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The 10 Best Photoshop Alternatives You Need To Know

The 10 Best Photoshop Alternatives You Need To Know

Although Adobe Photoshop is a wonderful program, it can be overkill for everyday image editing. Let’s look at the ten best Photoshop alternatives. We’ve chosen some Web apps, as well as apps for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows.

PicMonkey (Web, free)

PicMonkey image editor

    PicMonkey hides its power behind a simple and intuitive interface. It’s equally at home creating collages for scrapbooking, as it is enhancing glamor photos or creating images for your blog.

    To get started, just drag an image onto the app’s home page. Creating collages is a breeze: just upload your own images and drag them into place. If you wish, you can start off with a blank slate and design anyway you choose.

    Although PicMonkey is free, a small monthly charge for the premium version gives you a lot of extras.

    Canva (Web, free)

    Canva Web app

      Canva is a new app, and it goes beyond simple image editing. Its claim is that it can “make design simple for anyone.” To that end, the app is stuffed with thousands of wonderful design elements, including stock photographs, layouts, and fonts.

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      Many of these elements are free. You’ll pay a minimal fee for others, but far less than you’d pay for an image from a stock photo website. Of course, you can use your own images, also. With the ease of Canva, you can create a birthday card, business card, or blog image in seconds.

      Currently, this app is in beta. To use it, you will need to apply for an invitation, or get an invitation from a friend who’s currently using Canva.

      Pixlr Editor (Web, free)

      Pixlr image editing

        If you’re familiar with Photoshop, you’ll find Pixlr easy and intuitive. Unfortunately, if you’re new to image editing, you’re on your own. Finding tutorials or help files for Pixlr is next to impossible.

        Although beginners will struggle with this program, experienced image editors will like Pixlr. It offers many features and fast image editing. One of my favorites is the one-click photo enhancements, which is included in the Pixlr Express app.

        GIMP (Free, OS X, Windows, Linux)

        The GIMP Image editor

          The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a totally free, cross-platform image editor. It’s a great Photoshop alternative, with Photoshop’s look and feel. One inconvenience is that GIMP can’t handle RAW files on its own. Fortunately, you can download converters, like UFRaw, to use with Gimp as a plugin.

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          In fact, Gimp has a huge library of plugins that can create layer and photo effects, and much more.

          Anyone who’s familiar with Photoshop can get up to speed with GIMP quickly. If you’re completely new to image editing, you’ll appreciate the GIMP tutorials which are handily divided into categories, from beginner to expert.

          Acorn (OS X, $49.99)

          Acorn Mac OS X

            Need a Mac image editor which is fast and fun to use? You’ll appreciate the Mac-only Acorn. Recently out in version 4, Acorn’s tools, such as instant alpha, custom brushes, and PSD (Photoshop format) import and export, make it a good alternative to Photoshop for easy image creation and editing. You can work through Acorn’s comprehensive tutorials, if you’re a beginner. Even if you’re an image editing pro, you can still find a tutorial to help you with more complicated tasks.

            Although Acorn isn’t a complete replacement for Photoshop, it can work directly with RAW files, so you may find the app has everything you need.

            Pixelmator (OS X, $29.99)

            Pixelmator OS X

              Pixelmator (Mac only) may not be a direct competitor to Photoshop but, in its latest version, it takes advantage of the new multi-monitor support and compressed memory features in OS X Mavericks. These features, combined with its low price, and ease of use, make Pixelmator appealing to anyone who needs a Photoshop alternative.

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              Both new and experience users will appreciate Pixelmator’s many tutorials, which include dozens of third-party tutorials from enthusiastic Pixelmator mavens.

              Paint.NET (Windows, free)

              Paint.NET image editor

                If you’re on Windows, and need a good Photoshop alternative, give Paint.NET a try. Originally created as a replacement for Microsoft Paint, the Windows’ built-in image editor, Paint.NET has developed into a superb and easy to use image editor.

                While it doesn’t offer all of the GIMP’s heavy-duty editing tools, Paint.NET’s easier to learn. Even if you’re completely inexperienced with image editing, you’ll be able to get results with this program immediately.

                Serif PhotoPlus X6 (Windows $89.99)

                Serif Photo Plus

                  Serif PhotoPlus has been around for years, and has many loyal users. If you’re looking for a Photoshop alternative, Serif PhotoPlus is well worth considering, especially if you’re new to image editing. There’s excellent support for both new and experienced users. Not only are there written tutorials, there are helpful videos as well. There’s also an active user forum which means that you can get answers and image editing tips, quickly.

                  The app’s latest release offers enhanced selection tools and updates to its RAW Studio utility, to simplify your work with RAW images.

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                  Corel PaintShop Pro X6 (Windows, $69.99)

                  Paintshop Pro

                    PaintShop Pro has been around for decades and, as with Serif PhotoPlus, if you’re new to image editing, you’ll appreciate the great education and support this program offers. New goodies in this latest version include Auto Selection, which helps you to make composite images quickly, and Smart Selection Brush, which expands your selections at a click.

                    If you regularly batch-processing hundreds of images, you should consider this app, because it can record scripts which automate repetitive tasks. You will also appreciate the hundreds of filters and plugins available for this app.

                    Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 (OS X, Windows $69.99)

                    Photoshop Elements

                      Adobe Photoshop Elements isn’t Photoshop, but many people will find that this app has everything they need for image management and editing. Yes, it’s a stripped down version of Photoshop, but it’s also a powerful image editor in its own right. If you want an editor to manage your own photos, or a good editor to create images for social media, Elements is your perfect choice.

                      You’ll appreciate Elements’ layer support, because Adjustment and Blend layers can quickly take an image from ho-hum to spectacular. Anyone who’s new to image editing will appreciate Elements’ Guided mode, which does as its name suggests: it shows you how to perform editing tasks, which are new to you, without leaving the app.

                      As you can see from our list, there are many Photoshop alternatives. Experiment to see which ones you can integrate into your own workflows. You may find, as I do, that using a combination of several of the above apps lets you do all your image editing without ever opening Photoshop.

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                      Last Updated on May 14, 2019

                      8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                      8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                      Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

                      1. Zoho Notebook
                        If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
                      2. Evernote
                        The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
                      3. Net Notes
                        If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
                      4. i-Lighter
                        You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
                      5. Clipmarks
                        For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
                      6. UberNote
                        If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
                      7. iLeonardo
                        iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
                      8. Zotero
                        Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

                      I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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                      In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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