Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Free Alternatives to Photoshop

Photoshop is almost ubiquitous when it comes to graphics designers, but many people who do not specialize in the field do not have Photoshop or an equally powerful graphics program. If you are one of these people, here's what you can do:
  • Download the Photoshop Trial: Photoshop, in my opinion, is the best graphics editor on the market. You can get a free 30 day evaluation copy HERE (works on Mac and Windows natively. Runs on Ubuntu with an emulator). If you feel comfortable with Photoshop, you can dish out a large amount of cash for the full version or purchase a student liscense.
  • GIMP: Gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is arguably the most powerful open source graphics editor. Although Gimp's layout and settings are a lot different than most conventional graphics editors, Gimp can be used just as fast (or faster) than Photoshop after getting used to how things work in Gimp. If you have time to learn, download Gimp. If not, you may want to pass and try another solution.
  • GIMPShop: GIMPShop is a modification of Gimp that makes Gimp look and feel more like Photoshop. This is probably the best program to use if you are used to Photoshop or Photoshop-like graphics editors.
  • InkScape: InkScape isn't really a full alternative to Photoshop. It is mostly used for vectors and creating graphics from scratch, but depending on your needs, can replace photoshop for you. As an added bonus, InkScape can be downloaded for free.
  • Aviary: Aviary, unlike all of the previously mentioned solutions, is a browser based alternative to Photoshop. The free version is almost a complete replacement to Photoshop, only lacking a few filters that could be replaced by hand. The paid version ($9.99 a month) has everything Photoshop has plus loads more. This would be the best solution for you if you don't consistently use the same computer.
  • SplashUp: SplashUp is another browser based alternative option to Photoshop, just in a different flavor. One thing that makes SplashUp different than Aviary is the SplashUp Light version. This version can be downloaded for mobile PCs and some types of portable devices. SplashUp, in my view, is just as good as Aviary's free version, so choose whichever you feel more comfortable with.
Please remember that there are other alternatives out there and these were the only ones that really stood out to me at the time of writing.


  1. Nice! Although, if someone really wanted photoshop, its quite easy to get the full version for free.(Search youtube).

    Anyways, nice post.

  2. Hi. I agree with the commenter on EC who suggested the white and red on black is hard to read. Your information is useful, but if your blog is difficult to grasp people may skip over it.

    Good luck.

  3. Crazyrocker, that would be illegal. I doubt you'd like that.

    feefifoto, white on black really contrasts, how is it hard to read? thats the easiest possible way.

  4. I've only ever used Photoshop, so I couldn't really give my opinion on the others. All I would say is that it's an industry standard and useful to know.

  5. Hindleyite, yes, it is of great use to know. However, not many people that are not in the business can afford it.

  6. if your a mac user . . . ther is also Seashore (muwahahahaha)