The Top Free Alternatives to Photoshop in 2021

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Looking for Free Alternatives to Photoshop? With the increasing availability of affordable, high-quality photographic equipment, there is a growing need for Photoshop alternatives.

Why do you need one?

To help photographers with their editing tasks, software developers have designed alternatives to Photoshop. These options cost less and have intuitive editing tools. If you are ready for an affordable and easy-to-use alternative to Photoshop, take a look at our list.

Photoshop is definitely the most well-known photo editing software, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best one for you or your business. There are a few reasons that you may want to opt for alternative software, including price, special features, or a different workflow.

Top Free Alternatives to Photoshop

Top Free Alternatives to Photoshop

There’s no shortage of options, so we’ve put together this list to help you find the free best Photoshop alternatives to meet your needs. We’ve selected what we think is the best software based on four main criteria: ease of use, features and functionality, performance, and compatibility. 

In this article we’ve compiled the best Photoshop alternatives available today, for all purposes and budgets. Note, though, that Photoshop does a lot of things, so some of these apps are quite specific.

GIMP

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open-source photography powerhouse that works on Linux, Windows, and macOS. 

GIMP boasts a huge number of features and functions that rival Photoshop. There’s also a huge community of developers and artists who have created a wide array of plugins, making this a highly adaptable program. If you desire a specific feature, there’s probably an add-on for it. 

The interface is highly customizable, so you can pare things back or leverage multiple windows and toolbars as needed. For this reason, GIMP has a similarly steep learning curve as Photoshop, but once you’ve made your way through a few tutorials, it’s quite comfortable. 

Pixlr Editor

Although it’s a browser-based tool, the Pixlr editor is just as powerful as many desktop applications. Unlike other free alternatives to Photoshop, Pixlr editor was created by AutoDesk – a leading name in computer-aided design.

There are multiple versions of Pixlr Editor available. The Editor features a wide variety of tools, including blur, sharpen, noise, levels, and curves. There’s also a toolbox that’s similar to GIMP’s, including stamp tools, healing, brushes, fills, and more.

If you’re looking for a quick and simple way to improve your images, and you don’t want to worry about complex software, Pixlr is a great solution.

Pros:

  • Access on any platform (because it’s browser-based)
  • Layer and blending supported
  • Customizable interface
  • Healing and history tools

KRITA

If you’re after software for digital painting, Krita is an excellent Photoshop alternative. As an open source program, it’s been created by artists who want to give others access to quality, affordable software.

And they’ve focused on tools they know artists want and need. The brush tools, for example, are excellent (there are 100 brush types, nine brush engines, and brush stabiliser). 

The interface is very similar to Photoshop, so users familiar to Adobe’s software will find this easy to master. However, as a digital painting program, Krita does lack some of the specific photo editing features of Photoshop. 

Paint.NET

Originally, Paint.NET was intended to be an enhanced version of the MS Paint tool. So, you’ll notice many features similar to your Microsoft application here.

However, while Paint.NET might not be as powerful as Photoshop, it gives you a lot of features that may make it a great alternative for beginners. If you need free options for Photoshop that are compatible with Windows, this could be the solution for you. Paint.NET comes with layers and blending modes, as well as a history tool. Of course, it’s not quite as powerful as Photoshop.

Pros:

  • Blending and layer support
  • History tool
  • Support for multiple file types
  • Well-rounded editing tool

Cons:

  • Outdated UI
  • Lack of Guide support
  • No RAW option
  • No slice, patch or spot healing tool

Photo Pos Pro

Finally, Photo Pos Pro is one of the best free alternatives to Photoshop on the market today. As an advanced piece of editing equipment designed for people who can’t afford Photoshop, Photo Pos Pro is brimming with fantastic capabilities. 

Similar to Photoshop, there are layers and layer masks, as well as healing and clone brushes. There are even options for scripts as well as match editing to help save you time with your edits.

Photo Pos Pros also comes with plugins to enhance your editing experience. You can also create and save filters that you want to use in the future.

Features

  • Customizable interface for novices and experts
  • Support for layers and masks
  • Intuitive feature selection
  • Closely resembles photoshop

Final Thoughts

Just because Photoshop’s the biggest name in the field doesn’t mean it’s the only option you have for editing and refining images. Photoshop’s advanced features make it popular among photo editors at every level and help the software maintain its title as an industry standard.

If you absolutely must have the most photo-editing tools with graphic design options mixed in, Photoshop is an excellent choice. The subscription is a turn-off for many photographers with a limited budget, but Photoshop comes bundled with Lightroom for just $10 a month, which is a fair price for the value.

Even though it’s popular, Photoshop’s extensive advanced features can intimidate beginners. The features might also be too much for what you need. If you’re only looking to do basic touch-up or cropping, paying the monthly fee for access to Photoshop might not be worth it.

Beginners might want to start with a more simplified program with basic editing features instead of paying for the advanced Photoshop tools they don’t need or know how to use. It might make sense to wait to invest until you’ve learned more and are ready to work your way up to the advanced features.

That is it from us, we have tried to compile a list of best free alternatives to Photoshop in 2021. If we have missed one do let us know in the comments below.

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