Image editing on the go is sometimes is a necessity. But the most popular Adobe Photoshop costs an arm and leg. Not everyone, except for the professionals, needs the comprehensive software suite. But that doesn't mean image editing to be an unreachable privilege for only those who are able to pay hundreds of dollars. As the saying by the wise men goes for every proprietary software there always exist an open source and free alternative. Sometimes, the open source softwares are better than the pricey professional tool too.
Best Free Online Image Editors And Apps For Desktop And Mobile
When it comes to image editing, there are hundreds of online, desktop and mobile tools. But what are the best free Image Editors? We are here o help you. Here are the best free image editors one can get for free. You can manipulate your photos to make them appear professional.
GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a superb free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, and comes with a huge array of professional-quality functions for fine-tuning images and photos, and creating your own artwork from scratch.
It includes layers, highly customizable brushes, filters and automatic image-enhancement tools, and support for a huge number of plugins (some pre-installed, and others available to download separately). Its active community of contributors means it’s in constant development, and any bugs are squished in short order. It all adds up to make a truly remarkable free photo editor that’s superior to many commercial programs.
GIMP comes with an impressive selection and montage features, various ways to retouch your images, cropping, noise reduction and color adjustment tools, customizable brushes, gradients and so much more. There's plenty for the more advanced user, too, including layer masks, bezier curves, filters and even an animation package.
We don't have space to even begin to scratch the surface here, so download GIMP and find out exactly why it's such a popular free alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
The major pros and cons of GIMP goes like this
- +Easily expandable
- +Packed with features and tools
- +Opens almost any image file
- +Interface is a little cluttered
All in all, GIMP is the best photoshop alternative which is as comprehensive as the Adobe product, sometimes triumphs too. GIMP is released under GPLv3+ licenses and is available for Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows. You can download GIMP from the website here.
Paint.NET is a freeware raster graphics editor program for Microsoft Windows, developed on the .NET Framework. Paint.net was originally created by Rick Brewster as a Washington State University student project and has evolved from a simple replacement for the Microsoft Paint program into an editor with support for layers, blending, transparency, and plugins.
Paint.NET is a powerful, easy-to-use image editor that offers features similar to those that you’ll find in Adobe Photoshop and GIMP. Paint.NET features layers, enabling you to edit specific areas of your image or build up an image from a number of different sections.
You can also use Paint.NET to adjust an image's brightness, hue, contrast, curves, saturation, and levels, not mention an array of special effects that can blur, sharpen, distort, emboss and remove that pesky red-eye effect from your photos with a few clicks. There’s a Gradient tool too, a simple text editor, a powerful zoom function, and even a Clone Stamp tool to help you clean up grainy photos. If that's not enough, you can extend Paint.NET with downloadable extensions. The only limit is your creativity.
Paint.NET also supports user-created plugins, which add even more filters and functions. We're particularly fond of the Liquify extension, which lets you warp images just like the Photoshop tool of the same name and is ideal for fine-tuning portrait photos.
Best of all, Paint.NET records every change you make in a list that's only limited by the space on your hard drive and lets you undo and redo as many changes as you want at any time.
The major pros and cons of Paint.NET go as follows:
- +Advanced editing with levels and curves
- +Supports plugins
- -Not powerful enough to replace PhotoShop
Paint.NET can be downloaded from the Windows store or from this website.
Photo Pos Pro
Free photo editors certainly aren't thin on the ground, but finding one that suits your needs – and your abilities – can be tricky. Photo Pos Pro aims to find the middle ground by offering a choice of interfaces: one for beginners, and one for experts. This means that it's possible to get started with what proves to be a very powerful program without feeling intimidated.
While it's great to have a choice of interfaces with Photo Pos Pro, opting for Novice mode does mean making some compromises – you can't work with layers, for instances. This free photo editor's support for RAW files will appeal to photographers, and there are a large selection of filters and effects that can be added, in addition to the standard selection of editing tools.
