Designers look for GIMP alternatives to expand their toolbox, experiment with professional plug-ins or edit images directly on a smartphone.
For you not to spend time searching for suitable programs on your own, I have compiled a list of the top 10 software like GIMP for beginners and professionals.
Alternatives to GIMP described in the article are suitable for editing images and creating vector illustrations. The rundown includes open source, desktop and online programs.
GIMP is a cross-platform raster graphics editor using which you can edit pictures and create your own illustrations from scratch. This free photo editor has layers, custom brushes, filters, and automatic image editing tools. Besides, GIMP supports lots of plug-ins.
Adobe Photoshop allows you to edit images and create graphics on your PC, tablet or smartphone. By downloading the latest version of the program, you can synchronize the changes on all devices, work with objects selection based on AI, as well as add realistic blur effects to the picture.
You can use free Photoshop plugins similar to the tools available on GIMP. But they are more professional and created by well-known brands such as Phase One and Kodak.
Despite the fact that Photoshop is a raster graphics editor, it also has tools for working with vector images.
Main Photoshop Features:
GIMP is known as an amazing free Photoshop alternative but can’t compete with the Adobe software when it comes to working with layers. In Photoshop, you can move or change the opacity of a layer, while leaving the base pixels intact. Layers allow you to combine multiple images, add text and vector graphics.
Moreover, this alternative to GIMP has the Object Selection tool, thanks to which you can identify objects in scenes and automatically create selections. The instrument works well even in busy environments, in which there are many intersecting objects, for example, leaves, or complex architectural background. Such a toolset makes GIMP vs Photoshop competition even more severe.
Krita is an open source drawing program. It has tools like brush and color pop-over to make it easier for you to create an image from scratch.
Compared to GIMP, this free drawing software has more advanced brush engines, as well as better support for a drawing tablet. Krita offers basic vector features and tools for creating animations.
Main Krita Features:
Krita offers a wide selection of brushes and smudge tools that can be fully customized. It is one of the best free drawing software that allows adding transparency masks to layers. You can apply filters to the finished photo in order to change colors, add blur or the effect of an oil painting.
In Krita, you can create classic cell animation with onion skinning and key-frames. Thanks to Onion Skinning, you can see the next or the previous frame of the animation.
Another interesting feature of this GIMP alternative is that by default, Krita offers 2 layers. One layer is a white background, and another one is a new layer for the drawing so you can draw under the lines of a drawing.
Affinity Photo is a well-designed RAW photo editor. In addition to the basic photo editing tools, the program has functions for creating HDR photos and retouching images with frequency separation technique.
The toolbar in the program is similar to that in Photoshop. In addition, the software supports PSD files. Affinity Photo has many professional photo editing features, such as layers, filters, layer masks, adjustment layers, and more.
Main Affinity Photo Features:
Affinity Photo contains tools for retouching photos, combining images for panoramas, HDR and focusing, as well as drawing tools. You can also open vector images in .SVG and .AI, and combine vector and raster image layers in one file. However, the vector tools are somehow limited if compare with those offered in Adobe Illustrator. If you are interested in working with macros and performing batch actions, this GIMP alternative perfectly suits you.
To edit a photo, you can use lighting settings, colors, curves, LUT and gradients, but there are no features to deal with noise reduction, sharpness or chromatic aberration. You can also adjust contrast and white balance, see the edits for all layers, add glow and blur effects, outlines and overlays.
Paint.NET is a full-featured alternative to more complex image editors like GIMP. It has both standard functions and advanced image editing capabilities with levels and curves.
Being one of the best photo editing software for PC, it supports working with layers, albeit at a more basic level, when compared with GIMP. The program also has a number of filters, level settings and effects. The software supports plug-ins, but unlike GIMP, you cannot complement them with Photoshop plug-ins.
Main Paint.NET Features:
You can use Paint.NET to adjust the brightness, hue, contrast, saturation, add special effects, e.g. blur. There are also instruments to eliminate the red-eye effect. Using a text editor, you can add text, while the Stamp tool helps eliminate grain.
The most notable feature discussed in many Paint.NET vs GIMP Reddit reviews is the Liquify extension, which allows you to deform images similar to the Liquify tool in Photoshop. This instrument is suitable for delicate portrait editing.
