We tell in the article what paid and free programs can replace Photoshop and in what cases.
Let’s say you have installed Adobe Photoshop. Paid with an annual subscription for all 66 instruments. How many of them will you never click? It turns out that there will always be something in the closet of this massive complex program. Somewhat unfriendly. If practical minimalism and the idea of free space are in fashion in 2022, then Photoshop is clearly not in trend.
What if you could find the brushes and features you need in simpler and cheaper programs? I tried to “disassemble” the graphics monster into 10 programs for different tasks, devices and operating systems, and described them. Graphic designers, portrait photographers, bloggers, illustrators and anyone who shoots on a phone – this article is for you.
TOP 5 programs for Windows and MacOS
I’ll start with computer programs. I’ll tell you what they have in common with Photoshop, for what tasks and what operating system they are suitable for. In the screenshots I will show the main interface.
Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux, IOS, Android
Russian language: yes
The first one that can be called a free analogue of Photoshop. It, like Photoshop, supports loading third-party fonts, works with drawing and deletion brushes, and helps you correct colors through curves or let text follow a path. Plus, GIMP is open source, so it’s easy to extend its capabilities. Everything that Ghimpu lacks immediately after installation can be “downloaded” in the form of plugins. For example, extensions for working with RAW . Or the CMYK color model , which is needed for the natural display of photos, and which comes with Photoshop “by default”.
Since version 2.8, GIMP, like its older brother, does not destroy layers. This means that the current image does not change – only a new layer, a new modification, appears. You will work with it, and at the right time, you can easily undo edits at any of the levels. So, let’s say, using a layer mask , you can remove an object from the frame, apply a couple of filters, and then change your mind, go to the mask and “remove” it. The object will return with no pixel loss.
Easy to manage and undemanding to computer resources photo editor. Changing the background and deleting objects in it is as convenient as in Photoshop. Clone stamp , patch, and auto-texture with the Healing Brush handle fragments of any size. And batch processing of photos in PhotoMASTER is even easier. In it, you upload pictures, edit and immediately see what happens in the output. And in Adobe PS, first go to the menu – select batch processing – click “Install” – determine the type of operation … and so on.
With presets, color correction and artistic processing, PhotoMASTER also has no problems. You can work with color curves, use LUT filters (your own and from the Internet), lighting effects. For photo artists and just aesthetes, there are all conditions to play with bokeh, double exposure and infra shots. RAW formats are supported, no plugins needed.
A real salvation for UI designers, created by Apple. Previously, two editors were often launched to develop the interface at once – Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. This slowed down the system, especially if the work was on 2-3 layouts at the same time. Now everything can be done in one program.
Sketch has a recognizable “apple” interface – intuitive, without chaos on the toolbar. The program creates forms, icons, buttons, drop-down lists and other elements that help the user quickly navigate the site. Objects on the page can be snapped to a layer or artboard and aligned in one click without moving around the grid. This helps UI specialists make edits faster and generally speeds up work.
Like Photoshop, Sketch can work with plugins and save layout in bitmap, PDF, SVG, and CSS code. If you work in a team, you can edit and discuss edits directly in the document, via the cloud.
Cross-platform application for artists. It draws funny cartoons and creates real digital art, prepare illustrations for children’s books and make manga. You can even draw HDR images from scratch, which is not yet available in any other editor, including Adobe products. Krita also “understands” Photoshop PSD files and allows you to create shortcuts to the most used tools. The control panel is similar to the menus in Photoshop, but thanks to its artistic specialization, Krita is simpler and more convenient, suitable for beginners.
There are more than a hundred brushes in the program’s collection : ink, pencils, dry painting, erasers, and so on. There are special brushes for painting hair, sculptures, bokeh, and even the effect of refraction of light in water. If you wish, you can create your own brushes right in the application and assign personal tags to them.
For those whose hand is trembling, there is stabilization . Python plugins are supported . The canvas is unlimited, and the lines of the drawing can be shaded. Below I attach a screenshot of the program and examples of work created by Krita artists.
Another “friendly” to all operating systems open source program that can be transformed for yourself. The main purpose of RawTherapee follows from the name – this is the “therapy” of raw photos – pulling them into the desired exposure, saturation, geometry, and so on.
