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What is the best photoshop alternative for windows?

Community Beginner ,
Nov 26, 2018

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The Photoshop is  really nice. I have been using this for past 2 years. But this subscription model makes me feel like I do not own this one.

I am looking forward options.

Or is there any plans from Adobe to bring back buying full version option?

Thanks.

Up until this day, there really is no substitute for Photoshop as a whole. There are many programs out there, that do certain things better than photoshop, but lack other features, that photoshop provides. Adobe has switched to the atrocious subscription model, fully aware of the fact, that there is no alternative for many users.

If you want alternatives to certain workflows, you still can find many good programs out there:

Painting:

If you are interested in digital illustration, there are many apps that are better suited to this than photoshop. Photoshop's brush engine hasn't really changed much since its inception in Version 7.

- Corel Painter has the far better tools and a more natural feel when it comes to the pure painting and drawing experience. The newest version of Painter has made huge improvements to the usability and interface issues that plagued the program before. Also it is a one time purchase, no subscriptions:) On the downside, the performance is still lacking compared to photoshop and image editing capabilities are nowhere near extensive. I would still recomment this as the best alternative for pure painting. It needs some time to get used to it, but it might be worth yout time. The amount of customization options is overhelming at first, but the digital manual is excellent and explains everything in detail.

- Artrage is a cheap and simple alternative, if you are only interested in digital painting. The user interface is a little clunky, but the brushes are nice and more than sufficient for the basic needs. Image editing is lacking compared to photoshop. Also it is cheap and there is no subscription model.

- More a drawing app than a painting tool is Sketchbook. The Program has become free recently and is an excellent choice for your basic drawing needs. Brushes are very precise and there are people out there who create great works of art with it.

- If you have an Apple Ipad, the best thing you can get for painting is Procreate. This little gem of software is getting better and better with every version and the performance is simply amazing. I consider the experience to be equal if not better than photoshop, Brushes are fully customizable, layer management, transformations and handling is great and almost as good as in PS. There is no desktop version of procreate though but on an ios device there is nothing better.

- If you come from a traditionel background, you might want to give Rebelle a try. One of my favorite programs to date it simulates the look and feel of real watercolor, ink and acrylics like no other app on the market. If used correctly there is no distinction between the real thing and the digital creation. The Team behind it is very responsive and keeps making it better and more efficient with every new version. Also it is cheap and subscrition free.

There is no lack of good Painting alternatives. When it comes to image editing, Compositing and Photo retouching the prospect gets darker immediately.

Photo editing, retouching and compositing:

- The only program that comes almost close to the power of photoshop for average users is Affinitiy Photo. The menus are streamlined, the overall functionallity is great and there should be almost no basic task in photoshop that affinity can't handle as well. The problems start when the tasks get more advanced and the demands are getting higher. Affinity has it's own way of splitting tasks into different workspaces (called personas) and this makes the handling of workflows kinda strange (IMO). Also the performance is nowhere near as good as in photoshop. However it is still the only real competition to adobe. Also it is not a subscripton model and purchasing is not very expensive for what you get.

- For real professionell compositing there is nothing better than Nuke. The program is node based and almost all-powerful. Compared to photoshop it has a working 32 bit workflow and unlimitied capabilities when it comes to real high end compositing and editing. The high price tag makes this an option for high end users only. Also does the node based interface require a lot of getting used to, if you are not familiar with this kind of approach.

This list is in no way conclusive but it might get you an idea of what to expect outside the world of adobe and. I have been using Photoshop since version 3.0 and have been a happy customer up until the invention of greed based, monopoly exploiting subscription models. Right now the way I see it, adobe is abandoning it's former customers in the high end poweruser end of the market and is concentrating only on the instagram casual user. Things like an half assed "face liquify" and the horrendous obsession with "automated features" is evidence to me, that it is about time, that other companies fill the gap that adobe has left open for high end users.

I hope this helps:)

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What is the best photoshop alternative for windows?

Community Beginner ,
Nov 26, 2018

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The Photoshop is  really nice. I have been using this for past 2 years. But this subscription model makes me feel like I do not own this one.

I am looking forward options.

Or is there any plans from Adobe to bring back buying full version option?

Thanks.

Up until this day, there really is no substitute for Photoshop as a whole. There are many programs out there, that do certain things better than photoshop, but lack other features, that photoshop provides. Adobe has switched to the atrocious subscription model, fully aware of the fact, that there is no alternative for many users.

If you want alternatives to certain workflows, you still can find many good programs out there:

Painting:

If you are interested in digital illustration, there are many apps that are better suited to this than photoshop. Photoshop's brush engine hasn't really changed much since its inception in Version 7.

