When you are looking for a free software like Photoshop

There are thousands of posts around the web about free Photoshop alternatives.

Let me start from another point of view. There isn’t any free alternative to Photoshop. As far as I know, there isn’t any alternative at all to Photoshop.

But if you aren’t going to use all Photoshop features or you are somewhere around the world and for some reason your Photoshop crashes and need a quick, somewhat powerful and free way to mess around with photos, colors and shapes, you may find this list useful.

They’re listed in alphabetical order, so the first isn’t necessarily the best.

But I tried to point you to a couple of softwares for each OS, such as Windows, OS X and Linux, and some interesting online tools.

I didn’t try personally all the softwares, so the description of each one is taken from their sites. I just tried to download them for free and install them on various machines. Screenshots too are taken from their sites.

If you used some of them, leave a review comment.

Artweaver – Windows

Artweaver is a Windows Freeware program to simulate natural brush tools

ChocoFlop – OS X

ChocoFlop allows you to edit your photos or design stuff using Apple’s CoreImage technology. It takes advantage of the power of your graphics card.

Cinepaint – Linux, OS X

CinePaint is a deep paint image retouching tool that supports higher color fidelity than ordinary painting tools.

FotoFlexer – online

FotoFlexer is the world’s most advanced online photo editor

GIMP – Windows

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.

A photographer in my company choosed it as the best software for photo retouching… even better than Photoshop. I disagree, but I’m informing you about that.

Krita – Linux

Krita is a painting and image editing application for KOffice. Krita is part of KOffice since version 1.4. Krita contains both ease-of-use and fun features like guided painting (never before has it been so easy to airbrush a straight line!) and high-end features like support for 16 bit images, CMYK, L*a*b and even OpenEXR HDR images.

Paint.NET – Windows

Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools.

Phoenix – online

All the Photoshop features you actually need, at a fraction of the price (but I managed to save a photo for free)

Photoshop Express – online

Adobe’s free photo editing tool

Picasa – Windows, Linux

Google’s free photo editing tool

Picnik – online

Does not require you to register to start playing with it

Pixen – OS X

Mainly designed from top to bottom for pixel artists—people who make low-resolution raster art like the sprites you see in old video games.

Pixia – Windows

The original Japanese Edition was created and developed by the author, Isao Maruoka, but has also been aggressively raised by its fans, which makes this software to be quite unique and different from other tools.

Pixlr – online

Another one that does not require registration to mess with. Great interface in my opinion

Pizap – online

Same as before, no registration required, but a bit limited compared to other online editors

Queeky – online

Queeky is an online drawing community with unique drawing tools and creative users from all around the world.

Splashup – online

Splashup, formerly Fauxto, is a powerful editing tool and photo manager. With all the features professionals use and novices want, it’s easy to use, works in real-time and allows you to edit many images at once.

SUMO Paint – online

SUMO Paint offers professional and easy to use tools for creating and editing images within a browser. SUMO Paint is a free image editing software that gives you the opportunity to create, edit and comment images online with powerful tools and layer support.

  • Nice post. There’s some good alternatives in here. For people used to Photoshop, there is a modification to the GIMP that will give it the same look as Photoshop. Here is the link: http://www.gimpshop.com/

  • great list, I used to have gimp installed on my pc when I still didn’t have photoshop and it did the job for me. Sumo paint is good too when you need to touch up an image quickly. I also suggest Aviary ( http://aviary.com/home ), they have different online programs, like phoenix for image editing and raven for vector editing.

  • scratch that first comment :D I see you already listed phoenix, somehow I skipped that part. Still, it’s a great software.

  • GIMP is extremely powerful, nearly on par with PS. I personally prefer it for making sprites.

  • JK

    Paint.net is very useful. I sometimes use it as a photoshop alternative just because it loads quickly so it’s great for tweaks and adjustments to graphics I’m using in Flash.

    Lots of other interesting looking stuff to try though – that Japanese arty one looks good.

  • Why do we have to look for these things when photoshop exists?

  • Boxer

    Good overview.But who’s that guy on the bike in the last picture:-)?

  • Chad Miller

    “Why do we have to look for these things when photoshop exists?”

    Because not everyone has Photoshop. Many people could use a good image editor but don’t need every feature Photoshop has. Even those who might find some of those features useful might not want them given the price tag.

  • Joe

    @Shival because photoshop costs money, all these ones are free.

    I personally prefer Gimp over photoshop, its a powerful program, great for all skill levels.

  • Hi Emanuele,

    nice article! Thanks for that. One programm worth to mention would be Photo Filtre from a French developer. http://photofiltre.free.fr/

    I use it quite often.

    best wishes

  • Jai

    great list…
    GIMP is cross-platform, but you only put windows…

  • I’ve tried some of them, I like Gimp and paint.net. If you want to try Gimp without installation you can go with the portable version.
    picasa actually is a photo library application, but it has a nice and easy to use basic photo retouching feature.

  • edz

    Fee free to visit http://photoeditingsoftware1.blogspot.com
    wherein you can find the basic software that you can use to edit your photos.

  • Picasa is the best way to edit online

  • keescomm

    you left out the most important one – not for free however – Xara Designer Pro.
    Wow is the best word to discribe this program, in my opinion. I’m using Photoshop still, but less and less, ’cause evertything seems easier and quicker in Xara.

  • Gimp is great and does a lot!

  • Also try this – http://editphotosforfree.com (Photo Editor + Photo Collage)