For many years Adobe Photoshop has been the leading program in the world of editing images and photographs, so much so that its name became a verb to talk about photo manipulation. Yet, this software is not a child’s play, it has a demanding learning curve, so, if you find it too complicated, don’t have enough resources to use it, or just want to have another photo editing program, today I will show you the best Photoshop alternatives in 2021.
Why install a Photoshop Alternative?
Among the different reasons why users are looking for a program that serves as an alternative to Photoshop, are:
- Its learning curve: Photoshop is a program with many functions and tools available, but this makes it a bit difficult to learn its procedures. If you are a novice, you may feel a little overwhelmed.
- Its payment method: since 2013 Adobe changed the way you can get Photoshop, going from the traditional way with a lifetime license to a monthly subscription model, which means now you should pay month by month in order to use of the program.
- Its demand for resources: Photoshop is a program that requires a computer with moderate to high power, and not everyone has such equipment. Some of the Photoshop alternatives consume very few resources and can help you in this regard.
There are a number of factors that can stop you from using Adobe’s software, but whatever your case, there are different Photoshop alternatives available for Windows, macOS, and Linux that can help you achieve your goals quickly and easily, without extra complications.
These alternatives may look similar or share some features with Photoshop, so the change won’t be abrupt when it comes to switching from one program to another. In addition, some of them are free, so you can try them right away.
The Best Photoshop Alternatives in 2019
This following list of programs that work as Photoshop alternatives is not listed in a particular order, each one stands out in some way and is intended to include programs for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
1. Affinity Photo – Photoshop Alternative for macOS
Affinity Photo is an image editing program developed by Serif, which at first only came out for macOS, but is currently also available for Windows. It has multiple read and export formats (PNG, JPG, GIF, TIFF, PDF, SVG, EPS, EXR, HDR), highlighting that it also includes PSD files, the native format of Photoshop, although the manufacturer recognizes that it does not handle all its features.
One of the most interesting features of the Affinity program is the work modes, which the manufacturer calls Personas. These are alternative user interfaces that serve to access specific tools, complementary to the original functionality.
The following are the five working modes or Personas:
- Photo: The default for image editing.
- Liquify: to achieve special effects by distorting areas of the images.
- Develop: for developing images in RAW format.
- Tone Mapping: for tone mapping.
- Export: for the export of specific areas of the design.
Affinity offers an advanced user interface, with multiple tools that you get in programs the size of Photoshop, with which you can add professional-looking enhancements to your photos.
- Price: Affinity uses the pay per license system, and its prices are quite economic, particularly if you compare it with the competition.
- Editing speed: When it comes to editing, this Photoshop alternative is fast and efficient.
- Adobe Compatibility: Affinity knows that they can’t neglect Photoshop compatibility, so it is able to read PSD files, for a better transition between programs.
- Slow export: Export times are a little slower than in other programs at its level.
- A bit intimidating: May seem intimidating to newbies.
- OS: Windows, macOS
2. Movavi Photo Editor – Photoshop Alternative for Windows and macOS
Movavi Photo Editor is an image editor that was very surprising for its intuitiveness and ease of use, in addition to being an editor that offers several advanced tools, including one that surprisingly enhances an image through a single click and other retouching tools.
The results obtained with this editor are very good, some of which can only be achieved with professional editors, although to do so with these editors are very complex for most users who are not professional photographers, while with Movavi’s software it is simple and quick.
In addition to the classic tools that allow you to crop, rotate, flip and straighten images, it also includes some functions such as the one that allows you to compress photos without losing quality. It also includes a tool that improves the quality images by removing noise from them and does so according to the type of scene such as night photos.
Another thing that differentiates Movavi Photo Editor from some editors of its type are the functions of removing objects and changing the backgrounds of the photographs. These functions make it possible to remove objects such as those undesirable power line poles, shadows and even people: The unwanted objects that the software removes are replaced with content from areas surrounding the object.
- Options to remove objects: this is one of Movavi’s star features, as it allows you to remove annoying objects or things from your photographs, achieving something that a couple of years ago was only possible through more advanced editors.
- User-friendly: the user interface is intended not to scare new users, so much so that it helps minimize the learning curve.
- Lots of effects: Movavi has a large number of effects that you can apply to your photos.
- Limited free version: the free version of the program has very limited functions when editing, so it is recommended to use the paid version.
- OS: Windows. macOS
3. Photoshop Elements – Photoshop Alternative for Windows
Adobe has launched Photoshop Elements 2019, a renewed software for photo editing that is presented with improved performance in all areas and great automation possibilities thanks to Adobe Sensei. Thus, the introduction of Adobe Sensei technology seeks to allow the program to automatically perform a multitude of tasks to facilitate photo editing and more elaborate creations.
Specifically, Adobe highlights how the automation provided by AI makes it possible to remove items to make it easier to search, view, and enjoy all photos and helps make file organization faster and easier. For example, you can automatically view selected photos by quality, faces, and themes, and automatically organize them by dates, themes, people, and places.
