5 image editors you should use instead of Adobe Photoshop


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Adobe Photoshop is such a popular app that its name has become a verb. This is undoubtedly one of the best photo editors that you can use today. But it is also quite expensive and not everyone likes its subscription model.

If you are looking for an alternative, you are in the right place. We've sifted through the options and picked the five best Photoshop alternatives that will scratch that image-editing itch. Read on to see what we recommend.

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The user interface of Affinity Photo shows a photo being edited and the various tools and toolbars surrounding it.
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One of the biggest complaints leveled at Adobe Photoshop is its subscription model, which requires you to pay an ongoing fee every month or year to continue using the app. This may seem daunting if you intend to use Photoshop for years to come.

With Affinity Photo, there are no such worries. A fixed fee of $70 for the desktop version means you only need to make one purchase and it's yours forever.

But that's not the only reason you should pay attention to Affinity Photo – far from it. It's packed with great features and powerful tools that make image editing easy, from a huge brush library and superfast image loading to a wide range of tools for retouching, raw image editing, photo manipulation and much more.

Affinity Photo has won several prestigious awards, including being named Apple's App of the Year. It is available on macOS and Windows, with the desktop version priced at $70.

Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro image editing app, showing a photo being edited.
Pixelmator Team

If you're a Mac user, there's an alternative to Photoshop that will make you feel right at home: the award-winning Pixelmator Pro. Its user interface is very similar to Apple apps like Pages and Numbers, so if you're used to that type of layout, the learning curve should be minimal.

Of course, there's more to it than just a great interface. It boasts automated editing that does much of the hard work for you, as well as raw editing, advanced color conversion, full HDR support, and more. Oh, and it also offers an extension for Apple's Photos app, so you can access its entire suite of tools without needing to open Pixelmator Pro.

It also includes plenty of tools for editing vector shapes, making it a complete software that can handle drawings as well as photos. So, if you are an illustrator and are looking for an app in which you can create your next work, this is a great option.

Pixelmator Pro is available on macOS and costs $50.

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Photopea image editor, showing a photo being edited.
Digital Trends, Photopia, Leo Vision

Whenever you switch to a different app, you often have to learn how to use the new interface. If you're familiar with Photoshop and intimidated by the idea of ​​retraining your muscle memory on a new app, you'll find a lot to like about Photopea.

That's because this online photo editor uses a layout that's very similar to Adobe Photoshop, with all of its tools located in familiar places. So not only is it packed with useful features that can tune your images with precision and power, but you'll know exactly where to look for them.

There's even more good news: Photopea is completely free to use. It runs in your web browser and makes its money by displaying advertisements. And you don't have to worry about any features being locked behind a paywall or the poor experience you sometimes get with free apps – Photopea is full-featured and incredibly capable.

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GIMP image editing app, showing a photo being edited.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is another free photo-editing app that has been a popular Photoshop alternative for years. It's not hard to see why – it has almost every tool you could need to edit photos without any compromises.

One of the main reasons to switch to GIMP is its rich community of users, who have created all kinds of plug-ins that work with the app, making it highly customizable and extendable. Plus, you can adjust its interface as needed, so if something is missing or a toolbar is getting in your way, chances are you can change it to suit your needs.

GIMP works on macOS, Windows, and Linux. It is open source and completely free to use without any type of advertising or subscription. Note that its interface comes with a bit of a learning process if you're used to Photoshop, but once you get used to how it works it won't hold you back.

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Krita image editing app, showing a photo being edited.
cherita

Photoshop is often used for digital painting rather than photo editing, and this is something that Krita really excels at. This free image editor is primarily aimed at artists who want to paint and illustrate on its digital canvas, and considering that it's completely free to use, it performs remarkably well.

Krita's strongest asset is its range of powerful brush engines, which let you customize brushes and organize them into groups for easy use. It also has all the powerful tools you'd expect in an image editor, including non-destructive layers and masks, a resource manager for your brushes and textures, 2D animation tools, and more. It is impressively equipped for something that does not require any kind of payment.

Like GIMP, Krita has a large community of users and developers who create plug-ins to extend its capabilities. With so many options for add-ons, you'll never be short of options if you want to expand what the app can do.

Krita is available on macOS, Windows, and Linux – and it's completely free.

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