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15 Free Alternatives to Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, and More


There's a lot to like about Adobe's suite of creative software, but its chief selling point is that Adobe is the industry standard for creative professionals. If you need the absolute best in terms of features and support, then you need Adobe's creative suite!

(Exclusive deal: MakeUseOf readers can unlock up to 15% savings when signing up for Adobe Creative Cloud with this link.)

But what if you can't afford a monthly subscription? For hobbyists and amateurs, even the cheapest Adobe subscription plan might be too much to swallow. The good news is, there are free alternatives available!

The bad news is, they're mostly unremarkable. They'll get the job done in a pinch, but have enough quirks and flaws such that we don't recommend these for professional work. If you're okay with that, then here are the best free alternatives to Adobe creative software.

The Best Free Adobe Photoshop Alternatives

By now, everyone knows what Photoshop is and how amazingly useful it is even for those who have no real interest in serious image editing. In fact, it's so popular that you probably know of all the free alternatives already. Still, here are the ones we think are best.

GIMP (Windows, Mac, Linux)


You can't go wrong with GIMP. Next to Blender, it's one of the most professional-quality open source programs out there, meaning it's good enough to be used in a professional context (albeit slightly harder to use and not as flexible in terms of available features).

If you want to start using it, check out our introductory tutorial on how to edit images using GIMP, because learning GIMP by trial and error is a pain in the neck.

An Introduction to GIMP Photo Editing An Introduction to GIMP Photo Editing GIMP's photo-editing capabilities make it a powerful, free alternative to Photoshop. Here are the photo-editing basics you need to know. Read More

Paint.NET (Windows)


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