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Blog / Beginner's handbook / 16 Free Photoshop Alternatives in 2024

Beginner's handbook

16 Free Photoshop Alternatives to Discover This Year

16 Free Photoshop Alternatives to Discover This Year
Sintija Zankovska

By Sintija Zankovska

15 min read

You’ve done your market research, decided on the perfect theme for your brand, and made plans to take the world by storm! But suddenly you realize that to create banners, product photos, and promotional materials to launch and grow your store, you need photo editing software.

If you’ve heard of Photoshop, you’re probably aware that it’s quite an investment. Don’t worry, there are plenty of free alternatives to Photoshop. Together with Printful’s graphic design team, we’ve come up with a list of options suited for both editing newcomers and seasoned Photoshop users.

But, before diving in, let’s explore what Photoshop has to offer.

Photoshop and Creative Cloud

Adobe-Photoshop-Creative-Cloud-example-screenshot
Source: Adobe Blogs

Adobe Photoshop is an industry-leading raster (pixel-based) image editor used to create unique graphics and edit photos. It’s packed with many useful tools for resizing, color adjusting, and retouching images. 

Photoshop used to be a program you could buy from Adobe and use to your heart’s content. But since 2013, it’s a part of a monthly subscription-based service—Creative Cloud. Photoshop is included in multiple subscription plans.

Creative Cloud is a marvelous collection of apps for experienced designers and a great investment if you’re planning on expanding your business or employing designers. It offers many useful features like storing and sharing your projects and even working on them at the same time. It’s truly the perfect graphic design environment.

However, Creative Cloud can also be overwhelming at times or even impractical. That’s because even the slightest change to an image—like adjusting the decoration on a sales banner—or simply opening software-specific files like a PSD (Photoshop Data file) requires a subscription to access the editing software.

If you’re testing the waters and don’t want to invest in Photoshop yet, or just want to try something a little different, you might be interested in these free alternatives.

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1. Photopea

Photoshop-Alternative-Photopea-example-screenshot

Use it for: DTG, all-over print, poster and canvas printing, sublimation, UV printing, photo editing, social media graphics

This might be the Swiss Army Knife of free alternatives to Photoshop. Not only does it look similar to Photoshop, but it also has many of its features. Photopea offers pre-made sizes and templates for posters and social media graphics. All in all, it’s the perfect software for both experienced Photoshop users and graphic design rookies.

Price: Free

Platforms: Online browser, Windows, macOS

Import file format: PSD, AI, XD, sketch, XCF, RAW, GIF, TIFF, SVG, and others

Export file format: JPG, PNG, SVG, PDF, and others

Color space: RGB, CMYK

PROS CONS
  • Multifunctional

  • Multiple languages

  • Pre-sized templates

  • Same hotkeys as Photoshop

  • Similar to Photoshop in layout and tools provided (transparent background, measuring tool, adjustment layers, etc.)

  • Exports files in vector formats

  • Suitable for fixing the most common issues with print files

  • Small delay on the Brush tool

  • Doesn’t include common fonts like Arial, Verdana, and Georgia

  • Online version requires an internet connection—files won’t save if the browser crashes

2. Gimp

Photoshop-Alternative-Gimp-example-screenshot

Use it for: DTG printing, all-over print, poster and canvas printing, sublimation, UV printing, photo editing

No list of free Photoshop alternatives would be complete without Gimp. This software has established a strong presence in the graphics editing world and has built a dedicated community of users. It’s the perfect software for editing small files and creating simple designs.

Price: Free

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Import file format: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PCX, PDF, PNG, PSD, SVG, TIFF, XPM, and others

Export file format: PNG, JPEG, SVG, PDF, and others

Color space: RGB, CMYK

PROS CONS
  • Multifunctional

  • Multiple languages

  • Pre-sized templates

  • Document history

  • Text filters and effects (e.g. Warp)

  • Many tutorials online

  • A little slow

  • Different UI than Photoshop

  • Different hotkeys than Photoshop

  • White residue around designs with transparent background

  • The Brush tool isn’t very smooth

  • Isn’t suited for professional designers

3. Krita

Krita free graphic software

Use it for: DTG, all-over print, poster and canvas printing, sublimation, UV printing, photo editing

Krita is the only raster graphic software on this list suited for creating seamless all-over print patterns. It’s also great for basic photo editing. It does, however, need some getting used to, as it might seem a little complex and hard to understand at the beginning. Since it’s made with artists in mind, Krita has a highly customizable Brush tool and can be linked to graphics tablets.