Demosaicing and editing in this program and in Photoshop are about the same. All the same non-destructive image processing , excellent noise reduction , masking of artifacts and dead pixels. At the same time, RawTherapee remains completely free and free software, plus it does not cause suffering for low-powered computers, like Photoshop.
Online Photoshop Alternatives
If you don’t want to download and install anything, you can “photoshop” directly on the Internet. The online services that will be discussed are full of professional tools and look very similar to the editor from Adobe.
The platform contains two software products – Pixlr Editor and Pixlr X, its simplified version. The main idea is to teach a beginner step by step, to remove the fear of complex professional software. Once you learn basic editing in Pixlr X, you will be able to work in the advanced Pixlr Editor as well.
Pixlr E looks like Photoshop – on the left is the tools, on the right is the history panel, layers and navigation. Controlled by the same hotkeys, contains a collection of templates for social networks and ready-made text designs. The main difference here is convenience . The tool menu and top control panel are not crammed with features and will not force the user to study manuals and prescribe complex scripts. Blur and color replacement brushes, lasso, background removal and other popular Photoshop tools are brought directly to the workspace.
The interface is very similar to Photoshop, but unlike it is completely free, easier to manage and does not require installation on a computer. Another advantage is that it works not only with raster images, but also with vector images . In the fall of 2021, the platform began working with the Adobe RGB color space so that you can edit PSD files without breaking the palette. The developers also “taught” Photopea to display tones in CMYK mode , which allows you to see at the editing stage how the image will look when printed.
Basic tasks, tools, and keyboard shortcuts are similar to Photoshop. You can work with RAW formats – CR2, NEF and ARW, as well as perform complex editing using layers, masks and overlays.
Options for Android and iPhones
When processing portraits, color correction and advertising design, you can also do without Photoshop. Mobile applications have become so advanced that in some cases they will transform a picture no worse than a computer giant.
Pleasant to manage and free editor. It greatly exceeds the capabilities of Photoshop Express, and in some functions it approaches the level of a stationary program from Adobe. For example, this concerns background replacement . In the mobile application, it is enough to upload a photo and touch the corresponding button to make the background disappear. There is no such thing that Peachy “ate” your hand along with the background, the removal algorithm works very intelligently.
Another feature is the variety of special effects, filters and overlays. The program is especially good for portrait shots . In it, you can hide minor skin defects and signs of fatigue, apply makeup “by hand”, make your figure slimmer. An interesting feature with tattoos is that they can be scaled and rotated, placed on the body, and made more transparent. The result looks very natural.
This mobile application will make life easier for SMM specialists, Instagram and YouTube bloggers, marketers and businesses in general. Here you will find over 610,000 templates for social networks, personal needs, commercial and educational projects. It is also possible to set publications of any size and cloud storage , so as not to clog the computer’s memory. Hundreds of built-in corporate fonts and millions of images that can be freely used in any projects will also please you separately.
Templates can be edited, and finished designs can be uploaded to PNG and JPG. The platform interface is thought out and adapted for users of any level. You will immediately understand how everything works, even if you have never done design before. In Photoshop, a beginner can only dream of such comfort.
Operating system: Android I IOS
License: shareware, 1750 rubles/year
Russian language: yes
VSCO Cam is not just an editing application, but a full cycle software . Photographers Austin Mann, Christian Weber, Jared Chambers use it to shoot and turn pictures into real works of art.
The catalog of the premium version of the program contains 200+ filters – anti-aliasing, contrast, retro, and so on. Some of the most popular are A6, M5, A4. Any filter is adjustable. The variety of presets and the flexibility of setting them up proved so popular that a kind of party formed around VSCO Cam. In the community of the program and on TikTok, fans of the application share with each other presets “of their own composition”. You can rotate the image using the HSL color setting . The same single color correction tool is popular in Photoshop.
As you can see, Photoshop and its incredible abilities are not always so necessary. Even professional photographers do fine without this super-program. And if you are a novice retoucher or a beginner SMM manager, then spending more than seven thousand rubles on an annual package from Adobe is a risk at all. Will your interests change? 14 days after payment, the money will no longer be returned.
There is a safer and easier way. PhotoMASTER is ideal for deep image processing on a PC , the artist will receive all the necessary tools in Crete , and the advertiser will complete all orders in Canva . If you have examples of other cool programs for a specific user group, please write about them in the comments.