January 11, 2020

11 Free Software Like Photoshop in 2020

If you’re a beginning photo retoucher, web-designer, publisher and artist who needs a reliable and free software like Photoshop for work, here are top software that will let you edit images professionally and realistically without paying per Adobe’s monthly subscription.

Don’t want to invest in Photoshop or you’ve already worked with it but want to try out something different, you may check out the following free software similar to Photoshop.

1. Photopea

Price: Free

Platforms: Windows, Browser

Color Model: RGB

Pros Cons
  • Multifunctional
  • A desktop and browser version
  • Same hotkeys as in Photoshop
  • Templates and tools similar to Photoshop
  • A rather small collection of brushes
  • No common fonts, like Arial, Verdana or Georgia
  • Browser version depends on the quality of your Internet connection

If you need a photo editing software similar to Photoshop that is free and doesn’t require downloading and installation, you can try Photopea. (by the way, learn how to get Photoshop for free and legally) This is a simple program that works straight from the browser and supports most of the features Photoshop does.

Photopea supports the majority of file formats, starting from JPG and GIF to PSD. There is also layer support, so, in case you need it, you can perform rather advanced image editing. Other features Photopea can boast of are layer-masks, blending modes, brushes, and selection.


Price: Free
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Color Model: RGB, CMYK (with plug-ins only)

Pros Cons
  • Multifunctional
  • Text filters and effects
  • A large community of users that offer support
  • Many video tutorials online
  • May be slow
  • Hotkeys are different from those in Photoshop
  • Doesn’t suit professional designers

Talking about more free photo editors, I can’t but mention GIMP. In case you want to stop using Photoshop altogether or simply need a program that can open your PSD files in-between Creative Cloud subscriptions, GIMP is definitely one of the top options.

At first, GIMP was popular among Linux users, however, this open-source program was notoriously difficult to get the hang of and didn’t have all the Photoshop features the users were looking for. Over the course of the past few years, GIMP has transformed completely.

Now, it has a great UI and a wide range of various features. Since the program is open-source, there are some features that make it even more efficient than Photoshop, for example, its famous image processing algorithms.

3. Krita

Price: Free
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Color Model: RGB, CMYK

Pros Cons
  • Great Brush tool with a lot of adjustable options
  • Compatible with graphic tablets
  • Simple customizable hotkeys
  • A very detailed manual
  • Slow when working with large files
  • Lags when editing RAW files

Krita is a popular open-source drawing program and image editor. It is a raster, not vector, editor and its main purpose is not photo editing and retouching but drawing from scratch. I found out that using Krita for drawing is easier than GIMP, although I would really like it to have more image editing features.

4. Pixlr

Price: Free
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Browser

Color Model: RGB, CMYK

Pros Cons
  • Portable/Mobile
  • Supports layers and masks
  • Adjustable interface
  • Work with photos from desktop or URLs
  • Needs Flash to run
  • May be replaced soon
  • Ads

This is one of the most full-featured online photo editors which resembles Photoshop in terms of functionality and usability. There are a toolbar, a menu bar and a panel with options on the right. You can work with layers, check and manage the file editing history, save the end result is one of the popular file formats. The free version of the program has a full set of features but also contains ads.

5. Inkscape

Price: Free
Platforms: Windows, macOS (when using XQuartz), Linux

Color Model: RGB

Pros Cons
  • Trace Bitmap tool (transforms pixel images into vector ones)
  • Great measuring feature (useful for creating embroidery designs)
  • DPI set up when saving
  • Possible difficulties while editing raster files
  • Hotkeys differ from those in Photoshop

Inkscape is a rather popular vector graphics editor with open source that is used by many professionals. It is a convenient software similar to Photoshop that will allow you to create files for printing in any size.

Vector images contain lines, curves, and polygons, and the size of a vector image can be changed without damaging their quality. So, anything you are going to create with the help of Inkscape can be printed on something as small as a label, and as big as a poster. Inkscape’s Measure tool makes it convenient for creating embroidery designs.

6. Fotor

Price: Free

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Browser, Android, iOS

Color Model: RGB

Pros Cons
  • Browser, mobile, and desktop versions
  • Huge collection of filters
  • Basic photo retouching
  • Text tools are not good
  • Won’t work for advanced users

Fotor is a free photo editing software like Photoshop with a simple design that is a must for beginners (experienced users should check out more free photo editing apps to find a fitting option for their needs). Besides all the base capabilities for online image editing, Fotor offers a wide range of features for creating special effects, frames, text stickers, face, and body enhancing.

