For many aspiring designers and graphic artists on a budget, the idea of shelling out for Photoshop (or illegally downloading it) isn’t very enticing. To fill the gap between high-power and high-price and, well, little else, some excellent Photoshop alternatives have surfaced over the years. Open source, intuitive, and often nearly as functional as Photoshop itself, these alternatives could be your key to improving your design and manipulation skills.
If you are just a tad familiar with Photoshop, GIMP will be a breeze to you. With a huge library of tools, textures, and applications, GIMP is the Photoshop’s most formidable competitor. As a result of its popularity, plenty of communities have sprung up online offering tutorials and how-to’s, meaning that few rocks are left unturned. Unfortunately, GIMP does not support RAW files. You will have to make do with that and convert them prior to editing them with this application.
If you are using Windows, then we are certain you are already familiar with the little application called Paint.net. The program which comes with Windows as default, Paint, has a similar UI which helps with the ease-of-usage. This application is free to use so take your time exploring this one.
8. Serif PhotoPlux X7
While not free, Serif PhotoPlus is offered at a far more affordable price than Photoshop. Serif may not be as complete as Photoshop, but it does offer excellent basic editing tools, as well as excellent support, including video lessons, where you can see experienced users perform amazing stuff.
Acorn is among the easiest and most intuitive photo editing softwares out there, and handles quick photo editing at lightning fast speeds. While it can’t muster the level of functionality that Photoshop can, it is great for those who need an editing program for basic work.
Pixelmator is a fast, lightweight photo editor for MAC. Like Acorn, Pixelmator offers nowhere near the functionality of Photoshop, but is a straightforward alternative for basic editing jobs.
5. Corel PaintShop Pro X6
When you talk of Adobe, Corel cannot go without a mention. If you talk of Photoshop, PaintShop is right there with it. This particular application is suitable for photographers especially. You have hundreds of filters, more added every day, and a great deal of functions. You also have a feature using which you can automate frequently used tasks, a feature Photoshop does not have by default.
4. Adobe Photoshop Elements 12
Even though they share the same name, Elements is a far lighter-weight version of it’s big brother Photoshop. Elements’ power lies in its cross breeding of photo editing and management tools. Like iPhoto, images can be adjusted, organized, and exported.
3. Pixlr Editor
Pixlr is a web-based image editor, and a Photoshop-like interface, and plenty of features. The beauty of Pixlr is its intuitive interface, combined with total mobile and cloud-based functionality. Images can be edited on the go, making it among the fastest and most direct ways to touch up the photos you take.
A new darling of the web, Canva is making webs as the most intuitive, easy-to-use design tools on the market. Aside from its editing and design prowess, Canva wins major points by allowing designers to collaborate, allowing you to share your designs and discuss within the application.
While not entirely free, PicMonkey offers huge functionality when it comes to design and photo editing. Choose from editing, touch-ups, design, or collaging, and get started. Like Canva and Pixlr, PicMonkey is web-based, giving it an extra edge of speed and mobility.