5 Free Alternatives to Photoshop You Should Try

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free alternatives to adobe photoshopWith digital photography largely taking over traditional film photography’s place, it has become more and more important to have an image editing software. The king of kings is, of course, Photoshop, but with a price tag of $699 for the full version, many started to wonder if there aren’t free options around that could do the same things Photoshop does. 

What program you need depends largely on what you will use it for. We’ve previously published a list of free alternatives to Adobe Photoshop which are under 2MB. Today, we’ll be looking at a couple more, very capable, great Photoshop alternatives.

Paint.NET

Paint.NET is a program rich in features, tutorials and with a supportive community to help most new users through their learning curve and issues. Paint.NET started development as an undergraduate college senior design project mentored by Microsoft which was meant to substitute Microsoft Paint, and is currently being maintained by some of the alumni that originally worked on it. It has a large number of buttons that are exactly like Photoshop and an equal number of Photoshop features, which makes it a very strong candidate as a substitute for those looking for a Photoshop like program. I dare say that most of what can be done in Photoshop can be duplicated using Paint.NET.

free alternatives to adobe photoshop

GIMP

GIMP is, without a doubt a very capable image editing software with many of the same features as Photoshop. And if you require a program that allows you to create several layers, manipulate individual parts of the picture, create filters and tools and work with a variety of formats, including most Photoshop native formats, such as PSD; then GIMP is the right program for you.

For those who have used Photoshop before, the interface will seem reasonably familiar, with many of the buttons having the same name and being in similar places on the interface. For those who have never used advanced image editing software before, GIMP has a very comprehensive list of tutorials, from beginner to advanced level which can be found at GIMP’s Documentation page. Or you could just take a look at these 5 Websites To Learn GIMP Online.

photoshop alternatives

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PhotoScape

PhotoScape is built to be user-friendly, with an intuitive choice of projects to select from, which vary from image editing and GIF creation to a wizard to combine pictures together or take screenshots. It certainly does not have as many features as Photoshop does, but can do, with a single click or two, many of the same things it would take a Photoshop user several clicks to do.

photoshop alternatives

VCW VicMan’s Photo Editor

VCW comes bundled with optional web album software, but even without it, the VCW can be a very handy tool for image editing. The program has an old interface and doesn’t look visually attractive, but the tools work well and allow you to do most of what you’d need from a simple photo editor, such as cropping, drawing tools, contrast and color adjustments, effects and filters. The program also comes with a video tutorial to help you master it all.

photoshop alternatives

Picnik – an online option

Picnik is a simple but helpful online photo editor which can help you with either basic adjustments such as sharpening and red eye or more advanced filters under the “create button”, which opens options for features such as text and color effects and many of the same filters you can find on Photoshop. It is not designed for layered editing or advanced manipulation of images, but it does a very good job with one click pre-set adjustments.

free alternatives to adobe photoshop

As with most programs, there are probably more options than you imagine, and th examples above are just a sample of what is available online to substitute commercial software. Finding the program that can do what you want or need it to do can sometimes mean finding a program with simpler features, but that does those things well. On the other hand, if you want flexibility and control over all the aspects of your image editing, you can also find options above that will give you tools to fulfill all of your needs.

Do you use any of the free alternatives to Adobe Photoshop listed above? Have you compared any of them to Photoshop for particular tasks? Tell us your thoughts.

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Comments (29)
  • SocialAR

    With wowsomeapp.com, its users can take fun, creative, animated and crazy photos.

  • Thegrinningdoggy

    If you like Sumo- you may also be interested in checking out http://www.aviary.com which connected to a very amazing site called http://www.worth100.com.

    I could spend hours looking at the submissions on Worth100. And Aviary is webware worth checking out for doing things as seen on SUMO- and plus a whole lot more. Both are free to join!

  • Thegrinningdoggy

    If you like Sumo- you may also be interested in checking out http://www.aviary.com which connected to a very amazing site called http://www.worth100.com.

    I could spend hours looking at the submissions on Worth100. And Aviary is webware worth checking out for doing things as seen on SUMO- and plus a whole lot more. Both are free to join!

  • artyfax

    I have been using Serif Photoplus for a while now. There is a free download version which has many of the features offered by photoshop, including layers, etc. It is an excellent program for photo-retouching or creating multi-layered collages. Anyone new to photomanipulation might like to consider trying it as an alternative to the expensive software availble

  • timmyjohnboy

    Then there is Photoshop.com as an alternative.

    To those complaining because these options are not Photoshop “alternatives”, these free programs fill the niche where someone doesn’t have the needs associated with paying a steep price for a professional program, but could use more options than just MS Paint.

    Personally I’ve always found Photoshop annoying. I’m sure that part of the reason comes from me not having a need for what it offers. In fact, much of what I need is more easily done with Fireworks (now Adobe but I still use 8). Currently learning the GIMP and trying Paint.NET, both good programs, IMO.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.