The first version of Photoshop appeared in 1987 and was created by Thomas and John Knoll. In 1988 Adobe purchased Photoshop, and since then the rise of the most popular graphics editor began. However, while it’s sitting on its golden throne, many alternatives to Photoshop are being introduced every year.
Every year many startups introduce their vision of that one “new Photoshop.” And while some attempts don’t go far, other apps are designed so thoughtfully that they can be observed as worthy opponents to Adobe Photoshop. Of course, nothing stops you from staying with Photoshop, which is likely to remain a gold standard for designers for years ahead.
Photoshop Alternative Software
However, we recommend you take a closer look at these premium and free alternatives to Photoshop. Especially if you are searching for a better price solution, or a simpler UX, or some features to be designed better than in the original software.
As it states on their main page, “if you could create your own photo editing software, it would work like this.” And it has its reasons! Affinity Photo has collected many professional awards including the best Mac app of 2015 according to Apple.
Affinity Photo is a complete solution for photo editing with an impressive toolset for flawless retouching, quick corrections, work with hundreds of layers, and full RAW development. Some of its features, like the brush library or non-destructive filters, leave the competitors far behind and make of Affinity Photo a dangerous player rather than another alternative to Photoshop.
Gimp is an open source-image editor and a free alternative to Photoshop, which has greatly mirrored the original app in terms of the features. The software fits graphic designers, photographers and illustrators, both interested in high-quality photo manipulation and creating original artworks.
Gimp will come particularly in handy to the young creators who aren’t ready to pay $52.99 for joining Creative Cloud. Another great thing about this app is that there are many extensions, scripts, and plugins you can use for specific functionalities. Well, if you can, you can even code and use a script of yours.
Compatibility: Mac OS
Price: $59.99. Free demo available.
Pixelmator Pro is a powerful image editor that isn’t just another alternative to Photoshop. In fact, it brings photo editing and extensive graphic design tools of the highest level, which make it a complete rival to the famous app. Just take a look at how elegant its interface is!
There is no shortage of professional functionalities, so like with Photoshop, there are non-destructive adjustments, RAW editing, color adjustments, noise removal, geometric transformations and layering. Not to mention over 40 tools for drawing, retouching and selection, meticulously elaborated for the Mac users.
Luminar is a universal photo editing software that can be a great pick for the photography professionals. It has over 70 filters for image retouching and creative effects. The effects can be combined using layers and masks. Luminar also brings AI-powered filters and tools, their major business card. We were all amazed by NVIDIA’s AI Playground elaborations. So as a photographer, you can give a go to the technologies with Luminar and their content-aware filters, AI Sky Replacement, AI Skin Enhancer, and Accent AI.
Meet another photographic software from Skylum, the creators of Luminar. This Photoshop alternative will fit creators who want to do professional HDR editing. There are over 20 tools for all HDR editing needs: creative LUT mapping, polarizing filter, color toning, HDR denoise, dodge & burn, details enhancer and many more, all enabling flawless HDR images in seconds.
Aurora HDR can be used as a standalone app or as a plugin to Apple Photos, Photoshop and Lightroom.
Last but not least Photoshop alternative software supports more than 500 cameras, custom lens and camera profiles. And while Capture One can’t compete with Photoshop in terms of graphic design capabilities, it perfectly fits pro photographers. Among the app’s most renowned features are advanced masking functionalities, automatic adjustments, pro-grade noise removal and tools for clarity and sharpening.
Another great feature of Capture One is its organization tools. The photographer can choose between Sessions and Catalogs to organize files in their way.