You can try the program's premium features free for 21 days, and there's scope to expand Photo Pos Pro with extensions. It's worth pointing out that these are rather amateurish, which is a little strange because, despite having a Novice interface option, this is a program that is clearly aimed at the more professional user, with the potential to be a free alternative to Photoshop.
While there is a choice of interfaces, the 'pro' side of things is something of a cluttered mess. There are certainly a lot of very powerful tools to play with – the magic eraser is superb, for example – but there are so many toolbar buttons scattered seemingly haphazardly that, it takes some time to get used to where everything is.
Novice mode, on the other hand, if very well thought out, with everything being very clear, easy to locate, and easy to identify. In general use, performance of the program is fine, but it can be slow to start. There is also a strange issue which sees a hidden window called FrmStartup running in the background. It's not a major issue, but it can get in the way of alt-tabbing between programs.
- +Choice of interfaces for experts and beginners
- +Excellent help and tutorials
- +Balance of one-click and manual editing tools
- -Software acts strangely with Alt-Tab
- -Steep learning curve
Overall, Photo pos pro is a decent photo editing tool which is free and can be used by novices and experts alike. Photo Pos pro can be downloaded from here.
Pixlr is an online image editing giant. It is one of the best image editors which can be used online and as an app in both iOS and Android. You can manipulate the images to your liking. The only limit is your creativity.
It is more advanced than many desktop photo apps, and the fact that it runs in your browser means it wins in the convenience stakes too. It makes online photo editing a breeze. You can find dozens of web apps for editing photos in your browser, but more are quite simple affairs that have more in common with Instagram than Photoshop. Pixlr Editor is different.
You can begin by uploading an image from your desktop, but Pixlr Editor also lets you open a picture from an URL or create a new project from scratch. There's also the option of importing photos straight from Facebook, which is a great time-saver.
Once your picture is loaded, you're presented with a full Photoshop-style editing interface. There's a generous selection of filters to experiment with – both fun and practical – plus support for layers and masks for advanced editing. All the brushes and other tools are customizable, and there are quick keyboard shortcuts for commonly used options like levels and curves.
The only cause for concern is the fact that Pixlr is currently working on an HTML5 version of the editor to replace the current Flash edition. The new version will be compatible with more browsers and devices, but there's a possibility that it'll lose some of its more sophisticated features.
As far as interface is concerned, Pixlr Editor has a great deal in common with our favorite free open source photo editor, GIMP. All your tools are initially arranged in a palette on the left-hand side, with further options along the top and layer previews on the right, though you can drag these panels around the browser window to suit your preferences.
Pixlr Editor's history tool is particularly useful, making it easy to scroll through actions, undoing and repeating as necessary. You can tune every aspect of your photo manually, tweaking colors, exposure, and levels, but there are also automatic tools available for enhancing your photos as quickly as possible. That said, if Pixlr Editor is overkill for your needs, it's worth checking out the more straightforward Pixlr Express for a more streamlined photo-editing experience.
The major pros and cons of Pixlr go as follows:
- +Supports layers and masks
- +Customizable interface
- +Opens photos from desktop or URLs
- -Requires Flash
- -Some ads
All in all, Pixlr is a top choice for online image editing. You can visit Pixlr website here to use it right away.
PicMonkey is essentially an online photo editor that allows you to do basic photo editing without downloading any kind of software. The best part, for many people, is the price point: free.
PicMonkey has three main functions:
- Edit/Touch Up
Edit and Touch Up are listed separately on the homepage, but they’re really the same thing: manipulating your photo. Through this menu, you can crop, resize, add text, change the colors, and more. They even have a special set of tools for touching up images of people, which allow you to make simple changes like removing blemishes and whitening teeth.
The Design function allows you to start with a blank canvas instead of uploading a picture. They’ve also added templates, which are pre-made posters, invitations, and more. Most of these are not relevant for bloggers, but templates are nice if you also want to use PicMonkey for personal projects.
