Top 12 BEST Photoshop Alternatives For 2021 [Free And Paid Tools]

Detailed Review & Comparison of The Top Photoshop Alternatives. Select The Best Alternative To Photoshop From This List Based on Your Requirements & Budget:

Image editing, graphic designing, and digital arts are the modern time skills to engage the audience with tempting artistic content.

Many people love portrait and landscape designs, graphic designing, and like to create digital arts. Additionally, these skills are in great demand in the market and offer exciting employment opportunities.

If you are venturing into any of these fields, then you are at the right place to learn about various tools needed to create digital arts along with their benefits and uses.

Best Photoshop Alternatives

What Is Adobe Photoshop?

Official Website: Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the most powerful and trusted software for UI/UX designers. The software was originally found by Knoll brothers (Thomas and John Knoll) in 1987 and later they sold it to Adobe Systems Inc. Photoshop is extensively used for Graphic Designing, Image Editing, and Creating Digital Art.

Adobe Photoshop

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It is also considered to be the world’s most advanced digital software used by web designers, professional photographers, custom designers, videographers, etc. With Photoshop, you can reimagine reality and do whatever you dream up like editing, enhancing photos, illustrations, and 3D artwork.

Even startups and companies hire Photoshop professionals for their designing and editing work.

Also Read => How To Convert HEIC File To JPG

What Is Adobe Photoshop Best For?

  • Smoother stroking capability with brush strokes to create clearer lines by entering a value from 0 to 100. The smoothness of the brush increases as the value increases.
  • It comes with three intelligent stroke smoothing modes including Stroke Catch Up mode for paint & pause, Catches Up on Stroke End mode for stylus control, and Pulled String mode for changing the directions of strokes.
  • Deep adjustments such as changing the temperature, contrast, tint, exposure, and shadows help in picking certain pixels to protect specific areas of photos without affecting them.
  • Brushes from Kyle T. Webster, properties panel, better brush organization, copy-paste layers, access to lightroom photos, color and luminance range masking, quick share options, curvature pen tool, 360 panorama workflows.
  • Night interface is also known as darkened user interface, Adobe camera raw 7.0 for raw images, typestyles for dealing with large blocks of text, blur gallery including tilt shifts, iris, HDR, and field blur tools.
  • Adaptive wide-angle to control the areas in an image, new crop tool with cropping variations, Content-Aware move to select an object in an image and move it somewhere.

Adobe Photoshop Market Share & Size

Adobe Photoshop Market Share & Size

According to Datanyze’s graphics market share table, Photoshop is on the top first ranking with 1,476 domains that too with a market share of 68.33% which is enormous and far ahead from its competitors.

Stats on Photoshop Users

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Moreover, Photoshop is used by top big companies like Double Negative Ltd., Entegris Inc, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Avalanche Studios, Glu Mobile Inc with a minimum average revenue of $100 Million and company size of 1,000 employees.

Stats on Countries Using Photoshop

The above bar graph shows that 46% of Adobe Photoshop customers are from the United States and the rest are from different regions. This shows the importance of software in the United States.

Adobe Photoshop Pricing

Adobe Photoshop Pricing

Adobe Photoshop has a single pricing plan but it can be paid annually, monthly, or in full prepaid form.

Pricing is:

  • Annual Plan: If paid monthly ($20.99 per month).
  • Annual Plan: Prepaid ($239.88 per year).
  • Monthly plan: $31.49 per month.

Why Look for Alternatives?

  • Multiple image edits cannot be done at a time and it’s difficult to adapt with new input tools.
  • The dashboard is less intuitive for beginners to learn and the full functionality may not be utilized.
  • It is difficult to render high-quality graphics and there is less support for vector graphics.
  • Photoshop is expensive when compared to other tools and there is no progress in monitoring facility for some tools.
  • It is a heavy weighted program and consumes a large space of your RAM. Hence you need a well-equipped computer.
Pro Tip: To select the best Photoshop alternative, you can use the free plan/trial period to try different software tools and then select the one which suits you the best based on your budget, requirements, and skill level.
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List Of The Top Photoshop Alternatives

The Photoshop competitors listed below are suitable for different sizes of organizations and needs. If you are already using one of these tools, then this might be your chance to check other tools that might be worth switching.

