- January 01, 2020
- 18 min to read
If you need to make a few tweaks to your images, but do not want to use Photoshop, you are in luck as there are several superb solutions. Here are the 15 best alternatives in no particular order:
1. Luminar 4 (Free Trial 7 days)
Pixelmator is simple photo editing software for Mac. It allows you to edit existing images or create a new project from a blank document. Pixelmator’s tool panel looks a lot like Adobe Photoshop’s, making it easy for both beginners and experts to make the switch. However, it lacks the advanced features that Photoshop provides. Verdict: Adobe Photoshop Elements is an Adobe Photoshop portfolio program that was designed for photo editing and holds its position among the best apps for mac photo editing tightly. If you are not going to seriously turn your hobby for photographing into a professional activity, then there is no point in studying all the options Photoshop offers.
When time for editing your photos is a luxury, Luminar 4 can help. Luminar 4 lets you transform your photos in a flash and synchronizes all the edits that you have made effortlessly. What makes it so great is that you can easily browse all your photos as it automatically organizes your photos which makes navigation simple. Luminar Libraries also boast a very modern interface which optimizes the viewing experience.
Hopefully, our selection of the best free programs for photo editing on Mac will help you choose the right app to suit all your creative needs. Luminar (7 days trial) Luminar is another full-featured photo editor that’s popular with both Mac and Windows users. A Buying Guide for Adobe Photoshop. Whether you enjoy working with digital graphic design or have a need for comprehensive image editing software, Adobe Photoshop is a great, versatile choice. EBay is a great source of software of all types, including Adobe Photoshop, so you can find the programs you need to meet your image editing needs. Alternatives to Photoshop Based on Your Industry or Needs. There are some applications that are more refined for specific industries image needs, or may be for niche work within the industry. While Photoshop is generally seen as the leading tool for building website layouts, one major alternative for production-based work is Fireworks.
Luminar 4 offers many great adjustable styles, features, and tools that you will fall in love with such as its AI Sky Enhancers, Advanced Contrast, and Dehaze to mention only a few.
2. Photolemur (Free Version with watermark available)
Enhancing your images has never been easier thanks to Photolemur. By using AI, this automatic photo enhancer app enhances your images without you having to lift a finger. You simply need to import your images to Photolemur and it will get the job done automatically. This means that you do not require any prior editing experience to complete tasks like getting rid of imperfections. It is oh-so easy and available for both Mac and Windows.
3. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite (Trial 15 days or Full Paid or Monthly sub)
Windows users will love the tools that CorelDRAW has to offer. This Photoshop alternative boasts an interactive tool that will help you to straighten your image or adjust the perspective. Though, one of its most impressive features is its stylus control that reacts to a different pressure.
If you are working with Windows 10, this is the perfect fit. Windows users will also be happy to know that it supports 4K displays and multi-monitor viewing.
4. Serif PhotoPlus X8
Many people have already relied on this app for years. It is ideal for users who are only starting with image editing now as it offers great support for new users in the form of videos and tutorials. What is more, users can get great tips on their active forum for fellow users. Thanks to its latest release, Serif PhotoPlus users will be also able to work with their RAW image files much easier.
5. Adobe Photoshop Elements (Free Trial 30 days)
Do not be fooled by the name, Adobe Photoshop Elements is not the actual Photoshop. However, countless users have experienced that the Adobe Photoshop Elements app offers all the tools that they require to enhance their images. In short, this app has been reduced to the essentials.
With the help of its Adjustment and Blend layers, you can turn any photo into the most amazing image in barely any time at all. Thanks to its guided mode, it is also geared towards beginners.
When it comes to finding a Photoshop alternative, your only challenge will be to identify the software solution that works the best for your unique needs. Why not give them all a try? You might just discover that the best course of action will be to use a couple of these tools instead of just one.
6. Sketch (Free Trial 30 days)
If you are working on a Mac and in need of a budget-friendly alternative to Photoshop, Sketch is the answer. Sketch is a vector graphics app that has the design field all excited, specifically website designers. As it is so popular, you will be able to access countless plug-ins that have been created by the community that will make this app even more functional.
Its user interface is easy to understand and boasts several features such as gradients and layers that are similar to Illustrator and Photoshop. What is more, it also offers a color picker and style presets. You can use one of the basic shapes to create your own graphic or start from scratch with the help of the pencil tool. This app is really so flexible!
7. GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)
GNU is an open-source cross-platform image editor. As its interface is very similar to Photoshop, it will not take you too long to familiarize yourself with GIMP. Though, users who do not have any image editing experience will find the different GIMP tutorials very useful.
