Editing photos is a great pastime. In fact, I find it such a calming, creative juice-inducing experience. But, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just PhotoShop that can help you create the best photos out there. There are free PhotoShop alternatives you can try, and these are…
Free Web-Based Editors
PicMonkey: PicMonkey is a web-based editing program—so it works on all platforms, and you can access it for free. I love this one because of the clarity of output that I get, and its great selection of overlays, effects, fonts, textures, and everything else that can make a photo better. My only concern is that it can sometimes be slow, but otherwise, it’s a great choice.
Pixlr: This is another web-based program that works even on Apple or Android phones, so you can edit wherever you are. I like its selection of colors, layers, fonts, and overlays—especially the galaxy ones. Sometimes, though, the outputs may be a little less than stellar and not really crisp, but it’s good to practice with.
SumoPaint: The name doesn’t sound too professional, but hey, it has that old-school feel, with brushes, gradients, and all, so it makes for great pastime, but don’t expect too much.
Free Photo Editors for Linux
CinePaint: Imagine being able to create dramatic, film-like photographs. Well, that’s what CinePaint can do for you! It has 32-bit color fidelity, frame manager, and retouching tools that not only edits photos, but videos, as well.
GIMP: When I was introduced to this years ago, I felt like it really was the best alternative to PhotoShop that there is, and I still kind of feel that. Once you get past the childlike design, you’ll realize that this can do so much—with its great overlays and brushes, plus, it’s so easy to navigate, too.
GrafX2: This used to be just a pixel art, but it has improved to be a great photo editing tool that lets you draw using indexed colors, and work with color cycles and various palettes, as well. It’s more of a drawing program, rather than editing, though.
Free Photo Editors for Mac
Pixelmator: As Mac is meant for multimedia use, Pixelmator makes it easy for you to edit photos and draw. It has a great selection of colors, and often gives that vibrant, fluid effect that looks truly professional. It does not work for earlier versions of Mac, though.
SeaShore: This works seamlessly on Mac as it was created for its Cocoa Framework. It works almost the same as GIMP, but makes way for more layers and transparency. Navigation can be a bit complicated, but with enough practice, you’ll get the hang of it.
Free Photo Editors for Windows
Paint.Net: This is deemed to be a more high-tech, and high-def form of the classic Paint but it has all the basic tools you need, such as brushes, lines, and colors in a more well-defined manner. Navigation can also be a problem so it’s not that popular.
Paintshop PRO X7: This has an amazing Magic Fill feature, good selection of brushes, detailed editing, and slick interface, too. It can be a bit slow, but nothing you can’t handle.
Serif Photoplus: This offers tutorials that would make you realize how close to Photoshop it is, and has great cloning, and studio fix effects. However, it can be quite tricky, so it’s not really recommended for beginners.
Edit the way you want
So, there you have it—the best free PhotoShop Alternatives, in my opinion. Trying these ones would surely open up your mind to the joys and magic of editing. If you do happen to try them, let me know what you think in the comments—and do share this with your friends, if you can. ‘Til next time!