Price: Free

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Import file format: JPEG, ORA, PDF, PNG, RAW, TIFF, XCF, and others

Export file format: JPEG, MP, ORA, PNG, TIFF, and others

Color space: RGB, CMYK (see Color Managed Workflow for Print)

PROS CONS
  • Multifunctional

  • Multiple languages

  • Wraparound tool (perfect for creating seamless patterns)

  • Great Brush tool with multiple customization options (works with graphics tablets)

  • Easy hotkeys that can be changed

  • Very thorough manual

  • Lags when working with very large files

  • Lags when opening RAW photo files

  • Text tool that needs getting used to

  • Different UI than Photoshop

4. InkScape

Photoshop-Alternative-InkScape-example-screenshot

Use it for: DTG, all-over print, embroidery, poster and canvas printing, sublimation, UV printing

If you want to take your designs to new heights, try vector editing software. InkScape is a handy program for creating print files of any size. That’s because vectors are made of objects (lines, curves, and polygons), and designs created on vector editors can be resized without damaging their quality. InkScape’s Measure tools also make it a handy program for creating embroidery designs. But, similar to a few other entries on this list, InkScape has a learning curve.

Price: Free

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Import file format: SVG, PDF, EPS, AI, CDR, VSD, JPEG, PNG, GIFT, many vector formats (with extensions), and others

Export file format: PNG, SVG, PDF, TEX, POV, and others

Color space: RGB

PROS CONS
  • Multiple languages

  • Trace Bitmap tool (transforms pixel-based images to vector designs)

  • Great Measure tool (useful when making embroidery designs)

  • Great Brush tool

  • Text effects (Warp, Bend, Distort, Convert to a path)

  • Custom DPI when saving

  • Possible difficulties editing raster files

  • Different hotkeys than Photoshop

5. Canva

Photoshop-Alternative-Canva-example-screenshot

Use it for: Social media graphics, poster and canvas printing

Canva might not be the most obvious choice for Photoshop alternatives, but it’s a useful platform for any creator. It provides templates for just about anything you could need when running a business. Their free toolkit is quite extensive and the paid plans offer even more editing possibilities. Also, Canva’s mobile app is great for designing on the go and you can post your creations straight to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and other social media platforms. In addition, Canva Pro has a feature named Brand Kit, which makes branding each graphic exceptionally easy.

Price: Free (Canva Pro is $12.99/month)

Platforms: Online Browser, also available for iOS and Android

Import file format: JPEG, PNG,  AI, PPTX; MP3, OGG, WAV, or WEBM (audio); MOV, GIF, MP4 (videos); OTF, TTF, WOFF (fonts, only in Canva Pro), and others

Export file format: JPG, PNG, PDF, PPTX, SVG, GIF, MP4

Color space: RGB, CMYK

PROS  CONS
  • Easy to use

  • Multifunctional

  • Multiple languages

  • A wide selection of templates, from prints to social media

  • Library for storing designs and photos

  • Video editing tools

  • Canva Pro has a 30-day free trial

  • Useful tools (e.g. Brand kit, Resizing, Transparent background) locked behind a paywall

6. Desygner

Photoshop-Alternative-Desygner-example-screenshot

Use it for: Social media graphics, poster and canvas printing

Desygner is an online platform, which is great for creating poster designs and social media graphics—you can post the designs straight to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. It has a desktop app and separate mobile apps (iOS and Android) for more specific design needs. The Desygner premium version offers the Brand Kit feature, which is an excellent tool for establishing a uniform style for each created graphic.

Price: Free (Desygner Premium is $9.99/month)

Platforms: Online browser, also a mobile app for iOS and Android

Import file format: PDF, TTF, SVG, JPG, PNG

Export file format: JPG, PNG, PDF, MP4

Color space: RGB, CMYK (only available in .PDF)

PROS CONS
  • Easy to use

  • Multifunctional

  • Multiple languages

  • Wide choice of templates

  • Library for storing designs

  • Wide selection of images and graphics

  • Free Resize tool

  • Free Design apps with Desygner Premium

  • Useful tools (e.g. Brand kit, PDF editing) locked behind a paywall

  • Limited choice of fonts

  • No warning about decrease in file quality

  • Few social media integrations

7. Pablo

Photoshop-Alternative-Pablo-by-Buffer-example-screenshot

Use it for: Social media graphics

Pablo by Buffer is a great starting point for a social media or graphic design newbie—it’s completely free! The program lets you post your creations straight to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Feel free to play around with Pablo’s design options, but remember: it’s not meant for making print designs.

Price: Free

Platforms: Online browser, also available as Google Chrome extension

Import file format: JPG, JPEG, PNG

Export file format: PNG

Color space: RGB

PROS CONS
  • Easy to use

  • A wide selection of images (provided by Unsplash)

  • Linkable to Buffer account for faster social media scheduling
  • Suited only for social media graphics

  • Limited template selection

  • Limited choice of fonts

  • Few social media integrations

  • Only 72 DPI

8. Instasize

Instasize Photoshop alternative

Use it for: Social media and marketing content, photo editing, basic video editing

For creatives who want a Photoshop alternative that caters directly to social media lovers and, even better, fits right in your pocket, Instasize is a popular choice. It has all the basic features you need to polish raw photos, and a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to scroll through and apply every option.

