Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

In Post Journal, we already tell you the best alternatives to Prezi to make presentations. So, we thought that if you have decided to incorporate images into them, you may have needed to edit them. And if this is the case, you have surely wondered what are the best alternatives to Photoshop.

Either because you like photography or because you dedicate yourself to it professionally, either because you like to make photomontages or retouch images to upload them to your social networks, either because you dedicate yourself to design or either for any of the above reasons, we are sure you’ve ever heard of Photoshop.

Not surprisingly, this image editor modifies the appearance of the photos to make them look better or to add or remove elements.

But, despite its international fame and the quality it offers, many of us have needed to look for Photoshop alternatives. The reasons? Keep reading and you will understand.

Reasons to look for alternatives to Photoshop

As we have mentioned, as an image editing tool, Photoshop takes the cake. Its high-quality standards, as well as the fact that it was one of the first digital retouching programs, make this software of the Adobe family the most complete and the one most chosen by photography professionals.

However, two main reasons will lead you to search for possible alternatives to Photoshop for image editing :

  • Complexity - if you’ve ever tried Photoshop, you may have noticed that its level is not for beginners. Hence, it is the most popular image editing software for professionals. The amount of photo editing tools and options is immense and if you start from scratch, we assure you that you can be overwhelmed. However, the good news is that the internet offers you millions of totally free Photoshop tutorials and, if you dedicate some time to them, you will be able to start using this complex tool.
  • Price - if you are not going to use it for your work, the price of this software will be very high, especially since there are more and more free alternatives to Photoshop, some of which even satisfy the needs of professionals.

Free alternatives to Photoshop

In this section, we are going to talk about free Photoshop alternatives whose software you will have to download to your computer to start editing photos. If what you are looking for are tools similar to Photoshop, but with which you can work directly from the web, you will find them in the section: ‘Alternatives to Photoshop online’. And the vast majority of them are also free.


Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

Being open-source, it has a community that is developing a multitude of plugins and, therefore, is in a constant process of improvement and incorporation of new tools. That is why, from the list of alternatives to Photoshop, it is the preferred one for those who use it for professional purposes.

At a normal user level, the same thing happens with Photoshop, too complicated. If you want to start using it, you will have to watch tutorials or go to its wide community to ask questions.

Without going into deep comparisons, in GIMP, you will find basic features very similar to Photoshop, such as the use of layers and channels, as well as an infinite number of filters and masks. In fact, in case you need it, there is also a component for GIMP called PSPI, whose job is to execute Photoshop functions in GIMP.

Changing image sizes and formats, cropping, making photomontages, and creating animations in .gif and .mpeg formats are some of the many possibilities offered by this software. Furthermore, it reads and allows saving in almost any format, including .psd, it has its .xcf extension and is capable of importing .pdf files.

Without a doubt, of the alternatives to Photoshop, the most complete. And also available on almost all platforms, from Microsoft to Mac, through Linux, Unix, Solaris, and FreeBSD.


Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

The Swedish alternative to Photoshop is called Krita. And, although you can use it to retouch images, it is specially designed for those who like to create them from scratch. Hence its name.

It is another free software that people from all over the world can work on and modify/add code to create new functions and this helps to form a community.

Krita has a customizable interface that allows, for example, to configure the toolbar to your liking. Also, it is a fairly intuitive software, so you will not have as many difficulties when using it as GIMP or other alternatives to Photoshop.

Photo retouching with Krita is very similar to Photoshop, as is its layering system. Also, it opens almost all files, including .psd (Photoshop specific format), very useful for those who complain about compatibility problems.

Obviously, according to its followers, Krita is much more than an alternative to Photoshop, although, for the detractors, it falls short. As it is a free photo-editing application, we encourage you to try it and give us your opinion.


Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

Like the previous alternatives to Photoshop, PhotoScape is a program for editing and retouching images that in recent years has improved so much that it has nothing to envy to other similar programs.

Edit photos, make pictures and combine images, create gifs, and even cut out backgrounds, in true Photoshop style. And like this one, it also has the typical smart cropping tool and the ‘lasso’ tool, which allows you to select with the cursor the area you want to make disappear.

The user interface has a very simple design, which allows you to access the main functions. But, also, at the top, it has a system of tabs that allow you to access most of the options without having to go through the central menu.

