Ideally, Adobe Photoshop has been the industry leader in industry-grade photo editing and manipulation for over a decade. Consequently, this shouldn’t come as a surprise since Adobe kept upgrading and improving its visual flagship product continually. Despite its relative usability and decent learning curve, so many people find it complicated. Especially those who desire to achieve the basics with their photos. Furthermore, with the accessibility of good internet and broadband services, consumers currently desire online photoshop alternatives. So, considering ease of use, which online photoshop alternatives do exist?
Why is Photoshop a big deal?
Notwithstanding, Adobe Photoshop is the leading prevalent photo editing and manipulation software on the market. It has been for over a decade and a favorite amongst most photographers and photo hobbyists. Ironically, Adobe has another great product called Adobe Lightroom made as a light-weight alternative to Photoshop. Sadly, Photoshop doesn’t have a web-based software version. This is understandable with it being the industry standard. Photoshop has great support and a robust online community. Additionally, as far as great online Photoshop courses are concerned, plenty are available. For instance, Creativelive actually offers hundreds of them, with constantly updated tutorials.
Why look for online alternatives?
First, most simplistic users don’t want to go through the hustle of installing a software suite on their computers. Convenience is the new gold. Maybe we are just a lazier generation, but in essence why install a full suite to only use it once? Photoshop is the first word in graphic design software and, like most leading software products, requires a fee from anyone who wants to use it. As a matter of fact, not everyone who desires to use Adobe Photoshop can use it. And the reason for that is not the lack of knowledge, as we all know that there are many online tutorials available for almost all the features of this image editing tool. Put simply, the learning curve is steep for the ordinary user.
Paid Vs Free Online Photoshop Alternatives
Generally, there are multiple image manipulation programs that can help you improve your images. Though far fewer are true Photoshop alternatives. It’s a tall order when compared to the industry leader. Online photoshop alternatives that come close are either free or require payment. As we shall see, paid vs free online photoshop options come with their pros and cons and certainly a restriction in some versions which are freemium. Basically, freemium alternatives give you a level of functionality to a certain extent, then demand payment to access richer capabilities.
Free online Photoshop alternatives
When it comes to free, a couple of options can suffice. Firstly, Lunapic, arguably one of the best free online Photoshop alternatives easily lets you edit images without paying a penny. Additionally, with keyboard shortcuts and features, similar to Photoshop’s, Pixlr is another online substitute of the image-editing giant. Though an honorable mention is Gimp, a free open-source image editing software. Widely considered by some to be an alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Ironically, there are great similarities between Photoshop and Gimp in terms of functionality and user interface. As a result, many find migration from one to the other quite simple.
Though one of the best online photoshop alternatives I’ve found is Affinity Photo. Affinity Photo is our choice for the best budget photo processor for professionals, offering powerful tools, resolution-independent editing, unformatted UI processing, and most features. Affinity Photo, originally developed for the Mac, and later released to Windows in a Beta release, will also be available as an iPad app. Generally, Affinity Photo gives you access to a variety of editing tools similar to Photoshop. Though not as powerful as Photoshop or Gimp, it offers enterprise editing features like many fantastic features, gradients, multiple layers, and brush strokes. It is fully compatible with Photoshop files and most pictorial formats. Likewise, it’s built directly for professional designers and photographers. Furthermore, Affinity photos are considerably cheaper than Photoshop with the founders promising high stability and growth in functionality.
Generally, Photo Mechanic is a very powerful and very fast image media browser. It includes some basic processing tools and many workflow tools such as advanced metadata management. Furthermore, it’s easy to use, has a variety of editing tools, offers a variety of ways to share photos, and supports a variety of file formats. In addition to the amazing quality of brushes and tools, Photo mechanic online software allows you to work with both raster and vector layers within the same program.
A worthy addition is Photopea, an HTML5 web app that can easily be run in any current web browser without the need to install plug-ins. Furthermore, alternatives like Acorn, Pixelmator, Fotor have something to offer too in the online photo edit space. Notably, Fotor in its image-editing area contains all the major image-editing tools such as simple edits, the inevitable crazy filters and effects, beauty enhancements, and finally frames and text overlays. The rest of the tools follow pretty much the same template.
For artists, there some options for you too. A pretty healthy selection of options, such as Autodesk Sketchbook, Sketchable, Serif Photoplus, Krita, PaintShop, Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer. On a positive note, color tools were significantly improved with Krita with quick access to a color wheel, a huge brush library, and numerous workspace tools that let you rearrange the interface to your satisfaction. Particularly Paintshop Pro has been around for some time. Additionally, Paint Shop Pro offers three applications in one: Manage, Customize, and Edit. All giving you access to tools specific to your specific task, keeping the interface clear and easy to use and understand. Furthermore, virtual collections and dynamically updated smart collections are available with Paintshop.
In conclusion, aside from Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, there are several other equally powerful online design alternatives to turn to. Photoshop will still be the industry leader with its novel features such as allowing selection of specific pixels (like the eyes of a photo) and pasting those pixels into another photo. Additionally, with its unprecedented versatility and support, you can easily download free Photoshop overlays, free Photoshop textures, templates, and brushes. Allowing so you retouch your photos faster and more professionally. That said, the learning curve needs more time than usual to master efficiently. If that’s too much of a hustle, simply try the online photoshop alternatives mentioned above.
A Professional Computer Engineer, technical writer and Software Product Manager, Denis is very passionate about helping businesses create software products and succeed with technology. Denis spends his free time playing the guitar and writing music. Denis passionately believes in sharing any information to help enterprises grow.