Adobe Photoshop is the most popular image designing and editing tool in the market. Its finesse and sophistication are unparalleled due to years of research and efforts put into the product. There is almost nothing that you can’t do with an image on Photoshop.
However, as is the case with many good things, there are some obvious drawbacks. The interface might take a little getting used to for starters. Sometimes, Adobe releases beta versions that might also put off a lot of people who do not know their way around the software. The learning curve is also steep and the software is expensive which are both huge turn-offs for students and beginners.
Also, if you are looking to work with vectors, Photoshop might not be your best option. Lastly, rendering of high quality graphics might be an issue with Adobe Photoshop.
To make it easy for you, we have compiled a list of 10 alternatives to Adobe Photoshop that you can work with instead.
Affinity Photo is designed to be a lightweight and efficient photo editing tool. It is faster than Adobe Photoshop and rendering of high quality graphics becomes much smoother with Affinity. You can work with literally unlimited layers for editing. Apart from this, you can zoom in by a whopping one million percent. Affinity photo offers healing brushes, a set of 16-bit filters, effects like blurs, lighting, and distortion, as well as RAW file editing. The undo/redo limit is upto an amazing 8,000 steps. The autosave feature is another added advantage when you use Affinity.
Other features include 360-degree image editing, digital painting, smart object support, batch processing, focus stacking, panorama stitching, and HDR merging. Affinity Photo is a cross-platform editing tool for all kinds of professionals, be it designers, developers, publishers, etc. If you are into film photography, Affinity Photo can be a great tool but it’s essential to understand film processing, darkroom and film editing to excelled in your business line. Check out this article on hybrid film processing from Filippo Nenna.
One downside of Affinity is that it does not solve the learning curve problem of Photoshop.
Pricing: Trial version available. One-time purchase of 49.99 USD (19.99 USD for iPads).
Intended for MacOS users, Acorn 6 is the latest of the series of photo editing tools owned by Flying Meat Inc. It is cheaper than Affinity and offers a varied range of features for designers and photo editors. Acorn 6 has also introduced a new ‘text on a path’ feature that allows you more flexibility with how you handle text based content on images. Other features include non-destructive layers, circle tools, photo effects such as vignette, drop shadow, color corrections, etc, and vector tools. You can export images from the internet and work with them as well. Some times the sun is too harsh on your photos, specially if you are on a beach. Acorn can help edit the flares. Also, your camera should capture a perfect shot. Check out this article from Ecogujju for best cameras to take beach photos.
You can also edit PSDs but this is not really a strong point of Acorn. Apart from all of this, the ‘instant alpha tool’ is a powerful eraser tool that helps in removing backgrounds really easy and fast. You can also make custom brushes with Acorn.
Downsides of Acorn includes reports of slowness by some users. Also, the unavailability on Windows and Linux really adds to the non-accessibility of the software.
Pricing: A one time cost of 29.99 USD with a trial version of 14 days.
GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program is a powerful tool intended for mostly Linux users. As is the case with most Linux software, GIMP is open-source, cross-platform photo editing software that runs on Windows as well. This flexibility and accessibility of GIMP means that beginners, as well as professionals, use it often to save money and still get the job done. It is, of course, entirely free of cost.
Designers, as well as coders, use GIMP. It is a framework for image manipulation via scripts and supports languages such as C++ and Python.
For designers, GIMP offers a varied range of tools; retouching, restoring, creative composites, and editing tools are all a part of what the software brings to the table. The learning curve is also moderate which means that new users can have an easy time working with GIMP.
GIMP sometimes takes a long time to load. The new fonts are also reported to take more time to load than they should. Some techniques also require workarounds which consequently leads to more time-consuming projects.
Fotor is a free browser-based Photoshop-like tool. For users who already know Photoshop, Fotor is easy to work with. You can refine the color composition of your images or improve the resolution of your pictures with tools that are easy to use. Features such as one-tap enhance, blur effects, AI photo effect, background remover, HDR support, and lots of filters are the unique selling proposition of Fotor.
