Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular photo editing software out there used by both professionals to create and edit masterful images, and yours truly who just need it for basic image manipulation. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, I’m sure you’ve at least tried Photoshop. However, due to Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription, Photoshop can prove to be quite expensive for people just getting into photo editing. Plus, with the plethora of tools on offer in Photoshop, it can be quite tough to use. So, if you are looking for a Photoshop alternative that’s easier to use or a free Photoshop alternative for your Windows PC, Mac, Linux machine or even your Android or iOS device, well we have you covered.

Best Photoshop Alternatives: Sections

To make it easier for you to find a Photoshop alternative that best fits your needs, I’m breaking this article down into four sections, and you can click on the links below to head over to the section best suited for your needs.

Free Photoshop Alternatives (Windows, macOS and Linux)

1. Krita

Krita is a free tool like Photoshop that is almost as feature rich in the options it offers as Photoshop is. It also happens to be one of the tools that are highly recommended by people in online forums about photo editing and creative editing. Another thing I really like about Krita is the fact that it looks and feels very similar to Photoshop — the toolbars are arranged in a very similar way, it has a dark theme by default (but you can configure that if you want some other color scheme in the app). There’s support for tools like the Slice Tool that a lot of Photoshop users swear by, and you can also open multiple images in tabs just like Photoshop. It’s completely free, however there’s a paid version available for anyone who wants to support the developers and show some love.

Pros:

  • Support for drawing tablets and pens.
  • Templates for different types of projects.
  • Supports Rulers and Guides.
  • Lot of effects.

Cons:

  • No history tool.
  • Patch tool lags on larger images (I tried 1200×1600)
  • Text tool isn’t as feature rich as Photoshop’s.
  • No Camera RAW filter.

File Support: PNG, BMP, GIMP, TIF, TGA, JPEG, WEBP and more

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Price: Free; optional paid version available to support developers

Check out Krita

2. GIMP

One of the topmost recommendations you’d read for a tool like Photoshop is GIMP, and for good reason. GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program is a very feature rich photo editing and creative tool that can do almost everything that Photoshop can, and brings in everything from the popular Adobe software to a free and open-source software. However, GIMP isn’t my top choice for a Photoshop alternative because it has a bunch of issues as well, most annoying of which is the fact that multiple preset brushes share the same settings, which gets annoying if you’re constantly switching between brushes. Also, GIMP doesn’t have the drawing capabilities of Photoshop. It’s free though, and is definitely worth a look-see if you’re in the market for a free Photoshop alternative.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive layer support with blending modes.
  • Supports Rulers and Guides.
  • Supports image slicing.
  • History toolbar.

Cons:

  • UI looks dated and takes getting used to.
  • Text tool is weird and not intuitive at all.
  • no Camera RAW filter.
  • Finding tools can be difficult.

File Support: PNG, JPEG, BMP, TIF, and more.

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Price: Free

Check out GIMP

3. Paint.NET

Paint.NET was originally developed to be a more powerful version of MS Paint and as such it brings a lot of the features from MS Paint. While Paint.NET is nowhere near as powerful as Photoshop, it brings a lot of features that make it a viable alternative for people looking for a free Photoshop alternative for Windows. Paint.NET supports layers with blending modes which is one of the most used features in Photoshop. It also has a history tool that can come in handy to quickly undo multiple edits in a project. Basically, it’s a very well rounded tool for image editing even though it’s not as powerful as Photoshop can be when used properly.

Pros:

  • Layer support with blending modes.
  • History tool.
  • Pretty well rounded for basic editing.
  • Supports rulers.
  • Supports a ton of file types.

Cons:

  • UI looks dated.
  • No support for Guides.
  • No Camera RAW option.
  • No slice tool, patch tool, or spot healing tool.
  • Doesn’t support auto-snapping.

File Support: PDN, BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, TGA, DDS (directdraw surface)

Platforms: Windows

Price: Free; optional paid version available to support developers

Check out Paint.NET

4. Seashore

Seashore is another Photoshop alternative that’s aimed solely at Mac users. It brings some important features from Photoshop including support for layers. The app also supports pressure sensitivity, so if you’re using a pressure sensitive drawing tablet, you’ll be able to make full use of its pressure levels. Personally, I found Seashore to be more easy in terms of beginner-usability, and it’s also completely free which is awesome.