Lastly, there’s the Collage function, which gives users the ability to edit several photos together to make a single larger photo. Once you’ve chosen the layout, you can also choose to go into the Edit functions, where you can further manipulate your images.
The major pros and cons go as follows:
- +Number of image editing options
- +Online image editing is free with most features
- +Extremely easy to use
- -Not many options to add text
- -Selecting colours is sometimes not intuitive
Overall, PicMonkey is a simple tool to touch up your photos. It's not that useful for power users. You can visit PicMonkey website here.
SumoPaint is a free browser-based application with capabilities often found in more expensive image manipulation programs, including tools that subtly smudge, tint, and alter images and filters that blur and create other effects. Users can also perform basic edits like cropping photos and can draw their own images. Kids should be able to easily figure out how to use the application and can also share their creations.
Sumopaint lets you in on all the effects that up to now have been reserved for the pros or those who wanted to drop a few hundred bucks on imaging software. With this site, you can do it all, from painting a pretty picture to creating mesmerizing effects with tools like the symmetry brush and kaleidoscope filter.
These tools are sure to bring out the kid in everyone. Forget about the possibilities for wowing audiences with school reports, cartoons, and professionally done design work, this online application is just plain fun to experiment with. The computer app does all the work, making you look like a design pro without even trying.
Users can post comments on profile pages that exhibit artwork. Sometimes (though rarely) users harshly criticize pieces. Gallery comments aren't filtered, so parents may want to watch out for questionable posts. The profile pages are like social networking profiles and users can collect contacts like friends, but the only way to connect is on the profile page.
SumoPaint users should be wary of letting children use this web-based program as some of the communities may have explicit content. Other than that and ads, SumoPaint is one of the best web-based image editors and drawing programs.
The major pros and cons go as follows:
- +Is as good as GIMP and Photoshop
- +Vast variety of features
- +Proper tutorials for users
- -Parents should be cautious when letting children to use this
You can get to SumoPaint here.
Krita is as good as GIMP and PhotoShop. It is a free and open source painting program which is exclusively designed for both amateur and professional artists. Based on most of its users’ feedback, the sketching and painting tool is described as an alternative to Photoshop due to its fully-featured interface and fast painting functionality.
As an artist tool, it has been providing an innovative solution for concept and texture artists, illustrators, and VFX (Visual Effects) artists in the filmmaking industry. In addition, the program is ideal for 2D or 3D artists in the games industry.
Krita is using traditional painting techniques; but, regarded also as having the capability to replace Corel Painter, it innovates them by offering creative tools that work smoothly with any graphics tablets. The painting program offers sets of tools; namely, smoothing, mirroring, pressuring, transforming, layering, and color mixing or blending. Krita also supports the usage and manipulation of HDR or high dynamic range images, which are realistic looking photos.
The major pros and cons go as follows:
- +Open source
- +Free to use
- +Vast variety of functions for both painting and image manipulation
- -It’s best for painting not that great for image editing
Other than this, Krita is a solid option. You can visit Krita website here.
SeaShore is a free image editing software for Mac users. It is an open source image editor for Cocoa. It features gradients, textures, and anti-aliasing for both text and brush strokes. It supports multiple layers and alpha channel editing. It is based around the GIMP's technology and uses the same native file format.
Suitable for basic image editing, Seashore for Mac offers some useful tools and options that will appeal to less experienced users. The program is free and performs as expected, but could really use a better looking and more user-friendly interface. Upon startup, there will be a small pop-up window where you can choose to create a new image or open an existing one. Here you can set up an image's width and height, resolution, and mode. There is an option to set a transparent background, too.
After the program starts you will be greeted with a rather basic interface. The tools are clearly displayed on the centralized menu bar while layers and image data are found in the sidebar. However, the number of tools available was disappointing. The interface, while functional, is not appealing and could use a real makeover. The file format support is limited to GIMP, TIFF, and GIF formats, which is a downside as there should be more formats supported in a program of this type. Overall, this program looks like it's still in its beta stage as it needs more work to become appealing to a wider audience.