When it comes to photo editing, Smart Guided Editing is designed to allow anyone to
create photos without prior experience with automated editing options and step-by-step instructions […] Adjust color and light, remove scratches, correct old photos, and open closed eyes as if by magic. Plus, add eye-catching effects that give your photos a new look,Adobe official website
The next step is the possibility of making all kinds of creations with quick and effortless results. From presentations and collages to funny memes. All generated automatically to get “the most out of your memories by creatively displaying your photos. Presentations and collages are created to remind you of memorable moments. Adobe Sensei’s artificial intelligence takes care of everything”, they assure.
- Adobe Sensei: The artificial intelligence provided by Adobe facilitates many user processes, both in editing and organization.
- Easy to use: One of the easiest to use programs offered by Adobe as a Photoshop Alternative.
- Variety of tools: Photoshop Elements offers a range of professional-level editing options.
- No subscription: Photoshop Elements is a great alternative to Photoshop with no subscription. You just pay a one time fee and you can use the software for as long as you like.
- Not as capable as Photoshop: Elements version is lacking in features comparing to its older brother. However, it’s not a big problem for a home user.
- OS: macOS and Windows
4. Corel Photo-Paint – Photoshop Alternative for Windows and macOS
Photo-Paint is a photo editing program, created by Corel and is a direct competition or alternative to Photoshop. Like Adobe’s program, Photo-Paint makes use of layers when editing photos, offering a simple but powerful user interface.
You can correct all kinds of imperfections with the cloning tool, as well as focus or blur a particular area. You have multiple and powerful tools for editing and restoration, with which you can retouch your images in a professional way. Quick corrections, such as color and hue, are easy to make thanks to Photo Paint’s manual and automatic controls.
You can improve the composition of a photo with a crop, straighten, stitch and scale tools. You can make a different crop from the one you had initially thought, as well as join 2 or more photographs, ideal for the creation of panoramas and larger photographs. In addition, this Photoshop alternative includes a way to correct lens distortion with the Perspective Correction tool.
You can edit RAW files with the Photo-Paint Camera RAW Lab. This facilitates the process of developing images, with which you can also create beautiful HDR images.
- Power: Photo-Paint offers enormous editing power, which rivals other competing programs.
- Variety of tools: You have at your disposal a whole set of professional tools to edit, crop, or correct your images quickly and easily.
- Requires connection: Internet connection is required to install and authenticate CorelDRAW Graphics Suite and access some of the included software components, online features, and content.
- OS: Windows and macOS
5. Canva – Photoshop Alternative Online
Canva is a graphic design and creativity tool that will become your best ally. With an online interface totally intuitive and easy to use: you won’t have to download any program.
Thousands of templates with pre-defined designs very modern and attractive.
You can start a design from scratch with the measurements you need, or use the templates that are offered to you in different sizes specific to different things like social networks, ebooks, posters or business cards.
You have available the free version with which you can work without problems or limitations, and if your needs are very specific there is also a fairly cheap premium plan with pretty useful extra features.
Among its characteristics are:
- A multitude of specific templates for your creations in social networks.
- Covers of magazines, books, for your posts on your blogs and informative infographics.
- Headers for your emails, attractive resume designs and powerpoint presentations for your webinars and conferences.
- Design of logos, business cards or flyers.
- Informative leaflets, wedding invitations or design your ads for Facebook and other social networks.
- Add texts, subtitles, titles, with many different options of fonts, colors, and placement.
- Ideal for social networks: Canva offers you the image sizes recommended by the different social networks, making sure you always have the right size.
- Easy and free: the free version serves to cover almost any need, and its ease of use will make you create images quickly.
- Thousands of options: the templates that Canva brings offer multiple options and ideas for you to create and improve your projects.
- Not so complex: advanced users can fall short when it comes to editing photographs or graphics.
- No offline mode: Canva is a Photoshop alternative online, so you must always be connected to the internet in order to use the editor.
- OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS
6. Pixlr – Photoshop Alternative for Chromebook
Pixlr Editor, the online image editor, is only accessible from its web app, i.e. it can only be used through a browser. When loading the app you will be able to select several options, from opening an existing file to a new one, those who are familiar with Photoshop will have no problems here. One thing to keep in mind is that Pixlr works with Flash, so you must have the plugin activated in your browser.
If you want to make a quick online edition or you don’t have your computer at hand, it will be very useful. If you know Photoshop, you will notice that much of the user interface is similar to Adobe’s program, even some Photoshop commands also work with Pixlr Editor.
When saving files, there is even the option of doing it in layers in a PXD format (Pixlr with layers). And yes, it is possible to open Photoshop PSD files, but the layers will open as images, without the editing options you might have been using in the PC program.
Despite some details, Pixlr Editor is a very good option for Photoshop users looking for fast image editing from anywhere. The only concern could be that Pixlr continues to operate with Flash, which browsers start blocking.
- Interface similar to others: The user interface is very similar to the one you’ll find in other editing programs, if you’ve already used one, learning with Pixlr won’t be difficult.
- Layers: One of the most sought after options by users in Photoshop Alternatives is the ability to work with layers. Pixlr achieves this very well.
- Ads: the free version is surrounded by ads that can distract you from the work you’re doing.
- Flash: Flash is being discontinued by different browsers, so it could be a future problem for Pixlr.
- OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS.
7. PicMonkey – Photoshop Alternative Online
PicMonkey brings together simplicity and power in a single application, without neglecting either users looking for agility when retouching photos online or those who need the most advanced editing features. PicMonkey is an online photo editor with a wealth of tools and options available to quickly and easily create all types of professionally finished images.
The image editor will help you perform the most common tasks with your images: cropping, image rotation, exposure adjustment, color adjustment, focusing and resizing, to name a few. There are about 50 effects included with the tool such as black and white filter, HDR conversion, various filters to play with focus and automatic conversions to Polaroid.
The make-up set they have devised is very complete and intuitive, you don’t need to be an expert in the field to get professional results and a dazzling finish. Options such as gloss reduction, teeth whitening, dark circles removal, and eye gloss help you a lot when editing faces. The design tools allow us to include text on the image, clipart, own images, add a multitude of textures, and frames of all kinds.
- Adapted to any age: Its ease of use makes it a program suitable for all ages, children or adults can take advantage of its potential.
- Make-up set: This alternative to Photoshop aims for simplicity and intuition, offering a fairly complete makeup set and without those many complicated options that often overload the expectations of users.
- Online: You don’t have to download and install anything to access the editor, you just need a computer with an internet connection, which makes PicMonkey an excellent Photoshop alternative for Chromebook and equipment with low storage or performance.
- It’s not free: although low, Picmonkey has an amount that must be paid monthly.
- Internet-only: Picmonkey doesn’t work in an offline environment, so if you lose your connection or find yourself on a site without Internet access, you won’t be able to use the program.
- OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS
8. Fotor – Photoshop Alternative Online
Fotor is an online photo editing tool that not only allows you to edit your images, it also offers you the option of creating a collage or even a design for any type of platform such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, among others.
Fotor was born in 2012 as an online tool to create HDR images (High-dynamic-range) but now has grown to become one of the best online photo editors. It also has a mobile application (iOS and Android) and a computer version (Windows and macOS).
All Fotor services can be used for free, although there are some filters, templates, and images that are limited to the paid version. But there lies another advantage of Fotor, as it costs only $3.33 a month.
You can apply creative filters, implement effects, crop the image, predefined beauty retouches, add text, in a very easy and comfortable way. The interface is clear and intuitive and you can compare the original image with the modified one with a single button.
- Compatibility with mobile devices: You can take advantage of almost all of its features from the Fotor app for Android and iOS.
- Price: one of the cheapest Photoshop alternatives on the market.
- Collage: Few editors bring such an easy and fast option to create collages, but Fotor does it excellently.
- Raw: the online version does not read RAW files, but it has the option to convert them.
- OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, iOS.
9. GIMP – Photoshop Alternative for Linux
The acronym GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program and is a free distribution software for photo retouching, image creation, and composition. Since its launch, it has been one of the Photoshop Alternatives, and although it does not have all the advantages that Photoshop has, new functionalities are always being added to facilitate the tasks of design and editing.
GIMP, being part of GNU and being an open-source program, is completely free, you never have to pay anything for the program, but you can make a donation if you want. Even though it is free, this program demonstrates power and quality when it comes to editing any photograph.
You can work with layers as you do in Photoshop, enjoying a user interface quite intuitive and similar to those you can find in Adobe software. Its tools and features are updated regularly, thanks to the active community that supports the program.
GIMP is a highly customizable program, both in interface and plugins, which are available for free download.
- Totally free: one of the advantages that GIMP has over the other Photoshop free alternatives. The program even receives continuous updates thanks to the active community that surrounds GIMP.
- Expandable: the list of plugins ready to be downloaded is huge, and all are waiting for you to be used.
- Some bugs: the program has certain working bugs that can be annoying.
- OS: Windows, macOS, and Linux.
People also ask
Here are some of the questions that people have about Photoshop Alternatives.
There are a lot of great alternatives to Adobe Photoshop. You can find the whole list in this article. However, if you need to choose just one alternative then consider Affinity Photo. It’s a full-fledged professional photo editor that rivals Adobe Photoshop in every regard.
The best free alternative to Photoshop is GIMP. It is open-source software that in many ways mimics Photoshop workflow and interface. However, some professional users can find this free alternative to Photoshop lacking in terms of features comparing to paid alternatives.
GIMP is the best free alternative to Photoshop. GIMP suits home users who need to make occasional photo edits very well. However, GIMP is not as capable as Photoshop for professional users. It lacks a lot of features of Photoshop along with much-needed integration with Adobe creative software.
Yes, there are other programs like Photoshop. And there are many. From simple alternatives like Movavi Photo Editor to free and complicated alternatives like GIMP. There is a great program like Photoshop – PhotoWorks. It’s powerful and very easy to use. And there are also Photoshop alternatives for professional users like Affinity Photo. You can learn more in this article.
With GIMP I’ve come to the end of this list of Photoshop Alternatives. You know now plenty of great alternatives to Adobe’s giant, Photoshop. There’s a program for every taste, so don’t waste your time and start trying them, you’re sure to be pleased.
Also, check out my article How to Buy Photoshop if you think that you’d better go with this option.