Because Adobe Photoshop is used as a photo editor and a digital painting software, I put this list into three parts: software with both photo editing and digital art capabilities, software only (or best) for drawing, as well as programs that are only (or best) for photo editing.
Free Photoshop Alternatives
GIMP is one of the most popular open-source programs for photo editing and drawing. GIMP is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. GIMP does have a bit of a learning curve if you’re coming from using something like Photoshop, but it is still usable.
“Whether you are a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, or scientist, GIMP provides you with sophisticated tools to get your job done. You can further enhance your productivity with GIMP thanks to many customization options and 3rd party plugins.”
Browser Based (requires Flash)/ Download
SumoPaint is a bit of a cheaper feeling Photoshop, but hey, it’s free. It has some painting tools and things you may be familiar with when using Photoshop such as the magic wand tool. Once you’re done with your masterpiece, you can save it to your hard drive or the cloud.
Krita is a very popular open-source program for drawing but does also has photo editing capabilities. Krita also supports PSD files.
“Krita is a FREE and open source painting tool designed for concept artists, illustrators, matte and texture artists, and the VFX industry. Krita has been in development for over 10 years and has had an explosion in growth recently. It offers many common and innovative features to help the amateur and professional alike. See below for some of the highlighted features.”
Free Photoshop Alternatives for Digital Art
Medibang Paint is a free drawing software specifically made for comic/manga making, but it’s still a great drawing software for anyone.
“MediBang Paint is a FREE lightweight digital painting and comic creation program that comes loaded with brushes, fonts, pre-made backgrounds, and other resources.”
FireAlpaca is another little drawing program made more for comic/manga making, but can be used just like any other drawing program.
“FireAlpaca is the free paint tool that is compatible with both Mac and Windows. Simple tools and controls let you draw an illustration easily.”
Free Photoshop Alternatives for Photo Editing
Paint.net was developed as a competitor for programs like Photoshop and GIMP.
“Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for PCs that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins.”
Browser based (Requires Flash)
Pixlr is a pretty simple photo editor, not a lot of powerful tools but it has a lot of the basics you may need.
“Pixlr Editor is a robust browser photo editor, for all your editing needs. Have full control over your images, including layers and effects.”
Browser based (Requires Flash)
Picmonkey is a simple photo editor but has some basic tools. Also comes with a bunch of makeup features which is interesting.
“Everything you need to make your ideas come to life—photo editing, collage making, graphic design—PicMonkey’s got it. It’s never been easier to feed your creative beast.”
Another free standard-type photo editor with features like: removing objects, replacing backgrounds. It also come with frames and collages.
“Photo Pos Pro – Complete photo editing suite support everything you’ll need to enhance photos and create stunning artworks. ”