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12 Best Free Photoshop Alternatives in 2021


Discover the best free Photoshop alternatives that offer tons of high-quality effects, overlays, borders, and other photo editing features.

free photoshop alternatives

Adobe Photoshop is one of the best photo editing software and arguably the most popular in the creative software market among professional designers, illustrators, and artists. Whether you want to edit an image, create paintings, illustrations, and 3D paintings, Adobe Photoshop has advanced graphic design tools you can use. 

If you are looking to cut costs, Adobe Photoshop does not have a free plan. Although its premium plan is affordable (as low as $9.99 per month), you may want to further save costs by going for a free Adobe Photoshop alternative. 

Free Photoshop alternatives do not provide users with the same advanced and extensive features you would get when you use the Adobe Photoshop suite. However, these free Photoshop alternatives offer advanced photo editing features you need to handle your image editing tasks in a proficient manner.

In this article, you will learn about 12 of the best free Photoshop alternatives you can download now.

Let’s get started.

Skylum Luminar AI

Best Overall Photoshop Alternative

Try Skylum

GIMP

Best for Advanced Graphic Designers

Try GIMP

PhotoWorks

Best for Portrait & Landscape Editing

Try PhotoWorks

Colorcinch

Best for Easy to Use Features

Try Colorcinch

Pixlr X

Best for Advanced Options

Try Pixlr X

Paint.NET

Best for Windows Operating System

Try Paint.NET

Photo Pos Pro

Best for Beginners & Advanced Users

Try Photo Pos

Krita

Best for Conceptual Artists

Try Krita

Apple Photos

Best for Smart Search Feature

Try Apple Photos

Photopea Online Photo Editor

Best for Multiple Format Support

Try Photopea

PhotoScape X

Best for Free Features

Try PhotoScape

InkScape

Best for Vector Illustrators

Try InkScape

1. Skylum Luminar AI

Best AI-Powered Free Photoshop Alternative that Offers Integrations With Adobe Tools

Skylum is the Best AI Powered Free Photoshop Alternative that Offers Integrations With Adobe Tools

Coming as a Windows and Mac OS photo editing application, Skylum Luminar proves to be your best bet if you wish for a worthy alternative to Adobe Photoshop. The photo editing software is a fully AI-powered program that gives you a lot of possibilities in creating the best-looking images with as little effort as possible.

Skylum Luminar AI comes with multiple AI features and templates that allow you to quickly apply effects to images. These different effects are split into categories based on the type of image to be edited. You enjoy AI-powered tools specially optimized for editing the whole body, eyes, face, atmosphere, skin, sky, and structure of objects, among others. 

Using Skylum Luminar AI requires a very minimal learning curve. With no skill in graphic design, its AI-powered features make it easy for you to create stunning images. It remains the best choice. You also get a chance to use Skylum Luminar as a plugin in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Pricing

Skylum Luminar AI Pricing Plan

Skylum Luminar AI is available for free download. Its pricing plan is split into three different one-time purchase plans: a Master plan, an Expert plan accompanied by Aurora HDR, and a Guru plan that additionally includes a Luminar X Membership. 

You choose to either purchase the software license for one or two devices and enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans.

2. GIMP

Best Open-Source Photoshop Alternative for Advanced Graphic Designers with Highly Customizable Features

Gimp is the Best Open Source Photoshop Alternative for Advanced Graphic Designers

GIMP is a cross-platform open-source image editing software that is available to you on GNU/Linux, OS X, and Windows OS, among other operating systems. Free for you to use, GIMP presents the more advanced creators with scripted image manipulation capabilities. It does this through support for multiple programming languages including C, C++, Perl, Python, Scheme, and a lot more.

The open-source image editing software is not limited to one group of creators and remains a good choice for graphic designers, photographers, and illustrators. It does not just present you with sophisticated tools for high-quality image manipulation, but also gives you tools to create your designs from scratch. Your workspace is customizable.

GIMP allows you to expand and centralize your workflow through multiple personalization options and 3rd party plugins. It also serves as one of the best drawing software in the market.

Pricing

GIMP is free for you to use.

3. PhotoWorks

Best Free Photoshop Alternative with Highly Optimized Tools For Portrait and Landscape Editing

PhotoWorks is the Best Free Photoshop Alternative with Highly Optimized Tools

PhotoWorks is another reliable image editor that presents you with a comprehensive list of advanced editing tools and features to choose from. It puts automated pro-level tools at your disposal and offers you one-click solutions in applying the right effects to your images.

