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The 7 Best Photoshop Alternatives

Are you looking for a photo editing program with the power of Photoshop but without the hefty price tag? You‘re in luck! While Adobe‘s industry-leading software is undeniably impressive, there are now numerous feature-rich alternatives that won‘t break the bank. As a digital artist and technology enthusiast, I‘ve tested dozens of Photoshop competitors to bring you my top 7 picks.

Whether you‘re a professional photographer, digital painter, or casual creator, there‘s an option here that will fit your needs and budget. I‘ve carefully evaluated each program based on its features, ease of use, platform compatibility, and overall value. So let‘s dive in and find your ideal Photoshop replacement!

  1. Affinity Photo (Windows, macOS, iPad)
    Best Overall Photoshop Alternative

If you‘re seeking an affordable Photoshop alternative that refuses to compromise on features, look no further than Affinity Photo. For a one-time fee of $54.99 on desktop or $21.99 on iPad, you get a staggeringly comprehensive toolset that goes toe-to-toe with Adobe‘s flagship editor.

With support for unlimited layers, advanced retouching tools, RAW file processing, PSD editing, 360° image editing, and more, Affinity Photo is up to any challenge. Its customizable workspace and intuitive layout make it a joy to use for novices and seasoned pros alike. And with regular free updates, you can rest assured that Affinity Photo will keep getting better over time.

  1. Pixelmator Pro (macOS)
    Best for Mac Users

Built from the ground up for macOS, Pixelmator Pro is a sleek, user-friendly image editor that feels right at home on Apple devices. A single $39.99 purchase grants you access to a robust suite of professional editing tools presented in an intuitive, streamlined interface.

With full support for Apple‘s latest tech – including the M1 chip, Metal, and Pro Display XDR – Pixelmator Pro is blazingly fast and optimized for maximum performance. Its machine learning features enable instant automatic layer naming, precise object selection, and intelligent quick actions. All this cutting-edge tech is balanced by Pixelmator Pro‘s delightfully accessible UI that keeps your workspace clutter-free without sacrificing functionality.

  1. GIMP (Windows, macOS, Linux)
    Best Free Photoshop Alternative

For 25 years, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) has been the go-to free and open source image editor for millions worldwide. And it‘s not hard to see why. This remarkably powerful software boasts a vast array of features that rival those of premium editors.

With support for layers, masks, advanced filters, color correction tools, and more, GIMP is equipped to handle everything from basic retouching to complex compositing. As an open source project, it also enjoys an enthusiastic developer community that‘s constantly expanding its capabilities. While GIMP‘s interface may not be quite as polished as its paid counterparts, you‘d be hard-pressed to find a more capable Photoshop alternative at the unbeatable price of $0.

  1. Krita (Windows, macOS, Linux)
    Best for Digital Painting

Designed by artists, for artists, Krita is a free and open source digital painting program that‘s perfect for illustrators, concept artists, and comic creators. Its extensive brush engine and customizable tool presets make it a dream for anyone who wants to paint digitally.

Krita‘s intuitive pop-up palette and brush stabilizers help you work quickly and precisely, while its wraparound mode and vanishing point tools are ideal for creating seamless textures and perspective drawings. With support for HDR painting, PSD files, and complex vector layers, Krita has everything you need to bring your artistic visions to life.

  1. Photopea (Web)
    Best Browser-Based Photoshop Alternative

Photopea proves that you don‘t need to download software to get a top-notch image editing experience. This browser-based app delivers a shockingly comprehensive set of features right in your web browser, for free!

With support for layers, masks, blend modes, selection tools, filters, and more, Photopea is no mere toy – it‘s a serious editor that can handle complex projects. It even supports PSD, TIFF, GIF, and RAW file formats, making it a great choice for editing and retouching photos. And since it runs in your browser, you can access Photopea from any computer without worrying about downloads or compatibility issues.

  1. Procreate (iPad)
    Best for Drawing and Painting on iPad

Built exclusively for iPad, Procreate is hands-down the best mobile Photoshop alternative for artists on the go. A single $9.99 purchase unlocks an astonishingly natural drawing and painting experience, optimized for Apple Pencil.

With over 200 highly customizable brushes, full layer support, intuitive touch controls, and the ability to work with massive 16K resolution canvases, Procreate is a mobile art studio that never fails to impress. Its Valkyrie graphics engine delivers staggering 120fps performance, while its unique Smudge tool lets you mix colors and create natural-looking blends and textures. It‘s no wonder Procreate has become an essential tool for professional illustrators, animators, and concept artists around the world.

  1. Pixlr (Web, Android, iOS)
    Best for Quick Online Photo Editing

While not as full-featured as some of the other options on this list, Pixlr is an excellent choice for anyone who needs to perform quick, basic photo editing tasks online. Available as both a web app and mobile app, Pixlr offers a streamlined set of tools for cropping, resizing, adjusting, and filtering your images.

With an intuitive interface, extensive filter library, and essential retouching tools, Pixlr makes it easy to enhance your photos in just a few taps or clicks. Its web version is completely free (with ads), while the mobile apps offer additional features and an ad-free experience for a modest subscription fee.

The Verdict

As you can see, there‘s no shortage of capable Photoshop alternatives to fit every budget, platform, and use case. If you‘re seeking the ultimate Photoshop replacement, I highly recommend Affinity Photo for its unbeatable combination of features, performance, and value. Mac users should also seriously consider Pixelmator Pro for its delightful, Apple-centric experience.

For artists and illustrators, Krita on desktop and Procreate on iPad offer unparalleled natural media experiences that are sure to inspire your creativity. And if you‘re on a tight budget, GIMP and Photopea deliver serious image editing power completely free of charge.

No matter which option you choose, you can be confident in your ability to create stunning images, graphics, and artwork without being locked into an expensive Photoshop subscription. So go forth and create – your perfect Photoshop alternative awaits!