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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 February 15, 2019

                      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                      Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                      Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                      Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                      So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                      Joe’s Goals

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                        Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                        Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                        Daytum

                          Daytum

                          is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                          Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                          Excel or Numbers

                            If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                            What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                            Evernote

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                              I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                              Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                              Access or Bento

                                If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                Conclusion

                                I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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