It offers color correction, enhancement as well as painting tools to mention only a couple of its features and is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac.
8. Acorn (Trial 14 days)
Mac users who are searching for image editing software need to look no further than Acorn. It is a cost-effective solution if you do not have access to Photoshop. What makes it so great is that it is quick, enjoyable to use and offers useful features.
Some of its features include non-destructive filters, custom brushes and layer styles to mention only a few. The software is easy to use, but, you can rest assured, there are tutorials available for both beginners as well as image editing experts.
9. Affinity Photo (Trial)
Affinity Photo is for sure one of the best Photoshop alternatives. It is ideal for professional designers and photographers as it is completely compatible with Photoshop as well as other file formats. What makes it such a great alternative is that it is not nearly as expensive as Photoshop. Though, users can rest assured as it will still deliver the same performance (if not better).
It is compatible with Mac and Windows. If you are using an iPad, you will be happy to know that Affinity Photo for iPad is also available.
10. Pixelmator Pro (Trial 30 days)
Pixelmator is not a new Photoshop alternative, but recently the Pixelmator Pro version which uses a user-friendly single-window interface has been added to the mix. On top of that, the Pixelmator Pro version also boasts non-destructive image editing and offers features that include split view and a hidden interface that allows you to view your images without any distractions.
It is only available for Mac users.
11. Pixlr (Free Version Available)
Pixlr boasts an interface that is really not much different from Photoshop. It offers hundreds of overlays, borders and other effects. If you simply want to crop your image or whiten your teeth on your iOS or Android device, Pixlr is the right tool for the job. With Pixlr, you can complete all the editing tasks that a good basic photo editor will allow.
12. SumoPaint (Online + Desktop)
The different standard features that you would expect in a Photoshop alternative, SumoPaint has to offer. There are shapes, brushes, gradients, text, and pencils that you can effortlessly access.
Though a word of warning to Photoshop users - a couple of its tools work differently and there are some limitations. Overall, this image editor remains very capable and can load in a flash.
Paint.net is a powerful and practical tool that Windows users can rely on instead of Photoshop. It is a capable and functional tool that concentrates less on artistic creation and more on photo editing.
It offers a decent variety of tools and special effects that include brightness/contrast and repeat selections. It might not boast all the serious editing tools, but that only means that it is not as difficult to master making it the ideal image editor tool for beginners.
14. PicMonkey (Trial 7 days)
The beauty of PicMonkey is found in its easy-to-use interface. If you need to put together a collage, this is your tool to use. All you have to do is upload your images and drag them into the right spot.
15. Canva (Free Basic Plan + Trial 30 days)
Canva is where you will find countless layouts, stock photos, fonts and other great design elements. The best part is that several of these you can use at zero cost. You can use this app to design your business card or put together a birthday card. Adobe photoshop for mac cs5 download.
We recently took a look at the Adobe Creative Suite, breaking down when to use Photoshop vs. Illustrator vs. InDesgin, but there’s one glaring fact we didn’t mention: not every designer has access to these programs.
For designers who are just starting out, still in school or operating on a tight budget, Adobe Photoshop might be a luxury that you just can’t afford. But if you find yourself in one of these categories, breathe easy; there are several free photo editing programs out there that can deliver close to the same results as Photoshop with none of the added cost.
Free Photoshop Software For Mac
You’ll probably end up upgrading to photo editing software with a little more power at some point in your career. However, if you need something to work with now and you can’t spend any money, using these free Photoshop alternatives as a substitute can be a lifesaver.
Cross-Platform, Open Source Alternatives to Photoshop
You can’t have a list like this one without including GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP to those who know it. There’s a lot to love about GIMP—it features Photoshop staples like layers, masks, gradients, text tools, plug-in support and more. Best of all, it’s open source software with a large community of users, so there are plenty of GIMP tutorials and add-ons out there to help you overcome any of the program’s limitations.
Be aware that GIMP cannot output CMYK files by default, so if you’re preparing a print-ready design in 4-color, you’ll need an additional GIMP plugin with CMYK support.
If you really need to work in a Photoshop-like environment, Gimphoto is a version of GIMP that imitates Adobe’s layout while still keeping it open source. The menus, terminology, and basic interface have all been tweaked to give Photoshop veterans a more familiar working environment.
Unlike the similarly-interfaced Gimpshop, Gimphoto includes many extra features, such as new brush styles, layer styles, and support for standard Photoshop plug-ins.
CinePaint is deep image editing software that is primarily used in video editing, but it’s also a useful tool for retouching photos because it can work with images of higher color fidelity. A higher quality image produces better results in your print projects, so this might be a program worth looking into.