- Corel Painter has the far better tools and a more natural feel when it comes to the pure painting and drawing experience. The newest version of Painter has made huge improvements to the usability and interface issues that plagued the program before. Also it is a one time purchase, no subscriptions:) On the downside, the performance is still lacking compared to photoshop and image editing capabilities are nowhere near extensive. I would still recomment this as the best alternative for pure painting. It needs some time to get used to it, but it might be worth yout time. The amount of customization options is overhelming at first, but the digital manual is excellent and explains everything in detail.

- Artrage is a cheap and simple alternative, if you are only interested in digital painting. The user interface is a little clunky, but the brushes are nice and more than sufficient for the basic needs. Image editing is lacking compared to photoshop. Also it is cheap and there is no subscription model.

- More a drawing app than a painting tool is Sketchbook. The Program has become free recently and is an excellent choice for your basic drawing needs. Brushes are very precise and there are people out there who create great works of art with it.

- If you have an Apple Ipad, the best thing you can get for painting is Procreate. This little gem of software is getting better and better with every version and the performance is simply amazing. I consider the experience to be equal if not better than photoshop, Brushes are fully customizable, layer management, transformations and handling is great and almost as good as in PS. There is no desktop version of procreate though but on an ios device there is nothing better.

- If you come from a traditionel background, you might want to give Rebelle a try. One of my favorite programs to date it simulates the look and feel of real watercolor, ink and acrylics like no other app on the market. If used correctly there is no distinction between the real thing and the digital creation. The Team behind it is very responsive and keeps making it better and more efficient with every new version. Also it is cheap and subscrition free.

There is no lack of good Painting alternatives. When it comes to image editing, Compositing and Photo retouching the prospect gets darker immediately.

Photo editing, retouching and compositing:

- The only program that comes almost close to the power of photoshop for average users is Affinitiy Photo. The menus are streamlined, the overall functionallity is great and there should be almost no basic task in photoshop that affinity can't handle as well. The problems start when the tasks get more advanced and the demands are getting higher. Affinity has it's own way of splitting tasks into different workspaces (called personas) and this makes the handling of workflows kinda strange (IMO). Also the performance is nowhere near as good as in photoshop. However it is still the only real competition to adobe. Also it is not a subscripton model and purchasing is not very expensive for what you get.

- For real professionell compositing there is nothing better than Nuke. The program is node based and almost all-powerful. Compared to photoshop it has a working 32 bit workflow and unlimitied capabilities when it comes to real high end compositing and editing. The high price tag makes this an option for high end users only. Also does the node based interface require a lot of getting used to, if you are not familiar with this kind of approach.

This list is in no way conclusive but it might get you an idea of what to expect outside the world of adobe and. I have been using Photoshop since version 3.0 and have been a happy customer up until the invention of greed based, monopoly exploiting subscription models. Right now the way I see it, adobe is abandoning it's former customers in the high end poweruser end of the market and is concentrating only on the instagram casual user. Things like an half assed "face liquify" and the horrendous obsession with "automated features" is evidence to me, that it is about time, that other companies fill the gap that adobe has left open for high end users.

I hope this helps:)

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Nov 26, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 26, 2018

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I don't believe Adobe has any plans to return to a full purchase version of their software, but we are just volunteers answering on this forum so you never know what they may do with their business in the future.

As for alternatives, I think you'll need to be looking elsewhere for an answer to that.

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Nov 26, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2018

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Thank you for your answer. I hope you see Brainbuggener7​ responses.

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Nov 27, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 26, 2018

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Photoshop Elements perhaps. Fairly inexpensive, and you get to keep it.

Easy Photo Editing Software | Adobe Photoshop Elements 2019

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Nov 26, 2018 3
Participant ,
Nov 27, 2018

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Up until this day, there really is no substitute for Photoshop as a whole. There are many programs out there, that do certain things better than photoshop, but lack other features, that photoshop provides. Adobe has switched to the atrocious subscription model, fully aware of the fact, that there is no alternative for many users.

If you want alternatives to certain workflows, you still can find many good programs out there:

Painting:

If you are interested in digital illustration, there are many apps that are better suited to this than photoshop. Photoshop's brush engine hasn't really changed much since its inception in Version 7.

- Corel Painter has the far better tools and a more natural feel when it comes to the pure painting and drawing experience. The newest version of Painter has made huge improvements to the usability and interface issues that plagued the program before. Also it is a one time purchase, no subscriptions:) On the downside, the performance is still lacking compared to photoshop and image editing capabilities are nowhere near extensive. I would still recomment this as the best alternative for pure painting. It needs some time to get used to it, but it might be worth yout time. The amount of customization options is overhelming at first, but the digital manual is excellent and explains everything in detail.