Intelligent portrait photo retouching tools from PhotoWorks help you perfect your portrait images. You get rid of pimples, freckles, and spots, create an even skin tone and change eye color all with just a few mouse clicks. Tools optimized for creating stunning landscapes are also provided to you. You have AI-powered capabilities that help you experiment with colors in the most seamless of ways possible.

Alongside providing sliders for editing images, PhotoWorks enables you to easily add stylish captions or watermarks to images. It gives you perspective correction options, multiple brushes, crop presets, automated sky correction, and batch processing capabilities.  

Pricing

PhotoWorks Pricing Plan

Photoworks splits its pricing across three different one-time purchase plans: a standard plan, a pro plan, and an ultimate plan.

The standard plan comes with all essential image editing tools. The pro plan comes with over 150 extra one-click effects and the ultimate plan comes with over 180 one-click effects and an automated background remover. Just like Skylum Luminar, you also choose to either purchase a license for one device or two devices.

4. Colorcinch

Best Photoshop Alternative that Offers A Seamless Animator and A Large Amount of Stock Images

Colorcinch is the Best Photoshop Alternative that Offers A Seamless Animator and A Large Amount of Stock Images

Web-based and easy-to-use, Colorcinch is another worthy alternative to Photoshop that allows you to apply stunning effects to your images. It gives you access to an extensive collection of presets, graphics, and other creative assets as well as an AI-powered cartoonizer that easily transforms images into cartoons, sketches, and paintings.

Colorcinch does not require you to download and install any software and is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux OS. Over 1.5 million high-resolution stock photos for both personal and commercial use are made available to you. You also enjoy hundreds of artistic borders, overlays, masks, and over 50,000 vector graphics and icons.

Alongside other image editing features, Colorcinch supports exports in PNG, JPG, or PDF format and your image quality goes up to 300 DPI.

Pricing

Colorcinch Pricing Plan

Basic image editing features are made available to you for free by Colorcinch. However, for more advanced features, a Plus plan is available to you and this plan has two options: monthly plan and annual plan.

5. Pixlr X

Best Free Photoshop Alternative with Element Presets and Integration with An AI Background Remover 

Pixlr is the Best Free Photoshop Alternative with Element Presets and Integration

The newest version of the popular Pixlr editor, Pixlr X is a free online editor that lets you make incredible edits to your images through your web browser. This web-based editor is presented to you alongside two advanced image editing tools: Pixlr E for more advanced image and template editing and the Remove BG editor for seamless background removals. 

Multiple one-click editing tools and features like an AI CutOut and a Glitch Studio for applying glitch effects are made available to you by Pixlr X. You also have access to numerous filters, text styles, and element presets such as overlays, borders, shapes, and stickers.

Pixlr X supports images in JPEG, PNG, WEBP, GIF as well as PSD (photoshop image) formats. However, you can not edit video files or animated gifs in Pixlr. 

Pricing

Pixlr Pricing Plan

Most of the features provided by Pixlr X are available to you for free but you have a limited set of overlays and stickers. For full access to Pixlr X features and more advanced image editing capabilities, two paid subscription plans are available to you: a premium plan and a creative pack plan with 10 million stock content. You also enjoy a 30-day free trial on the paid plans.

6. Paint.NET

Best Free Photoshop Alternative Exclusive to The Windows Operating System with Unlimited Undo Actions

Paint.Net is the Best Free Photoshop Alternative Exclusive to The Windows Operating System

Optimized for Windows operating system, Paint.NET is an offline image editing software that offers you useful tools and features. It is the more advanced image editing version of the popular MS paint.

Alongside an intuitive and innovative user interface, you are presented with multiple layers blending modes, an unlimited number of undo actions, and special effects among other useful and powerful tools. 

Sadly, Paint.NET does not support RAW files, meaning only graphic design beginners are likely to find this tool very useful.

Pricing

MS Paint is free for you to download and use.

7. Photo Pos Pro

Best Free Photoshop Alternative with A Dynamic User Interface for Both Beginners and Advanced Users

Photo Pos Pro is the Best Free Photoshop Alternative with A Dynamic User Interface

With over 10 million worldwide downloads, there is no surprise why Photo Pos Pro appears on our list. The image editing software provides hundreds of tools and functions as well as support for both Windows and Mac operating systems.

To start with, Photo Pos Pro presents you with two different user interfaces: the regular advanced interface and a novice interface optimized for beginners. This means that individuals with different levels of expertise have the chance to use the software without running into any brick walls. 

