Adobe’s announcement of the move to Creative Cloud going forward was not received well by some users of Adobe Photoshop. If you truly need Adobe Photoshop, you’ll have to move to the cloud version if you want to get new features and an updated version. A couple of days ago I asked Do You NEED the Full Version of Photoshop? In that post, I suggested that Adobe Photoshop Elements may do everything you could possibly need.
Today I will put together a list of other image editors for Windows and will note if a Mac version or a free trial is available for each product. I am not saying these products are as powerful as Adobe Photoshop. Yet these products may have the features you need. Products are listed in alphabetical order and it is up to you to follow the links provided to see if any of these products could be your solution.
Adobe Photoshop Elements
Adobe Photoshop Elements contains almost all of the features of the full Adobe Photoshop at a fraction of the price. If you absolutely want a product with the word Photoshop in the name, look no further. As it is based on Photoshop, the interface is very similar and it is also compatible with Photoshop files. It currently sells at Amazon for approximately $68.
A very powerful product that may not be as well known as others is ArcSoft PhotoStudio. Not only does it include all the familiar editing tools and effects, it also includes a tool for creating HDR (high dynamic range) images. It is available for both Mac and Windows and a 15-day trial is available.
Corel PaintShop Pro
Corel bought JASC about eight years ago and one of the prizes of that acquisition is the popular PaintShop Pro image editor. Under the Corel umbrella, it has undergone a number of new versions. While it is geared towards hobbyist photographers, it is often listed as one of the better alternatives to Adobe Photoshop. It is Windows-only and a free trial version is available.
Corel PHOTO-PAINT is not sold separately, only as part of the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. So in addition to a powerful image editor, you also get a top vector editing tool in CorelDRAW. Corel PHOTO-PAINT is my primary image editor and it probably used for more than 95% of my image editing needs. It is Windows only, though it can be run on a Mac using emulators such as Boot Camp and Parallels. A free trial version of the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is available.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is well-known as an open source image editor. It is not only on Mac and Windows, but also several other platforms. If you are looking for an alternative, you’ll definitely want to get this completely free tool to see if it meets your needs.
Google Picasa may not qualify as a full-fledged image editor, but it does include a number of basic image editing tools. As it is available for free download (Windows only), it certainly doesn’t hurt to add it to your graphics toolbox. It is more of a tool for managing photos and connecting with various Google online services yet includes a number of useful filters.
Serif is well-known for their powerful yet budget-friendly graphics applications and Serif PhotoPlus is their entry in the image editing category. It can certainly match and exceed some of Adobe Photoshop Elements features so it is worth a long look. Sorry, Mac users, it is Windows only. The online price is $89.99 and no free trial is listed.
When Corel purchased Ulead, one of the products added to the Corel line-up was Ulead PhotoImpact. It may very well meet your needs, but note that it has not been updated in a few years and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is never updated since Corel already has other competing image editors. On a positive note, it sells for $29.99. There is no Mac version available, but there is a free trial available for Windows.
If I missed a favorite image editor of yours, please post a comment and tell us all about it. Of course I also welcome your feedback on any of the tools listed here.