Inkscape uses a vector-based environment, so it’s a much better option for illustration than most other free alternatives to Photoshop; in fact, it’s almost more of an Illustrator alternative (though it can still be used for basic bitmap edits like photo retouching). The program’s native format is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), so you don’t have to worry about your project looking fuzzy if you try to resize it. Overall, Inkscape is a great choice for any designer who wants to learn vector illustration on a tight budget.
Photoshop Alternatives for Mac
Seashore is open source Mac-only editing software based on GIMP, but with an interface designed to match the MAC OS X aesthetic. The result is a good-looking program that may not exactly be equivalent to Photoshop, but ultimately produces attractive results with ease.
The good news is that ChocoFlop is a formidable design tool made exclusively for the Mac OS, and there is a freeware beta version available. The bad news is, the designers decided not to continue forward with the project and will not be releasing any more versions or support for the program. However, it’s still a worthwhile tool, especially with its unique non-destructive image editing capabilities.
This simple photo editor for Mac offers multi-touch support and non-destructive filters as well as some essential drawing tools. The newest version of LiveQuartz does cost a few bucks on the App Store, but if you’re really strapped for cash, you can still download older freeware versions.
Photoshop Alternatives for Windows PCs
Paint.NET might not be fancy, but it has an intuitive interface and plenty of the same features as Photoshop—though you might find yourself missing those features that it lacks. Despite the name, Paint.NET is really best used for photo editing since it doesn’t have many illustrative tools, though it’s also open source with an impressive support base.
Photo Pos Pro
Photo Pos Pro is a freeware program for Windows that’s great for beginners. The interface is easy-to-use, there’s a low learning curve and the software even provides helpful pop-up tips. These are the sort of things that might make a more experienced designer lose their mind, but can be a major boon for those who are just starting out.
Many designers look at Serif PhotoPlus as a serious contender with Photoshop. Unfortunately, the advanced version does cost money (though not as much as the Adobe products will set you back.) However, there is a basic freeware version of PhotoPlus that might not have as many features, but still gives you the basics at a comparable quality to Photoshop, along with a simple, user-friendly interface.
PhotoFiltre is an easy, intuitive program for photo editing and manipulation. True to its name, the program has a wide range of filters that make it easy for novices to jump right in and alter their images, but there’s plenty here for the seasoned pros to find appealing, too.
Pixia is a Japanese program which has found popularity in the west and has since been translated into English. Pixia was created mainly for digital illustrations (specifically for manga and anime artists), but it has plenty of useful features for design and photo manipulation as well. The biggest downside to Pixia would be the outdated-looking interface, but if you don’t mind your editing software looking a bit “retro,” this may be the right tool for you.
Google’s Picasa software might not have the full capacity of Photoshop, but it’s a good program for making last-minute edits. Picasa does have a few unique tricks up its sleeve such as batch editing and photo-management tools, not to mention easy integration and sharing on Google platforms.
Online Photoshop Alternatives
Pixlr is a great online Photoshop alternative, especially if you need to do work when you’re nowhere near your home computer. It has an impressive amount of clout for a program that works in your web browser, and it stands out for having three different levels of editing power to choose from: playful, efficient or advanced. There’s even a mobile app version for designers who are on the go and need to make quick fixes.
Splashup is an online image editing program with a clean design interface that’s highly reminiscent of Photoshop. It doesn’t have a ton of features, but it does support layers and pixel-level control. Splashup is a good tool for beginners, especially since it allows for easy sharing on the web’s top photo sharing sites like Flickr and Facebook.
Free Photoshop For Mac
SumoPaint is another web-based favorite of many professional designers, since it features an interface similar to Photoshop with plenty of the same features. There’s also an inexpensive desktop version available if you don’t want to use it in your browser, and a mobile app for illustration on the go.
Photoshop For Mac Programs Downloads
Photoshop Express Editor
If you absolutely have to use Photoshop but don’t have access to it, there’s always the browser version, Photoshop Express Editor. Of course, it would be silly for Adobe to give away their product for free, so the online application has limited tools, but it’s a good option for editing essentials from a name that you trust.
They say a poor workman blames his tools, and the same must hold true for designers. Yes, we admit, no freeware program can serve as a complete replacement for a high-end program like Adobe Photoshop. But we truly believe that a creative, clever, budget-conscious designer can overcome the limitations of any program and create beautiful results.
Are there any free Photoshop alternatives out there that we missed? Do you have any advice for working with free photo editing software? Leave your comments below, we’re looking forward to hearing from you!