Adobe’s Photoshop is an incredible tool for letting your creative juices run wild, but all that power under the hood comes at a price. For the latest version, Photoshop CS6, that price runs from £190 to upgrade all the way up to the £600 mark. There’s got to be cheaper alternatives out there, surely?
There certainly are. Allow us to show you what they are, what they can do, and what you can get for far less. These are the best Photoshop rivals going, and they have amazing secret skills.
Snapheal | £13.99
One of the most impressive tools in recent iterations of Photoshop is the content-aware fills, that let you select areas of an image you’d like gone and replace them with what would be behind them. It’s some sort of witchcraft, but it works.
Snapheal is a Mac app that offers exactly that. Got a beach shot full of tourists? Simply highlight them and let it do its magic. Et Voila – unsightly objects vanish, leaving a natural looking fill in their place. For £13.99, that’s pretty slick.
Get it here: Snapheal
iPhoto for iPad | £2.99
Apple’s latest proprietary iPad tool is a real blinder. The challenge in spinning a proper photo-editing tool into something that can realistically be of use when you’re using a touchscreen is no mean feat, but Apple’s managed just that for both the iPad and the iPhone 4/4S.
iPhoto uses an ingenious system of smart dragging gestures. Select the tool you want, be it colour, saturation, tone, filters or any of the available tools, select the area of the picture you want to alter, and drag with two fingers. The app knows where the edges of the bits you’re tweaking are, and also lets you step back at any point to the original.
Get it here: iPhoto
Gimp | Free
Gimp’s an ongoing effort to provide a free version of Photoshop with as many features as can possibly be wrangled in. While that means that you won’t get some of the more top-end features available in Adobe’s professional suite, it does tick most of the boxes the average user will need.
Assuming you can get past the somewhat clunky UI, Gimp proffers layer editing, cropping, colour fixes and all the basic adjustment tools you’re likely to need. Not bad for free.
Get it here: Gimp
Pixelmator | £20.99
If Gimp is the no-nonsense work-horse of the cheap Photoshop alternative stable, Pixelmator is the prize steed. It’s a beautifully-designed rival to Adobe’s finest, offering all but the most professional of tools.
Anyone moving onto Pixelmator from Photoshop should find themselves at home, thanks to a layout that takes its cues from the former, while stripping away a lot of the unnecessary elements at the same time.
It proffers layer editing, smart selection, painting and more for just a little over £20. In fact, it’s such a good deal, it’s won the Apple Design Award in the Best of the Mac App Store 2011 awards.
Get it here: Pixelmator
Know of any more cheap Photoshop rivals that deserve some attention? Let us know your suggestions below.