- Artrage is a cheap and simple alternative, if you are only interested in digital painting. The user interface is a little clunky, but the brushes are nice and more than sufficient for the basic needs. Image editing is lacking compared to photoshop. Also it is cheap and there is no subscription model.

- More a drawing app than a painting tool is Sketchbook. The Program has become free recently and is an excellent choice for your basic drawing needs. Brushes are very precise and there are people out there who create great works of art with it.

- If you have an Apple Ipad, the best thing you can get for painting is Procreate. This little gem of software is getting better and better with every version and the performance is simply amazing. I consider the experience to be equal if not better than photoshop, Brushes are fully customizable, layer management, transformations and handling is great and almost as good as in PS. There is no desktop version of procreate though but on an ios device there is nothing better.

- If you come from a traditionel background, you might want to give Rebelle a try. One of my favorite programs to date it simulates the look and feel of real watercolor, ink and acrylics like no other app on the market. If used correctly there is no distinction between the real thing and the digital creation. The Team behind it is very responsive and keeps making it better and more efficient with every new version. Also it is cheap and subscrition free.

There is no lack of good Painting alternatives. When it comes to image editing, Compositing and Photo retouching the prospect gets darker immediately.

Photo editing, retouching and compositing:

- The only program that comes almost close to the power of photoshop for average users is Affinitiy Photo. The menus are streamlined, the overall functionallity is great and there should be almost no basic task in photoshop that affinity can't handle as well. The problems start when the tasks get more advanced and the demands are getting higher. Affinity has it's own way of splitting tasks into different workspaces (called personas) and this makes the handling of workflows kinda strange (IMO). Also the performance is nowhere near as good as in photoshop. However it is still the only real competition to adobe. Also it is not a subscripton model and purchasing is not very expensive for what you get.

- For real professionell compositing there is nothing better than Nuke. The program is node based and almost all-powerful. Compared to photoshop it has a working 32 bit workflow and unlimitied capabilities when it comes to real high end compositing and editing. The high price tag makes this an option for high end users only. Also does the node based interface require a lot of getting used to, if you are not familiar with this kind of approach.

This list is in no way conclusive but it might get you an idea of what to expect outside the world of adobe and. I have been using Photoshop since version 3.0 and have been a happy customer up until the invention of greed based, monopoly exploiting subscription models. Right now the way I see it, adobe is abandoning it's former customers in the high end poweruser end of the market and is concentrating only on the instagram casual user. Things like an half assed "face liquify" and the horrendous obsession with "automated features" is evidence to me, that it is about time, that other companies fill the gap that adobe has left open for high end users.

I hope this helps:)

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Nov 27, 2018 4
Guide ,
Nov 27, 2018

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Since we are talking alternatives, I'll throw in a couple of other good ones:

For painting:

Krita, free and open source, and arguably beats Photoshop for digital painting in most areas (and Corel Painter in certain key areas). And the compositing part, layer stack, and general filter options aren't half bad either. Krita's layer stack pulls off some tricks which Photoshop cannot match, such as colorize masking, multiple layer masks per layer, and live cloned layers. Also animation is possible. My painting tool of choice nowadays, aside from ClipStudio.

Paintstorm is quite interesting as well. Sort-of a "Painter on the cheap", with some very nice brushes. Not very suitable for compositing tasks, however. But keeps up with Corel Painter in terms of creative brush techniques.

ClipStudio EX: industry standard drawing and painting tool in the East, and without a doubt some of the nicest "drawing feel" of all drawing apps. Really meant for comic creation and illustration, with powerful page management tools, and a number of excellent helper tools. Also supports animation, and outputs animation directly to OpenToonz (professional open source animation production package) for a high-level 2d animation production workflow. I absolutely love inking in this.

For layer based photo editing, retouching and compositing:

PhotoLine. Pretty much equivalent to Photoshop in regards to compositing, if not surpassing Photoshop in many areas. The layer stack is one level over Photoshop with its impressive non-destructive capabilities, and Affinity Photo can't really keep up in this area at all. Drawbacks are its old-fashioned painting tools and the user will need to find a secondary app for focus stacking or HDR stacking. On the other hand, it works really well together with other applications, and can serve as a primary image editing hub application. PhotoLine even does DTP, and can do things no other image editor is capable of because of this. If the race would be about complex non-destructive image compositing and editing alone, I'd say PhotoLine would win the 100 meter dash with Photoshop by half a meter, or so.

