What alternatives are there to Adobe Photoshop?

People may view Adobe Photoshop as the leading image manipulation across the globe. However, as software programming continues to evolve, more advanced manipulation technologies provided by other companies offer relatively cheaper yet powerful and unique features than what Adobe can do.

While it is good to recall that Adobe Photoshop offers more than a photo editing program, you can also find alternatives in the market that give more functionalities and transformations to your photographs. You just need to learn to adjust your focus and try the new tools provided by other alternative photo editing software companies that are available for a free or one-off payment.

These alternatives to Adobe Photoshop’s popularity give value to your money and can even be purchased for mobile or smartphone.

“That widespread popularity, however, can sometimes make it tricky to identify the best photo editors and photo editing apps to suit your needs. But Photoshop isn’t the only game in town,” said Christian Rigg, of Tech Radar.

Photographer camera editor monitor design laptop photo screen photography - stock image

“There are lots of great photo editing software out there- whether you’re an experienced editor, professional artist, or a beginner starting out. And, like Adobe’s premiere photo app, the best alternatives to Photoshop offer must-have image editing tools and deliver polished results in an easy, accessible way,” he added.

Interestingly, the best Adobe Photoshop alternatives available in the market today can assist you in making professional-style digital art either in the home or studio. 

Thus, trying out these alternatives will suspend your ideas that Adobe, with its After Effects, Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premier Pro, is the only creative app that can deliver efficient and seamless workflow as you choose images that appeal to your audience online.

There are plenty of good reasons to try these best Adobe Photoshop alternatives. You can have these alternatives either via a Creative Cloud subscription or for free. You only need to reevaluate your needs on what best suits your business workflow or your current demand.

“The best Photoshop alternatives are no longer merely poor imitations of Adobe’s industry-leading image manipulation program. They’re becoming more sophisticated,” assured tech-writers Georgia Coggan and Tom May, of Creative Bloq.

“Some not only come close to matching Photoshop for many uses, but they also offer unique features of their own,” they added.

Man Busy Photographer Editing Home Office Concept

Top 6 photo editing apps to check for the best Adobe Photoshop alternatives

1. Sketch

Sketch is one of the best Photoshop alternatives for UI and UX design. Some good reasons you have to purchase this software include the professional tool features and clear emphasis on UI design. The specifications include MacOS 10.14.4+Latest version (Platform), 81.1 (Latest version). Sketch is available for a free trial, while none for the free version.

Since its launching in 2012, Sketch has made a buzz in the creative design industry. This software provides professional vector graphics.

In their review, Coggan and May maintained that Sketch is “very flexible, supporting infinite zooming and vector shapes for multiple resolutions.” 

Users can make new graphics from crude shapes. They can also begin the new design with the Pencil tool or Vector.

Like Photoshop, Sketch also includes features like style preset, gradients, layers, color picker, and other illustration tools.

In 2021, Sketch also made some developments on its features, including real-time collaboration with other designers. Under this improvement, fellow designers can check, view, inspect, and measure the illustrations in their browsers and operating systems. Plus, they can do this for free. Additionally, Sketch offers new document access, which gives designers access limit to who can edit some specific designs.

2. Luminar AI

Luminar AI is available on Windows and Mac platforms. This software is an alternative to Photoshop due to its fantastic features. You can also sync Luminar AI edits across photographs. You can have it via Apple/Adobe plug-in or as a standalone.

“Luminar AI is the best Adobe Photoshop alternative for those who want to buy without subscriptions. It isn’t the cheapest option out there, but it’s a powerful photo editing software that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to help artists create amazing photos in just a few clicks,” Rigg said in a review.

Some of the amazing features of Luminar AI include immediate AI sky replacement, skin enhancers, lighting filters, contrast tools, sunrays, AI portrait, and brushes for object removal, among others. This software is known for its intuitive, clean, and functional sidebar. It gives a smooth workplace from start to finish.

3. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

GIMP is another excellent Adobe Photoshop alternative. You can have it worked via Linux, Mac, and Windows. The advantages provided by GIMP include PSD and raw compatibility, free and open source, and has plenty of features to choose from.

This open-source photography manipulation software is a fantastic free alternative. It has a superb yet free photo editor, plus vast arrays of professional-quality features which you can use to enhance your images.

“GIMP boasts a huge number of features and functions that rival Photoshop. There’s also a huge community of developers and artists who have created a wide array of plugins, making this a highly adaptable program,” Rigg maintained.

Furthermore, you can customize the interface. Like Photoshop, GIMP also provides sufficient comfort as you go through its tutorials.

4. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo can work on Windows 10+ and Mac OS 10.9+. It also has iPad version that you can purchase separately via iOS 12. Affinity Photo’s latest version is 1.10.5. You can have a free trial, yet it has no free version. This image manipulation software offers advanced features and professional tools. Undeniably, Affinity Photo is the nearest thing to Photoshop. From its features to its interface, the Affinity Photo is well-accepted by developers, designers, and photographers.

“It also works out a lot cheaper than Photoshop in the long-run since you can buy it for a one-off cost rather than an ongoing subscription,” Coggan and May reviewed.

The customized toolset for various photo editing tasks, or the Personas, is definitely handy to manipulate in the Affinity Photos.

5. Krita

Krita is a top Adobe Photoshop alternative for drawing. It is available on Windows, Linux, and Mac. You have an excellent reason to try this software for your drawing needs. It has fantastic tablet support for drawing, an amazing brush engine, raster, and Vector features, and above all, it has a huge support community.

As an open-source and free alternative to Photoshop, Krita will not fail you in terms of its excellent editing capabilities, particularly for comic strips.

“If you’re looking for an active user base that’s invested in discussing and sharing art, Krita is a great Photoshop alternative,” said Rigg. “It’s hard to beat,” he added.

6. Procreate

Procreate provides you the ultimate solution for digital painting on iPad. Yes, you read it right! Procreate is available on the following platforms: 

Separate iPhone app (iOS 12+) and iPad (iOS 13.2+). The latest version of Procreate is 5.2.3. It has no free trial and no free version. The good reasons you need to check this photo editing software are its Apple Pencil support and low cost.

Procreate started in 2010 as a basic drawing app. Over the years, the software was developed with excellent tools, paving the way for it to receive some Apple Design Awards.

Procreate has several unique features like its easy-to-use layout, digital tools, advanced layer, palm support, and a massive library for brushes.

Coggan and May maintained that Procreate has complete support for both first- and second-generation Apple Pencils, depending on the model of your iPad. It recently offered 3D model painting, page assist, stroke stabilization, and the tool to check 3D model samples in AR.

Woman editing photo on computer. Software interface is completely made up.

Some other alternatives to Adobe Photoshops you can try

1. Photopea 

Platform: Web

2. Photos Pos Pro

Platform: Windows

3. Rebelle

Platform: OS X 10.11+, Windows 7, 8 and 10

4. ArtRage

Platform: Windows 7+, Mac OS X 10+; separate apps for Android and iOS

5. Pixelmator Pro

Platform: Mac OS 10.14+

6. Pixlr

Platform: Browser

The Bottomline

While finding the best Adobe Photoshop alternatives for your image manipulation needs is easy, you also have to consider the image file you want to enhance or edit. You can always check on what type of task you are up to. If you want simple edits, you can always find free software to work the wonder for you. Yet, if you plan to look for highly complicated editing works, it would be best if you pick the more costly software or program for you to be able to get a higher range of photo editing tools and features.