Let’s be honest. Photoshop is the best tool when it comes to image editing. You can use it whether to make advanced image editing or an amazingly simple editing like cropping or removing the background. To use Photoshop, you need to spend at least 9.99 USD per month, depending on the plan you use. While it looks not too expensive, not everyone can afford it. Fortunately, free alternatives are around as the solutions. We have selected the best free Photoshop alternatives that you can use to edit your images.
If you are currently subscribing to a Photoshop plan and want to stop as you want to switch to a free solution instead, then you need to make sure that the solution you want to make the switch to has the capability to edit PSD files because you might need to edit them in the future.
5 Best Free Photoshop Alternatives
GIMP is the best free alternative to Photoshop. It is a free image editing tool widely used by Linux users. Even so, GIMP is also available for Windows and macOS. GIMP is the best free Photoshop alternative as it comes with lots of editing tools like Gradient Tool, Crop Tool, Scale Tool, Bucket Fill Tool, Selection Tools, and so on. Also, the interface of GIMP is not much different from Photoshop, allowing you to make the transition more quickly. Most importantly, GIMP has some compatibilities with Photoshop. First, GIMP allows you to both open and export your works in a PSD format. Second, you can install some Photoshop components (such as brush) on GIMP.
You can use GIMP as an image editor, photo retouching tool, or a drawing tool just like Photoshop. GIMP supports a wide range of raster formats including PNG, JPG, and WebP. It also supports plugins to run specific tasks that cannot be handled by default.
Glimpse is another great free alternative to Photoshop. It is a fork from GIMP, no wonder if it has the same interface as GIMP. Also, Glimpse has the same features and capabilities as GIMP in which it has some compatibilities with Photoshop. Unlike GIMP, Glimpse is only available for Windows and Linux. There is no version for macOS.
If you are looking for a free image editor that can be accessed from anywhere, then Pixlr is the best option. It is a web-based tool so that you can use it regardless of the operating system you use, without needing to install a new app on your computer. If you are more comfortable with a desktop app, Pixlr also offers desktop versions for Windows and macOS. The capability of opening and editing PSD files is another reason Pixlr is a great alternative to Photoshop.
The interface of Pixlr is also quite similar to Photoshop in which you have a tools panel on the left side and the layers panel on the right side. Pixlr comes with a bunch of editing tools like selection tools (including Lasso and Marquee), Crop Tool, Cutout Tool, Clone Tool, Heal Tool, Gradient Tool, and so on. There is also adjustment whereby you can make adjustments like saturation, exposure, temperature, white balance and so on.
Photopea is another web-based image editor that can be used for free. You can use it as an image editing tool or photo retouching tool just like other tools above. Photopea itself is released as a freemium tool with the free version shows an ad banner on the right side. You can remove the banner by subscribing to the pro version.
The features and capabilities of Photopea are not much different from the first three tools above. You can also use Photopea to open and edit PSD files. It’s also possible for you to save the original work you create with Photopea into PSD format. Photopea is also capable of saving your work into a vector format (SVG). Editing tools like Gradient Tool, Brush Tool, Crop Tool, and Selection Tools are also available.
Sumopaint is an online image editing tool that you can use to replace Photoshop. Meaning that you can use it regardless of the operating system you use. You can run Sumopaint via web browser. Unlike other tools above, Sumopaint has no compatibility with Photoshop. You can’t edit your PSD files with this tool. However, in terms of features and functionalities, Sumopaint is capable enough of replacing the Photoshop’s role. The selection tools offered by Sumopaint allows you to select certain areas of your image before you make an adjustment or editing. Sumopaint can also be used as a photo retouching tool whereby you can adjust elements like brightness, contrast, temperature, exposure, and so on. You can use Sumopaint for free without an account required.
The Bottom Line
Photoshop is second to none when it comes to image editing. It is a versatile tool that can be used as a photo retouching tool, an image editing tool, a design tool, to a drawing tool. Since the Creative Cloud era — which was released in 2011 — users can only use Photoshop with a subscription-based payment model. The subscription fee charged by Adobe starting from $9.99 per month. Not a huge amount for some, but some cannot afford it.
All the free tools we mentioned above have at least the capabilities to retouch a photo and edit an image. Except Sumopaint, all tools above are capable of editing PSD files, the default file format of Photoshop. So, if you want to migrate from Photoshop, you will keep be able to edit your PSD files. You can use the tools above whether to edit images for design needs, blog posts, or social media content.