11 Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop

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Up until now, Photoshop’s pricey photo editor has dominated the image editing world.

However, 2020 is seeing the rise of high-spec free alternatives to Photoshop taking over the market.

Whether you’re simply adding one-click filters to enhance social media sharing or delving deep into advanced image editing, you can now enjoy a plethora of comprehensive free online photo editing suites.

But how do you separate the wheat from the chaff?

With so many free alternatives to Photoshop, you can find yourself working with an image editor for hours before realizing it’s too slow, the tools are too limited, the export size is too small, and so on.

Avoid the snags of shoddy free photo edit tools with these 11 best free alternatives to Photoshop for 2020.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 1: Photopea

Photopea photo editing software interface

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Photopea is a top photo editing tool that has a similar layout to Photoshop, featuring many of the same options. The editing software works with layers and enables users to access, edit, and save file types.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: Photopea

  • It’s easy to switch from Photoshop Elements as the photo editor software is so similar.
  • It’s so akin to Photoshop Elements that you can use Photoshop tutorials to learn new graphic editing skills.
  • You can import PSD files from Photoshop and begin working right away without converting files.
  • The basic features enable beginners to make striking photo adjustments without much technical knowledge, such as color correction and filter effects.
  • The photo editing software supports both raster and vector graphics.
  • If you want an editing tool to create social media posts, Photopea has a library of versatile social media templates.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: Photopea

  • The free version has lots of banner adverts. These can be removed for a $9 monthly subscription fee.
  • Users need to be connected to the internet as Photopea is a browser-based image editing tool.
  • This isn’t the best image editing software for removing backgrounds.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 2: Sumopaint

Sumopaint photo editor

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Sumopaint is another great alternative to Photoshop. With a wide range of tools that crossover with both Paint and Photoshop, this Adobe Photoshop alternative is extremely comprehensive for a free editing tool.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: Sumopaint

  • This is a great editing tool choice for those with mid-range ability.
  • Sumopaint has a very supportive online community who can help with graphic design difficulties.
  • Sumopaint has a special SUMO format so users can carry on working if the tool goes offline.
  • The editing suite has a broad range of tools, including an extensive color picker, a range of selection tools, a clone tool, layer masks, and 300 brushes.
  • The symmetry points are particularly useful for accurate graphic design.
  • Easy to onboard since it’s so similar to Photoshop.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: Sumopaint

  • This software runs on Flash so you must have compatible software installed.
  • There are quite a lot of distracting on-page ads.
  • This software doesn’t support PSD files so you’ll have to convert old image files before moving them over.
  • There aren’t any rulers which make it hard to measure precisely.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 3: Polarr

Polarr photo editing software

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Polarr is a straightforward photo enhancement tool that’s great for adjusting images, playing with filters, and adding text.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: Polarr

  • Polarr has a good range of filters and effects to improve your photo with one click.
  • The software has both an iOS and an Android app, making it great for on-the-go.
  • This is a very beginner-friendly online photo editor and needs no Photoshop experience.
  • Users particularly like the skin editing tool for smoothing out imperfections.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: Polarr

  • Not all editing features are available. You can access extra elements, but you need to subscribe for $2.50 per month.
  • This isn’t an editing software designed for advanced photo editing.
  • There’s a notable lag if you’re editing large files.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 4: Rebelle

Rebelle photo editing software

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Rebelle is a very advanced Photoshop alternative designed for creating paintings. The digital painting tool has editing features that simulate real paint, making it a great tool for creative graphic design and artistic digital imagery.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: Rebelle

  • The varied digital painting tools give different textural effects depending on the digital medium being used, such as spray paint, watercolor paint, pencil, and so on. This offers a very realistic painting experience.
  • Users can create their own brushes for more customized image editing.
  • Users really like the tilt feature as it allows paint to run around the page as it would in real life.
  • This editing software is very comprehensive.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: Rebelle

  • While you can create your own brushes, there’s a limit to how many preset brushes there are.
  • This can’t be used on a mobile device as it’s a browser-only app.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 5: GIMP

GIMP photo editing software

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GIMP (which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program) is arguably, the most well-known and comprehensive Photoshop alternative. The range of editing tools is unprecedented, making this an epic free editing software for advanced graphic designers.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: GIMP

  • This is an especially good editing tool if you’re a professional photographer due to its extremely extensive photo editing toolkit, which includes layer masks, blending mode, color correction, curves, levels, and much more.
  • GIMP offers cross-platform support as well as enabling users to edit any file format, including RAW files.
  • This open-source tool is both free and ad-free.
  • This can be used on both your PC and your Mac.
  • Users can enjoy a vast catalog of GIMP plugins, as well as being able to install Photoshop plugins to GIMP.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: GIMP

  • As wedding photographers know, editing can be up to 55% of a photographer’s job. Beginners won’t find GIMP easy or quick to learn, increasing this editing time even more.
  • This is a download only, not an online photo editor. There’s no app or browser version of the image editing software.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 6: Photoscape X

Photoscape X photo editing software

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Photoscape X is a basic free Photoshop alternative that allows beginner users to adjust images, make collages, create GIFs and cut out backgrounds. While primarily a photo editor, users are surprised to find many more easy-to-use tools.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: Photoscape X

