What's new

Free/Cheap Alternatives to Photoshop

Pieter Goris

Well-Known Member
Anybody who uses or knows Pixelmator? http://www.pixelmator.com
I have it but almost never use it.
Currently on sale for a limited time from 59,99 to 14,99 USD

Don't know how limited or powerfull it is. They claim to be the Photoshop for the rest of us.

For vector images I started using iDraw which is pretty cheap too.
thanks so much for the inspiration Zeealex.. and tyvm for these links mattattack347 :) I do have Jasc Paint Shop Pro and have used it for some time without classes/instructions (my bad), but when I bought this computer, it had Adobe Photoshop 7 and I was very apprehensive to open it up. I got brave, finally took the dive and now I'm hooked on this. My work on Jasc was 'meh, ok, but this was like putting glasses on a kid with bad eyesight.. Someone polished my leaves. Don't get me wrong, I don't even understand what I'm doing, but the quality of the graphic is so different. Is it just me or is it this program?
Probably both. :devilish:

But yes, Photoshop is an incredible program designed to do just what you want and give you the results you're seeing. Great software isn't it? And it doesn't matter which program you're using really. I started on PS5.5 and still have PS6. All the early bones of Photoshop are in the new editions; there are just new tools. You can learn a lot on PS7 and have a lot of fun doing so. Enjoy!
Thought I'd chip in with some thoughts about Pixelmator. I did a series of youTube tutorials for it although I'm a new member & so can't give you links, although if you google 'Pixelmator drippycat tutorial' you'll find them.

You hear the usual 'This is a Photoshop killer!' moniker that gets applied to any software that can apply a filter. It's not a Photoshop killer by a long chalk. But that's an unfair comparison given that it's a young program with (I would imagine) nowhere near the resources Adobe has to invest. Taken in it's own right it's quite decent. It's Mac only & $14.99 at the moment which it dirt cheap. It seems to be designed for the iGeneration editing casual photos and looks very slick, with adjustments and filters in the form of tasty little icons you drag and drop into your picture. It has the major features you need like a decent veriety of selection tools, levels, curves, filters etc. but note that they are destructive, ie no adjustment layers. But Pixelmator does support layers (and layer masks) so you can always duplicate a layer and apply changes to that as a safety net.

Things I'd change? Stability is top of the list. In the 20+ years I've been using Photoshop I've never had a crash (unless using with screen recording software.) I had several with Pixelmator while I was making the tutorials. Also bigger dialog boxes with more functionality - the curves dialog box being a prime case in point. I found it too small and wanted to color pick from the image.

It's easy to get snotty over very cheap programs when you are used to the big hitters but I won't be snotty about Pixelmator. Slight stability issues aside (yes it crashed a few times but it never corrupted a file) it has more than the average user needs to add sparkle to photos and can be used to a certain extent for things like illustration (simple paint brushes, layer modes, quick mask etc) and the fact that it's version 2.2 and riding high in the Apple charts I'd take as a sign that its developers are in it for the long term. As someone who's had Photoshop a long time along with a slew of other bitmap editing programs I'd happily use it for no specialised photo editing duties.
I used some of the WEB software, just to see what they were about and came out rather puzzled as to who would really use them.

GIMP is great, thanks to all the all folks involved in it.


Well-Known Member
I use a program called Affinity Photo. It costs USD $50 with free upgrades forever (they don't convert that to pounds, unfortunately, so it costs GBP £50) and it is actually better than Photoshop in certain ways. (I'm definitely not saying it is an overall superior program - it isn't - but it has some unique features that make it better in some aspects.) Some of my favorite things about it are that it always edits non-destructively (so no need for smart-objects), it gives you a live preview of everything before you apply it (especially useful for blend modes and gradients), and it opens and runs faster than PS. I think what Serif had in mind when they made Affinity was to find everything wrong with Photoshop, fix those things, and sell it as a standalone program. It doesn't have any 3D functions (that I'm aware of) but other than that it has about 98% of Photoshop's functionality. Also, it does support Photoshop plugins and PSD files. Serif also makes an Illustrator alternative called Affinity Designer, but I haven't tried that yet.
Hello all,

My choice would be Artweaver https://www.artweaver.de/download-en

It's free and like an early version of Ps, tabbed files, layers with modes, history, all the usual tools
There is a paid version for 34 Euros.

Ideal for anyone who would like to use something akin to Ps to begin with and find the same layout and be able to transfer to Ps seamlessly.


The desktop, ostensibly it's a paint program but hides it's photo capabilities under the proverbial bushel
After reading this thread and contributing Artweaver I've had some thoughts about Photoshop, it is the easiest and fastest image editing tool ever, the professionals would soon dump it if it wasn't. I taught myself how to use it simply by 1/. trying the drop downs and 2/. failing.

Looking at long lists of steps is a waste of time by the time you've got to the last one the first one is forgotten. Sadly lots of people look at these lists, fail and try to find something "simpler" when the truth is that finding out for ones self using the above is the best way because what you have found for yourself goes in and doesn't come out.

Stick with it and when your first image comes alive you'll be delighted and then you'll off on your own journey through the program with confidence.

The poster above who uses Ps7 is quite right it's very good and very fast even on Win10.
I bought a secondhand one with a serial number for £25 on Ebay and still use it.
If you can get a copy of CS4 (Ps11) cheaply it is a bit better (but not that much) the first one having tabbed images.
I was lucky enough to join a group purchase of CS6 (Ps13) as above but very fast indeed.

Going back to Ps7 it was a pivotal release, stuff that's been added since is mostly bells and whistles and it's far ahead of any of the other programs mentioned above, not to mention easier! :)