Luminar offers users powerful AI tools to speed up the photo editing process. You can change the sky in the picture with a single mouse click, add objects, adjust sharpness and contrast.
The program has Accent AI 2.0 assistant, using which you can create realistic images. You can fix the tone, color, change any detail. The smart filter helps recognize people in the image.
Main Luminar Features:
This AI photo editor offers unique effects such as sunlight and the Orton effect, as well as filters to enhance brightness and color gamut of your photos. You can also cut out details from the image in 2 clicks. In addition, this alternative to GIMP has a library function, so you can conveniently organize your photos.
Photographers will definitely admire the Sky replacement and AI Augmented Sky features. You can completely replace the sky in the pictures or add a flock of birds to it.
Pixelmator Pro differs from other programs like GIMP because it uses the machine learning to edit photos. Thanks to smart technologies, you can speed up layer and layouts management, selections, drawing, image restoration and RAW files processing.
Being one of the best photo editing apps for Mac it offers not only standard tools, but also unique features, developed by Apple. For example, you can export or edit images saved in the High-Efficiency Image format.
Main Pixelmator Pro Features:
This photo enlargement software has zoom tools that not only enlarge and scroll large images without delay, but also clearly display pictures at all zoom levels. You can even automatically center the images in the window.
The software supports multi-level Photoshop files and multiple RAW layers, Apple HEIF photo format. You can work in the full-screen and split-view modes, using the MacBook Pro touchpad.
Seashore is a good GIMP alternative for Macs. It has cool features such as layer support and pressure sensitivity, while the interface will appeal to both experienced users and beginners.
It looks a little outdated, but it has all basic photo editing features. Seashore is based on GIMP technology and uses the same file format.
Main Seashore Features:
In Seashore, you can work with layers, compress them, edit, center, link and merge. You can also copy layers to other documents, while preserving the title, transparency, offset and visibility of the layer.
Among the tools, you will find textures and brushes, as well as text fields with standard fonts for Mac OS. The Clone tool helps duplicate any part of the canvas, and the Effects tool allows you to apply various visual effects to the layer. Moreover, you can further configure them before applying.
Pixlr supports layers and filters, and also includes more advanced image editing tools than just cropping and resizing. You can use forms, lasso, drag and magic tools to move or delete part of the image to create compositions from several photos.
Main Pixlr Features:
Pixlr online GIMP alternative has a system of sliders for fine-tuning contrast, brightness and saturation. But the developers went a little further, adding vibration, glare and shadows to the settings list. The program offers a wide selection of filters grouped into categories, including “Colors”, “Retro” and “Instage”, and a set of pop-art effects.
Pixlr has tools for creating images and text, and drawing layers. The drawing section contains three styles of brushes, as well as options for creating your own brushes.
Comparing Photopea vs Photoshop in terms of interface layout, we can say that they are almost identical. You can adjust the HSL and image brightness, select and edit images in the background, etc.
This online GIMP alternative supports PSD and XCF files so that you can modify the project in Photoshop or GIMP on another device. In addition, it uses standard Photoshop shortcuts.
Main Photopea Features:
Using the Healing Brush, you can improve the skin texture, making the tone uniform. The Clone Stamp tool allows cloning certain areas, while maintaining the natural look of the overall picture.
This online photo editor offers a panel with actions that will simplify image editing. You can use ready-made actions or upload your own once. There are two style options for working with text – Character Style and Paragraph Style. You can change the size and color of the text, align it, etc.
PicMonkey is another online GIMP alternative. It supports layers, has a lot of effects and a great text tool with various fonts.
You can use the mobile version of the program, in order to work on projects anywhere. However, mind that PicMonkey supports only JPG and PNG formats.
Main PicMonkey Features:
In addition to standard features, PicMonkey has a number of professional photo editing tools. For example, you can use the bokeh effect or partially remove it from the photo with a brush.
Examining the functionality of PicMonkey alternatives, you will understand that there aren’t many programs with such a rich set of tools for editing selfies and portraits. You can use the Blemish Fix tool, remove wrinkles, change the shade of the lips or make a person slimmer. With this set of tools, you can fully control the appearance of a model in the photo.