  1. PhotoDirector 365
  2. GIMP
  3. Affinity Photo
  4. Pixlr
  6. PicMonkey
  7. Canva
  8. Acorn
  9. Sumo Paint
  10. Pixelmator Pro
  11. Sketch
  12. Krita
  13. Corel Photo-Paint

Comparison Chart Of Photoshop & Its Competitors

BasisFree Trial/PlanSuitable ForOpen SourcePricing ModelDeploymentDevicesOur Rating
PhotoDirector 365AvailableVideo Editors & YouTube Content Creator.NoLifetime Licenses & annual- subscription.On-premiseWindows, Mac, iOS, Android.5/5
Adobe PhotoshopFree trial available.Mid-large Scale Enterprises.NoMonthly & Annually (starting at $20.99).Cloud-hosted & Open API.Windows,
GimpCompletely free.Individual & Small teams.YesNo Pricing (Free).On-Premise.Windows,
Linux, &
PicMonkeyA 7-day free trial.Teams and Enterprises.NoMonthly & Annually (starting at $7.99).Cloud-hosted & Open API.Windows,
Affinity PhotoFree trial available.Professionals & Designers.NoOne time ($49).On-PremiseWindows,
Mac OS, &
Corel Photo Paint15-day free trial.Small-large Scale Enterprises.NoMonthly, Annual, & One time (starting at $16.50).On-PremiseWindows4.5/5

Let’s Explore!!

#1) PhotoDirector 365

Best for AI tools for adding visual effects.

PhotoDirector 365

PhotoDirector 365 is a photo editing software by CyberLink that offers powerful AI tools. You will be able to edit photos with eye-catching visual effects and advanced color controls. It has intuitive layer editing capabilities. PhotoDirector 365 is an easy to use software with advanced capabilities. It provides priority customer support.


  • PhotoDirector 365 will let you add visual effects such as dispersion, Light Rays, Glitch Effect, and Photo Animation.
  • It offers features like AI Style effects, AI-powered Sky replacement, etc.
  • It contains many more features like Pro Level Effects, LUTs Color Presets, etc.
  • It has an expansive audio library.

Pricing: The price of the PhotoDirector 365 starts at $3.42 per month. It offers Lifetime Licenses (Starts at $74.99) and annual subscription plans (starting from $3.42 per month). You can try the tool for free. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Verdict: If we compare the PhotoDirector 365 with Adobe Photoshop then PhotoDirector 365 offers cost-effective and flexible pricing plans. Adobe Photoshop is for graphic designing and PhotoDirector 365 is a professional photo editing software.

#2) GIMP

Best for Professionals, Designers, and Photographers who want to work on the open-source platform with high flexibility.


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GIMP is a free and open-source platform suitable for a variety of tasks such as image manipulation, editing, construction, photo retouching, etc. It also offers many customized tools and third-party plugins to get your job done whether you are a graphic designer, videographer, or professional photographer.

The software is cross-platform and supports Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Sun OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD.


  • The customizable interface allows you to enable your view including widget theme, change colors, icon sizes, custom tools, etc.
  • The fullscreen mode allows you to do the editing while working on the screen and even you can preview your work and see how it looks.
  • Photo enhancement like fix perspective distortion by the lens, corrective mode, elimination of lens’ barrel distortion, vignette filter, and channel mixer.
  • Digital retouching for advanced photos and hardware support for input devices with a wide range of USB and MIDI controllers.
  • Transparent virtual file system helps in saving file from remote locations using HTTP, FTP, or SMB protocols.

Pricing: GIMP is a completely free and open-source platform and there is no pricing plan offered by the software. You can download it from its official website.

Verdict: GIMP is a free and competitive alternative to Photoshop for its flexible customization and image manipulation features.

Official Website: GIMP

#3) Affinity Photo

Best for Professional photographers who love deep fine adjustments that require clean workflows, and flawless editing.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is the fastest photography and creative professional tool that work hand-in-hand with the latest computer technologies. It allows users to perform raw editing, HDR merges, panorama stitching, focus stacking, batch processing, PSD editing, 360-degree image editing, pro retouch, digital painting, and much more.