Pros:

  • Supports layers.
  • Completely free.
  • Pressure sensitivity support.
  • Easy to use.

Cons:

  • UI looks very outdated.
  • No effects
  • Grid isn’t customisable.
  • Doesn’t support PSD files.

File Support: JPG, PNG, GIMP, TIFF, GIF

Platforms: macOS

Price: Free

Check out Seashore

Online Photoshop Alternatives

5. Pixlr Editor

One of the best online Photoshop alternatives out there, Pixlr editor does a remarkable job for editing photos. It brings a bunch of great and powerful tools that make it one of the best online Photoshop like software out there. Pixlr Editor comes with support for layers and blending modes, a lot of effects and filters, a history tool and even has the healing tool that a lot of Photoshop users love using. It’s basically perfect for a quick on-the-go edit and with some of the advanced features it can be used for more advanced edits as well. Since it’s online, you can use it no matter what operating system you’re on and that’s one of the best things about online tools.

Pros:

  • Online, so it works on every platform.
  • Supports layers and blending modes.
  • History tool.
  • Healing tool.

Cons:

  • No pen tool.
  • Not as versatile as Photoshop.
  • Doesn’t support as many file types as Photoshop.
  • No Rulers and Guides.
  • Support for PDF, PSD, and Sketch formats is behind a paywall.

File Support: JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, and PXD (layered pixlr image)

Platforms: Web

Price: Free; Pro version at $5/month

Check out Pixlr Editor

6. Sumopaint

Sumopaint is yet another online Photoshop alternative that you can consider using for projects that don’t necessarily need the level of complexity that Photoshop offers. Being an online tool, Sumopaint can be used on any machine you have and it does offer a bunch of great Photoshop like features. The tool brings support for layers and blending modes which is a very useful feature for projects that are more than just resizing and cropping. There are also quite a lot of effects and filters that Sumopaint brings to the table — these should prove enough for most photo editing needs. Unfortunately the app doesn’t bring support for rulers and guides, which I personally find very useful in Photoshop, and the interface does look dated by today’s standards. However, you can use it for free, and only pay if you need the tools that are locked for pro users.

Pros:

  • Support for layers and blending modes.
  • Quite a lot of effects and filters.
  • Enough tools in for basic to slightly advanced photo editing.

Cons:

  • Some tools are locked behind a paywall. Including Text tool, line tool, and more.
  • Interface is dated.
  • No Pen tool, Camera RAW filter, and auto-snapping.
  • Limited file support.

File Support: PNG, JPG, SUMO

Platforms: Web

Price: Free; pro-version starts at $4/month

Check out Sumopaint

7. PicMonkey

If Pixlr and Sumo didn’t suit your needs, PicMonkey might just be what you’re looking for. The tool works completely online so it’s easy to access without worrying about OS compatibility and what not. Plus, it brings support for layers, and also has a very font-rich text tool. However, don’t expect a text tool as feature rich as Photoshop’s or you’ll be disappointed. There are also a bunch of filters and effects that you might find useful. However, PicMonkey isn’t nearly as feature rich as Photoshop is, and it tends to respond a little slow at times. That said, the biggest problem in PicMonkey is that unless you subscribe to a pro subscription, you’ll not be able to export your images.

Pros:

  • Support for layers.
  • Text tool has a lot of fonts.
  • Bunch of filters and effects.

Cons:

  • Gets slow at times.
  • Can’t export images in free version.

File Support: JPG, PNG

Platform: Online, mobile app available

Price: Free; Pro version starts at $5.99/month (7 day free trial available)

Check out PicMonkey

Photoshop Alternatives for Android and iOS

8. Multi Layer (Android)

If you’re looking for an app that will let you edit images on the go on your Android smartphone or tablet, Multi Layer is a great app to go with. While there’s no dearth of photo editing apps on Android, Multi Layer beats them with features like support for layers and blending modes, a wide variety of features to edit photos, and even grid support. The app is available completely free to use, however, some features (like blending modes) are only available in the Pro version which you can buy as an in-app purchase for Rs. 200.

Pros:

  • Supports layers and blending modes.
  • Feature rich.
  • Supports grids.

Cons:

  • UI can be confusing.
  • Only supports JPG and PNG files.
  • Contains ads in free version.