If we compare it with other alternatives to Photoshop like GIMP, we can affirm that PhotoScape is much simpler and more intuitive, although less complete. But, that is precisely why it is installed in a jiffy and applies the operations in minimal time.

Alternatives to Photoshop online

In this section, we are going to see the main alternatives to Photoshop that you can access online and work on your photo editing without having to download any program. Its features may not fully suit the needs of some professionals, but you can still achieve great results without taking up space on your hard drive.


Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

Pixlr is one of our favorite Photoshop alternatives, and we’ll tell you right away before we even see the duster. And it is not more limited, because this wonderful web application can edit images, vectors, and even text. And all this quite simply if you have any prior knowledge of photo retouching. But, as always, use a tutorial.

As an alternative to Photoshop, it allows you the most professional editing with tools that include layers, masks, a multitude of brush options, curve, and level adjustments, effects, filters, transformation tools…. and we stop here because the list would be very long and we still have many similar applications to explore.

Within Pixlr you will find three options :

  • Pixlr Editor - which is the closest to an alternative to Photoshop and whose interface, without being equal, gives air to past versions of it. The maximum size to save an image is 4000 X 4000 pixels, which if you want to print, would give you excellent quality in A4 and a fairly good one in A3.
  • Pixlr Express - is more focused on lovers of image-based social networks, such as Instagram or similar. With the most varied effects, the possibility of adding stickers, frames, texts, and a long, etc.
  • Pixlr O-Matic - the same company defines it as the old camera obscura that allows you to add style to your photos using effects, layers, and frames.

We have already seen that the one that fits the most in the list of alternatives to Photoshop is Pixlr Edition, but if you have time, or if you want to edit an image quickly to use it on your social networks, you should try the other two.

Pixlr also has a Pro version that has more features than the free one. If you want to try this alternative to Photoshop online Pro, this is a good time to do it. Not only will you benefit from a 7-day free trial, but also, the company has launched a more than an interesting discount, and now Pixlr Pro costs you only 5 dollars a month, instead of the usual 22.

No matter how you look at it, much more profitable than Photoshop and other similar paid applications. At least for your pocket


Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

As always, purists will argue that PicMonkey and other similar apps shouldn’t be on a Photoshop alternative list. But, that depends on the level of editing one needs. And we are sure that we are not the only ones who know people who use Photoshop to cut a photo from one background, paste it into another, apply a filter and finish.

And you say, do they spend a lot of money in Photoshop for that? Unfortunately, you already know that no, that they have a pirated version of Photoshop and that, friends, is not done. Or, if it is done, it is wrong and should weigh on their conscience.

Plus, with so many free and online Photoshop alternatives, why go to the trouble?

But, going back to PicMonkey as an ‘alternative’ to Photoshop, we’re going around the bush. This simple, yet powerful, online image editor allows you to do some real tricks when it comes to photo retouching.

Stickers, effects, adding frames, texts, and figures, and even things as insignificant but cool as eliminating wrinkles or changing the tone of skin and eyes. PicMonkey has some Photoshop-like features and while it falls short on complex stuff, it’s free, easy to use, and does a good job of editing for simple things.


Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

Canva is not a photo retouching tool, but an image creation tool to convey a message. In this sense, more than being one of the alternatives to Photoshop, it is an alternative to a small part of it.

Canva lets you compose professional-looking images for your blog, YouTube, social media, and infographics, even if you don’t have any design skills. The functions it has to edit the images that you upload to your compositions are: add scenes and frames, insert texts and icons, photographic effects, blur, and enhancement, etc.

Canva is one of the alternatives to Photoshop that works with a freemium system. You can try the free version and if you like it, you can choose between its different payment plans, which are quite affordable.


Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

Photopea is another of the many free alternatives to Photoshop, which you can use online, without the need for downloads and with an almost clone aspect to it.

It is not made to replace Photoshop and not to compete in functionality, but for a simple editing job, it does the job. It allows you to work with layers and open and edit files in almost all formats, including PSD, xcf, and Sketch.

If you are looking for something that can be a professional alternative to Photoshop, Photopea is not for you. But, even so, with a little skill, you will get quite showy results.

Alternatives to Photoshop for Mac


Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

One of the alternatives to Photoshop for Mac is called Acorn and it is an image editing software that, without reaching the sophistication of Adobe’s, offers quite decent quality.