Moreover, it provides performance and power with live real-time editing, massive image support, and super smooth pan and zoom at 60fps.


  • Supports multiple languages, fast and efficient toolset, professional, beautiful by design, clean workspaces, and solid undo history.
  • RAW image processing with a dedicated raw image editor, development tools, detailed imaged information, adjustment & lens correction, slick workflow, etc.
  • Image editing and retouch tools including image stitching focus merging, layers & masks, live projection, retouch tools, advanced filters, HDR editing, etc.
  • Compatibility and printing with Photoshop PSD support, fully open and import list, Pantone color matching, pro print, and PDF/X support.
  • Live filters, Adjustments & effects, Professional paint, Sketch & texture tools, Vectors, and mixed discipline design, Accurate typography, Workspaces & Workflows.


Affinity Photo2

Affinity Photo is available for both Windows and Mac OS platforms with a free trial and even for iPad too.

Pricing for these platforms include:

  • Mac: Buy for $49 (one-time payoff).
  • Windows: Buy for $49 (one-time payoff).
  • iPad: Buy for $19 (one-time payoff).

Verdict: Affinity Photo is one of the best tools for Mac and iPad platforms. The tool has the best in class PSD import/export and is a true companion for speed lovers.

Official Website: Affinity Photo

#4) Pixlr

Best for Beginners and moderate users to start with.


Pixlr is an intuitive, convenient, and user-friendly online editor that edits photos instantly within dropbox and automatically saves your files. It helps users to create professional images effortlessly using stock photos and templates, smart healing tools, and a suite of expert tools.

Also, the tool is available for web and mobile app for easy compatibility with all types of devices. Pixlr is easy, powerful, and versatile that speeds up your design and editing work with an intuitive online web editor.


  • Layer masks, adjustment layers, brushes, curves, hue & saturation, blend modes, effects & filters, transform & wrap.
  • Make quick adjustments like cut, crop, resize, remove, and even add your text or make customizable text templates.
  • Draw anything on your photos with doodle or scribble and give your photos retouch by removing spots, and unwanted objects without any hassle.
  • Filters and photos for enhanced photo experience and dark or light according to your preference.

Pricing: Pixlr editor is the next generation online editor for all types of editing needs and it offers only one cheap pricing for its pro plan ($5 per month), otherwise, it is completely free.

Verdict: Very cheap pricing for such great features and no need to download or install the software.

Official Website: Pixlr


Best for Windows users to start with. is a software available for PCs that run Windows for image and photo editing. The software features an innovative and intuitive interface with some powerful tools to give your photo a professional look.


  • Simple, intuitive, and user-friendly interface to handle multiple images easily.
  • It provides high performance for extensive work and quickly responds to each action.
  • Layers for a rich image composition experience and active online community.
  • Gets automatically updated each time for free with increased performance.
  • Special effects for more enhancements, powerful tools, and unlimited history.

Pricing dwnld is available for free on dotPDN. The price is not revealed on their official website but Microsoft Store, it is about $7.

Verdict: delivers a cost-effective alternative to pricey commercial software.

Official Website:

#6) PicMonkey

Best for Group of teams, Enterprises, and Professionals.


PicMonkey is the photo editing and designing software that has easy to use tools to create powerful and stunning social media posts, ads, cover photos, and much more. Also, the software comes with more than 6,000 built-in graphics and textures, hundreds of gorgeous fonts, thousands of design templates, and lots of collages.


  • Photo editing with dozens of effects & filters, layers & mask images, add & modification of the text, etc.
  • Designs including business cards, ads, logos, announcements, invites, postcards, graphics, and watermarks.
  • Over 2,400 customizable templates and over 70 pre-set blank canvases for creating multi-photo designs.
  • Give your photos touch-up by changing eye and hair color, whiten teeth, removing wrinkles, etc.
  • Cloud storage that helps in accessing from either desktop or mobile and organize images with folders.


pic-monkey pricing

PicMonkey offers three different pricing plans with a free trial of 7 days:

  • Basic: Best for Rising creators ($7.99 per month).
  • Pro: Best for Growing business ($12.99 per month).
  • Team: Best for Groups ($33.99 per month).

Verdict: PicMonkey is a powerful tool for teams that require collaboration tools.

