Jan 31 2014

Not Up For Creative Cloud? 10 Professional Alternatives to Photoshop CC

Advertisement

Photoshop CC is no longer for sale. You can only rent it and pay a monthly fee to be allowed to use it. This does not appeal to everybody and I personally know more former Photoshop users who reject that licensing model than those who embrace it. As I was a regular updater anyway, the new mode of operation saves me money. But I can understand all those who only updated every three or four versions and would now have to shell out a lot more money than before. All of these will be eager to find a valid alternative to Photoshop CC. We took a look at ten of the best competitors…

teaser-alternativen-ps
Traditional Software Instead of Cloud SaaS

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Created by: Adobe Systems Software
Website: adobe.com
Price: 77,00 EUR
Windows / Mac OS: Yes / Yes

The first choice if you want to stay at Adobe’s, but want to avoid the cloud model, is Photoshop Elements – the stripped down version of the bigger brother. A large chunk of Photoshop’s capabilities is available in Elements, too. The biggest turndown for experienced Photoshoppers is the totally different UI, targeted at people with low pixel editing skills.

Elements features a lot of automatisms, such as auto fixes, which enhance a photo or add an effect with one single click. Using Elements is very, very simple. The functionality is solidly based on Photoshop. Pixel editing for the web needs no bigger solution – as a rule, at least…

ps-alternative1

Pixelmator

Created by: Pixelmator Team
Website: pixelmator.com
Price: 14,99 EUR
Windows / Mac OS: No / Yes

Pixelmator is one of the most beautiful Photoshop alternatives. The UI is pretty, designed with a love for the tiniest details and the feature set is impressive. The biggest disadvantage of Pixelmator is its limitation to the Mac OS platform. Yet, if you’re on there anyway, Pixelmator will impress you with all the important Photoshop features such as layers, filters, masks, styles, brushes, effects and more.

Pixelmator doesn’t make you think and supports various formats. Besides JPG, GIF and TIF, even native PSDs can be opened.

ps-alternative2

Gimp

Created by: Gimp.org
Website: gimp.org
Price: Freeware (GNU Project)
Windows / Mac OS / Linux: Yes / Yes / Yes

If you ask the world for a Photoshop alternative, almost without thinking people will cry “GIMP”. It’s true that Gimp is coming closer and closer to Photoshop feature-wise. We have all the selection tools, can easily adjust color and contrast settings and even have a handful of retouching helpers. Channels and layers are there, too. Supported formats include Tiff, JPG, Gif, PNG, PSD and BMP.

The most recent version resembles Photoshop even more. The extension GIMPshop has become redundant. What Gimp still doesn’t natively support is the CMYK. If you are working on print projects, you’ll either install an extension for handling that or stay inside Adobe’s walled garden.

ps-alternative3

PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate

Created by: Corel
Website: corel.com
Price: 89,99 EUR
Windows / Mac OS: Yes / No

Just like Photoshop Elements PaintShop Pro X6 aims at private or (at max) semi-professional users. We get automatic correction modes with a strong focus on beauty retouches. A feature named FaceFilter automagically beautifies your portraits. Several automatic selection features and a specialized brush speed up your workflow.

There is even HDR, scripts, third-party plugins and instant effects. To get you up to speed quickly, there are loads of video tutorials. The so-called Retro-Lab allows you to create the nowadays vasty popular effects in the likes of Instagram, Hipstamatic and who else.

ps-alternative4

Aperture

Created by: Apple
Website: apple.com
Price: 69,99 EUR
Windows / Mac OS: No / Yes

No wonder that this software is only available on Mac – it’s made by Apple. First and foremost, Aperture is a tool for the administration of large photo collections. There is face recognition to sort your collection by person, there is GPS tagging to sort your collection by location and more.

After having sorted, rated, tagged, marked and what not, look at the optimization tools. There are effects for that specal look and 15 quick-brushes to losslessly enhance your material pixel by pixel.

ps-alternative5

DxO Optics Pro

Created by: DxO Labs
Website: dxo.com
Price: 149,00 EUR
Windows / Mac OS: Yes / Yes

If the optimization of photos is what you aim for, DxO Optics Pro might be an interesting alternative. The workflow is tunneled. First you optimize lighting and contrasts, then you care for image sharpness. Picture sharpness is processed from the center of the image to the edges to avoid artifacts in areas outside of the focus.

