12 Best Free Photoshop Alternatives You Should Try

The digital world isn’t complete without Adobe Photoshop, one of the most popular photo editing software out there used by both professionals. For those unaware, it’s used to create and edit images. Photoshop has some incredible features, but just like all the good things in the world, they come at a hefty price. Not everyone can afford Adobe Cloud, not to mention, you may find it difficult and overwhelming at first. The good news is, there are lots of Photoshop alternatives that are easier to use or free for your Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Android, or iOS device.

Photoshop Alternatives for PC

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 we 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, and it has a dark theme by default (but you can configure that if you want some other color scheme in the app).

Krita photo editor

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.

Support for drawing tablets and pensNo history tool
Templates for different types of projectsNo camera RAW filter
Lots of effectsThe text tool isn’t as comprehensive as Photoshop

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

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Price: Free; the optional paid version available to support developers

Check out Krita


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 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, the 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. That said many of its problems can be solved using GIMP plugins. Also, it’s free and is definitely worth a look-see if you’re in the market for a free Photoshop alternative.

Comprehensive layer support with blending modesUI feels dated
Supports Rulers and Guides
History toolbar
Supports image slicing

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.

Layer support with blending modesUI feels dated
History tool and rulersDoesn’t support auto-snapping
Support for most file typesNo slice, patch, or spot healing tools
Great overall tool for basic editingOnly available on Windows

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

Platforms: Windows

Price: Free; the optional paid version available to support developers

Check out Paint.NET

4. Photoscape X

If a wide variety of effects, filters, and enhancements are what you are looking for in a free Photoshop alternative, Photoscape X can turn out to be the right answer to your needs. Featuring a library of over 1,000 filters, effects, frames, and handy editing tools, it has got you fully checked off when it comes to beautifying images or transforming the entire look of photos instantly.

Another department where it does pretty well compared to other online photo editors is efficient batch editing. So, if you find similar apps not living up to your expectation in terms of editing multiple pics at one go, keep Photoscape X in mind.

One of my favorite features of this online photo editor is collage creation thanks largely to a myriad of frames. Not just that, its ability to create fun-loving GIFs has also looked quite good to me. Overall, Photoscape X is what you should pick as a Photoshop substitute if you wish to make photo editing easy-going and fun.

Over 1000 filters and effectsThe UI could be better
Suitable for batch editingThe basic version is limited
Excels in creating collages and GIFs

File Support: Supports myriad of file formats including JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, and TIFF

Platform: macOS and Windows 

Price: Free, $39.99 for the pro version

Check out Photoscape X 

5. AutoDesk Sketchbook

AutoDesk Sketchbook is a really powerful Photoshop alternative that you can try for free. The software brings a ton of features that can let you do almost anything you need to. Similar to Photoshop, you get access to a bunch of powerful tools, including a lot of brushes, drawing tools, and more.

You also get access to tools like the Symmetry Mirror, which can let you create really incredible designs very quickly. Plus, with tools like steady stroke and predictive stroke, you don’t even need a graphics tablet to create smooth and steady strokes on your canvas. That said, Sketchbook does support graphics tablets like the ones from Wacom, so if that’s something you like to use, Sketchbook has you covered. The free version of Sketchbook is only available on the official Sketchbook website.

Symmetry tools and predictive strokesUI feels like it’s more suited for touchscreens than laptops
Support for layers
Intuitive UI

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

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iPhone

Price: Free

Download Autodesk Sketchbook

6. FireAlpaca

You can also try out FireAlpaca to do almost everything you would be doing in Photoshop. With FireAlpaca, you get access to almost all the same Photoshop tools including brushes, magic wand tools, and more. It’s not as powerful as Photoshop or Sketchbook, but it’s definitely good enough for most use cases.

You do get support for layers, as well as layer effects. Plus, you get a bunch of additional controls for snapping, as well as Photoshop-like filters such as Gaussian blur, mosaic, and more with this software. Unlike Photoshop, however, FireAlpaca’s layer effects aren’t too strong and there are not a lot of options to choose from.

Comes with a decent number of tools for editing Not as comprehensive as Photoshop
Good for basic photo editing and drawingLayer effects are lacking

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

Platforms: Windows, macOS

Price: Free

Check out FireAlpaca

Online Photoshop Alternatives

7. Photopea

Photopea is one of the best free and online Adobe Photoshop alternatives on the market right now. Created by a single developer – Ivan Kutsir – the app is surely reaching new heights with more than 7 million users worldwide. One of the best things about Photopea is that its UI is reminiscent of Adobe Photoshop. That means, if you have used Photoshop in the past, you will feel right at home and won’t have to learn the software from scratch.

Another good thing about the software is that it supports multiple file formats. Apart from working with PSD files, it also supports .XD, .Sketch, .XCF (Gimp), RAW, and other popular file formats. That means even if you are collaborating with someone on a project, you will be able to use this software to work with them without any problems.