File Support: JPG, PNG

Platforms: Android

Price: Free; Pro version for Rs. 200

Download Multi Layer from the Play Store (Free)

9. PhotoWizard (iOS)

If you’re using an iOS device, PhotoWizard is definitely one of the most powerful free apps you can use to edit photos. The app doesn’t come with support for layers, but it brings a lot of powerful features you probably won’t find on other Photoshop alternatives for iOS. There’s historgram, motion blur, gaussian blur, curve editing, masking and a lot more. The app is definitely a pretty powerful app for iOS devices, plus the masking feature works really well.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Supports curve editing and histogram
  • Feature packed

Cons:

  • UI looks dated
  • No layer support

File Support: All iPhone supported formats.

Platforms: iOS

Free

Download PhotoWizard from the App Store (Free)

Paid Photoshop Alternatives

10. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is a very popular image editing application that’s every bit as powerful as Photoshop is and is definitely one of the best paid Photoshop alternatives out there. The app brings a ton of cool and useful features including tools like the Pen tool, rulers, guides, and grids. It also has the healing tool, the clone tool, and most other tools you’d find in Photoshop. It also has support for layers with blending modes and a lot more. However, the app isn’t cheap and you’ll have to pay a one-time price of Rs. 3,999 to get it.

Pros:

  • Powerful Photoshop substitute.
  • Pen tool, healing tool, clone tool and more.
  • Supports layers and blending modes.
  • Supports rulers and grids.

Cons:

  • UI can be a little confusing at first.
  • Not as many file types are supported as Photoshop.
  • No Camera RAW tool

File Support: PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PSD, PDF, SVG, EPS and more.

Platforms: Windows, macOS

Price: Rs. 3,999

Check out Affinity Photo

11. Pixelmator

Pixelmator is a macOS only photo editing tool that brings with it a ton of Photoshop like features and tools, and it also supports some of the latest features that Apple has brought to macOS such as editing and exporting images stored in the High Efficiency Image File format. There are the usual features like support for layers and blending modes, a plethora of tools to use for editing the images, support for live previews and SVG files. I also love the interface of Pixelmator and find it to be quite a lot better than Photoshop’s UI. However, it’s a very Mac-oriented interface so you might not like it as much as I do.

Pros:

  • Feature packed.
  • Supports layers and blending modes.
  • Supports slice tool.
  • Excellent UI in line with Apple’s guidelines.

Cons:

  • Hugely different UI as compared to most photo editors.
  • Might not seem intuitive to Photoshop users.
  • Not for beginners.

File Support: HEIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, Pixelmator Pro, PSD, PDF, GIF, and more.

Platforms: macOS

Price: 30 day free trial available; $60

Check out Pixelmator

12. PhotoLine

PhotoLine is an image editing software that brings quite a bit of great features to Windows and macOS systems. The overall UI of the software is decent but not great, however, it brings support for layers and blending modes, rulers and guides, along with a bunch of great effects and filters. The app also supports drawing vector images so if that’s something you need, this is definitely the app for you. PhotoLine is available to try for free for 30 days, however, you’ll have to pay to continue using it past that time.

Pros:

  • Support for layers and blending modes.
  • Support for rulers and guides
  • Supports vector drawing

Cons:

  • No pen tool, slice tool, or patch tool.
  • Toolbox looks confusing.

File Support: PDF, SVG, BMP, GIF, WEBP, JPG, PNG, and more.

Platforms: Windows, macOS

Price: 30 day free trial; ~$67 after that

Check out PhotoLine

SEE ALSO: 10 Best TeamViewer Alternatives

Check Out these Photoshop Alternatives

So those were the 12 best free (and paid) Photoshop alternatives that you can try out if you’re looking to ditch Photoshop, or are unwilling to pay a subscription pricing for a image editing software. I’ve included software that are free, paid, mobile apps, and even dedicated Windows and macOS software with varying degrees of advanced features, so no matter what you’re looking for in your Photoshop alternative, I think you’ll find it here. That said, if you think I missed out on a great Photoshop alternative that deserves to be on this list, let me know in the comments down below.

35 COMMENTS

  1. I used to have Photoshop and when I didn’t anymore, I downloaded Pixelmator for free. It was OK for what I was using it (even if frustrating at times). I deleted it to make space on my disk and, when I went back to download it again, I had to pay. I’m gonna retrieve it if I can, but it really sucked. That’s all, just needed to vent.