Photo Pos Pro provides professional features such as filters, layers, masks, curves, scripts, effects, and brushes, among others. You also have tools to remove, erase, and replace backgrounds, remove unwanted objects, fix poor photos, insert frames, and make photo collages.

Alongside advanced photo effects, Photo Pos Pro also presents you with stunning text effects and support for the RAW file format. You also have access to multiple extension packs and plugins.   

Pricing

Photo Pos Pro is available to you for free but a Premium version exists. This premium version comes through a one-time purchase plan and comes with more advanced tools as well as multiple preformatted templates and elements.

8. Krita

Best Free Photoshop Alternative for Conceptual Artists and Animation Illustrators

Krita is the Best Free Photoshop Alternative for Conceptual Artists and Animation Illustrators

Another free alternative to Photoshop, Krita serves as a great image editing software for texture and matte painters, conceptual artists, illustrators, and comic strip creators. 

The open-source image editor presents you with an expandable workspace and toolsets to make sure that you have all the tools you need to create your art.

Alongside an option to create shortcuts for commonly used tools, Krita offers you over 30 dockers for additional functionality, dark and light color themes, brush stabilizers and customizations, and assistant vector tools for creating the perfect shapes and textures. 

You also get to open, save, and edit HDR and scene-referred images, and import additional brushes created by other designers.

Pricing

Krita is available to you for free.

9. Apple Photos

Best Free Photoshop Alternative Exclusive to Apple products and Offers A Smart Search Feature 

Apple Photos is the Best Free Photoshop Alternative Exclusive to Apple products

Made For Apple Products, Apple Photos is a free image editing software that gives you basic image editing capabilities. 

You rotate, crop, and auto-enhance images and also edit RAW images from standalone cameras or Apple ProRAW taken with the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max camera. This RAW image editing capability is available on iPhone or iPad models with an A9 chip or later.

The tool allows you to easily find and categorize your images through an intelligent search system and syncs all the photos stored on your Apple devices through iCloud.  

Pricing

Apple Photos is free for Apple devices.

10. Photopea Online Photo Editor

Best Free Photoshop Alternative that Supports Multiple Image Formats from External Image Editing Software 

Photopea is the Best Free Photoshop Alternative that Supports Multiple Image Formats

Photopea Online Photo Editor is a web-based application that supports editing images in PSD, AI, XD, sketch, PDF, XCF, and RAW formats. 

The image editor allows you to set keyboard shortcuts, view your edit history, and, just like other image editors, provides you with multiple layers, filters, and brushes. Photopea also comes with a QR code maker, 3D depth viewer, and multiple 3D elements, among a lot of other features. 

Pricing

Photopea Online Photo Editor is available to you for free.

11. PhotoScape X

Best Free Photoshop Alternative that Also Serves As A GIF Maker

PhotoScape X is the Best Free Photoshop Alternative that Also Serves As A GIF Maker

Available for both Windows and Mac OS, Photoscape X serves as an all-in-one photo editing software that also provides photo-related features and tools. 

You have access to a photo viewer, editor, cut-out tool, and batch processing capabilities. Images can be made into collages, GIFs created, and you are presented with a color picker, screen capturing options, and RAW image processing among others. It also serves as a GIF maker.

A variety of over 1000 filters, adjustments, film effects, and lightroom effects are offered to you by Photoscape X. The image editing software also gives you thousands of objects, frames, shapes, and borders. 

Pricing

Photoscape X is available to you through a free version and a paid version called the Photoscape X Pro.

12. InkScape

Best Open-Source Photoshop Alternative with Great Option For Vector Illustrators 

InkScape is the Best Open Source Photoshop Alternative with Great Option For Vector Illustrators

InkScape is another open-source image editing software that comes to you free of charge and remains a good choice for beginners and vector illustrators. 

The image editing software allows you to create curves, straight lines, and calligraphy through flexible, freehand drawing tools. It also provides ready-to-use shapes for quick and easy graphics designs.

Embedded bitmaps in design objects and cloning tools are also available to you so you quickly duplicate an object or design without having to go through the same amount of work. It is made available alongside bitmap tracing and multiple elements conversion to paths, interactive and manual object transformation, and a long list of color manipulation and text options.

The photo editing software offers you a fully anti-aliased display as well as a drag-and-drop design feature for easy and satisfying image editing actions. 

InkScape supports multiple file import and export formats and, as open-source software, is subject to frequent development by coders in its image editing community.

Pricing

InkScape is available to you for free.

Written by
Anastasia Belyh
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