Photoshop is the most well known photo editing software on the market. However, it is also one of the most expensive photo editing software on the market, which prohibits many artists and potential artists from being able to use it. Luckily, there are many similar photo-editing programs available online that are free of charge and offer comparable and sometimes better photo editing tools. Below is a list of photo editing software that are both free to download and offer a superior photo editing experience.
PicMonkey is both free to use and does not even have to be downloaded. Users can edit images right from their Internet browser on PicMonkey’s website, which means that it can be used by both Windows and Mac owners. PicMonkey also offers fun features like easy-to-use filters and funny sticker overlays, which in some ways makes the software more akin to Instagram rather than Photoshop. However, the site does also offer the more traditional photo editing tools that we’ve come accustomed to, so PicMonkey is a great option for someone looking for a synthesis of Photoshop and Instagram.
Because it is an open-source image-editing program, Seashore can also be used by both Windows and Mac users. The biggest advantage of Seashore is it’s easy to navigate interface. The program is designed for beginners and is more appealing to some than Photoshop, which takes a bit of time to become familiar with before you can master all of its features. Seashore does however offer many of the features consumers have grown to know and love in Photoshop including the manipulation of layers, brush strokes, and gradients. Seashore is a great option for anyone who has never had experience with a photo editing software and would like to begin working and editing immediately.
GIMP is also a cross platform photo-editing program, so it is also a valid option for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. GIMP stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program,” and the services that it offers are considered the most comparable free alternative to Photoshop. GIMP markets itself as a valid choice for graphic artists, scientists, illustrators, and animators, which means that it offers very high quality photo manipulation that meets professional standards. Because GIMP is widely used and has a large community of users, it allows users to freely share designs and ideas over the platform. GIMP is a great choice for anyone looking to create a very professional product, but there may be a bit of a learning curve for anyone who is not familiar with photo editing software.
Inkscape is an open source photo editing software, so it too can be used on any hardware system you may be using. Inkscape is designed to appeal to both professionals and hobbyists and offers users the ability to create and manipulate different kinds of images like graphs, maps, logos and other professional diagrams. In addition to this, Inkscape offers to users the ability to interact with other users and provides a fairly reliable and response help and support community that not only helps users with technical issues but also potentially helps with more subjective photo editing dilemmas.
Like PicMonkey, SumoPaint is another photo editor that users can choose to either download or use straight from their browsers. SumoPaint’s layout and control board will be very familiar to anyone who has used Photoshop because the toolset is on the whole very similar and comparable to Photoshop. SumoPaint also offers fun Instagram-like features like funny overlay stickers (moustaches, funny hats) and interesting filters that can be applied to any photo with a simple mouse click. SumoPaint is more suited for hobbyists rather than professionals because it doesn’t quite offer the same quality of editing as Photoshop or GIMP, but it does offer an upgraded version of the software that you can use for the small fee of $4 per month.
CinePaint can be used on all UNIX based systems (Linux, BSD, Mac, OS X, and UNIX) but is sadly not available for use for Windows users. Luckily for all users of UNIX based systems, CinePaint is one of the most professional free image editing systems around. It is actually used fairly frequently by animators and graphic design artists in Hollywood for work on major films, which is maybe the highest honour that any free image editing software can aspire to. CinePaint may appeal to those in Hollywood because it is one of the few free image editing softwares that allows users to not only edit still images but also to make edits to videos.
Krita is available for use to users of Unix, Linux, BSD, and Windows operating systems. Unfortunately for Mac users, Krita is the perfect free to use software for the purposes of creating comics, illustrations, matte and texture paintings, and all sorts of conceptual graphic art because it offers a toolset that is designed with artists and creators in mind. Some of Krita’s best features include a brush stabilizer, which is a great tool for any artists that struggle to make just the right adjustments while creating their art. Another great option that is specific to Krita is the Resource Manager, which allows users to import new brushes and textures in order to manually enhance their own tool set according to the project they are working on.
Pixia was originally created in Japan for the use of creating and editing for graphic designs and animations. It is now available for download in the US and is a great option for anyone who is just beginning to learn about photo editing and animation. The interface is easy to understand and offers both basic features like the ability to blur and rub your image, while also offering more advanced features like filters and customized brush tips.
GrafX2 is open source and available to use for all Mac, OS X, and Windows operating system users. GrafX2 is a photo editor as well, but is more centrally designed for drawing and creating comics and animations. Because of this concentration on animation, GrafX2 offers features made for drawing in indexed coloured mode like transparency, palette editor, and a diverse array of brushes and effects.
Xara Xtreme is available to all users of Linux, FreeBSD, and OS-X operating systems. Xara Xtreme (formerly known as Xara LX) like many of the other free photo editing software listed above offers a simple and easy to users interface, a multitude of tools for both creating and editing your images to your exact specifications, and a quick and responsive interactive experience. However, Xara Xtreme is especially good for beginning and learning animators and designers because it offers users access to a huge store of learning materials that include movies, tutorials, and written tips that are assembled, added, and maintained by the large user community.