When it comes to free photo editing software, there are plenty of options to chose from that can also make it difficult to decide. Here are our favorite alternatives to Adobe Photoshop.
The majority of the entries on this list are downloadable apps. However, what if one is low on hard drive space or is simply unable to download new software — that’s when Pixlr comes in.
Created by Autodesk, Pixlr is one of the only web-based photo editors that can compete with Photoshop. Pixlr offers a wide range of features including sharpen, blur, crop and resize, and all the other tools one can find in Photoshop. Additionally, it offers a host of more artistic tools such as brushes, layers, and filters.
In addition, Pixlr’s Express web app is useful if the user just needs to make quick fixes such as adding filters or borders to pictures — though it isn’t as robust as the main editor.
As good as Pixlr is, there are a few downsides. The first is the rather large ad placed at the right side of the editor. Despite its size, however, it is relatively unobtrusive. We’ve been using Pixlr for months and have never encountered an auto-play video ad or pop-up.
Pixlr also offers little in the way of tutorials or guides so it can be a bit intimidating for new users. That being said, the user interface is still fairly intuitive and the basics can be self-taught within a few hours.
The other potential downside is that it requires a Flash Player. If the user is on a work computer and does not have the administrator privileges, it may not be possible to use the web app if the Flash Player is not up to date.
GIMP is probably the most powerful software on this list offering all of the features of Photoshop for none of the cost. This software offers all of the tools needed to turn photos into professional looking works of art. Speaking of works of art, GIMP is also a great platform for artists as it offers a wide variety of tools to help create original artwork. Scrolling through Deviantart would likely show the results of GIMP’S work.
If GIMP’S basic features aren’t enough, then users should be glad to know that it has a modding community that has created plenty of plug-ins and scripts to add to the base software. In fact, a lot of the more popular additions are eventually incorporated into the base GIMP package. This community-driven approach takes an already impressive piece of software and ensures that it is constantly evolving to meet the needs of its users.
All of that might sound intimidating, but it’s easy to learn the basics — thanks to GIMP’s awesome set of tutorials. In addition, GIMP also offers several tutorials on programming so users can eventually add their own scripts and help improve the software.
Photo Pos Pro
Powerful but intimidating.
Photo Pos Pro offers plenty of features, but the poor UI and lack of comprehensive tutorial hold it back.
In terms of features, Photo Pos Pro offers a lot to love and is a powerful piece of software that can serve as a solid alternative to Photoshop. Pretty much anything that a user wants to do with a photo editor is possible. The only problem is that the plethora of options combined with a lack of tutorials means that users will be spending a lot of time figuring this one out.
To be fair, that same complaint could be leveled at GIMP as well. GIMP, however, offers help for new users, whereas Photo Pos Pro throws users in at the deep end.
Like Pixlr, BeFunky is available through a web-based app and is a great option for quick fixes. While it doesn’t offer the same number of features as the above options, it does have a lot going for it.
For starters, the interface is well-done and easy to use. This makes it ideal for a first-time user or someone who just wants to touch up some family photos, create collages, or resize images.
The biggest downside of BeFunky is simply the lack of options. Users will have a hard time creating professional-level images with this one; however, most people don’t need hundreds of options with their photo editor. BeFunky is a great lightweight option if a user just wants to do some casual touch ups.
All of the aforementioned options can be useful in the right circumstances, but if we had to choose one, it would be GIMP. The wide-range of features makes it a great option for professionals looking for an alternative to Photoshop while its creation tools make it the perfect choice for artists.
On the other hand, its supportive community and the selection of tutorials make a safe choice for beginners — provided they’re willing to learn.