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 try to release 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 Adobe Photoshop alternatives with full-fledged functionality. Of course, nothing stops you from staying with Photoshop, which is likely to remain a gold industry standard for designers for years ahead. However, if you feel like some software changes or need an app that would fit the photo or image editing better — or just want an affordable alternative — the market has plenty of great options. Open-source apps, advanced photo-editing software, and all sorts of the best Photoshop alternatives from indie studios — we’ve got program suggestions for any taste!
Best Used For
Everything and everyone. Affinity is one of the best Photoshop alternatives providing advanced drawing, photo, and image editing tools of the same professional level. This photo editing tool got many advanced features for professional photographers, which make it stand out from other alternatives to Adobe Photoshop.
- Windows 64-bit versions: 11, 10 (1607 Anniversary update or higher), 8.1, 7 (Service Pack 1; Platform Update KB2670838; Aero enabled)
- macOS: 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite, 10.11 El Capitan, 10.12 Sierra, 10.13 High Sierra, 10.14 Mojave, 10.15 Catalina, 11.0 Big Sur, 12 Monterey
- iPad: iOS 12 or above
- Layer-based workflow.
- Non-destructive filters.
- An extended set of tools for image editing and professional retouching.
- Simple and intuitive interface.
- Real-time editing and massive image support.
- Seamless workflow: works on Windows, Apple, and iPad.
- Huge library of pre-installed brushes.
- Supports PSD format and Smart Objects.
- Full end-to-end 32-bit workflow.
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 is one of the most successful photo & image editing software released in the past decade, which can fit designers, photographers, illustrators, and everyone who needs a powerful app that would be technically similar to Adobe Photoshop — but less costly.
First of all Affinity Photo supports layers, which makes it very comprehensible for those who are got used to Photoshop. But it’s just the begging! Affinity Photo is a complete solution for photo editing with an impressive toolset for flawless retouching, quick corrections, support of hundreds of layers at a time, and full RAW development. Some of its features, like the in-built brush library or non-destructive filters, leave the competitors far behind and make Affinity Photo the powerful Photoshop alternative that’s most frequently chosen by professional creatives.
Getting back to the brushes, you can import raster sets made for Affinity Designer. Please note, that Affinity Photo doesn’t support vector format, so you won’t be able to use vector Affinity Designer brushes there.
Best Used For
Сasual users, students, and beginner creators. Corel has built a decent Adobe Photoshop alternative with a vast choice of graphic tools and photo editing features. However, for those creators who like Photoshop and have used it for years, the transition to PaintShop Pro may be stressful, as the program speed isn’t high enough for equal productivity in the advanced editing process.
- Windows 11, 10 (version 1903 or later with the latest service pack (64-bit edition)
- Powerful photography tools and features. hy tools and features.
- HDR, 360° camera, and RAW files support.
- Non-destructive layers and masks.
- Built-in brushes & support of Adobe Photoshop brushes.
- Templates library for collages, greeting cards, social media images, web banners, business cards, and more.
- AI-powered tools.
- Over 60 file formats are supported (including EPS, GIF, JPEG, JPG, PSD, PNG, and PDF).
- PaintShop Pro 2022 — $79.99 (30 days of free trial available)
- PaintShop Pro 2022 Ultimate — $99.99 (30 days of free trial available)
Corel PaintShop Pro is one of the best Photoshop alternatives available for Windows users. The 2022 version comes packed with AI and machine learning-based features, which already makes an app to consider for a try. The use of AI technologies allows a whole bunch of manipulations that’ll be greatly appreciated by everyone involved in professional image editing: AI Background Replacement, Portrait Mode, Style Transfer, and a lot more.
Another feature of PaintShop Pro is the support of both vector and raster graphics. This makes it possible to draw with vector illustration tools and use color palettes, gradients, and patterns. Along with that, you can take advantage of the pre-built brush library or import any of your favorite Adobe Photoshop brushes. Which is great for graphic design creators.
PaintShop Pro is provided in two versions: the classic one and Corel PaintShop Pro Ultimate. The latter includes pro-grade tools for photo editing to perform as a complete photo-editing studio to cover you from start to end.
Best Used For
Digital drawing. Even the best Photoshop alternatives are overshadowed by the powers Procreate can suggest to illustrators and artists. With its powerful drawing and animation tools, it can seduce even dedicated Photoshop users to give try some advanced features of the app.
- iOS (iPadOS 14.4 or newer to install)
- Over 200 in-built brushes: pencils, inks, charcoals, and artistic strokes.
- Multi-touch gestures.
- Powerful Valkyrie graphics engine, allowing to paint at the speed of 120fps.
