9 Free Photoshop Alternatives and Their Brief Reviews


Adobe Photoshop is the most powerful image editor on the planet. Photoshop can do almost everything in the field of graphic designing, agreed. But is it free? Never. It costs a whooping $700 ($699 for US citizens).

If you play intelligently, you might not need Photoshop, there are many freewares which perform various tasks as good as Photoshop. But they don’t do everything.

One tool is good for retouching but you cannot create digital paintings in it. The other is good for adding filters but doesn’t let you create a web layout. So the bottom line is that if you are a professional and you use Photoshop commercially, you might have to stick with it.

But if you are a photographer or an amateur or you use Photoshop for one specific use only, then one of these freewares could be an even better choice. One good thing about freeware is that these are relatively easy to learn.

GIMP and GIMPshop

If there’s anything that can challenge Adobe Photoshop from the freeware category, it is GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). This is a powered up program which can work as a full-featured image editor and processor, and you can also work with vector graphics as you do in Adobe Photoshop.

Since GIMP has a different interface compared to Adobe Photoshop the creators of GIMP have now launched GIMPshop. This is still the same free GIMP, but its interface is as much close to Adobe Photoshop as it could be. You can see the screenshots of both the programs below.


Freeware Photo Editing Program


Free Photoshop Alternative


Paint.Net is quite an intuitive program, sadly it only runs on Windows yet. This tool does not provide as many functions as GIMP doe,s but I personally feel that Paint.Net is rather more user-friendly and very easy to learn. If you are not a professional, I suggest that you choose this tool instead of Adobe Photoshop.

Free Image Editing Software


Seashore is Paint.Net for Apple Macintosh. It does not support Windows yet but if you are using a Mac operating system, then Seashore might be the best option for you. It is easy, simple and powerful. It doesn’t offer as many functions as GIMP, but it does contain the important ones, such as:

  • layers and alpha channel support
  • gradients and transparency effects
  • anti-aliased brushes
  • tablet support
  • plug-in filters

Freeware Image Editor Software

PhotoPlus SE

Photoplus is a paid program while PhotoPlus SE is free. This is a brilliant tool for making basic level editing and finishing touches to photos. This is the best tool if you are an amateur photographer or just a home user.

Free Photoshop Substitute


In Swedish, Krita means crayon. Krita works great for designing illustrations and digital paintings. This tool is meant to create graphics, rather than editing them. So if you want a full-functional editor, you might choose some other program, but if you create graphics, this would be the best freeware tool for you. Krita also has a brilliant set of Vector Tools.

The Free Raster Painting Tool


Pixen is another great tool for creating graphics in Mac, it uses a unique left/right tool system. With this system you can assign a different tool to the left and right mouse buttons. This system is very useful for drawing and editing. I personally don’t think this tool is good for everything, but the things it does, it does them greatly.

Free Raster Graphics Application


Artweaver (for Windows) is basically a Photo Filter application program with some good image editing capabilities. It applies artistic effects such as oil paints, acrylics, pastels, pencils, airbrushes, etc. to photos. It supports almost all famous image extensions, including Photoshop’s PSD.

Free Image Editing Application

Screenshot Courtesy ImageShack


Pixia was originally designed for creating anime/manga artworks. It has now grown into a vast program and respectable image editor.

Designing Anime Manga Art

create free website wix below post

Further Related Readings

  1. Solomon Walker April 26, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Amazing tools for creating and editing photos and brilliant art work on your computer…Well worth the effort as all are so simple to use, and best of all – FREE!!!

    1. Tayyab April 27, 2011 at 6:02 am

      @Solomon Walker

      Thanks for appreciation, you summed up this article beautifully.

  2. Frank Butterfield July 15, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for this comprehensive review. I’d tried GIMP before but the layout was so disorienting that I couldn’t quite figure out what to do.

    This is the first I’ve heard of GIMPshop. Just downloaded it, installed, and my head did not explode, which was nice… Can’t wait to dive into it!

    1. Tayyab July 16, 2011 at 3:39 am

      I’m using GIMP nowdays, I had the same reaction but its pretty simple once you get used to it. I’m thinking what will happen when I use Photoshop again…..
      Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  3. Elizabeth March 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Just FYI, Photoshop is NOT a vector program. You can import vector art, but will no longer be vector when introduced and manipulated for output in Photoshop!

    1. Tayyab March 6, 2012 at 1:42 am

      Well, Elizabeth, photoshop contains powerful vector tools (pen tools and its colleagues). You can even make a vector output in fileformats such as EPS, WMF etc.
      You are right that photoshop is not made for creating vector designs, for that we have Adobe Illustrator.

  4. kansapa March 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    StylePix Pro is the one of the best alternatives.

    http://hornil.com/en/products/stylepixpro/ (Cheap)
    http://hornil.com/en/products/stylepix/ (FREE)

  5. D.W. May 28, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Tried to download these and my antivirus/anti malware showed these are malicious viruses.

    1. Tayyab May 29, 2013 at 8:54 am

      Well, we are not hosting these files so we can’t say much.

      Kindly clarify these questions:

      1. Which software did you try to download?
      2. From which site did you try to download, please provide link.
      3. Which anti-virus are you using?

      Once again, we did not make these software neither are we hosting them so can’t do much if any of them contains a virus.
      But I can assure you that Paint.Net does not contain any virus, I can say this because one of our writers use it. Also, logically speaking, Gimp cannot contain a virus, that’s because it is a very popular software.

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