The free version has everything you need to start working, including the tools for creating collages and graphic projects based on the templates for ad flyers and social networks. You also get batch photo editing capabilities and cloud storage.

If that is not enough, there is a premium HDR-module that allows you to create original HDR images (it is definitely worth buying).

7. Ribbet

Price: Free
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Browser, Android, iOS

Color Model: RGB

Pros Cons
  • Easy to learn for beginners
  • Tools to change fonts and add stickers
  • Collage tool
  • The free version has ads
  • A limited set of features compared to the premium version

The more simplified menu in Ribbet resembles Apple Photos rather than Photoshop. You can start by editing a single image or create a collage. After uploading the image, you will get a toolbar with the ‘Basic Edits’ menu.

From there, you can apply ‘Auto-Fix’ (all beginner users will really appreciate the feature) or manually crop, rotate, resize, change colors, exposure, and sharpness. A familiar interface means you will easily drag photos to upload them to your own library of images for further use.

Even though this free photo editing software like Photoshop has a minimalistic design, it includes rather convenient features such as color change made specifically for Facebook, Twitter or YouTube profiles, as well as printing optimization.

8. SumoPaint

Price: Free
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Browser

Color Model: RGB, CMYK

Pros Cons
  • Almost all standard Photoshop filters
  • Advanced layers support
  • Save to cloud, locally, or directly copy to clipboard
  • Needs Flash
  • Rather slow at startup
  • No drag and drop feature
  • Cannot zoom with a mouse wheel

Since it is an online service, its features are rather limited compared to other free software like Photoshop. However, all the main elements (select, drawing or text tools, gradients, shapes, and curves) will seem very familiar.

The UI is quite elegant, the tool you’ve selected will be highlighted and the context-sensitive top menu shows only those controls that are related to the tool.

Lite version is free. Pro version is paid and is worth investing in. It will be ad-free and will let you download the standalone program. The Pro version allows you to import images with URLs, email images and comes with tons of additional settings, special effects, brushes, etc.

9. FotoJet

Price: Free
Platforms: Browser
Color Model: RGB

Pros Cons
  • Available on almost all platforms
  • Has original templates
  • Great collage maker
  • Customer support for a trial version
  • Just a 7-day trial period
  • Limited image library
  • Features and tools for photo editing need improving

FotoJet is a quick, no-fuss way to edit photos. You don’t even need much experience in photo editing. If you are looking for free software similar to Photoshop that won’t overwhelm you, FotoJet is exactly what you need.

All beginner users will be more than happy with basic tools like effects, overlays, frames, text, and clipart. FotoJet even gives you the option to search for clipart in Google library.

The premium version will have no ads and includes such features as sharpness, haze removal, and vignetting. In addition, you will get more than 600 templates, more than 500 images, fonts, effects, overlays, etc.

10. Paint NET

Price: Free
Platforms: Windows
Color Model: RGB, CMYK (with a plugin)

Pros: Cons:
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Additional functionality with plug-ins
  • Is being currently developed
  • Lots of online tutorials
  • Windows-compatible only
  • Single image editing at a time

This Paint has nothing similar to the classic Paint program. Over the years, this program has acquired amazing functionality and great work speed. Simple and intuitive UI makes this software similar to Photoshop easy to understand even for absolute beginners.

In terms of functionality, the program allows you to use several layers and mix them up. This photo editor has an amazing user community, including people, who are happy to help with any problems you might have.

Surely, PaintNET doesn’t offer all the features Photoshop or GIMP does, it doesn’t support PSD file format either, and with a corresponding plug-in, you will only be able to view these files.

11. Canva

Price: Free
Platforms: Browser, iOS, Android

Color Model: RGB

Pros: Cons:
  • Easy to use
  • A wide selection of templates for printing and social networks
  • Library for all designs and photos
  • The free version doesn’t have such useful tools as Brand kit, transparent background or resizing
  • A limited selection of fonts

Canva is probably not the most standard free software like Photoshop, but it is a useful platform for any designer. The collection of free tools is quite extensive but the ones you can purchase will give you even more possibilities for photo editing.

Canva is great for creating posters and infographics. It is like building blocks, you can make new images from the available elements that include geometric shapes, lines, photo frames, 3D and outline drawings, icons of different styles, etc.

There are more than a million different objects and photos, some of which are free. Another peculiarity of this photo editor is more than a thousand templates subdivided into different formats. You can use them instead of creating your image from scratch.

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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