The one-tap enhancing feature is really great; you can adjust lighting, adjust saturation, tweak contrasts, and work with image sharpness, all in one click of a button. And it is all free; all you need to do is make an account on the website. Fotor is great for people who are just looking to improve their pictures without spending too much time on it. People with no designing experience whatsoever can use it.
The low learning curve of Fotor comes with a disadvantageous tradeoff; there are few advanced tools. The software does not have templates or a library of images as well.
You can edit photos and work with videos using this browser-based software (mobile and tablet application is also available). PicMonkey offers many stunning features; textures, gradients, filters, layers, text effects, and lots and lots of templates.
You can make beautiful collages and add videos to them as well. The software offers many fonts, millions of stock photos, and various textures. For some inspirations, checkout some great examples of beach family photos from Amy Gray Photography.
PicMonkey is a boon for social media influencers, brand managers, and YouTubers. Since there are so many templates to choose from, publishing designs for brochures, banners, posts, and stories is really easy and quick.
The features offered in the application are different from the features offered in the web version which can be considered a confusing point and a downside by some.
Pricing: Trial period available. The basic package costs 7.99 USD per month. The pro package costs 12.99 USD per month. The team package costs 33.99 USD per month.
RelayThat is a unique editing software intended for social media users and brand marketers. You can upload your brand compositions such as images, fonts, texts, etc and the software generates designs for you to choose from. You can also edit these designs later.
RelayThat is similar to the popular photo and video editing software called Canva. However, it offers more templates and a richer amount of other assets to choose from. RelayThat is different from Photoshop and is very easy to use.
The simplicity of RelayThat is its downside. Professional designers do not use it because of the lack of advanced options. It is more useful for digital agencies and small businesses. Also useful to create engaging infographics.
Pricing: No trial version. One-time price of 49.99 USD which includes other features too.
Rebelle by Escape Motions is a fantastic photo making and editor software that contains advanced features and technical capabilities for experts and veterans. For examples, most senior photographers use Rebelle to make their photograph breathtaking. Here are few tips for making your senior photos outstanding from Triangle Senior Year. Rebelle emulates the traditional painting techniques (watercolour mainly) and offers many tools that up the flexibility and robustness of the software. The software mimics the behaviour of paint in the real world and the color flow or drip in a manner that will amaze you. You can input the blow length, drip size, and the ‘water content’ of the paint. The tilt option will virtually tilt your canvas and you can let your colors flow in whichever direction you want. The software offers an amazing experience for real-life painters and artists.
Rebelle is available for Windows users. You can download a demo version and understand how the software works.
Rebelle is limited in the number of brush presets offered though. Also, the software is not available for mobiles which really robs the stunning experience from so many users.
Pricing: Rebelle 3 costs 89.99 USD. You can check for more software by Escape motions on this link.
Photopea: A web-based photo editing tool which comes free of cost. Similar to Photoshop, Photopea offers many advanced editing tools. It supports layers and offers blend masks, multiple file support, and magnetic lasso tools. One drawback is that there are advertisements bugging you all the time. You can remove them by paying a small price though.
Pixlr: Another browser-based tool, Pixlr offers more than 600 editing effects and filters, borders, and overlays. You can also resize images and crop them which are pretty basic capabilities. It is intended for new users who do not have much experience in editing. Some drawbacks are that the features are limited and there are some file formats that it does not support. Apart from this, Photoshop users will really like Pixlr.
Sketch: Sketch deserves a spot on the main list. This advanced tool is great for UI/UX designers. It has all the capabilities that you need to work with vector graphics. It is available for MacOS users and a free trial version is also available. Beginners as well as advanced users can work with Sketch. The software has all the features that a professional editing software like Photoshop has. However, there is no raster editing capability.
There is it! Photo editing does not stop at Photoshop. The options are plenty, and the downsides of Photoshop can be worked around with these fantastic photo editing tools.
Other Great Resources:
Checkout this guide to read more about other photo editing tools.