Best Free Photoshop Alternatives 2018

Best Free Photoshop AlternativeAdobe’s Photoshop has become the most popular photo editing software available. So much so that the program is synonymous with image creation and has entered the common lexicon for tweaked photos. However, there is a vibrant market of Photoshop alternatives out there, and many of the best editors are available for free.
You may be wondering why you should pay for Photoshop when some programs deliver many of the same features for free? That’s why we decided to sift through the market to find the best free Photoshop alternatives. Our list shows the very best photo editing programs available on desktop and mobile devices. From touchscreen apps ideal for quick edits and beginners, to complete suites of high-featured editing tools, we have it covered.


GIMPOf all the free Photoshop alternatives on the market, GIMP is the most well-known. Featuring a famous mascot called Wilbur, GIMP is known to many as an excellent freeware photo editing suite.
GIMP has been around long enough that it has picked up features to make it a true rival to Photoshop. It comes with photo retouching tools, a paint and drawing capability, batch processing, conversions, and more. Editors will certainly be interested in the robust filters, layers, and effects available. In addition, it supports an extensive range of file types.
One of the things we like the most about GIMP is its open and modular design. It feels like a platform because it accepts plug-ins and scripts to enhance the experience. This is a rich ecosystem that now includes hundreds of additions for the software. Once loaded, the program is a busy place of features across two side panels. This looks cluttered and disorganized – one of the few gripes we have about this app. That said, there is a detailed help section so even beginners should be able to be up and running in no time. The traditional drop-down tab menu along the top of the screen is well designed with easy paths to features.

OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Open-source
File Size: 85 MB
Our Rating: 9 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Customizable platform with plug-ins
  • Rich set of features
  • Community developed
  • Regularly updated
  • Lacks professional tools such as macros and clipping layers
  • Cluttered interface may put beginners off

2. Photo Pos Pro

Photo Pos ProPhoto Pos Pro is another powerful Windows-based photo editing tool that serves as a fantastic free alternatives to Photoshop. It is also an interesting choice for beginners and experts alike because of dual interfaces: one for advanced users and one for novices. Beginners are given easy-to-understand templates such as photo modes, instantly applicable effects, color tints, and one-click choices. There are also several color schemes to choose from, although we prefer the silver them (white and black are also available) because it contrasts the editing window and the settings for a clearer UI. Photo Pos Pro is filled with familiar photo-editing features like layers, clone controls, accurate healing brushes, and batch editing. Additionally, the program supports importing images directly from a device. Like GIMP, Photo Pos Pro has a plug-in ecosystem that lets you download more features and abilities.
One major problem with the program is its limit on saving files, which are capped to 1,024 x 2,014. It would be nice to have more freedom in selecting the file size when saving images.

OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Freeware with available premium version
File Size: 61 MB
Our Rating: 8 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Specific interfaces for beginners and experts
  • UI customization
  • Strong features
  • Restrictive file-size saving capabilities

3. Paint.NET

Paint.NETMicrosoft Paint is a delightful free tool for simple photo edits and art creations and has been updated to Paint 3D for mixed reality and 3D printing models. Paint.NET was born as a freemium tool that closely mimicked Microsoft Paint, but has since grown to become a more focused photo editor.
Paint.NET can sit comfortably alongside GIMP and Photo Pos Pro as one of the most feature-rich free Photoshop alternatives. It has an enviable list of automatic tools, such as color adjustments, filters, contrasts, and more. Manual controls are also plentiful, whether you are doing intricate crops or other fine adjustments.
Layers and masks are also supported, although the latter needs a plug-in to access. We love that batch editing is available from download. The only reason Paint.NET is ranked third is because of its limited customization options.

OS: Windows 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Freeware
File Size: 7 MB
Our Rating: 8 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Extremely light
  • Strong list of features
  • Easy to use
  • Limited customization tools

4. Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop ExpressMany people now use their smartphones as their camera device. Moving images to a PC for editing can lead to more features and tools, but in most cases on-device editing is enough for simple adjustments. Adobe has carved a niche for itself in the smartphone and tablet market with Adobe Photoshop Express. While nowhere near as powerful as the normal Photoshop, Express brings nifty features to handheld devices. This trimmed-down version is specifically designed for touchscreens, which means it works across Android, iOS, Windows 8, and Windows 10. Because of its nature, it is not a maze of intricate features, but instead is focused on ease of use.
Sliders, one-touch options, and easy-to-apply features make photo editing both intuitive and fun. Among the tools are crop, contrast, exposure, and white balance adjustments, controllable by the user or applicable through an automatic feature. We particularly like the clarity contrast tool which deals with mid-tones. Other notable features include vibrancy, exposure, and one-touch filters. Of course, this being an app, there are obvious professional-grade features missing, so hardcore photo editors will likely see Photoshop Express as more of a toy than a work tool.

OS: Windows 8, 10
Licensing: Freeware
File Size: 60 MB
Our Rating: 7 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Touch and mobile ready
  • Surprisingly strong features
  • Powerful automatic tools
  • Some features hidden behind in-app purchases
  • Not a fully realized photo editing experience

5. Autodesk Pixlr

Autodesk PixlrAutodesk Pixlr Editor is a very impressive photo editing software from AutoDesk, a specialist in 3D modeling software. The developer has created web, desktop, and mobile versions of the service, but we think the desktop version is a triumph and a genuine free alternative to Photoshop.
The web app is the only one to support layers. Because this is an app-based program, it is designed to be used by single-clicks, pen input, and touches. Simplicity in the UI should not be mistaken for a lack of features because Pixlr is well stocked and all tools are free to use (there are no in-app purchases).
Mirroring Photoshop’s features, Pixlr offers blur, noise, curves, contrast, and numerous other tools. All of these work well, although admittedly the whole feature set is not as expansive as Photoshop or GIMP.
We especially like the toolbox, which places important features into an easy-to-reach place. Here we can access selections and clone tools, brushes, and fills to create a ribbon above the editing pane. Sadly, there is no batch editing available here, so you will have to rely on having numerous windows open.
This is one of the lightest Photoshop alternatives too, although it is built from Flash.

OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Freeware
File Size: 34 MB
Our Rating: 7 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Photoshop-style interface
  • Easy to use
  • Light
  • Program future in doubt

All the listed programs are great tools that offer various image editing features. For more options to modify graphic files you might want to check out the review of the 10 best software for working with images.

2 thoughts on “Best Free Photoshop Alternatives 2018

  1. I highly suggest PhotoViewerPro as the best photo editing software. It makes editing a lot easier and it gives you a wide array of tools to make your photos eye-catchy and more enhanced. It is definitely a two thumbs up!

  2. thank you so much for this article this is intriguing article compare to other websites, i am very excited to use this software i try GIMP on my ubuntu but it work slowly how can i increase the software speed. I also tried as a photoshop alternative

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