The major pros and cons go as follows:
- +Excellent features for free of cost
- +Useful for Mac with subtle functionality
- +Good for amateur and beginner users
- -Lack of advanced image manipulation tools
- -Only for Mac
Seashore for Mac lacks the advanced options found in other image editors. We recommend it only for amateur photographers and beginners who need to perform some basic image editing functions. You can visit SeaShore here.
Canva is one of the best online image editors available right now. Canva revolves entirely around intuitive controls such as drag-and-drop, so adding, removing, and editing elements on your canvas is almost a no-brainer. This also means that if you’re used to design software giving you a hand with page grids and object distribution features, you’re out of luck. Canva does show live orientation guides as you drag objects around, but they are not as sophisticated as those used by online typesetting services such as LucidPress.
Rather than overwhelm with options, Canva gives you just a handful of picks. This is evident in the built-in color picker as well: You can change the color used for text and some of the built-in glyphs, but you’re first only presented with a limited palette of 5-8 colors that fit your general color scheme. If you know the specific hue you’re after, you can click through for a more standard color picker that also lets you feed in a hex color code.
Canva is an amazing tool for the novices and beginners, and can come in handy for professionals too. It makes designing uniformly easy for everyone, but it's by no means aimed only at amateurs. The simplicity and richness of the tools will get you coming back for more every day. As it is now, Canva brings sophisticated design abilities to the masses. We can only hope future features don’t render the service complicated to use. Hurry up and request your beta invite, this is one service you won't want to miss.
The major pros and cons of Canva go as follows:
- +Good for novices and beginners
- +Advanced tools for the professionals
- +Intuitive interface
- +Completely online
- +Tightly integrated with stock photo image bank
- +Can be used for free if you use your own photos
- -No page grids
- -No alignment tools
You can visit Canva website here.
Fotor is one of the most popular and highly trusted image editors. It is an online
Photoshop alternative which can be used for simple purposes. If you have a collection of photos that need a little extra polish, Fotor's one-click filters are the easiest way to make them look their best. It's no full-scale Photoshop replacement, but it's very easy to use and it's free which is what that attracts millions of users.
Free Windows photo editor Fotor is an excellent tool if you have some photos on your PC that you'd like to commit to canvas and hang on your wall. Fotor is packed with image-enhancing tools and filters to make pictures look their best. It supports all the most popular image file formats, and even provides RAW file processing – a feature you might expect to be exclusive to full-price photo-editing software.
- +Smart filters and effects
- +Easy photo collage tool
- +RAW file converter
- -Not as feature packed as GIMP
Whatever may be the photo you have, on a whole, Fotor is a simple online image editor which keeps things simple and let you do the basic editing. You can visit Fotor here.
PhotoScape is another image editor which has some of the most excellent features for a free photo editor. Even if you don't use every feature on offer, you'll find PhotoScape indispensable for editing and managing your photo archive. Extremely impressive for a free program.
PhotoScape is primarily a photo editor, but this label doesn't really do it justice – there is much more to it than basic retouching. There's also an image viewer, a batch editing function, a built-in screen capture tool, and a host of filters and effects to quickly liven up any image.
In addition to that you can stitch together multiple images into a panorama or collage, work with animated GIFs, convert RAW images, create slideshows, and print photos using a number of templates – the list goes on.
The major pros and cons of PhotoScape go as follows:
- +Impressive range of tools
- +Easy to navigate
- +Raw image editor
- -Confusing layout
You can visit PhotoScape here.
These are the best online and desktop image manipulating tools. For most of the Android and iOS devices, there are numerous basic image editing apps. But best of all, the inbuilt tool works the best. If not, Snapseed (available both on iOS and Android) and Pixlr Express do the task.
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