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Anthony Holt
by on August 6, 2020
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10 Best Photoshop Alternative For Mac

You don't have to use Adobe Photoshop on your Mac to edit images like a pro. There are plenty of Photoshop alternatives for Mac that you can use in-browser or download to create just the right images and graphics for your projects. And some of them are completely free!

None of these are significantly one-size-fits-all solutions. Each tool tends to serve a unique purpose; Do you want to edit online or on a desktop? Are you editing photos or multiple file types? Is all the web work, or will images get printed?

Here are Mac's best Photoshop alternatives in 2020, but not in any appropriate order. Have a read through to find the one that's right for you.

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1. Affinity Photo


Affinity Photo is a past Apple Mac App of the Year Winner, and the professional tool has everything you'd expect in a premium photo-editing product.

Use it to edit and retouch images as well as create multi-layer pieces. The professional corrections and adjustments tools rival any other app out there, and it has an outstanding noise-reduction filter.

Retouching options include the usual dodge, burn, patch, blemish, clone, and red eye tools, but there's also an inpainting brush and liquify feature.

Other key features:

  • Dedicated camera RAW workspace
  • HDR merge
  • Bath processing
  • 360-degree image editing
  • Panorama stitching

Cost: $49.99

Try it: From the App Store.

2. Sketch

The Sketch isn't a photo-editing app per se, but you can editing images within the Mac prototyping tool.

The best part of Sketch's editing is that all edits are non-destructive, meaning that your changes take effect without overwriting the original image file. (So you can always go back to the original if you want.)

Sketch allows for basic image editing, including inverting images, cropping, and color fill. It can be described as a basic bitmap editor, and for many simple projects is enough.

Other key features:
  • Color adjustment capability – hue, saturation, brightness, and contrast
  • Reduce image/file size
  • Ability to work in layers
  • Replace and change images in projects with one click (Since you are using the same tool)
  • It also includes the ability to edit vector elements.

Cost: $99/year

Try it: From Sketch

3. GIMP


GIMP offers powerful photo manipulation and editing capability in a free, open-source package. (You can also download the source code and make changes as you see fit and add more functionality with third-party plugins.)

GIMP is designed for high-quality photo manipulation, including retouching images and photo restorations. Users can also use it to create original artwork, which many other non-Photoshop editors don't provide (or have, but can be challenging to use).

Other key features:

  • Use for scripted image manipulation (C, C++, Perl, Python, Scheme and more)
  • Ability to create icons and other elements
  • Extensive tutorial library on the website so you can learn the tool quickly.
  • Color management tools included with Scribus, Inkscape and SwatchBooker
  • A large number of usable file formats and a customizable workspace

Cost: Free

Try it: From GIMP

4. Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro is a non-destructive editor that lets you make changes to images and draw in the app. It also includes a nifty machine learning auto color adjustment tool to help make color changes a breeze.

One of the best features of Pixelmator Pro is that you can even export images for the web – hello, optimization – so you don't have to use multiple tools to edit and then shrink images for top website quality production. Pixelmator Pro also incorporates some workflow tools to help you work more efficiently.

Other key features:

  • Works with Mac's Touch Bar
  • Text editing capabilities
  • Live preview option so you can see how changes will look before committing
  • SVG editing and export
  • Painting tools so you can draw anything by hand.

Cost: $59.99

Try it: From the App Store or try the free demo.

5. Pixlr Pro


Pixlr Pro is an in-browser image editing app packed with photo, vector, and text editing ability. You can edit like a pro with tools that include layer masks, multiple brush options, curves, level adjustments, color, and blend modes, effects, and filters, and transform and wrap tools.

What's different about Pixlr Pro, which also has a free version, is that you don't have to download anything to use it. All the tools are right in your browser (and it has strong browser compatibility). It also includes a lot of other goodies to help jumpstart projects, such as templates and fonts.

Other key features:

  • ncludes access to 1 million royalty-free stock images
  • Comes with more than 10,000 photo templates
  • Works with PSD and Sketch image files
  • Smart healing tools for photo correction
  • Refine edge tool make it easy to mask complex objects

Cost: $5/month

Try it: From Pixlr

6. PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a well-known online photo editor and retoucher. It has the most complex structure of features of all the tools in this list with free, essential, and pro pricing plans with different levels of features and tools.

If you plan to use any advanced features – save and export, advanced retouching, effects and overlays, fonts – you are probably looking at the pro level plan.

Free plans include ads; paid programs do not. PicMonkey is a pretty straightforward tool popular with users creating images for social media and online-only use with a simple photo editor and design tools.

Other key features:

  • Add-ons include filters, overlays, and text tools.
  • Touch up photos to add more visual interest
  • Watermark and other templates to make projects quick
  • Ability to create a photo collage
  • Simple interface with ready to use buttons in-browser or to use the desktop app

Cost: Starting at $5.99/month

Try it: From PicMonkey.

7. Fotor


The tool that the BBC called "Photoshop Lite" is simple and easy to use. Edit images, add effects and text, or severe up portraits like a pro with Fotor.

The photo editor has all the tools you'd expect for everyday editing with shape and aspect ratio cropping, color, saturation, and white balance options and the ability to straighten and rotate images. You can also create a custom college in the app.

Other key features:

  • Bath processing option
  • Tilt-shirt tools add focus and blurring for a professional look
  • Use popular file formats such as RAW, PNG, JPG, BMP, GIF and TIFF
  • 13 1-tap photo enhancement options
  • Optimize images for retina displays

Cost: Free

Try it: From the App Store.

8. Acorn

Acorn is another non-destructive piece of Mac photo editing software that has a robust set of tools. The company claims that it has "everything you need in an image editor" to add layer masks and selections to touch up images or make something completely new.

You can also combine images, remove backgrounds, perform color corrections, resize, crop, transform, etc.

While Acorn is billed as an image editor, it includes vector tools and a text on a path feature.

Other key features:

  • 100+ photo effects — vignette, drop shadow, gradients, sharpening, color correction, distortions, blurs
  • Camera RAW image import and editing
  • Web export and scaling
  • Smart layer export
  • Ability to import Photoshop brushes

Cost: $29.99

Try it: From The Flying Meat store (other add-ons also available)

9. SumoPaint


SumoPaint has a free and paid version with different options. One key difference is whether you want to edit the image online (paid only).

SumoPaint is billed as an image manipulator with plenty of options, not all designed for working with photos. The native Sumo file format also presents a non-destructive save opportunity. The tool includes plenty of brushes, shapes, and colors, and gradients to jumpstart any project. It also allows for the use of layers and comes with plenty of filters.

Other key features:

  • Lighting, reflection, and mosaic tools
  • Animated and 3D brush options
  • Text tool
  • Auto-smoothing feature
  • Ability to adjust curves and levels with ease

Cost: $4/month

Try it: From SumoPaint.

10. DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab is the go-to for RAW photo editing. It's packed with features – you might even mistake the dashboard for Photoshop at a flash – and doesn't get bogged down when working with large files and detailed images.

The tools include the ability to edit using control points to work on just the parts of a photo you want to edit. There are plenty of brushes for explicit work. A graduated filter makes landscape photos look great, and the auto repair mode can remove unwanted elements from images.

Other key features:

  • Smooth transitions between elements that preserve textures and shadows
  • Fast processing
  • ClearView filter removes atmospheric haze from landscape photos
  • The auto lighting optimization tool
  • 40,000 camera and lens combinations

Cost: $99.99 (Essential Edition)

Try it: From DxO
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Topics: software
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