Photopea also brings most of the features that Adobe Photoshop is renowned for. Photopea also has a clear online documentation that will help beginners to get started with this software without much difficulty. You can learn the basics of photo editing, masks, layers, selections, brushes, and more.

If you are looking for a free online Photoshop alternative, you should check out Photopea. It will not disappoint you.

Works on every platform since it’s onlineCan be slow when working with large files
UI is similar to PhotoshopComes with lots of ads with no way to remove them
Comes with lots of tools
Supports all major file formats and is free to use

File Support: JPG, PNG, BMP, PSD, XD, Sketch, RAW, and more

Platforms: Web

Price: Free with ads

Check out Photopea

8. Pixlr Editor

One of the best online Photoshop alternatives out there, Pixlr editor does a remarkable job of 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 the healing tool that a lot of Photoshop users love using.

It’s 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.

Online, so it works on every platform.Not as versatile as Photoshop
Supports layers and blending modes.Doesn’t support as many file types as Photoshop
History and Healing toolsSupport for PDF, PSD, and Sketch formats is locked 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

Photoshop Alternatives for Android and iOS

9. Adobe Lightroom

Lightroom is hands down, one of the best Photoshop alternatives out there for Android and iOS. Although it’s made by Adobe, 90% of the features in the app are free to use, and the remaining features such as masking, healing, perspective, etc., can be unlocked by paying around $3 per month. While Lightroom may not be as comprehensive as Photoshop, it’s a great tool for enhancing your images to make them look better.

Lightroom is free and available on both Android and iOS. The app’s a breeze to use and most of the editing features are instantly applied to the photos, without any hassle.

Free to useNot as comprehensive as Photoshop
Lots of features for a free app
The premium tier is quite inexpensive compared to other apps

Files Supported: JPG, PNG, and RAW.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Check out Adobe Lightroom

10. Snapseed

Snapseed is a photo editor from Google and it’s available on both Android and iOS. It’s not as comprehensive as Photoshop, but for someone who’s getting started with basic photo editing, it’s an excellent and simple tool. For starters, it comes with most tools you’d need as a beginner like healing, sharpness, details, curves, and selection. The app supports RAW, JPG, and PNG formats, and you can export the images as JPEG or save them as is.

All in all, Snapseed is a very basic tool for photo editing and for beginners, and it might be all you need if you’re just starting out.

Free to useNot as comprehensive as Photoshop
Lots of basic featuresVery outdated

Files Supported: JPG, PNG, and RAW

Platforms: Android and iOS

Check out Google Snapseed

11. 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 $49.99 to get it.

Most basic tools are presentCan be a bit overwhelming at first
Support for layers and blending modesDoesn’t support a few file types
Support for rulers and guidesNo Camera RAW tool

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

Platforms: Windows, macOS

Price: $49.99

Check out Affinity Photo

12. Acorn

If you’re on a Mac, you should check out Acorn which is a solid Photoshop alternative for macOS. The software fully supports macOS Big Sur and M1 Macs. Acorn isn’t as powerful as the full Photoshop app on Mac, but it has enough tools to get the job done.

You also get access to layers, as well as other nice-to-have tools like non-destructive editing, smart layer export, vector tools, and more. Acorn’s UI isn’t the best out there, and options like Pixelmator easily beat it in both UI and features, but Acorn is considerably powerful and is great for anyone looking for software that has enough technical chops to handle most things if not all.

Decent selection of toolsUI feels clunky
Non-destructive editingNot as user-friendly
Support for Apple M1

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

Platforms: Mac

Price: Free trial; $29.99

Check out Acorn

Comments 45
  • fastclippingpath says:

    I love learning new software. Thank you so much for introducing us to so much software.

  • Lisa Madden says:

    Thanks so much for this OH-SO-USEFUL and VERY-MUCH-NEEDED info. I have lost all of my office (software, electronics, et cetera) in a fire and am restarting, on a no-budget/low-budget mission. You have definitely helped me. I went through so many unhelpful on-line articles. I wasted so much time until I found this site. Many Blessings to you.

  • Loyce says:

    I feel GIMP is extremely difficult for beginners. I just want to make transparent pictures in order to change backgrounds on my photos for my website. I’ve watched so many GIMP tutorials on YouTube, however, either the instructor goes so fast you can’t follow, or their screen looks way different from mine. I need a simple no fuss photo editor that will allow me to create beautiful pictures of my products.

  • Cathy says:

    Thanks for such informative article. GIMP is good, but this time I prefer Movavi Editor.

  • Pratik Kafle says:

    Yeah These are indeed a good alternative to Photoshop. Thanks Akshay For This awesome article.

  • Allaiyah says:

    Dated interface is a PRO for me.

  • San says:

    As per the Affinity website, they have RAW Editing. Not sure though.

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