Price: Free

Platforms: Mobile app for iOS and Android

Import file format: PNG, JPEG, MOV, MP4

Export file format: PNG, JPEG, MOV, MP4, HEVC, HEIF

Color space: RGB

PROS CONS
  • Free to download

  • Color filters

  • Text options

  • Basic video editing (filters and clipping)

  • Cropping and resizing

  • Additional content packs require a paid subscription

9. Photo Pos Pro

Photo Pos Pro editor

Use it for: Social media and marketing content, photo editing

From simple tasks like editing images to creating artwork from scratch and even designing your own business cards—Photo Pos Pro is the ultimate tool for your marketing campaigns and beautiful social media posts. And all photographers out there will be glad to hear that the editor supports RAW files as well.

Price: Free

Platforms: Windows, macOS

Import file format: PNG, JPG, BMP, PSD, GIF, RAW

Export file format: PNG, JPG, BMP, PSD, GIF, RAW

Color space: RGB

PROS CONS
  • Customizable interface for experts or beginners

  • Editable layers

  • Supports various file formats

  • Can create projects from scratch

  • Many educational tutorials

  • Limited text designing options

  • Difficult to start photo editing

  • Works slowly with complex manipulations

10. Paint.NET

Adobe-Photoshop-Paint-Net-example-screenshot

Use it for: Poster and canvas printing, photo editing, social media campaigns

Paint.NET is very easy to learn, so it’s a safe choice for beginners. The tool’s performance is incredible—it’s one of the fastest free image editors out there. The editor also supports plugins, which provide additional image adjustments, effects, and support for additional file types.

Price: Free

Platforms: Windows 

Import file format: PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, and others

Export file format: PNG, BMP, GIF, TGA, JPEG, and others

Color space: RGB

PROS CONS
  • Plugins allow extra functionality

  • User-friendly interface

  • Only available on Windows

  • No project-based interface

11. PIXLR

Adobe-Photoshop-PIXLR-example-screenshot

Use it for: Social media and marketing content, photo editing

PIXLR was created to make design easy and accessible to everyone regardless of their experience. The tool provides a variety of ways for users to edit images. You can dive into deep photo editing sessions or just quickly add some simple filters or stickers to spice up your designs. Discover more opportunities with PIXLR by creating marketing banners, posters, or greeting cards for your business partners.

Price: Free

Platforms: Online browser, also a mobile app for iOS and Android

Import file format: PSD, PXD, JPEG, PNG, SVG, and others

Export file format: PNG, JPG, TIFF, BPM

Color space: RGB, CMYK

PROS CONS
  • Great templates for graphics and ads

  • Has most Photoshop filters

  • Works with Google Drive

  • Good amount of features

  • Lacks drag and drop support

  • Ads

  • Not possible to upload RAW files

  • Other tools provide better quality graphics

12. Sumo Paint

Adobe-Photoshop-Sumo-Paint-example-screenshot

Use it for: Poster and canvas printing, photo editing, social media images and graphics

Sumo Paint is a completely free online image editing and drawing tool. Perfect for everyone who wants to strengthen and improve their artistic skills and draw their own designs. It’s basically a community for sharing artwork and finding people interested in art.

Price: Free

Platforms: Online browser

File format: JPG, BMP, PSD, GIF

Color space: RGB

PROS CONS
  • Has a pixel editing feature

  • A wide selection of tools

  • Each tool has a thorough explanation

  • Allows high-level photo editing

  • Well-developed tools for digital drawing

  • Imperfect text management

  • Some tools can lag

13. FireAlpaca

FireAlpaca free graphic tool

Use it for: Illustrations

This free digital painting software is a great tool for everyone who loves to create illustrations. You can change brushes, create your own patterns, and even use comic templates in your illustration designs. Plus, the 3D Perspective tool allows you to create realistic-looking objects. And the best part about FireAlpaca—it’s extremely easy to use.

Price: Free

Platforms: Windows, macOS

Import file format: PNG, JPEG, MDP, BMP, PSD

Export file format: PNG, JPEG, MDP, BMP, PSD

Color space: RGB, CMYK

PROS CONS
  • Available in 10 languages

  • A simple interface and straightforward navigations

  • Has a brush stabilizer, for smooth lines

  • Layer folders for easy organizing

  • Has all the same shortcuts as photoshop

  • Easily make your own brushes and adjust brush settings

  • No hardness/softness adjust for the brush

  • Brushes and palettes must all be loaded in one at a time

  • No liquify tool

14. RawTherapee

Adobe-Photoshop-RawTherapee-example-screenshot

Use it for: DTG, all-over print, poster and canvas printing, sublimation, UV printing, photo editing

Whether you’re a newcomer to photography or a full-fledged professional, RawTherapee is a powerful tool to have. Similar to Lightroom, it’s mostly used for processing raw photos from a broad range of digital cameras. Best of all, it has advanced features to manipulate high-quality images. You can retouch, balance colors, brighten certain areas, smooth any harsh lines, and remove oversaturation of skin tones without affecting the overall photo quality.

