Is there a decent free alternative to Adobe Photoshop for Windows?
I know, there is a similar question, but it seems to be focused entirely on Linux.
GIMP is probably one of the most commonly used free alternatives to Adobe Photoshop for Windows:
Paint.NET is a free (as in beer, not as in speech) image editor. While it was originally intended as a replacement for the minimalistic Microsoft Paint, it has grown into a full-fledged image editor with many advanced features.
The feature palette still lacks behind GIMP and Photoshop, but depending on what you want to do it might be enough.
System Requirements and Limitations:
- Windows 7 SP1 or newer (including Windows 8, 8.1, and 10)
- 1 GHz processor (dual-core recommended)
- 1 GB of RAM Paint.NET depends on Microsoft's .NET Framework 4.5, which is automatically installed if it isn't already on the system.
Paint.NET will automatically run in 64-bit mode if possible. You must have a 64-bit capable CPU and an x64 edition of Windows.
Paint.NET uses your hard drive to store temporary files related to undo/redo history. Because of this, actual disk space requirements will depend on the actions you perform on an image, and on the size of the image.
Paint.NET does not work on Windows RT.
While technically a 2D paint application, Krita also works as a great Photoshop replacement.
It essentially can do all the same things even if its in a different way.
It might take awhile to get used to some things compared to Photoshop. Some photoshop tools don't have direct correspondence in Krita, but rather more powerful replacements i.e there's no clone brush. All brushes can be clone brushes.
Personally I find it good for non-destructive editing. With its filter layers and transform layers, its possible to build up effects yet always able to edit the original and have everything else auto-update.
Also a far better interface then GIMP.
available in many languages
Pixlr Editor is a free Flash-based web app Photoshop clone, although it is somewhat lacking in the full feature set of Photoshop. You will find the interface is very similar to that of Photoshop which is especially nice if you're already used to Photoshop. Also, since it's web-based, you can use it from anywhere that supports Flash without having to download it.
For real photo editing or touch up, no. Not even close.
For very basic photo editing, yes, see the other answers.
I have done both the software side of image processing as well as using image processing tools for a variety of purposes including image processing of photos and touching up photos.
I love that you can write plugins for Paint.NET, and I still do that on rare occasion.
But here is the real deal.
None of the alternatives is even close to being of the same quality as Photoshop Elements.
And Photoshop Elements is substantially stripped down from Photoshop.
Now if you just sit down and start clicking, this will not be immediately obvious. A lot of the power of Photoshop, and even Photoshop Elements, is not obvious on the surface.
Another middle of the road, is Photoshop Elements along with the excellent Elements+ plugin (which is quite inexpensive). This won't give you Raw processing in Photoshop elements, but will do a help close the gap between Photoshop Elements and Photoshop.
It is true that on the surface the competitors appear pretty good. But then you want a selection tool that doesn't just have selected or unselected points, but in fact lets you partially select points. And save selections, and then reload them. And you want to select something, but then feather the border of your selection, or maybe expand or contract your selection just a bit. Even Photoshop Elements stands out from the crowd by offering these things.
Here, lets say you want to actually brighten part of a human face. Let's say you wish part of it had more lighting than is in the photograph. If it isn't perfectly seamless you will totally destroy the photo. Well in Photoshop Elements and Elements+ (which is less powerful than Photoshop) you can make a selection that is tapered (meaning pixels near the edge are only partly selected). Then you can use curves to remap the luminosity (preferably in a lower layer dedicated to luminosity with an upper layer untouched that is used for color). And here is the great thing - the luminosity remapping will itself only partially affect pixels that are only partially selected. That means you can actually create perfectly seamless changes in shadow or light quite easily.