Best Photoshop alternatives

Best Photoshop alternatives
Rosa Fryer Updated on by

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Wanting to find the best alternatives to Adobe’s Photoshop? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve compiled a list of tried and tested applications for the best features, easy to use and great value for money.

For a while Adobe’s industry-leading image manipulation program, Photoshop was a stand alone software with other programs being merely poor imitations. But no more! The sophistication and impressive set-ups of new editing applications are both coming close to matching Photoshop and also offering unique features of their own.

It is worth saying that Photoshop will still be more powerful than some software but for some users and artists, they don’t have the need for the abundance of controls that Photoshop offers. Therefore an alternative, most likely would suit better. Furthermore, Photoshop is only available on subscription whereas the list below has the best Photoshop alternatives that are either a one-off price or are free!

Let’s get straight into it.

Photoshop Best Alternatives

1. Photopea

Details
Platform: Web Free trial: No Free version: Yes

Pros
Free version
Cross-platform

Cons
Lacks advanced features
Ads with free version

Photopea is a well developed and efficient app that holds a significant resemblance to Photoshop. It also features most of the tools you’ll need for everyday image work. It also opens most standard file formats such as JPG, PNG and RAW. It comes with ads on the free version but it does not interfere that much with work. You can of course invest in the premium version but the free version is a great dupe to Photoshop.

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2. Affinity Photo

Details
Platform: Mac OS 10.9+, Windows 10+. IPad version sold separately: ios 12+. Free trial: Yes
Free version: No

Pros
Professional tool
Advanced features

Cons
No Android Version
iPad version sold separately

Affinity Photo is considered the closest software to Photoshop by many users. The application is focused at professional photographers and designers and is compatible with Photoshop. Works out cheaper than Photoshop because it is a one-off cost instead of a subscription.

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3. Rebelle

Details
Platform: Windows 7, 8 and 10; OS X 10.11+ Free trial: Demo Version Free version: No

Pros
Mimics real paint
Tilt option
Advanced new features for 2022

Cons
Not for mobile devices

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4. Procreate

Details
Platform: iPad (iOS 13.2+), separate iPhone app (iOS 12+) Free trial: No Free version: No

Pros
Low cost
Apple Pencil support

Cons
iOS only
Lacks some advanced features

Apple Design Award winning app for iPads is a highly professional tool that had been updating and developed since 2010. It has an easy-to-use layout. It is important to mention, you won’t find all the features you’d expect from Photoshop for editing photos here, but for digital painting specifically, you’ll have at least most of what you need.

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5. Pixelmator Pro

Details
Platform: macOS 10.14+ Latest version: 2.3.4 Free Trial: Yes Free version: No

Pros
Low cost
Easy to use

Cons
Mac only
Limited features

Pixelmator Pro is similar to a Photoshop-lite tool that is currently exclusively for Mac. It has a photo editor, illustration and painting tool and supports features like tabs, fullscreen and split view.

It’s easy to use through a minimalist interface and there are extra handy tools such as the ‘hidden interface option’ where you can see just your image, with no distractions. There is also the Magic Background Eraser tool which allows you to remove the background of an image with one click. Compared to Adobe Photoshop, it is fairly limited on features. But, it is cheap and fast working that is enjoyable to use so if you’re needing a more basic Photoshop-like software, this could be for you.

There is also a slimmed down version for iPhone and iPad called Pixelmator and Pixelmator Photo

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6. GIMP

Details
Platform: Linux, Windows, Mac Latest version: 2.10.30 Free trial: No Free version: Yes

Pros
Free
Open source

Cons
Learning curve
Can experience delays

GIMP is a free, open-source Photoshop alternative that offers a wide toolset which is similar to Photoshop in many ways. There is a full suite of tools including painting tools, colour correction, cloning, selection, and enhancement. It has good compatibility too, so you can work with popular file formats. GIMP is constantly being improved.

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7. ArtRage

Details
Platform: Mac OS X 10+, Windows 7+; separate apps for iOS and Android Free trial: Demo version Free Version: No

Pros
Thick oils
Delicate watercolours

Cons
Not cheapest
Mobile app solid separately

For those looking for digital painting that can pass for the real thing, ArtRage is a great option. It offers realistic oils, pencils, watercolour, canvas textures and more traditional painting tools. The tools are also fully customisable. The detail in the latest release in 2021 included the ability to virtually smear and blend thick oils to create natural colour gradients, sketching with pencils and shading with the tip, creating delicate watercolour brushstrokes and much more.

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8. Krita

Details
Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux Free version: Yes

Pros
Free
Open source
Excellent brush selection

Cons
Lacking photo editing features

Krita is a free software for digital painting that is created by artists who want to create quality and affordable software. Users and reviewers have been impressed with the brush tools – 100 brush types, nine brush engines and a brush stabiliser.

The interface is very similar to Photoshop, so Adobe users will find the set-up familiar and easy to use. There are some specific photo editing features of Photoshop that Krita doesn’t have but as a free software, the benefits outweigh the negatives in our opinion.

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Final word

There we have it, the list of the best Photoshop alternatives. Adobe Photoshop, especially with its new beta features, is a highly powerful software that is industry used. But there are now highly compatible software that replicate many of Photoshop’s features, as well as offer their own unique formats for a cheaper price (or are free!).