Layers, mask, selection tools and brushes ... this is what we always think when we speak about Adobe Photoshop.
But Photoshop cost money, and if you are on my blog it's because you are searching for a free image manipulation alternative Photoshop look alike or a photo editor with the similar photo editing tools and drawing capabilities to download and install on your computer (PC or Mac), and i can assure you will find it, here, on my photography blog, if you are able to take some times to read.
I have reviewed and listed more than 250 free photo editors across my blog, and this page is dedicated to all the specific Photoshop free alternative or Photoshop look alike i have found.
There is two kinds of free alternative to Photoshop:
Gimp (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) is the most well known free photo processor editor and image retouching Photoshop alternative!
But it as a price, and this price is, it is not aimed to beginners, and it is as complex as Photoshop but not ergonomically well made as Photoshop, even if GIMP is often compared to it for image and photo montage and manipulation.
For Windows, Mac OSX and Linux, Gimp is a lot more than a photo editing software extremely powerful, but GIMP cannot handle RAW files alone, it need a plugin called UFRaw which is able to open almost all the RAW photos.
The GIMP GUI (Graphical User Interface) is sadly extremely outdated, in fact the user interface is so outdated that it look like the icons were made by a kindergarten kid, and the ergonomic is almost non existent.
Having said that, do not get me wrong, GIMP is as powerful as Photoshop and with some plugins like G'MIC or UFRaw it's like you got Photoshop extended with Adobe Camera Raw and even more.
Fiji For Mac OSX, Windows and Linux or imageJ2 are the same at the core, Fiji have just more plugins and addons inside.
ImageJ2 focuses on analysis of scientific multidimensional image data.
Fiji in other hand is a distribution of ImageJ2 for the life sciences. It provides a large number of additional plugins to facilitate analysis of life sciences images, particularly microscopy images.
Fiji and ImageJ2 can do what Photoshop or GIMP are not able to do... Yes and not only that.
You will tell me "but for my image manipulation what it can do?"
The following links are a typical example of what you can do with Fiji or ImageJ2 to get rid off the paper's patterns after scanning an old photograph.
The CinePaint software is a fork from GIMP and was used in the professional motion picture industry ( see Wikipedia ), it can work with high bit depths 16 and 32 bits color too. CinePaint supports a 16-32 bit color managed workflow for photographers and printers.
Like GIMP, CinePaint is not aimed at beginners and like his "Brother GIMP" it look antic, may be more.
For Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.
I found it not pleasant to use and quite slow to edit a picture compared to what nowadays others photo editors are doing and offering. Having said that, it's a robust yet image and video editor.
If you are searching for a tutorial of CinePaint, better to search about GIMP tutorial because you will got a lot more tutorial and those 2 photo and video editing software are so much similar and have an almost identical user interface.
I didn't try Pinta because i am on Mac OS X, and to use Pinta (1.4 MB only) on a macOS, i needed also to download and install "Mono" (+220 MB) a framework for Pinta ...
Sorry but the ratio is too huge for a software i might never use again after testing it.
For Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and BSD, by looking at the user interface it seems to be quite well featured with photo editing tools and powerful. If you ever tried it or if you are a regular user, please let a comment of your experience at the bottom of this page.
The Paint.NET software is a free image and photo editing software for Windows, from XP to the latest version of Windows.
Paint.NET features an intuitive and user friendly user interface, where you have full control on the transparency/opacity of the window's tools.
Paint.NET works with layers, it has unlimited undo, a lot of special effects, many different brushes, the magic wand and other selection tools. Over all Paint.NET has a wide variety of useful and powerful tools.
Paint.NET is often compared to other photo and image editing software such as Corel Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop, but more often, as a freeware, with the GIMP.
The PaintStar software is a free image and photo editing software for Windows, from the old windows 95 to windows 7-8 compatible, and may be Windows 10.
Paintstar is very tiny (less than 3MB), but it has a lot of big features and many tools for retouching photos, composing and authoring images, it does image morphing and screen capture. Paintsart can also display the image thumbnail in windows.