- Animation Assist for simple yet powerful animation.
- QuickShape, StreamLine, Drawing Assist, ColorDrop and many other tools to give you full control over your work.
- Full font control.
- Filter brushes and a library of effects.
- Procreate (iPad) — $9.99
- Procreate Pocket (iPhone) — $4.99
If you are considering Photoshop alternatives and rather use your iPad than your desktop, Procreate is one of the most winning choices you can make. Procreate was created as an app for digital artists and illustrators so it makes a perfect photoshop alternative in this case. this app comes with tools Adobe Photoshop users could only dream of. However, Procreate is almost useless as photo editing software, as the provided functional will never compete with the one of Photoshop.
Procreate receives annual updates, and every time it makes a huge leap forward, both technically and visually. The current version is going to strike you with a flawless interface that’s been adapted to the artist’s needs and comfort while editing images. Getting to the most impressive tools of Procreate, there are many creative features and tools like powerful filters, gradient map, eased coloring, and a lot more, all under the sauce of the powerful engine, Valkyrie.
Procreate doesn’t support Adobe Photoshop brushes. However, it contains a rich in-built library, each brush can be customized with the Brush Studio. There are lots of free and premium brush packs created for this app, and finally, Procreate has grown a community where you can get some tips or get custom brushes from other creators.
Best Used For
Quick and easy photo processing. Pixlr X, Pixlr E, and Photomash Studio are great free Photoshop alternatives that can replace Adobe software if you need a photo editor with straightforward functionality for occasional use.
- Any browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge
- iOS (version 10.0 or higher)
- Online, desktop, and mobile versions are available.
- Tools for creating collages, social media posts, and photo editing.
- Custom photo effects and a vast library of in-build add-ons.
- A rich fonts library.
- Effortless photo correction: remove blemishes, red-eye, smoothen skin, or whiten teeth with simple tools.
- Auto Fix tool.
- Animate any design in just a few clicks.
- Instant AI-powered background removal.
- Premium $7.99/month (30 days of free trial available)
- Creative pack $29.99/month
Pixlr is one of the rare quality free Photoshop alternatives web apps. It’s a photo editor which allows basic edits and transformations. It’s hardly can be considered a full-stack Photoshop replacement, however, Pixlr can be a great solution for most manipulations.
The app allows creating and editing Facebook or YouTube thumbnails, social media posts, and collages with the provided library of templates. Like in Adobe Photoshop, with Pixlr you’ll be able to use filters and effects, text styles, overlays, and borders — and there is a pretty rich library of these. You can also edit the provided graphics: Pixlr supports , PNG, GIF, WEBP, and PSD formats.
Pixlr X is a free Photoshop alternative app with basic editing tools for photos and graphics. There is an advanced photo editor, Pixlr E, which is free too. It’s AI-powered and allows a wider range of tools.
Best Used For
Anyone interested in digital art. ArtRage isn’t a full-fledged alternative to Photoshop nor a program that can be used as a photo-editing tool. However, it has everything and even more for professional painting. So if you are a digital artist consider giving it a try.
- Windows (7 version or higher)
- macOS (10.10 or later)
- iPad and iPhone (iOS 10+ versions)
- Android (version 4.0 and higher)
- Smear and blend thick oils to create natural color gradients.
- Sketch with pencils and shade with the edge of the tip.
- Create delicate watercolor strokes that react to canvas texture.
- Use photos as References while painting your digital art.
- Work with Guides, Grids, and Perspective Layout tools.
- Features Layers, Blend Modes, and other industry standards.
ArtRage is an app that it’s hard to compare with Adobe products, as it covers only a part of its functions: the artistic one. It’s a computer painting package rather than another Photoshop alternative, and it allows everyone to try oil, pencil, chalk, and watercolor in the most realistic environment. In fact, the app was created specifically for the artistic audience, from newbies to teachers and professional illustrators.
ArtRage brings painting as it is: brush tool behaves itself like the real one, as well as pen tool and every other commonly used tool. Paints smear and blend naturally, and the canvas reacts just like it would in professional drawing with physical supplies. The iPad version makes the feel of this software even more immersive and tangible. The interface was meant to be as simple and intuitive as possible, so it performs like an easel: pick the tools to be used and leave the rest for another day or project. If you want to see all this magic by yourself just the demonstration free version of Art Rage 6 and enjoy its powerful tools.
Best Used For
Anyone who needs a convenient and easy-to-use online photo editor. Photopea is a web app that stands out from other free Photoshop alternatives with a convenient interface and the presence of the most commonly used tools necessary for graphics editing.
- Windows, macOS, iPad, iPhone, Android (any browser)
- Fits beginners and students.
