When you think of editing images, Adobe Photoshop is the first name to pop into anyone’s head. But it costs a pretty penny and might not be worth it for a lot of regular folks. Thankfully, there are good free alternatives.
Recently, the world of photo-editing programs has seen several new contenders crop up, both on desktop and mobile. And we don’t just mean apps to turn photos into paintings.
From open-source creations that mimic Photoshop’s best abilities to simple viewers with basic editing tools, here are five free apps you should check out.
1. Krita (Windows, Mac, Linux): Free Photoshop Alternative, Especially for Artists
For a long time, open-source and free image editing has been about GIMP vs. Photoshop. But a little while ago, a new contender has entered the ring, called Krita. It’s made by artists and focuses on drawing tools, but includes most of Photoshop’s famed image editing features.
Krita’s user interface will be easy for anyone who has used Photoshop or GIMP, although the keyboard shortcuts are different. The brush gets focus, since this is all about drawing, with several brush engines, brush importing features, and a “stabilizer” mode to counter a shaky hand. The pop-up palette also makes it easy to switch between brushes quickly.
Importantly, Krita supports PSD files, so you can use your existing Photoshop images. With vectors, layers, transformation, and other tools, this might be the free Photoshop alternative you need.
Download — Krita for Windows, Mac, or Linux (Free)
2. PhotoScape X (Windows, Mac): All-In-One Photo Viewer and Editor
PhotoScape has been around for some time now, but its newest avatar is better than it ever was. The program now looks like a slick image editor with all the features that a regular home user would want.
Its ease of use is the highlight, as a complete newbie can use any feature in seconds. In case you have any problems, PhotoScape offers quick tutorials on its official site. So, you can add stickers or frames, make collages, play with filters or colors, crop, miniaturize, use a spot-healing brush, and all the other things you’d expect in a full-fledged image editing suite for 2017.
We especially liked the batch editing feature which you can check out above, as you can save your settings and load them in the future. And yes, you can play and create GIFs too. It’s truly one of the best free photo editor tools around.
3. Photoshop Fix (Android, iOS): Adobe’s Best Image Editor for Phones
You don’t usually need the advanced image editing features of Photoshop on your smartphone. But you still need to touch up photos once in a while. Adobe’s Photoshop Fix is the perfect tool for that.
For a long time, Photoshop Fix was one of the awesome iPhone apps you don’t find on Android. But that changed recently, and the app also got a few updates in the process. Photoshop Fix is all about making your pictures look better, whether it’s removing blemishes or simple edits like cropping or adding vignettes.
Importantly, Photoshop Fix works with transparent backgrounds and high-resolution images. No wonder it’s one of the best Adobe apps you can get for free.
4. Fragment (Windows, Mac, Linux): Simplest, Fastest Image Viewer and Editor
My parents don’t need the thousand editing options that Photoshop offers. They just want a simple program that lets them view their photos in the easiest way possible. And when needed, they want to crop or rotate the pictures the right way. Fragment is ideal for that.
This free, cross-platform software will surprise you with how good it is. Images open almost instantly, and you can skip back and forward in the folder with great speed. Crop the photo or rotate it, and save it. You want to upload it to Facebook? Fragment can do that as well.
Fragment is also marvelous at handling GIFs, the language of the internet. It offers supreme control over individual frames, and even saves them. And it supports other file formats like PSD and HDRI too.
5. Picture.st (Web): The Easiest (and Best) Online Image Editor
The desktop is passé, cloud-based online image editors are all the rage now. And sure, when you want to edit only one or two photos, why would you install a whole new software? But online editors tend to over-complicate things, adding far too many features into something that should be simple — Picture.st is the solution.
Think of it as the Instagram of websites. Upload a photo and you’ll get a few easy editing options. You can adjust the exposure, contrast, temperature, saturation, and other elements. Or if that’s too confusing for you, click “auto” to magically enhance your photo. Next, add a filter if you feel like it, and crop the image however you want. Once you’re done, download or share it.
Picture.st is the simple, easy online image editor you always wanted but didn’t know where to find.
Which Did You Like?
These new image editing apps do most things right, and can be a serious challenge for incumbents like Photoshop or Irfanview. What did you think about these new contenders? Did any one of them impress you in particular?