Free Photoshop Alternatives Are Great, Pixelmator Is Better

August 14, 2017

3:50 pm

The vast majority of us have likely googled “free Photoshop alternatives” at some point in our internet history, looking to avoid the costly investment of legitimately acquiring Adobe’s heralded creative suite of software. It wasn’t too long ago that Photoshop alone could set you back a few hundred dollars, which was especially tough to swallow when you knew that a new version was no more than a year away. And while today you can pay Adobe a monthly fee to access Creative Suite, it still seems like a burdensome financial commitment if you’re just looking to make some minor edits to a photo.

However, though there are plenty of free Photoshop alternatives, let me recommend making a small one-time investment in an app called Pixelmator, available on the App Store for $29.99 at the time of writing this article.

Look, I’m not saying you can’t give Gimp a download and take that freeware for a spin, it may be the closest thing we have to a “free Photoshop alternative.” But it’s also equally complicated to use, and unless your a pro user you’ll likely only use 10 percent of its offering.

Pixelmator, on the other hand, is easy to pick up and painless to master, built around a user experience that was clearly designed to be used by anyone.

Take this list of effects, for example — mousing over an effect demonstrates what it actually does:

Pixelmator also won’t leave you stranded on some obscure file format island where none of your designer friends/coworkers are able to open your work, as it can not only open layered PSDs (Photoshop Files) but save them as well:

And, crucially, Pixelmator boasts one trick up its sleeve that can’t be matched by any of the free Photoshop alternatives currently out there: a Pixelmator – Pixelmator Team fully-featured iOS app ($4.99 at the time of writing this article).

Many desktop applications have a watered-down, companion-like app to compliment their desktop version where Pixelmator let’s you actually create on the go then sync with iCloud to resume editing on your desktop once your back at your desk.

All in, you’re looking at dropping about $35 — or about 1.5 months of Photoshop.

Read more tips to help with your design process at TechCo

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I'm the CTO of TechCo Media. I'm also the founder of Random Nerds. I love writing and talking about, entrepreneurship, technology, and video games. You can follow me on twitter @joecorbett.