- Open-source image and photo editor.
- Supports raster and vector graphics.
- Web-based service which stores all files locally, and does not upload any files to a server.
- Can open PSD files.
- Layer masks.
- Blend modes.
- Can use ABR brushes.
- Supports a vast majority of popular file formats.
Photopea is an open-source free browser-based alternative to Photoshop which can work with raster and vector graphics. It can be used for image editing, making illustrations, web design, or converting between different image formats. It’s one of the best free photo editors available online and on mobile devices to use.
Unlike most online drawing and photo editing tools, Photopea is both advanced and free software. It offers a wide variety of graphics editing tools, including spot healing, a clone stamp healing brush, and a patch tool. Photopea supports layer-based editing, layer masks, channels, selection tools, paths, Smart Objects, layer styles, text layers, filters, and vector shapes. Last but not least, it is compatible with the most popular graphic formats: PSD, JPEG, PNG, DNG, GIF, SVG, and PDF. It makes this app well-suited not only for amateur photo experiments but also for professional editing. Photopea has a default collection of brushes, but you can import your own brushes in the Photoshop ABR format and use them as you did in Adobe Photoshop.
One of the major perks of Photopea among other free alternatives to Photoshop isn’t the toolset it provides or the fact it’s free. Photopea has an extremely intuitive and comprehensible UI. It makes the app a great option for beginners or for those who want to try themselves in design but aren’t ready to become Photoshop users.
Best Used For
Mac users. Pixelmator Pro may have fewer tools than other Photoshop alternatives. However, it is perfectly compatible with Mac OS. The program is fast, smart, fun to use, and comes at an excellent price for the bunch of features it provides. It is one of the most affordable art tools for the Mac operating system.
- Mac OS (version 10.15 Catalina or later)
- Supports Photoshop images with layers.
- Uses layers-based editing.
- Over 40 tools for selecting, cropping, painting, retouching, typing, measuring and navigation.
- Shape tools.
- 18 non-destructive color adjustments and over 60 GPU-powered effects.
- Supports macOS ColorSync and ColorSync profiles are supported.
- Compatible with Apple Pencil.
- Supports PXD, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, HEIF, PSD, SVG, PDF, GIF, and BMP.
Pixelmator Pro is a powerful image editor that isn’t just another alternative to Photoshop. It brings photo editing and extensive graphic design tools of the highest level, which make it a complete rival to the famous app — this is not just a matter of words, as more and more photographers and artists switch to Pixelmator Pro and never regret the choice.
There is no shortage of professional functionalities, so in many relations, Pixelmator Pro is like Adobe 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 Mac users. In addition, the app supports batch editing, and with its recent update, even machine learning technologies. For instance, they are used for quick color correction.
Among many other alternatives to Photoshop, Pixelmator Pro has a very simple and understandable interface, so even a creative newbie will fill confident using it.
Best Used For
Quick editing and studying. Photos Pos Pro has a reduced function compared to other Photoshop alternatives and quite a steep learning curve. However, it’s still a good photo editing tool to start with and explore professional design tools without an overpay.
- Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, 11)
- User-friendly interface.
- Editable layers.
- Powerful retouching tools.
- A library of templates and effects.
- Supports all standards and professional features such as Filters, Layers, Masks, Curves, Scripts, Effects, Brushes, etc.
- Photo Pos Pro premium edition — $49.90
While there are many great Adobe Photoshop alternatives (including free apps), some perform like its reduced analogs. Photos Pos Pro, an app with a promising function is one of those. It was created to bring the most of photo editing tools inside a convenient free version app — although, creative professionals are likely to find it an outdated alternative to Photoshop: starting from the interface to the slow engine.
However, Photos Pos Pro has many tools for photo manipulations similar to another Adobe product, Lightroom. You can use it for color correction, creating collages, business cards, or flyers. You can also perform retouching using layers, custom brushes, and healing tools.
Photos Pos Pro allows you to edit photos with no bother, and apply various artistic effects, textures, and gradients to create projects from scratch. Its free version provides everything to be called a decent Photoshop alternative. You can create filters yourself or add the ones you downloaded elsewhere — the in-build library is quite boring, so you’re likely to resort to you your own add-ons library.
Best Used For
Professional design work. Krita is probably the best free Photoshop alternative that provides the functionality of a full-fledged app. It has excellent support and is regularly updated for new features and better performance. Krita is an open-source program, so you can adapt and modify it to your needs if necessary.
- Windows (version 8.1 version or higher)
- macOS (version 10.12 and higher)
- Clean and flexible interface.
- Over 100 professionally made brushes.
