In 1992, Photoshop entered the dictionary as a verb—to Photoshop— but the iconic photo editor from Adobe is far from being the only app of this sort available. There are many excellent substitutes for Photoshop, and some of the best ones don’t cost anything at all. In this article, we introduce the top 7 best free photo editors to help you get started on your creative journey even if you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a single application.
GIMP Inkscape Paint.NET Krita Pinta Darktable RawTherapee
Are Free Photo Editors Worth My Time?
Online learning platforms, graphic design blogs, and YouTube are filled with Photoshop tutorials to such a point that it might seem that learning any other photo editor is a waste of time. But is it? Numerous free photo editors today have all the features most beginners, and intermediate users will ever require. And some have a workflow similar to Photoshop, making it reasonably easy to make the transition somewhere down the road.
The only thing that free photo editors do not have is the vast community that has developed over the year around Photoshop. Rather than finding hundreds of tutorials explaining how to crop a photo or adjust brightness, you might be able to see just a handful, and they might not be as professional as you would like.
So, are free charge photo editors worth your time? We think they are! You probably have to go the extra mile to find the best tutorial, but that is a small price to pay for saving hundreds of dollars.
BTW, free Photoshop plugin virtualStudio & virtualPhotographer by optikVerve Labs http://www.optikvervelabs.com/ is no longer exists.
GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP, is the most remarkable Photoshop alternative till now. The first version of GIMP released in 1996 and the photo editor has not stopped evolving since then. Today, GIMP is available on every primary desktop operating system, and it’s used by countless professional graphic designers, photographers, and illustrators to create outstanding works of art. GIMP can be highly customized using 3rd party plugins, and it even features a framework for scripted image manipulation.
If there is one thing about GIMP that deserves criticism, it has to be its UI. GIMP is far from intuitive, and tasks that take only a few clicks in Photoshop often require far more effort in GIMP. The great news is that GIMP’s developers understand that the user interface could use some polishing, and they are working hard trying to make it perfect.
Steps to Download GIMP:
Visit https://www.gimp.org/downloads/. Select your operating system. Download GIMP directly or through BitTorrent.
GIMP is a raster graphics editor, which means that it lets users create and edit images interactively on the PC screen and save them in one of many raster formats like JPEG, GIF, PNG, and TIFF. On the other hand, Inkscape is a vector graphics editor, enable users to compose and edit vector graphics images interactively on a computer and save them in one of many popular vector graphics formats, such as EPS, PDF, WMF, SVG, or VML.
Illustrators typically use vector graphics editors, but they have their place in a photo editing workflow also, especially when it comes to creating sophisticated visual effects and compositions.
Steps to Download Inkscape:
Visit https://inkscape.org/en/. Head over the Download button in the top menu and select Download. Choose your platform. Choose your architecture. Choose an installation format. Wait for the download to start automatically.
Microsoft Paint is excellent at what it does, simple image manipulation and creation, but its functionality is far too limited for it to be beneficial for serious photo editing. If you have ever thought that it would be best if there were a real photo editor with a user interface similar to Microsoft Paint, we have the best news for you: Paint.NET is that photo editor.
But the only bad news is that Paint.NET works only on Windows. You can either download it for a free charge from its official website (see the instructions below) or purchase it on the Windows Store and support its developers.
Steps to Download Paint.NET:
Visit https://www.getpaint.net/ Follow the free download link on the right. Tap on the download button to download Paint.NET from dotPDN.
Krita is a professional, free painting program that is made by artists who want to see reasonably priced art tools for everyone. Regardless of its irresistible price of zero dollars, Krita has an intuitive UI, includes three different techniques to smooth and stabilize your brush strokes, and makes it easy to create seamless textures and patterns, just to highlight some of its features.
Steps to Download Krita:
Visit https://krita.org/en/. Tap the large “Download Krita Now!” button in the middle of the website. Choose the version for your operating system & download it to your PC.
Already you might have heard that Microsoft has given up on Microsoft Paint. The beloved application will not be part of future versions of Windows. Instead, it will be obtainable only from the Microsoft Store. And if you do not want to wait for Microsoft to pull Microsoft Paint from under your feet, you can download Pinta, a free, open-source photo editor, right now. Pinta is available for Linux, Windows, Mac, and *BSD, and you can download it by following the instructions below.
Steps to Download Pinta:
Visit https://pinta-project.com/pintaproject/pinta/. Click the “Download” button. Choose the version for your operating system & download it to your PC.
Darktable is an open-source photography workflow application and raw developer for just about every operating system you can think of. If you are well known with Adobe Lightroom, you’ll feel right at home in Darktable. Thanks to the highly customizable architecture of Darktable, you can simply add modules for all kinds of image processing, from the very simple to the most advanced, such as a module for the simulation of human night vision. Darktable is entirely non-destructive, which means that any adjustments you make to your pictures are not applied to the original images, only to cached image buffers.
Steps to Download Darktable:
Visit https://www.darktable.org/. Select “install” from the top menu. Select your operating system. Download the new version of Darktable for your operating system.
Similar to Darktable, RawTherapee a cross-platform raw image processing program that positions itself as a substitute to Adobe Lightroom and other non-destructive photo editors. RawTherapee is exceptionally versatile, providing support for almost all DSLRs and even some medium format bodies, and its multi-threaded algorithms make it extremely efficient even on somewhat underpowered systems. Under the hood of RawTherapee is a 96-bit floating-point processing engine that allows you to get the most details and least artifacts from your raw photos thanks to modern and traditional demosaicing algorithms and advanced color handling.
Steps to Download RawTherapee:
Visit https://rawtherapee.com/. Choose “downloads” from the top menu. Choose the version for your operating system & download it to your PC.