Paintstar supports the alpha, layers, path, and so... It has many tools and filters you can find in commercial software, and some interesting extras.
The PhoXo free photo editor is little by its size (less than 5MB only), but huge by its features and possibilities.
PhoXo is very fast to process a picture, it is also very easy to use.
For Windows, PhoXo's features include: layers, unlimited undo, over 50 photo effects, a batch processing system, and a wide range of powerful tools, selecting tool like the magic wand, crop, painting, retouching, and so...
With PhoXo, you can add text, give some effects to the text, such as shadow, ripple text, gradient color text and a lot more.
The Photo Pos Pro application is a totally free digital photo and image editing software, which allows you to easily edit, enhance, and manipulate your photos and other graphics on Windows PC exclusively.
Photo Pos Pro photo editor, allow you to create graphics, a variety of collages, greeting cards, business cards, website designs, buttons and much more.
The Krita free open source software is more about a painting application, but Krita does have a many well featured editing tools for photography, and with all its brushes and different selection tools, Krita can do what Photoshop does, and may be more.
For Mac OS, Linux and Windows, I was hesitating to put Krita in the Photoshop clone or alike freeware, because Krita is very aimed to draw and paint, but after discovering its photo editing abilities, there were no doubt that Krita belongs here too.
Pixelitor surprised me by it's simplicity, and a very easy to use photo editor with a light Photoshop look, but very well featured with useful photo editing tools.
This free user friendly photoshop alike editor software to download on your desktop computer does not accept RAW file yet, but your jpeg will be fine.
It work in a Java environment, it means it work on many different operating system.
For Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and BSD. It is a very efficient free photos editor for desktop.
Pixelitor is powerful with many options, it has layers with many blending mode. Each important editing tool have it's own window for fine tuning, also it has more than 70 filters which some of them are unique. The noise reduction tool is truly magic to eliminate the noise caused by high ISO and eliminate chromatic aberration, i got really amazed about the efficiency of this noise reduction tool also called denoiser.
The "Export to JPG" function is also truly awesome, like Photoshop you got the side by side quality with a slider to adjust the quality and the effect are immediately visible with the future file size too, Bravo !
The SeaShore freeware is an open source images editor for Cocoa. It features gradients, textures and anti-aliasing for both text and brush strokes. It supports multiple layers, alpha channel editing and core image effects. It uses the same native file format as the GIMP.
For Mac OS X, this editing image software feel light, but each time you click on a tool (top bar) under the top bar you got many options for the chosen tool, it's well organized, Seashore use layers and the file are compatible with GIMP.
If you want a simple looking but powerful image editing software, you need to try out SeaShore, it might be what you are searching for if you have a very powerful computer, because on mine it does not like big images, i waited too long between each process, but it was very promising, so when i will change my old computer i will try it again.
The Photo Pos Lite is the lighter version of Photo Pos Pro. It is a very powerful photo editor, still for Windows users and free, but it has a bit less tools than Photo Pos Pro. Photo Pos Lite is aimed to people which do not like to be overwhelmed by a lot of options and tools, they likely will never use.
Photo Pos Lite is fully featured with frames and borders, overlays, one click photo effects, and simple editing tools for your photos, but it has also some tools dedicated, like Photoshop, for image manipulation and design editing (in a more simple ways than the free pro version).
In the Web Browser: Free online Photoshop alike and image manipulation >>
You might also be interested with the last entry in the blog:
Nowadays our smartphones have more computer power than a 10 years old desktop computer. Technology is evolving fast and with it, the language acquiring new words like smartphone or selfie.
We are doing everything with our phone, from a GPS assistant to photograph or record a movie in full 1080p HD, even post processing those images, and i don't even speak about playing 3D games, read some news on internet and so on...
At the end, when we compare how we use our phone the most, in percentage, I can say safely that we barely use it to call someone, and this is why i call mine a photophone.
If you like this page let me know it in a comment below and don't forget to share it now.
Thank you for your support.