- 3 different ways to smooth and stabilize brush strokes.
- Built-in vector tools to create comic panels and draw manga.
- Easy to create seamless textures and patterns.
- Simple and powerful 2D animation features.
- Open, save, edit and author HDR and scene-referred images.
Krita is a free open-source app that makes the opposite of Photoshop with its great human-oriented philosophy. It’s made by regular people who check Reddit, read forums, talk daily on IRC, check bug reports, and do their best to improve the app. Among all the free Photoshop alternatives, Krita is probably the only one that can be considered not just an app, but a community.
Of course, it’s hard to compete with Adobe Photoshop in terms of the provided tools. It might be not the best alternative when it comes to editing photos, but it works like solid software for digital drawing many creatives enjoy. This app is made by artists that want to give affordable art tools to everyone. For example, it has a great animation system (which is really great!) and quality brush engines, that will be much appreciated by. The interface is simple, with a very intuitive flow and shallow learning curve.
Krita allows importing brush texture from the ABR file, but to get a brush, you have to recreate it yourself by adding the appropriate values of size, spacing, etc.
Best Used For
Everything at once. Years ago, GIMP was one of the best free Photoshop alternatives. Today, as there are many other free options, it isn’t the major player anymore. Nowadays it just doesn’t meet constantly improving industry standard. However, GIMP is still a good Photoshop alternative for most design projects. With every update, it receives more and more features to be a competitive alternative to Photoshop and a full-fledged design editing program.
- Windows (from Windows 7 and higher)
- macOS (from 10.12 Sierra and higher)
- High-quality image manipulation.
- Can be used for producing icons, graphical design elements, and art for user interface components and mockups.
- Pro-grade framework for scripted image manipulation, with multi-language support such as C, C++, Perl, Python, Scheme, and more.
- Vast file formats support BMP, GIF, JPEG, MNG, PCX, PDF, PNG, PS, PSD, SVG, TIFF, TGA, XPM, and many others.
GIMP is one of the first free Photoshop alternatives, which has been here for over 25 years. The software fits graphic designers, photographers, and illustrators, both interested in the high-quality photo editing process and creating original artworks. GIMP will come particularly in handy to the young creators who aren’t ready to pay for joining Creative Cloud but need full-stack functional for their work or study.
GIMP is an open-source image editor and a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, which has greatly mirrored the original app in terms of features. It has loads of extensions, scripts, and plugins you can use for specific functionalities. And if you can, you can even code and use a script of yours. Since it’s the oldest and most popular Photoshop freeware alternative, you can find many courses on GIMP, and there is a vast community of those who use this app.
Best Used For
Professional photography editing. Many paid and free Photoshop alternatives are now seeking to add AI tools for increased performance. But hardly anyone is as good at AI photo editing features as Luminar Neo. It suggests powerful, well-integrated AI functionality that really eases and boosts the photographer’s work.
- macOS version 10.14.6 or higher
- Windows 10 version 1909 or higher (only 64-bit OS)
- AI photo editing features.
- Create HDR images.
- Works as a standalone app or plugin.
- Remove background without masking.
- Atmospheric effects emulation.
- Mask up to 9 types of objects in a click.
- The Color Harmony tool for precise color control.
- 36 editing tools and 13 AI tools included.
- $89.95 (30-day money-back guarantee)
Luminar Neo is a universal photo editing software that is a great fit for landscape, aerial and outdoor photographers, which stands out from other Lightroom and Photoshop alternatives. Because it is the first image editor fully powered by artificial intelligence. It is worth mentioning that Luminar can be used as a standalone app or as a plugin for Apple Photos, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Lightroom.
The app supports non-destructive image editing. It provides an immense amount of filters and adjustments for image retouching and creative effects. These effects can be combined using layers and masks. However, AI tools get most of the attention and appreciation from the professional community: they reduce the time of photo editing and allow obtaining the desired effect in less time and with less effort. This way, it may be called the best Photoshop alternative for professional photographers.
Luminar Neo got all you can possibly wish for like tools for adjusting lighting parameters or an ability to remove various imperfections caused by contamination of the camera sensor or lens. This way, it can be a replacement for the classic Adobe apps for those who are really into HDR photography.
Best Used For
Drawing and design work. This online photo editor can cover most projects, and the price is very low for the provided advanced features. It allows creating graphics and logos and editing photographs — just like Photoshop but with fewer complex professional tools (which is an advantage for some creators).
- Online, in any browser.
- Over 300 different brushes.
- Fully web-based with an intuitive user experience.
- More than 20 drawing tools.
- Edit and optimize your photos.
- Unlimited layers and layer effects are available with the PRO plan.