Corel Draw Graphics Suite is an oldie, but is a viable alternative with the inclusion of Corel Photo-Paint. Quite powerful, and although it's lagging behind Photoshop, still pretty good. Not the most inexpensive option, though. I'd probably just go with the Affinity line of products.

Now that I mentioned Affinity: Affinity Photo is a pretty good PS alternative, although its basic workflow is still missing quite a lot of expected core functionality, which can prove to be a frustrating experience. I have a license, yet I pretty much only use it to balance out a couple of missing features in PhotoLine. That said, it does deliver on many fronts, and it is still early in the game. And PhotoLine doesn't look nearly as attractive on the outside, which seems to be of major concern to some blinded by glossy varnishing.

With the forementioned software being quite capable, Photoshop Elements has become a bit of a tough sell for most compared. Elements can be 'upgraded' though with the purchase of a simple plugin, and then enters the realm of more higher level image editing: Elements XXL. This plugin exposes much of the missing functions compared to Photoshop image editing options.

Fusion: a direct competitor to Nuke for nodal based compositing, and the base version is (amazingly) completely free. The full version is incredibly powerful just like Nuke, but FAR more affordable (couple of hundreds instead of thousands of dollars). Fusion also mitigates the loss of animation capabilities in some of the products listed above. The free version is pretty awesome, and includes everything excepting a number of triple-A features. Nuke, eat your heart out.

Thing is, for about a year's worth of Photoshop rent ($120), one could equip one's toolkit with PhotoLine, Affinity Designer/Photo (both are on sale now), Krita, Fusion, Inkscape, Raw Therapee, Adobe Bridge/XNViewMP, and call it a day.

Not for everyone, though, of course. And one would miss the convenience of having good up to great level tools all in one application, rather than spread out across several ones, which requires a different pipeline, even if those tools may outperform Photoshop in their specific areas. Whether that is an attractive proposition or not depends on someone's personal preferences and work/hobby situation. And if tutorial support is important (and it often is), some of the mentioned alternatives have very little to help newcomers (looking at you PhotoLine).

Photoshop remains the best all-rounder-have-it-all-in-one Swiss army knife, with some caveats, but still.

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Nov 27, 2018 4
Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2018

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Thank you Brainbug much. I got lot of info from your descriptive answer.

I explored elements. But the gap is huge between ps and elements.

As you said, Affinity looks close to me. With its 1.7 beta, I see majority of ps features getting implemented.

Nuke seems very expensive for non commercial use.

Getting used to the photoshop’s excellent features, performance and results, I am hoping one day we will see non subscription model..

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 27, 2018

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Well done Rayek for adding Krita.  It is a remarkable piece of software even without being free.  It has a great brush engine, and some very nice tools and features.  I love the right click brush and colour pop-up, and I like how  it handles vector tools. 

The brush preset options pop-up below i set to the FX list from the lower fly-out list.  These are completely customizable  of course.

It also has a lovely graphic for the brush panel with nice icons and colour.

There's a bit of a learning curve, but enough things are similar to Photoshop to make it easy to get into, and there are tons of tutorials.

Having said all this, I still tend to use Photoshop because I know it so well.

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Nov 27, 2018 2
Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2018

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rayek.elfin​ , Thank you for sharing great options.

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Nov 27, 2018 0
Participant ,
Nov 27, 2018

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It has been a while since I had looked at Krita. Seems to be rather nice. Thanks for the info!

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Nov 27, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2018

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Thank you gener7​. Elements is real good option for basic editing for beginners.

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Nov 27, 2018 0
samhong1 LATEST
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Sep 16, 2020

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Thanks Brainbug, I'll give Affinity Photo a shot.  Just on principle I can't keep supporting a company that is THIS overtly greedy.  If you think about it though, it all comes down to fear and lack of confidence in themselves.  Adobe knew that Photoshop had reached a point where it was getting harder and harder to come up with real meaningful upgrades, at least enough to charge what they normally charge.  It was an "oh sh*t" moment and so they figured their only alternative was to lock people into a subcription model and then they deactivated most of the activation servers required to install older versions of their software, thus killing the aftermarket.  It's a cowardly act.  And for all those people defending them and talking about how the CC is such a good deal - if that were really the case, then Adobe would have nothing to fear - they would've made permanent purchase an alternative option so that all of us "dumb" people could just pay full price and have the software to ourselves.   But, like you mentioned, nothing is quite as good as Photoshop itseld, so they'll get away with this for now.  I'm hoping the free market will take over and someone will develop a better option in the not-too-distant future. (I won't hold my breath though)

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