In its favor, it has a very intuitive interface that makes it easy to use and several functions that will help you to retouch photos. With this alternative to Photoshop, you can do things like taking screenshots, edit images by layers, use masks and curves, apply filters and effects and even create new images using iSight, among other functions.

And, as if that weren’t enough, this image editing tool allows us to work with files in PSD and raw formats, something that we miss in many of the other alternatives to Photoshop.

To start using this photo editing application, you will first have to download it from the Mac App Store. Its price is $ 32.99 (one-time payment), but Flying Meat, the company that developed the app, offers you a free trial period of 14 days.

Pixelmator Pro

Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

Of the alternatives to Photoshop for Mac, Pixelmator Pro is probably the one that takes the cake. Its simplicity allows it to be used by both beginners and professionals. Its interface is so intuitive that, even if you don’t have much idea, you won’t need to start ‘studying’ tutorials.

Like Photoshop and other similar applications, Pixelmator Pro uses the same concept of Adobe’s editing tools. Its retouching system does not alter the pixels of the image or, what is the same, works in layers, allowing all kinds of changes to be made without destroying the original composition.

Also, it has smart selection tools, different types of brushes, multiple effect and color adjustments, filters, resizing … In short, everything you need to edit your photos like a professional.

One of the things that we love about this alternative to Photoshop is that it allows us to work with raw and PSD formats, apart from the classic pdf, BMP, jpeg, jpg, and gif, among others.

This image editing program is priced at $$ 43.99 on the Mac App Store, which is quite reasonable if we take into account everything it offers. Although, as always, depending on your needs (and your skills in the world of retouching and image editing) you may prefer to try one of the free alternatives to Photoshop first.

Or, take advantage of the 30-day trial that Pixelmator Pro offers you and, if the results convince you, opt for the paid ones.

Alternatives to Photoshop for Windows

If we have already seen the main alternatives to Photoshop, exclusively developed for Mac users, in this section you can find the best alternatives to Photoshop for Windows.

Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

A classic of image editing, has continued to improve over the years and although it may horrify some of you, it can be considered as one of the alternatives to Photoshop. Not to be confused with the typical Microsoft Paint that comes with Windows by default.

Sure, easy to use and with a lot of potentials, if you have some knack, this image editor is intended for those who do not want to complicate their lives. It’s not a professional-use Photoshop alternative, but it’s free and allows you decent and quick touch-ups.

Like other Photoshop-like programs, also works with layers, allowing you to keep the pixels of the original image intact. One of the things to highlight is the ability to make highly accurate selections, allowing very advanced edits, if you are one of those who have the patience to do so.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to work directly in raw or PSD formats, but if you need them, you have plugins available to solve this problem. What it does have is support for many other standard file types such as png, jpeg, BMP, TGA, tiff, or DDS.

This image editing application is free and is supported by donations from its followers. However, if you download it from the Windows application store (which you should, for security and compatibility issues), it will cost you $ 6.99. You choose.

Paint / Paint 3D

Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

We cannot continue putting Windows Paint on the list (now yes) and Paint 3D, which has replaced the former with the arrival of Windows 10. This is one of the applications similar to Photoshop, although it is not an alternative to East.

Probably, of the image editing programs, this is one of the best known and, if you are a lifelong Windows user, you will have had to use it to get out of the way more than once.

Moreover, if you are so ‘old’ that you remember when the internet was not available at all times, surely Paint has provided you with many hours of fun. With its paint cube, the magnifying glass, the geometric shapes, the possibility to incorporate text, and its eraser, many have taken their first steps in the fascinating world of photomontage in this application.

Today, if you have Windows 10, you will find Paint3D, an advanced version of the classic. But if you’re feeling lonely, you can always download it for free from the Microsoft Store.

Corel PaintShop Pro

Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

PaintShop Pro is undoubtedly one of the best Photoshop alternatives for Windows. Accessible enough for beginners, this photo editing software convinces even the most professional and, in the right hands, achieving high-standard results.

In Corel PaintShop Pro, you will find sophisticated image editing tools similar to those of Photoshop, an accessible and optimized interface, as well as an excellent help service and tutorials. Its wide and highly varied library of brushes, textures, color palettes, and gradients will delight the most demanding.