- 8 services under a single subscription.
- Basic Plan — Free
- Pro Plan — $9/month
- Edu Plan (only for students) — $2/month
Sumopaint is a full-fledged online photo and image editor. It was created as a convenient and simple-to-use free Photoshop alternative for those users who only use 10% of Photoshop’s tools and features. The app allows basic photo editing and provides a rich set of color correction tools for drawing and design purposes. It also contains a large number of filters, effects, and over 300 in-built brushes. Its free version is one of the best free photoshop alternatives, though it is reduced in functions and some advanced features.
Besides the standard toolset, the app has a few unique features. These are the Symmetry Tool that might come in handy for creating patterns and shapes. The primary functions such as creating, deleting, and duplicating layers can be complemented by effects: opacity, shadow casting, gradient, and more.
Sumopaint is available as free photo editing software with reduced functions and photo editing tools. It will fit those who need an app for a few quick or simple manipulations. For those, who consider Sumopaint as a Photoshop alternative and need it to perform more complex tasks, there is a paid Pro plan. Along with an extended library of tools and features, it grants access to other creative apps from the team: audio editor, video editor, music studio, code studio, pixel editor, and 3D studio.
Best Used For
UI and UX projects. Sketch is one of the best Photoshop alternatives and the best app for prototyping, interface design, web, and app design. It has many similar tools and features to Adobe Photoshop, but they work way better for the listed projects.
- macOS (Big Sur (11.0.0) or newer)
- Flexible vector editing.
- Easy to zoom to the pixel level.
- Infinite Canvas with flexible artboards and presets.
- Shorthand and math operators to design faster.
- Variable and OpenType fonts.
- Keep things consistent by defining Color Variables, Text, and Layer Styles.
- Real-time collaboration and a set of cross-platform tools for feedback, sharing, and developer handoff.
- Powerful export options.
- Quickly link different parts of your design and create prototypes to test out your ideas.
- 700+ extensions.
Sketch is a vector-based software for Mac. It is used primarily for desktop and mobile UI design, mockups, and prototypes — and today, it’s the most popular designers choice in this field. It allows editing photos, however, it’s hard to consider Sketch as a full-fledged Photoshop alternative for photo processing.
The app has made its name as one of the easiest apps to use and is the second most popular design app after Adobe Photoshop. Sketch has a clean interface and comprehensive library of tools and features for prototyping, web, and app design, seasoned by collaboration features. Shared styles, swapping symbols, Symbol Inspect to quickly edit even the tiniest elements, easy templates organization — there should be a separate article listing the app’s benefits. In addition to that, it’s still affordable software, you can choose the best-suited subscription model depending on your needs and workflow.
It’s important that Sketch is still not the right option for product design. It’s perfectly suitable for UI and UX projects, social media templates, and website design. For other design tasks, you’ll need a different app.
For better and more effective work, you’ll need plugins as the functionality of Sketch greatly relies on them. The app comes with over 700 plugins and extensions to choose from depending on the project and request.
Best Used For
Graphics editing and design. Created as an alternative to Photoshop, Acorn has made a long way from a basic program with limited functionality to a powerful app suitable for creative professionals. It’s still not a popular choice among designers, yet with its recent update, it has shown itself as an excellent choice for most creative purposes.
- macOS (10.14 or higher)
- Use the clone tool across layers, images, and even clone group and shape layers.
- Non-destructive curves, levels, and filters.
- Combine filters together to create endless combinations.
- Rich photo effects library: tilt-shift, vignette, drop shadow, gradients, sharpening, color correction, distortions, blurs, and over a hundred more.
- Vector tools and features.
- Smart Layer Export.
- The Clone, Paint, Smudge, Dodge, Burn, Stamp, and other tools that work on pixels.
- Supports JPEG, JPEG 2000, PNG, HEIF, GIF, BMP, TIFF, PSD, PDF, ICO, AI (with PDF compatibility), RAW, PICT, SVG, and TGA.
Acorn is an image editor for Mac and a good Adobe Photoshop alternative. Compared to the Adobe app, it has a clean, intuitive interface and most of the features an amateur may need for photo and image editing. It is reported as a fast and small app that easily perform most of the creative manipulations and is a good choice at its price — especially for beginner designers and students who need more than a free app and aren’t ready to get a Creative Cloud subscription.
The app includes lots of customizable filters, effects, brushes, and tools — and their quantity has increased after the recent release of Acorn 7 update. With version 7, the software received major changes both in its function and in the user interface which is now more polished and modern-looking.
The app supports non-destructive editing, layer masks, and CMYK. It can open RAW image files as well as Photoshop’s PSD files.