  2. HOLA amig@s !! cual de estas 12 plataformas es la mejor para yo diseñar toda clase de artículos ???

  3. PhotoScape is legendary and knocks most of these down a notch. Also, supereffective filters and easy to use GUI!! Totally recommended!!

  4. I’m an occasional photoshop user. I have decided I don’t use it enough to pay their subscription fee so I’m looking for an alternate. I frequently read statements around the web about GIMP such as this one:

    “Although it doesn’t offer quite a features like Photoshop”

    But no one ever seems to elaborate just what it is that one would give up if they switched from Photoshop to GIMP.

    Can you elaborate on this?

    Thanks.

    • Gimp has many issues. While you can make preset brushes, the brushes themselves to not have separate settings so you have to repeatedly load the formatting to each brush each time you swap. So say you are swapping to the eraser from the brush, has the same formatting as the brush. This is annoying and takes up a bit more time. I use Gimp to edit pictures I make on other alternatives. Gimp does give you the ability to edit as if you are using Photoshop but doesn’t have the drawing capability of other programs IMO just because of this tedious problem by itself.

  5. The Best alternative to photoshop for the very cheap cost is Corel Paint Shop Pro… I use it for many years, upgrading to a newer version almost every year. I’m a professional photographer and digital artist. I’m advanced photoshop user as well. But Paint shop pro is a program I use 90% of the time. It is much lighter(faster and easy to use in terms of conrols). For me there is nothing I can’t do in it that I want to. It does everything that photoshop does and even more (for example I like the fact that I can zoom image in and out just by rolling my mouse, instead of using the key to zoom in photoshop, I can do much more with finger tool and so on..). The only thing you may have issue with, if you like me use a lot of large files at once and keep program open 24/7, it may start to run out of memory and don’t run plugins (yes photoshop plugins do work with this program). But most people don’t use it this heavy I guess. I know there is tons of tutorials on their site, if someone want to see if it is a right fit. NOt sure if they have a free trial version, but if somoene is interested they can check.

    • Funny how the writer calls ‘Paint Shop Pro’ an alternative, however paint shop pro was and is the leading profit earner in this category, more than Photoshop. Photoshop is the alternative. Why? It gets’ royalties from Adobe for use of patents, just like Corel does with Microsoft word from WordPerfect (which imho is a way better product). Photopaint is the highest grossing graphic design app on the planet… all they have to do is put a product in the market to hold on to their patent. how’s that for smart!

  6. When I try to open the Gimp download on my Mac it says I do not have an application to open it in.
    It says to go to App Store and find an app or chose an app from my own applications, yet it says
    I don’t have the application. How do I get the download to work on my Mac

  7. Thanks for sharing this awesome list Photo Editing Apps and on my side I also recommend PhotoViewerPro it has tremendous features. It’s a user-friendly and very powerful tool.

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    • Yes, so far is the closest I’ve seen to get to Photo Shop. It’s closer and better than Paintshop Pro, which was my favorite before it.

  9. Corel aftershot Pro is a paid alternative to Lightroom and the like. I use it all the time to tweak RAW files and convert them to jpgs. Fast, easy and to my eye, anyway, good.

  10. Nice post thank you. Been looking for an alternative to Photoshop for a while will give some of these a try.

  11. I was using photoshop in 1987 on a very, very small mackintosh. That would make photoshop
    30 years old. That is how long I’ve been using it. Your article says it is 25 years old. Not accurate.

    • Considering that “PHOTOSHOP” wasn’t actually developed until 1988, and was not released until 1990. Development began in 1987, and distribution rights, nor the completed development wasn’t until 1988 when it was sold to Adobe.

  12. The Title says free.. but some apps listed in this post are not free.. i use gimp and am still learning it.. i have to say the best alternative for photoshop is gimp

  13. I would recommend BIMP for self-created master pieces and Pixlr for `Photoshop` mainly because after you master both Pixlr Express and Pixlr Editor you can do a lot of amazing stuff. (took my 8 curious months to master)

  14. Photoshop’s not the only image editor on the market but it is the best in the market.
    While it is indeed powerful, from an artist’s perspective it is difficult to use. And it is too expensive.
    Thanks for all the alternatives to Adobe’s software. They are also useful. But one one great alternative to photoshop is missing in your list – PixelStyle Photo Editor. It is also photoshop killer.

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