic digital drawing tools. It can’t compete with other programs similar to Photoshop or Photoshop Elements Free in the sphere of photo retouching. However, you can use some basic tools.
Verdict: Inkscape is one of the Photoshop freeware alternatives with excellent functionality for vector graphics. It’s suitable for creating artistic and technical illustrations.
This free Photoshop alternative is a nice choice for beginners in photography or web design. You can zoom in and visualize vector graphics with different resolutions without quality loss.
Photo Pos Pro is one more free photo editing software like Photoshop that has a simple interface with many icons. This is quite confusing when you first use the program, but the number of tools and functions is impressive.
Aside from photo editing, you can create new graphic compositions, logos, banners, and websites from scratch. The program allows working with layers, masks, gradients, and textures.
It is also compatible with a wide range of scanners and digital cameras. What is more, you can open and edit several photos at the same time.
The main disadvantage of Photo Pos Pro is its interface, which is overloaded with tools located in separate tabs.
Verdict: Photo Pos Pro is a good free program similar to Photoshop that works with layers, masks, gradients and textures. It has a “complex interface” with many icons and this may be confusing. However, except photo editing, you can use it for various design projects.
Sketch is a professional vector graphics program for creative users. In recent years, Sketch has become very popular among designers, in particular, web designers who are looking for a Photoshop replacement.
Thanks to its simple, user-friendly interface, Sketch has many features similar to Photoshop and Illustrator, including the work with layers, gradients, color palettes, and styles.
It is also in such high demand because of the many Sketch plugin-ins created by the community, which are really helpful if you want to extend the functionality of the program.
The development team made Sketch as flexible as possible, as it supports endless scaling and vector shapes that are ideal for diverse projects. You can create a new drawing from primitive shapes or adjunct another one using the Vector or Pencil tool.
Verdict: This is a professional vector graphics app for creative work with digital photos. The most popular tools are layers, gradients, color palettes and styles. Sketch also offers many useful plug-ins for creating designs.
View more about How to Get Adobe Illustrator Free that is a good software for designers.
If you aim to find a free program similar to Photoshop for online use, consider SumoPaint. It is a simple web program that supports working with masks and layers and has a large number of tools for basic photo editing before posting photos in Instagram or Facebook.
I am talking about rotation, cropping, adjustment of brightness, contrast, and so on. Brushes are well-developed, so you can complete many professional tasks.
Verdict: This free Photoshop alternative is rather simple and user-friendly. 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 for amateurs and Instagram bloggers. Doesn’t support Photoshop Actions.
Verdict: It was designed for photographers who use Phase One cameras. This free software similar to Photoshop provides powerful tools for professional image editing.
You’ll find tools to correct colors, retouch portraits, work with masks, layers, brushes, etc. It has a complex user interface that may be quite confusing for beginners.
Fully compatible with Photoshop and other file formats, it is specifically designed for professional photographers and designers.
Although Affinity Photo is much cheaper than Photoshop (without a subscription), its creators claim that this software is actually better, promising higher speed, fewer lags, and an unlimited number of undos.
Frankly speaking, the improved performance greatly depends on the laptop/desktop you use.
Verdict: 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 is the best Photoshop replacement.
The real-time display is one of the most interesting features. It allows you to preview the result before using the tool.
Verdict: ACDSee Photo Studio is a semi-professional software for previewing, editing and publishing images. 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. Don’t require watching Photoshop portrait tutorials before using.
Pixelmator has been known for some time, but just recently the team has released Pixelmator Pro. While the previous program used drop-down windows, the Pro version has a more convenient single-window interface and offers non-destructive image editing.
The interface became smaller, thus making it easier to find the necessary functions. Developers added a “Hidden Interface” option that you can activate if you just want to see your image without being distracted by other windows.
Pixelmator is specifically designed for Mac users and supports such features as tabs, full screen, and split view.
Verdict: A 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.
User-friendly interface, RAW files support, a convenient organizer, and many options and tools for image retouching.
