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 artistsâ€”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.