Photoshop alternatives

Posted on March 10, 2008. Filed under: Freeware/Shareware, Graphics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[updated link 2014.3.13]

Adobe Photoshop is the professional standard at present for many professional graphic artists, as well as a number of other people. But, since it is expensive and proprietary software, students may need to find something more in the price range of freeware, which still has enough features to be useful. has an article with some alternatives, some of which are also available for Windows (and sometimes Macs).

Raster (Pixel by Pixel) image software

For just working with raster images (basically, a grid of pixels), photographs, and the like, the open source GNU Image Manipulation Program (better known as the GIMP).  This is available for Windows and Linux.

However, GIMP is very different from Photoshop, so if you trained on Photoshop, you might have an easier time learning Gimpshop.  Gimpshop is a ‘hack’ built on top of the original Gimp project which changes all menues, dialogs, etc., in order to make them look like Photoshop. Of course, some features of Photoshop are still not available in Gimpshop, if the original GIMP doesn’t have them.

Vector graphics

Vector graphics is a more sophisticated form, and often lends itself better to resizing.

Inkscape is “An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.

Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.”

Inkscape is a fork off an earlier open source program called Sodipodi, which is also available.


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