Pixlr is the most famous program like Photoshop online. If you have a reliable Internet connection and don’t mind the absence of plugins, this free web program is almost as effective as Photoshop on your desktop.
Upload a photo and you will have access to layers, masks, clone stamps, selection tools, and everything else that can be expected from a first-class program.
Unfortunately, there is no possibility of batch image editing, but you can open several photos at the same time and improve them individually.
Verdict: This is one of the best “shareware” web apps and a nice free alternative to Photoshop. But Pixlr app does not support batch editing.
Photoshop Express is a simple and well-thought-out free online program from Adobe. All tools are logically ordered. Unlike Photoshop itself, everything is instantly available, even if you have never used the program before.
You don’t need to install any browser plugins. If you have Flash installed, just upload the image and start working.
Photoshop Express online supports only JPG files smaller than 16 megapixels and a width of no more than 8191 pixels. Photoshop Express is equipped with a variety of tools and allows you to perform decent picture editing. The available functionality is almost the same as in Photoshop but it works more slowly.
Verdict: This is a simple and properly-developed Photoshop free online alternative from Adobe. All tools are logically ordered and immediately available. But it supports only JPG files with limited resolution.
PicMonkey is one of the best web programs, and it can be used as Canva or Photoshop. You may do photo editing, store, organize files in the repository, and create various design projects, banners, and logos.
I also want to draw your attention to working with the text. From my point of view, it isn’t inferior to Photoshop. I really enjoy the integration of the HUB tab, which involves cloud storage and a convenient cataloger.
But PicMonkey has several weak aspects. This program cannot perform professional photo editing. In addition, a large number of tools and features are unlocked in the free version.
Verdict: PicMonkey is among the most popular programs similar to Photoshop and Canva. You can store photos, organize them, and create various design projects. But it’s not suitable for professional photo editing.
View these Photoshop portrait tutorials on YouTube that will help you start editing photos like professional retouchers in several weeks.
BeFunky is a web program which is known as the best free program online for amateur photographers and beginners. It offers creative effects, textures, and advanced settings for the enhancement of photographs.
Moreover, you will be constantly distracted by advertisements. It occupies more than 30% of the working space.
Verdict: BeFunky is one of those Photoshop freeware alternatives that offers advanced settings to decorate your photos. In addition to 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.
Fotor is an easy-to-use image editing program with a standard set of functions. You can crop and rotate the photograph, adjust the contrast and sharpness, change the brightness, apply different effects, frames, stickers, and more.
You can add different makeup options and remove skin defects. This feature is surely interesting for those who enjoy portrait photography.
This free program allows you to work with individual images, create collages, and use ready-made themes. It may be inconvenient that Fotor insists on registering and doesn’t provide access to a large number of functions for unregistered users.
Verdict: If you are looking for free software similar to Photoshop or Movavi that is rather simple, Fotor can be an excellent choice for you. You can crop and rotate images; adjust sharpness, brightness, detail, contrast, and shadows; apply various photo effects; adjust the photo frame; and add stickers.
The free online program PiZap is available in HTML5 and Flash versions. So, you can use this free app like Photoshop on laptops, PCs, or tablets. The interface has a dark, modern design with sliders for quick customization.
It works much faster than tricky and drop-down menus. It’s very convenient if you use a touchscreen device.
PiZap offers many interesting effects that are available to users with a paid account. The main drawback is that the program doesn’t support RAW files, and photos larger than 10 MB won’t be uploaded.
Verdict: PiZap allows you to perform basic image editing and color correction in one click. It has a modern interface with sliders for quick customization.
Undoubtedly, Photoshop is the best software program when it comes to photo retouching, graphic design, and digital drawing. It is user-friendly, has many useful plugins, actions, and overlays, and there are numerous video tutorials in all languages, etc.
But like most of the other top programs, Photoshop requires a monthly payment and you need to spend at least $19.99 every month, which is not attractive for beginning photographers.
If you have never used Photoshop but don’t want to pay for a monthly subscription, read more about Photoshop Trial Conditions and how to use Photoshop free.