Official Website: PicMonkey

#7) Canva

Best for Newbies, Professionals, Teams, and Enterprises.


Canva is a graphic designing and photo editing tool launched in 2012 for both beginners as well as professionals. The tool is simplified and uses drag-drop intuitiveness for a user-friendly interface. With Canva, you can also invite your team members to work and collaborate to create beautiful designs like logos, business cards, presentations, etc.


  • Photo straightener to keep your photos inline, image cropper to crop your photos for beautiful framing and composition.
  • Adding of text or caption to photos for making it more intuitive and speech bubble maker to give your photos a voice.
  • Photo enhancer to make your subject come into perfect view and photo blur to add artistry or give definition to your shots.
  • Photo vignette, design grids, free icons, photo frames, stickers, badges, texture, and many more.


Canva pricing

Canva offers a free plan for its users along with two paid plans with a free trial of 30-days:

  • Canva Pro: Invite up to 30 members ($9.95 per month).
  • Canva Enterprise: For large brands and organizations (custom pricing).

Verdict: Canva is a creative & innovative platform for teamwork with an interactive interface including thousands of tools like maps, graphs, vectors, infographics, and much more.

Official Website: Canva

#8) Acorn

Best for Mac OS users to start with.


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Acorn is an image editor especially developed for the Mac OS platform and can be downloaded & installed from either App Store or its official website.

It has everything that an image editor requires like powerful image editing, circle text tool, non-destructive filters, vector tools, photo effects, etc. However, there are some minor differences between the direct and app store version of Acorn.


  • Web export, clone across images and layers, smart layer export, and layer masks.
  • Crop tool enhancements, modification of layers, soft brushes, curves, levels, raw image import, and batch edit.
  • Custom color picker, snapping & alignment, robust file support, Photoshop brush import, shape tools, text tools, etc.
  • Multi-stop live gradients, screenshots, create custom brushes, instant alpha export & web export, scriptable as well as automatable.

Pricing: You can buy Acorn from its official website at one pay-off price of $29.99.

Verdict: Acorn is one of the best options available for those who work on the Mac OS platform as it provides high compatibility.

Official Website: Acorn

#9) Sumo Paint

Best for Digital artists and high-level photo editing.

Sumo Paint

Sumo Paint came into existence in the year 2008 and since then it has reached a phenomenal height for active users of around 30 million users worldwide. Not limited to this, the tool was also selected as Google’s EDU platform & was featured as an application for Chrome Books. There is also a Sumo Paint community with 950,000 registered members.


  • More than 300 brushes, shape tools, offline creativity, gradient editor, and fixes bugs automatically.
  • Layer effects, perspective mapping, cube designer, linear blur, lightning effects, bump mapping, and reflection.
  • Advanced settings like a mosaic, sphere designer, auto smoothing, zooming, filter controls, profile statistics, etc.
  • Animated brushes, color picker, ink tool, bitmap fill, gradient fill, selection tools, levels adjustment, and layer support.
  • Clone stamp tool, swatches, cylinder tools, liquid waves, smudge tool, dithered poster, and crystallization.

Pricing: Sumo Paint is completely free to use. However, it also offers one pro plan for the ad-free and offline version with dedicated technical support for $4 per month.

Verdict: Sumo Paint’s full retina resolution delivers an amazing and super fast editing experience.

Official Website: Sumo Paint

#10) Pixelmator Pro

Best For Mac OS users who have extensive hands-on photo editing experience.

Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro is a professional image editing software that provides editing tools that anyone can use. The software is purely designed for the Mac platform and for those who work on the Mac platform will feel familiar when they open this app for the first time.

It provides everything to create stunning layouts and color adjustment for picture-perfect photos.


  • Incredible ML match colors for matching the colors of different images through Machine Learning.
  • Portrait masks support, Use tabs by default, New keyboard shortcuts for selecting and organizing layers.
  • Colour tags, filter& search, clipping masks, quick opacity, faster document opening, and blending mode.
  • Colour balance, image size algorithms, ML enhance, and more automated actions.
  • ABR support, improved painting performance, mac OS Mojave support, batch processing, etc.

Pricing: Pixelmator Pro is available on the Mac App Store for $39.99 of one time pay off with free trial.

