13 of the Most Popular GIMP Alternatives

In today’s day and age, it does not matter if you are merely snap shots for fun or compete on a more professional level, everyone needs a solid software solution for photo editing.  

Luckily, as there are so many powerful photo editing tools currently available on the market, you are guaranteed to find a couple of tools to fulfil your unique needs and supplement your existing skills. One such tool is GIMP. Also called the GNU Image Manipulation Program, it is one of the most popular Photoshop alternatives and can virtually perform all the same tasks that Photoshop can complete. That being said, it is not perfect. For example, the multiple preset brushes all share the same settings which can start to work on your nerves. Its text tool is also not that easy to understand.

So, if these drawbacks are critical for you, you can check out the following 13 photo editing tools, in no particular order, that both professional and beginner photographers can use instead of GIMP.

1. Luminar 

Luminar can help you to make drastic improvements to your photos in a matter of a few clicks and minutes. It has a very handy artificial-intelligence slider that you can use to tweak things like the brightness and clarity of your photos. Though, what really sets it apart from many of the other GIMP alternatives is that it boasts exclusive filters like the Orton and Sunrays filters that will instantly impress you. All things considered, Luminar can really compete with the top tools and as you only have to pay a flat fee once, there is no need to budget for any monthly subscription payments. 

2. Paint.NET

As Paint.NET was initially created to be a better version of Microsoft Paint, it boasts several features of Microsoft Paint. That being said, it is not nearly as robust as a photo editing tool like Photoshop. Though, thanks to many of its features it is, in fact, a possible alternative to GIMP, in particular for users who are searching for a tool that they can use with Windows free of charge. 

Paint.NET, for instance, offers layers with blending modes (this is actually one of the most popular features). Another feature that is especially useful if you need to undo many edits fast is its history tool. On top of that, it also supports a wide range of different file types that include TIFF, JPG, TGA, GIF, PNG, DDS, BMP, and PDN. Though, if you like to work in RAW, please note that it does not have a Camera RAW option.

All things considered, Paint.NET is really a well-developed alternative to GIMP. Its user interface might not look as modern and it might not boast all the tools that you need (it does not have a patch tool, spot healing tool or slice tool), but it is still a great tool if you need to edit images. 

3. PhotoLine

Unlike Paint.NET, PhotoLine is also compatible with Mac operating systems in addition to Windows. This image editing software boasts a number of fantastic features and can support many file types that include PDF, PNG, JPG and SVG. All in all, its user interface is up to par (though, there is still some room for improvement, in particular its toolbox that might confuse you). 

Some of its greatest features include blending modes, layers, guides, rulers and a number of filters and effects. Plus, it also supports vector drawing! Though, tools that it does not offer include a pen tool, patch tool and slice tool. 

Unlike Paint.NET, this tools is also not free. However, you can put it to the test for free by taking advantage of their 30-day trial.

4. Affinity Photo

If you do not mind paying for an image editing app and you are searching for a tool that is more powerful than Paint.NET, look no further than Affinity Photo. Just like Paint.NET, Affinity Photo is also compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

It boasts loads of awesome and practical features that include grids, a Pen tool, a healing tool, a clone tool, as well as support for guides and rulers. It also supports blending modes as well as layers. As a matter of fact, most of the tools that you would find in GIMP or Photoshop, you will find in Affinity Photo as well. 

That being said, its once-off fee is quite pricey and it can take some time to get used to its user interface. All things considered, it remains one of the most popular and top paid GIMP alternatives that are currently available on the market. 

5. Photolemur

If time is really of the essence to you, Photolemur is another GIMP alternative that can deliver great results fast. Just like Skylum, this tool also uses artificial intelligence (AI) and really sophisticated algorithms to analyse all the most important details and then it performs complex modifications instantly. 

In short, the only thing that you need to do is import your images to Photolemur and then the app will do everything else. This makes it the ideal tool for beginners in particular as you do not require any relevant photo editing know-how in order to be able to do basic things such as making skin blemishes disappear or whitening teeth. A couple of its other fab features are exposure compensation, colour recovery, and sky and foliage enhancement. Overall, Photolemur is truly simple to use, whether you prefer to use a Windows or Mac operating system. 

6. Krita

If you have joined a couple of online forums that look at photo editing, the chances are very good that you would have read a number of raving reviews of Krita. It boasts loads of features and its interface is not that much different to the one of Photoshop (for example, its toolbars are arranged almost identically).

In addition to its loads of effects, some of its other features include a text tool (though, it is not as powerful) and support for guides, rulers, pens and drawing tablets. And, if you are pressed for time, you will like the templates that it offers for various kinds of projects. 