Also, this photo editing program has a specific tool for editing 360 images, something that we have not seen in other alternatives to Photoshop and we find it interesting, especially for those who like to experiment with new formats.

PaintShop Pro has the advantage of being compatible with almost all file types, including raw and PSD.

To download it, you can do it through its website, with a price today of $ 53.99, although it usually costs $ 89.90. Also, it shows the confidence that the company has in this image editor, they offer to try it for 30 days and, if for whatever reason you are not satisfied (which we doubt), they will refund your money.


PaintStar could not be missing from the list of alternatives to Photoshop for Windows. And is that this image editor and photo retouching offers good results without too many complications.

With PaintStar, you can create images, make compositions and retouch, capture screens, and much more. This program is not similar to Photoshop if you are looking for a professional photographic edition, but for a beginner user it will come in handy.

This free photo-editing application has a full range of painting tools, multiple customizable brushes, textures, gradients, and effects. If we add to this the support for layered work, the possibility of previewing images before opening them, and the compatibility with more than 30 different types of files, we find a program to manipulate images more than satisfactory.

Also, because of the price, you can always download it, try it, and if it doesn’t convince you, delete it forever.

Alternatives to Photoshop-compatible with Mac and Windows

As we have already seen, there are alternatives to Photoshop or at least similar programs in the single purpose, image editing, specific for Mac or Windows. Yes, we know that there are more operating systems, but to cover them, this article would be endless (even more).

In this last section, we have made a small selection of what we consider to be good alternatives to Photoshop and that have options for both of the most popular operating systems.

Affinity Photo

Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

According to the manufacturer itself, “Affinity Photo has become the first choice for photography and creativity professionals around the world, who love its speed, power, and precision.” Man said like that it seems a bit exaggerated, but it is true that this software could be one of the best alternatives to Photoshop, both for amateurs and professionals.

This photo editing application supports all major formats, including pdf, raw, and PSD, in case you ever need to open or edit Photoshop files. As for the editing tools, there are almost all of them and it is difficult for you to miss any.

Like any self-respecting Photoshop alternative, Affinity Photo also works with layers that you can group, lock, edit, and combine to your liking.

One of the things to highlight that we have not been able to find in other similar programs is the option to undo changes even after you have saved your image and days have passed since the last edit. How do you stay?

All this and much more, for a single payment of $ 49.99 ($ 19.99 for iPad) makes Affinity Photo deserve a high place in the list of alternatives to Photoshop (although we have left it almost until last).


Alternatives to Photoshop: Best Photoshop Alternatives for Newbies and Professionals

This CyberLink photo editing app is another unique Photoshop alternative, especially for those who are professionally involved in it. That said, you will have already guessed that it works in layers, how could it be otherwise.

PhotoDirector has a large part of Photoshop tools, but with a much simpler and user-friendly interface and, like its competitor, it also has countless tutorials available on YouTube. It is ideal especially for those who seek the maximum reduction of noise in their images and the speed of work, as it has one of the fastest rendering engines on the market.

CyberLink’s alternative to Photoshop comes with several presets, allowing quick editing with just a few clicks. And if you have a 360 camera, you’ll be pleased to know that it has a full feature set specifically designed for 360-degree photo editing.

Regarding file formats, PhotoDirector supports almost all the usual ones (raw included), although it will not let you import those that are in PSD, something that can be a problem for some.

To get this image editing software, you will have to pay a single payment, which will vary depending on the version you want to purchase. In any case, the most expensive is around $ 70.


As you may have seen, the list of alternatives to Photoshop is huge. And that we have left some along the way, due to lack of knowledge or ignorance. Depending on the level of professionalism and sophistication you need, your pocket and your skills with technology, you can choose one or the other. Although, if you want our opinion, we would choose Affinity Photo and Photo Director for more professional use and Pixlr for easy edits and amateur editors. But, we repeat that this choice is very personal.

We take this opportunity to ask you if you know others, leave them in the Comments section. In this way, you will help us expand our knowledge and this article will be more useful for those who are looking for programs similar to Photoshop.

Ahmed Ismail
Post Journal is a Smart Journal, which provides internet viewers access to world news and real-life stories. Whether it is entertainment, Technology, Allrecipes, business, Insurance, Lifestyle, Travel or such.

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