Photoshop is a modern marvel. If you’d told my grandfather fifty years ago that one day soon, he’d be able to add wheels to a picture of a monkey or place Napoleon on the grassy knoll in Dallas, he’d have called you a witch and tried to have you burned at the stake. (Grandpa wasn’t an especially progressive guy.) Photoshop can do all that and more.
The trouble is that a Photoshop subscription is a pricey proposition for most of us, which is why we created this guide. In this article, you’ll get the lowdown on free Photoshop alternatives that can do the job without requiring you to pay through the nose. We show you the best free image editors and give you the information you need to select the perfect app for your business or hobby.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is the best-known Photoshop competitor out there and is likely the only other image editor most folks have heard of if they’ve heard of anything aside from Photoshop. GIMP operates on all major platforms; you can use it on Mac and PC as well as GNU. And, thanks to its open-source origins, GIMP is completely free.
GIMP has many of the same basic image editing features that you’ll find in Photoshop. You can use GIMP to adjust colors, add layers, and all of the standard image manipulation options that the pricier app offers. You can also add lots of other installations and libraries to increase the app’s features and power. It’s a great Photoshop alternative.
You might not have heard of Paint.net, but it’s a remarkably powerful and useful Photoshop alternative. You can install Paint.net in place of the standard-issue Windows Paint editor application that comes with the operating system, and it will take on most of Photoshop’s tasks without complaint or issue. If you work with Windows, Paint.net is worth checking out and testing. It might be just what you need.
The application has tons of photo editing features and can give Photoshop a run for its money. You can use it to manipulate pixels and create false perspectives, and you have a healthy choice of selection tools. If you need to work with layering and curve or brightness adjustments, Paint.net will fit your bill, too. The app doesn’t have some of the newer and more advanced features that Photoshop provides, but at zero dollars, the price is right.
Photoshop is a powerful and useful tool for modern media editing, but the price can be too much for some of us to afford. But now you know some of the best free Photoshop alternatives that you can use to edit images without breaking your wallet. You’ll be a photo-editing fool before long, and your wallet will stay fat and happy.