Although it does not have a history tool (like Paint.NET) or Camera RAW filter, it does offer support for the all-time favourite Slice Tool. Also, keep in mind that its patch tool can move slowly when you are working with bigger images. 

Krita is compatible with Linux, macOS and Windows and supports many different files that include JPEG, WEBP, GIMP, PNG and TGA. You can use it for free (but if you would like to support Krita’s developing team, you can opt for the paid version instead).

7. Seashore 

This free GIMP alternative is only compatible with Mac operating systems, but it is especially great for beginners as it is really very simple to use. It supports layers and pressure sensitivity. The latter feature means that it is ideal if you are going to be drawing on a pressure-sensitive tablet. 

Overall, it is pretty basic and only supports the following file formats: GIF, JPG, TIFF, GIMP and PNG. Other drawbacks are that its user interface is not that modern, it does not offer any effects and you also cannot customise its grid.

8. Pixelmator 

If you are searching for a photo editing tool that is compatible with Mac operating systems but offers more than Seashore, be sure to check out Pixelmator. It boasts loads of tools and features that include a slice tool and support for blending modes, live previews, SVG files as well as layers. What is more, it also supports a couple of the newest features, like exporting and editing files that are stored in High Efficiency Image File (HEIF) format. You are also bound to fall in love with its user sleek interface.

Unlike Seashore, Pixelmator is not really suitable for beginners. Also, you might not find its user interface to be that easy to understand and use compared to the majority of other photo editing tools, in particular Photoshop.

9. Pixlr Editor

This is for sure one of the top GIMP alternatives that are currently available on the market. When it comes to editing, you will be blown away by the results that you can achieve with this tool. Unlike many of the other GIMP alternatives already discussed, Pixlr Editor is compatible with any operating system as it works online. 

Some of the terrific tools that it boasts include support for blending modes as well as layers and a wealth of filters and effects. It also has a history tool and the popular healing tool. Tools and features that it does not offer include a pen tool and support for guides and rulers. Also, if you would like support for Sketch, PDF or PSD formats, you will have to sign up for the Pro version (though, rest assured, this will not break the bank). 

To cut a long description short, it is basically ideal if you know that you have to make edits fast. That being said, it does offer enough state-of-the-art features to make it suitable for more sophisticated editing jobs too.  

10. PicMonkey

If Pixlr Editor is not the tool for your requirements, rest assured PicMonkey might be the better pick. Just like Pixlr Editor, this photo editing tool also works online which means that compatibility problems is one less thing that you need to think about. 

Some of its most useful tools include support for layers, a text tool boasting a wide array of fonts and loads of effects and filters. That being said, be ready to test your patience. Every now and again, it can take some time to respond. It also only supports PNG and JPG file formats and if you would like to export your images you will have to sign up for its Pro subscription plan. If you are not entirely sure that this is the pick for you, you can always take advantage of their free seven-day trial before you commit to their pro subscription plan.

11. Sumopaint

Sumopaint is another online photo editing tool that you can check out if you are searching for an alternative to GIMP. It is a great tool to use for those simpler projects that a tool like Photoshop would be too complex for. That being said, you can rest assured as this tool does offer more than enough features, filters and effects that include support for blending modes and layers. 

Though, one feature that it does lack is support for guides and rulers and if you would like to use a line tool or text tool, you will have to opt for its paid version. Plus, it can only support SUMO, PNG and JPG formats.

12. Aurora HDR

The beauty of Aurora HDR is that it can either be used as a plug-in or stand-alone app. With over 70 looks, you will for sure be able to take your photos to the next level instantly. Its more advanced features that pro photographers, in particular, will find very useful include masking and layers, support for blending modes and RAW files, and very impressive batch processing. 

Aurora HDR also provides exclusive features such as HDR Denoise and HDR Smart Structure. With the help of the HDR Denoise feature, you can automatically highlight and remove any noise while not losing out on any details, while the HDR Smart Structure has a slider that makes use of artificial intelligence to add impressive depth.  

13. AirMagic

With drone photography increasing in popularity, it makes sense to invest in a photo editing tool for drone photography too. Similar to a couple of the other software solutions mentioned earlier, AirMagic employs smart algorithms and artificial intelligence that will transform your aerial shots automatically.

In short, it is a drag-and-drop tool that offers several unique features that will help you to remove haze, enhance the colours, improve the sky and highlight detail. The reality is that haze is sadly a very common problem with aerial photography and, therefore, you really want to make sure that your tool boasts such a feature. 

After you have applied these cool features, you can experiment with a wide range of styles. This means that you do not need to buy additional filters too! 

AirMagic can be used either as a plug-in or stand-alone app. It can also identify the type of camera that you are using with your drone and then adapts its lense and enhancements so that they are more suitable for your particular camera model.

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