Best Alternatives to Photoshop – Graphic Design and Photo Editing for Free
Updated: Nov 29, 2022
Author: Filip Balaš
Date of Publication: 10/10/2022
When it comes to photo editing many of us think about Photoshop. Yes, it is perfect and a leader in this industry for a reason. But it isn’t free which can be limiting if you are just an occasional user or starting professional. For this reason, we tried and researched some of the free alternatives on the market and here are the results!
Top 3 Online Alternatives
Are you an occasional user, working on a borrowed device? Don’t you just like to download software to your computer? Online photo editors are just right for you! If you have a device and internet connection, you are good to go. You don’t have to download anything. Visit the domain, upload your photos and start editing to have that perfect Instagram picture. Then you just download your finished photos back to your computer. Online photo editors are user friendly, quick and available almost anywhere anytime.
This all sounds great, but there are some cons as well. Online editors might be free just for some time or have limited functionality in the free version. This forces you to buy the premium, which sometimes is as pricey as Photoshop. Another con is that you need quick internet connection. If your connection is slow both import and export of your photos can take a long time, which is always frustrating!
There are many online options, but those are our favorites:
Known as “free online Photoshop” – Photopea is really the closest alternative, it even looks like Photoshop. It doesn’t have as many functions as the original one, but it isn’t missing any key features you might need in your daily work. You can work with layers, upload all kinds of file types and change history. It’s perfect, what’s the downside? Ads. Around 1/8 of your screen will be used for advertisement, which might be annoying especially on smaller devices.
Very similar to Photoshop
Free to use
Pixlr is an online image editing application free for all users. To use it, you just need a device and internet connection. Users often describe it as easy to use and great for both occasional users and content creators. Pixlr comes in three versions – Pixlr X, which has fewer functions but is easier to use and has a lot of presets. Second version, with advanced features for more experienced users is Pixlr E. Also, the last and newest version is Photomash studio. You can use it to create photo assets, remove backgrounds from profile pictures or shop items. Pixlr has something for everyone, all versions are easy to use with a modern design. However, some functions are available only in paid premium versions. But you should give it a try and see for yourself, if it’s the right fit for you.
Modern software with versions for everyone Some functions available only in paid version
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Another free online tool that got very popular in the last few years is Canva. Photopea and Pixlr are trying to be a Photoshop alternative with similar functions and design. Canva is something different. It’s a powerful online tool that helps you create great looking designs. You can design a poster, prepare graphics to your own or your company’s social media account without any design experience. You just choose a graphic template and work with the help of free assets. Or just use a free template to do the job quickly. It’s really easy to use!
The main downside is the lack of photo editing features in comparison with other free online editors. Canva comes in both free and premium versions. It has limited functionality in the free version and locks some of the assets or graphic templates. But the overall free version is enough for all basic designs.
Canva has free and premium version Has a lot of templates
Easy to use
Lacks some photo editing functions
Best Alternatives to Download
There are many reasons why you might want to have your photo editor downloaded on your device. Online photo editors are great but not for everyone. Maybe you aren’t a fan of ads or the freemium version. You might not have a stable internet connection, or you want to make sure your photos are always saved only locally on your device.
Luckily there is software that is completely free including all the professional features we know from Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. They are free and sometimes open source which is always nice. If you like them, don’t forget to support the creators with a donation.
GIMP is a cross-platform image editor available on all major operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux included). It is free to use and open source. This means they don’t hide their code and developers can even edit the version and distribute it. GIMP is great for graphics designers, photographers, illustrators or scientists. It provides both basic and a lot of professional tools – however not as many as Photoshop.
Free and open source
Older user interface
If you are a photographer or photo editor looking for an Adobe Lightroom alternative this might be the right choice for you. RawTherapee is a free, open source, cross-platform software. User interface might be confusing at the beginning but one you get used to it and learn to use all the powerful features you will love it.
RawTherapee offers many basic and pro tools to edit your photos. It also has all the tools needed for working with RAW format, which is common with photographers. Same as Gimp, it might not have all the features you could find in Adobe products, but if you don’t have a comparison, you won’t even notice!
Free and open source
Great for photographers
Can be confusing