Verdict: Pixelmator Pro is suitable only for the Mac OS platform and for the users who rely only on such a platform.

Official Website: Pixelmator Pro

#11) Sketch

Best for Designers, Artists, Creators, and Developers.


Sketch comes with an intuitive interface vector editor, lightning-fast prototyping, and powerful collaboration tools for making your ideas real. It helps you to work faster and better by providing high performance whenever required. Sketch is built for designers to increase their efficiency and is a definitive platform for digital design.


  • Powerful vector editing and pixel-perfect precision.
  • Hundreds of plugins with non-destructive editing.
  • Lightning-fast prototyping and collaborates without any confusion.
  • Speeds up your workflow and automatically creates the spec.
  • It helps you create, customize, and share your theme.


Sketch pricing

Sketch offers two different types of pricing plans with a free trial:

  • Personal License: For a single user ($99 per year).
  • Volume License: For groups of teams ($89 per device for a group of 2 (price decreases as device increases)).

Note: If you are purchasing a personal license for the first time then you have to pay $99 or else if you are renewing the license then you have to pay less.

Verdict: This software is used by designers like UI, icon, mobile, and web as it supports multiple pages along with symbols.

Official Website: Sketch

#12) Krita

Best for Artists, Illustrators, Texture artists, and the VFX industry.


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Krita is one of the best painting software in the market developed by artists to provide affordable art tools to everyone. The software is open source and is completely free. Also, Techradar has ranked Krita as #1 best free painting software in 2020. It provides all the tools that you need to grow as an artist.


  • An intuitive user interface that allows customization of specific workflow, saving of your workspace, and creating your shortcuts.
  • Brush stabilizer to smooth brushes in three different ways and pop-up palette that quickly picks your color and brush by just right-clicking on the canvas.
  • Drawing assistant, mirroring tools, layer management, selections, layer masks, full-color management, OpenGL enhanced, and PSD support.
  • Brush engines to customize your brushes, wrap-around model, resource manager, HDR support, transform tools, and training resources.

Pricing: Krita is an open-source and free professional painting software and does not include any pricing. But the website asks for some donation if the users could donate. However, they are not forced to donate compulsorily.

Verdict: Krita offers many innovative and creative tools to help amateur and professionals alike.

Official Website: Krita

#13) Corel Photo-Paint

Best for Professionals, individuals, and artists across different industries.

Corel Photo Paint

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Corel Photo-Paint is a Canadian company that was designed to fulfill the dynamic needs of customers across different industries. It helps users to create beautiful photos, graphics, designs, etc. with innumerable cutting-edge features. The software offers great professional editing tools and comes with the CorelDraw graphics suite for all-in-one editing and designing of photos.


  • Create complex compositions, fix imperfections, add special effects, make quick corrections, paint, draw, & add text, etc.
  • Enhanced objects and PDF/X support, multi-platform support, enhanced digital asset management and performance.
  • Retouch your photos by removing unwanted areas and by sharpening filters, effects, and smart blur.
  • Adjust correct color and tone, use clip masks, isolate image areas, cut out images, add special effects text to images.
  • Paint, draw, color, and fill with advanced editing, create HDR images, prepare photos for print, and get images web-ready.

Pricing: Corel Photo-Paint offers an annual enterprise pricing plan for $16.50 per month or fuller version at one time pay off of $635 with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 15-day free trial.

Verdict: Corel Photo-Paint is one of the most advanced and reliable software to work on irrespective of your background field.

Official Website: Corel Photo-Paint


Final thoughts for Photoshop and its alternatives can be concluded based on the uses, benefits, and functionalities of each tool. Alternatives are not always developed to act as a competitor open-source rather they might have specific functionality or USP.

Recommended reading =>> Top Photo Viewer Software for Windows 10

Gimp and Krita are open source platforms available for free for those who want to work on such a platform and appreciate new features. Tools that may work best for mid-large-scale enterprises include Corel Photo-Paint, PicMonkey, Sketch, and Affinity Photo.

For those who require a free tool or a tool with very cheap pricing and quality features then Pixlr,, and Sumo Paint are the best available options. Mac OS lovers can opt for Acorn and Pixelmator Pro.

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