Afterwards a powerful color management, noise reduction and a special feature by the name of anti-dust cares for your photos. Anti-dust tries to erase dust from your lens or sensor mathematically. Geometric corrections and a RAW converter round off the feature set.

ps-alternative6

PhotoPlus X6

Created by: Serif
Website: serif.com
Price: 89,99 EUR
Windows / Mac OS: Yes / No

PhotoPlus X6 offers you a so-called smart selection to let you select picture elements quickly. This makes it easier to apply one of the available creative effects, such as the selective color correction or the filter oil painting more accurately. A scratch remover promises to work automatically. All the features work non-destructive. Even if you cropped or cut pictures, you can easily revert to before. PhotoPlus X6 also cares for the administrative part and helps you organize and present your pictures with the help of the integrated Organizer.

ps-alternative7

ACDSee Pro

Created by: ACD Systems International Inc.
Website: acdsee.com
Price: 57,99 EUR (Windows), 37,99 EUR (Mac OS)
Windows / Mac OS: Yes / Yes

Once started as a photo organizer and administration tool, ACDsee grew over the years to become more and more capable. Today the software goes way beyond sorting, viewing and tagging. Take the non-destructive editing brush for example, with which you edit lighting, saturation or sharpness precisely accurate.

This brush is great at correcting perspectives, sharpening, doing away with red eyes and noise reduction, too. Dodge and Burn is realized as a separate dialogue, a batch processor saves time and water marks can be integrated with a single click.

ps-alternative8

Pixlr Online Photo Editor

Created by: Pixlr
Website: pixlr.com
Price: Kostenlose Online-Software
Windows / Mac OS / Linux: Yes / Yes / Yes

Pixlr is or little misfit in this compilation as it is an online photo editor running completely in the browser. There are three iterations of it, with Pixlr Editor being the most capable to rival Photoshop. Pixlr works with a step by step workflow. Correct colors, contrast, add effects and use pixlr-o-matic for one-click editing in the likes of Snapseed, Instagram or any of the other popular photo apps. Pixlr Editor works with layers and saves them to a proprietary format, so you can keep them to add changes later.

ps-alternative9

Acorn 4

Created by: Flying Meat Inc.
Website: flyingmeat.com
Price: 49,99 EUR
Windows / Mac OS: No / Yes

Acorn 4 delivers typical Photoshop features, such as layers, non destructive filters, gradation curves, tonal corrections, vector shapes and a load of selection tools. Mask mode makes selections a snap. The way brushes are set resembles Adobe’s flagship closely. You can define batches and scripts to automate your workflow. The fact that you can open PSD directly might help you overcome your inhibitions.

ps-alternative10

(dpe)

About the Author

The jungle is alive: Be it a collaboration between two or more authors or an article by an author not contributing regularly. In these cases you find the Noupe Editorial Team as the ones who made it. Guest authors get their own little bio boxes below the article, so watch out for these.

Homepage

Comments and Discussions
  • Anna, 01 February 2014

    Don’t forget about Perfect Photo Suite

  • Marie, 01 February 2014

    These look great! Thanks for posting this. And it’s fine if the majority of your work is done retouching photos but how are these programs with doing more composite work with layers, textures, brushes, and actions? So many brushes (free and otherwise) are only for Photoshop. Both Pixelmator and Elements don’t import actions or brushes either. This limits them, in my view. So they are good alternatives to Photoshop for photo retouching and editing…but are limited against more complex work.

  • Juli, 01 February 2014

    You are missing Xara Photo & Graphic Designer (which I use) or the more high powered Xara Designer Pro. My understanding is that this product branched out of Corel more than a decade ago.

  • Chris, 03 February 2014

    Creative Cloud is more than just Photoshop. What about Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, After Effects, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, etc…

    • Dieter Petereit, 03 February 2014

      This article covers Photoshop CC. You could have told from the title…

      • Chris, 07 February 2014

        Sorry what I meant was it would be nice to have companion articles on the other CC apps.

        For InDesign: CreativeDocs.NET and Serif Page Plus (tried it and was impressed)
        For Illustrator: Corel Draw, ACD See Canvas. Although I find both of those painful, so glad for my ancient copy of Freehand
        Dreamweaver: These days I tend to use Notepad++ instead of a big heavy program like DW. I guess Coda should be on the list and maybe a more IDE like program like IntelliJ
        Premiere: Sony Vegas and Apple Final Cut
        Flash: Kind of a dying app, not sure it needs an alternative
        AfterEffects: No Idea sorry
        Fireworks: Maybe Axure for prototyping, really not sure what else is like it.

  • […] Up For Creative Cloud? 10 Professional Alternatives to Photoshop CC” zve?ejn?ném na webu http://www.noupe.com. Krom p?ekladu byly dopln?ny vlastní zkušenosti s jednotlivými progarmy a dopln?n celý […]

  • mj monaghan, 17 March 2014

    What’s a good program to use for making infographics?

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated - and rel="nofollow" is in use. Please no link dropping, no keywords or domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise!

comments form
search form
 
image description image description