Price: Free

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Import file format: RAW, PNG, JPEG

Export file format: JPEG, PNG, TIFF

Color space: RGB

PROS CONS
  • A wide selection of tools

  • Ability to create and save presets

  • Option to design collages and add frames to photos

  • Works well on older computers

  • Available in over 15 languages

  • Complex interface

  • Small delay when applying changes

  • Limited capabilities when editing in batches

15. BeFunky

Adobe-Photoshop-BeFunky-example-screenshot

Use it for: Poster and canvas printing, social media images and graphics

BeFunky is the ultimate creative platform for busy entrepreneurs. If you need to quickly adjust photos or make simple designs every once in a while, it has all the basic tools in one place. From photo editing to creating graphic designs and photo collages, BeFunky can help you get your visuals where they need to be. Create effective social media posts, on-brand packaging inserts, or attention-grabbing posters with this easy-to-use platform.

If you’re looking for more advanced options, it may be worth checking out their paid version. It has a variety of cool visual effects and photo editing features to play with, as well as a background remover tool which comes in handy for product images.

Price: Free (BeFunky Plus is $9.99/month)

Platforms: Online browser, also a mobile app available for iOS and Android

Import file format: JPG, PNG

Export file format: JPG, PNG, PDF

Color space: RGB

PROS CONS
  • Easy to navigate

  • A lot of templates available

  • Free stock images provided by Pixabay and Pexels

  • Tips and resources for photo editing and graphic design

  • Limited features in the free version
 

16. PhotoScape X

Adobe-Photoshop-PhotoScape-X-example-screenshot

Use it for: DTG, all-over print, poster and canvas printing, sublimation, UV printing, photo editing

PhotoScapeX is ideal for quick and efficient image editing. It offers batch editing, a GIF Creator, a cut-out tool, RAW image file processing, as well as a collection of frames, stickers, and figures. There are endless possibilities for creativity! As free software goes, there are many impressive features to try.

Price: Free

Platforms: Windows, macOS

Import file format: RAW, JPG, PNG

Export file format: PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, WEBP

Color space: RGB

PROS CONS
  • A selection of tools that other free programs don’t have

  • Video tutorials on using the features

  • Available in 10 languages

  • Can lag and freeze in the middle of editing

Which option is the best for me?

 
Photopea
Gimp
Krita
InkScape
Canva
Desygner
Pablo
Instasize
PhotoPos
Paint.NET
PIXLR
SumoPaint
FireAlpaca
RawTherapee
BeFunky
PhotoScape X
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Creating print files

If you want to prepare your art for printing, look no further than Photopea, Gimp, Krita, and InkScape. Check out Canva, Desygner, and BeFunky for making poster and canvas designs.

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Photo editing

To edit pictures for your online store and blog, use Krita, Photopea, RawTherapee, PhotoScape X, or Gimp.

Social Media Graphics

For creating social media content, try out Canva, Desygner, Photopea, BeFunky, or Pablo.

Creating simple designs

If you don’t want to rely on additional software to make your designs, we have a free built-in tool—Printful’s Design Maker. Create original artwork, logos, or embroidery designs directly on the product you’re interested in. Preview your designs on life-like product mockups to later showcase your items on your storefront. It’s as simple as that!

For more info on print requirements, be sure to check out our blog on preparing the perfect print file. If you have a hard time figuring out color spaces, what they mean, and what’s best for your designs, read our guide to color systems.

Final Thoughts

The first step is to determine what you want the software to do. When that’s done, choose the programs you want to try out and play around. If you want to see the software in action, check out our video on the top 5 free graphic design apps, and find the best fit for you.

preview play-button

If you want a well-rounded free Photoshop alternative, I’d suggest Photopea—it can be used as a design tool, has a set of social media templates, and has the same adjustment layer and photo editing tool options as Adobe Photoshop.

By now you’re probably either ready to dive into the vast world of photo editing or more confused than ever. If it’s the latter, don’t worry, we’d be happy to answer your questions in the comments below. Good luck with your creative adventures!

This article was originally published in April 2019; it has since been updated.

author

By Sintija Zankovska on Dec 20, 2023

Sintija Zankovska

Sintija is an SEO content specialist at Printful. Along with her team, she helps to create the best possible landing pages and SEO-friendly content.

Sintija is an SEO content specialist at Printful. Along with her team, she helps to create the best possible landing pages and SEO-friendly content.