  • The user interface is super easy to navigate.
  • Users can create animated GIFs, stitch together images, and use this editing tool for screen captures.
  • Photoscape X supports batch editing to edit multiple images at once.
  • This online image editor supports RAW files.
  • Add writing with the text tool or choose from the clip art library.
  • This image editing software has the same brushes as Photoshop, making the switchover simple.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: Photoscape X

  • On first arrival, there are lots of screens to navigate to find the right editing software for your task.
  • This image editing tool slows down significantly when you’re working with large image files.
  • The selection tools are limited making it tricky to remove image elements.
  • This editing tool doesn’t support Photoshop files.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 7: Photo Pos Pro

Photo Pos Pro photo editing software

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Photo Pos Pro is one of the best free Photoshop alternatives with its encyclopedic range of image editing tools. With a similar layout to Photoshop, you’ll have no trouble navigating the user interface.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: Photos Pos Pro

  • The clean user interface is intuitive to those switching from Photoshop.
  • Switch between ‘novice’ and ‘expert’ user interface settings depending on your skill levels.
  • This photo editing software has a very advanced suite of editing tools, including lots of layer masks, a clone tool, healing brushes, frames and collages, and a magic eraser tool.
  • This image editor offers 24-hour customer support for any technical issues.
  • Users can create their own filters and save them for later use.
  • This photo editing software makes it easy to improve with a range of in-depth tutorials.
  • Beginners can enjoy one-click edits.
  • This program supports RAW files.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: Photos Pos Pro

  • The ‘expert’ user interface can be a bit glitchy.
  • There’s a limit to the size of the file you can export.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 8: Pixlr

Pixlr photo editing software

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Pixlr is a veteran free Photoshop alternative, having been around for many years. However, recently, Pixlr updated their software to include two free Photoshop alternatives; a tool for advanced users and a tool for beginners.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: Pixlr

  • Enjoy two different editors for varying skill levels. The ‘Playful’ image editor allows beginners to play with photo filters, while the advanced tool has features that are suitable for a professional photographer.
  • This image editing software allows you to edit all kinds of images from cartoons to drone photos.
  • The photo editing software has a free iOS and Android image editing app. Since around 48% of people prefer editing on their smartphone, this is a great tool for those who prefer app-based editing tools.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: Pixlr

  • While the advanced tools are high grade, there are a few key Photoshop favorites missing.
  • This tool doesn’t work with TIFF files.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 9: Fotor

Fotor photo editing software

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Fotor is a very sleek alternative to Photoshop that lets all skill levels edit photos, make collages, and craft original designs.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: Fotor

  • This is a quick 3-in-1 tool for all photo editing skill abilities.
  • Users particularly like the beauty features, such as the skin smoothing tool and the anti-wrinkle feature.
  • Enjoy a wide range of frames and effects for one-click photo editing.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: Fotor

  • This photo editing software isn’t suitable if you are a professional photographer seeking advanced tools.
  • There’s a high number of on-screen ads which can be distracting.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 10: BeFunky

BeFunky photo editing software

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BeFunky is a simple photo enhancement tool that allows users to adjust images, refine colors, add effects, and repair image issues.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: BeFunky

  • This photo editor is a great beginner-friendly free Photoshop alternative.
  • Users are very keen on the make-up enhancement tools for beautifying social media posts.
  • There are a surprisingly good number of photo editing tools, including graphics, color correction, filters, frames, and effects.
  • It’s simple to export images to Google Drive.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: BeFunky

  • If you want to remove parts of your image or the whole background, you have to upgrade from the free version.
  • To access collages, transparent backgrounds, and batch processing, you also have to upgrade from the free version.

Best Free Alternatives to Photoshop # 11: InPixio

InPixio photo editing software

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InPixio is a full suite of image editing tools for all skill abilities. The full suite offers an outstanding range of tools, while enabling users to focus on using the right tool for the job.

Pros of Photoshop Alternative: InPixio

  • This photo editing software comprises of six different programs:
    • Photo Editor – This editing tool is for basic photo edits.
    • Photo Maximizer – This feature enables users to zoom in and increase resolution.
    • Photo Focus – This editing software is for sharpening images.
    • Photo Eraser – Users erase unwanted image features with this image editing software.
    • Photo Cutter – Switch out backgrounds with this cutting tool.
    • Photo Clip – Create photomontages with this photo clipping software.
  • This program is very user-friendly making it easy for on-click edits.
  • User can enjoy one-click social media sharing.
  • Features include a myriad of filters, frames, textures, color correction, blur tools, and automatic online sharing.

Cons of Photoshop Alternative: InPixio

  • Images are brandished with watermarks in the free version. You must upgrade to get rid of watermarks.
  • This program doesn’t completely support OS X.
  • Manual editing tools are limited, which restricts its professional applicability.

Conclusion

While there are a ton of free Photoshop alternatives on the market, the tool you choose depends on what you’re trying to achieve and your skill level.

Beginners can revel in a wide range of photo enhancement tools like simple filters, effects, frames, and text tool features. These basic level programs usually have excellent one-click social sharing features and are designed for on-the-go.

For more advanced photo editing software, some of the Photoshop alternatives like GIMP and Photo Pos Pro are topnotch substitutes with stellar photo editing features.

Support the open source community and reduce your image editing costs by ditching Photoshop for one of these popular free Photoshop alternatives.

Posted by Jason Bayless