6 Free Photoshop Alternatives for Graphics Connoisseurs

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Adobe Photoshop costs too much for the average hobbyist or budget designer. But, you’ll be please to know that there are plenty of alternatives available for Windows users. And, they don’t cost a penny to download.

Free Photoshop alternatives

1. Gimp

A screenshot of an artist using Gimp to touch up an image of a man hold his iPhone up to take a photo of a bridge.
Source: Davies Media Design

Completely free and open source. Gimp has a lot of similarities with Photoshop. Not to far removed from Photoshop, so it’s easy enough to pickup for people that’ve used Photoshop before.Really can’t complain about this. They’re open source, there’s no need for upgrades, and doesn’t lack in features despite having no cost.

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Photoshop is renowned for murdering your PC’s resources. GIMP is much better and doesn’t stress your system (or you) too much. It’s more lightweight, and is probably the better alternatives for those of you working on slower computers or laptops that lack the required graphics hardware.

Photoshop definitely feels more tactile and user friendly, but there’s definitely been a lot of effort that’s gone in to Gimp. Gimp has its own nuances and differences, but ultimately you can still pull off professional looking artwork.

Because Gimp is free, there’s also a large community. This has lead to there being numerous guides created on YouTube, so you can always learn for free. And, there are sprawling social media hubs too, for example GIMP’s subreddit is very active.

2. Krita

image 10
Source: Jenna Drawing

Another open-source alternative. But, instead of focussing on image editing, it’s better suited to artists that are looking to paint or illustrate graphics. So, if creating digital art is your thing then Krita is probably the best alternative for this.

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  • Digital art-focussed – Lets say you draw comics, or paint, sketch, or simply want to toy around with illustration, then Krita is probably the perfect option for you; in some ways it’s better than Photoshop for art.
  • Quite a few features – As we’ve discussed, Krita is digital art focussed, but, as time has gone on their open-source developer commuity have built in more features, making Krita more versatile.

3. Pixlr

image 12

Pixlr is a web-based, online photo editor. Similar to the likes of photoshop, but without the hassle of downloading, installing .etc. It’s pretty impressive how much they’ve managed to cram into the application, especially considering it’s free to use and very similar to Photoshop in a lot of ways.

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  • Free to use
  • Doesn’t require any downloads
  • Works with most image formats (including PSD)
  • Loads of templates
  • Works on multiple platforms
  • Stored in the cloud, so doesn’t take up loads of space
  • Has over 500 million users


image 13 is a fairly simple alternative to Photoshop. It’s lightweight and cuts out a lot of the junk that slows Photoshop down. It’s not as pretty as photoshop, as it is fairly old, but it’s still be being updated regularly, with new features, updates and optimizations.

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  • Completely free
  • Lightweight
  • Windows-native
  • Less junk

5. PhotoPea

image 14

An online editor that looks and feels exactly like photoshop. Considering this is free, it’s pretty damn good. This is a less known alternative that I recently stumbled across. But, if you looking for something that resembles photoshop in almost every way, Photopea is perfect for the task.

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  • Complete free
  • Web based alternative
  • Looks and feels like Photoshop
  • Multiple layers
  • Works with Photoshop formats (PSD, AI, XD .etc)
  • Include different filters, like in Photoshop

6. Paintstorm Studio

image 15
Source: Pixel Pusher

Similar the likes of Krita, Paintstorm Studio is another painting/drawing alternative. They feature a range of different brushes. And the software is simple, intuitive and fairly easy to get started with.

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  • Free to try
  • Great for professional digital art
  • Easy to get started with
  • Works on multiple platforms

7. Inkscape

image 17
Source: LogosByNick

A free, open-source vector image editor. Inkscape is close to Adobe Illustrator. But, if you’re a graphics designer, it’s a essential in your arsenal.

Top Features

  • Free
  • Open-source
  • Vector image editor
  • Works on multiple operating systems (Windows, UNIX-based OSs, Mac)

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