GIMP is one of the most powerful image-editing software in the market. It’s considered to be the ideal alternative to Adobe Photoshop. However, a lack of ease in using the software leads to people looking for GIMP alternatives.
The software offers image composition, image authoring, and retouching tools. Essentially, it’s the closest thing to Photoshop that you can use for free. The only downside is that it requires hundreds of hours of practice.
That means new users, casual users, and small businesses have a hard time using it. It’s not a great software to use if you’re in a hurry to edit a photo.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the best GIMP alternatives you can use starting today.
Let’s dive right in.
11 Top GIMP Alternatives in 2021
GIMP is an open-source raster graphic design, photo-editing, and image manipulation software that has a few photo editing tools, and lets you retouch/draw in free form.
It works well for very basic tasks but is not suitable as a standalone online photo editor and design tool.
This is why a lot of beginners, one-time-users, and pros alike are looking for better, more user-friendly, and better equipped GIMP alternatives online.
Here are some of the best premium and free alternatives to GIMP that you can work with.
Pixelied is an online free software platform that offers a huge array of image editing and graphic design features.
The software lets you create a stunning range of artwork, both in terms of edited photos and custom designs. With a ton of ready-made templates, stock photos, and icons (with third-party integration), Pixelied leads the pack in terms of overall quality.
What’s best about Pixelied is that it has a minimum learning curve. This is primarily due to all the features being in the right place, which allows even new users to start editing immediately.
In addition to that, the Pixelied editor has a simple layout with all the functions within easy reach. This makes your project incredibly customizable, with several blending modes, presets, and various templates to get your artwork going.
On top of all that, you can download images in a variety of file formats, including JPEG/JPG, PNG, SVG, and PDF.
All of this means that you’re looking for the best photo editing software with a simple user interface, a streamlined workflow, and a ton of relatively advanced design functionality, Pixelied is an ideal choice as a GIMP alternative.
Krita is a free and open-source paint-based software that’s used to create 2D art and illustrations.
Basically a raster graphics editor, Krita is great for creating custom designs and painting in them with several easy-to-use creation tools. The software works on Microsoft Windows PC, Apple macOS, and Linux.
The only major drawback of the program is that it’s limited to painting, and doesn’t have some of the advanced functionality and customization (or text tools!) that you get with other alternatives.
Other than that, the combination of good pricing (it’s free!) and viable, albeit somewhat limited alternative to GIMP.
You can check out Krita here.
PicMonkey is one of the more well-known GIMP alternatives due to its range of photo manipulation tools that are almost pro-level.
The online software has both a photo editing and graphics designing mode, with the former containing some well-used editing tools.
What makes PicMonkey a less-than-ideal alternative is the pricing model. There is no free version, and you can only use the editor after signing up for a free trial. However, when you do that, you’ll be subscribing to their monthly charges automatically after the trial period ends. That’s why a lot of people immediately start looking for a PicMonkey alternative.
Overall, if you’re willing to make the commitment, PicMonkey can be a great alternative to GIMP due to its editing capabilities.
You can check out PicMonkey here.
4) Pixlr Editor
Pixlr is an online image editing and design platform that’s intended for non-professionals and design beginners.
The Pixlr Editor has all the usual selection of tools, including effects, gradients, layers, and blur/smudge/sharpen.
Although it has a similar layout to some of the high-level photo editors, the Pixlr Editor doesn’t offer the same level of precision and intuitive tools. Plus, you need to use the design tool for anything in the graphic design realm. This makes it a cluttery platform.
Overall, the Pixlr image editor is a good enough photo editing software if you don’t mind having to use another tool for anything design-related. Otherwise, you’ll need to find some Pixlr alternatives.
You can check out the Pixlr Editor here.
5) Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo is a more advanced photo editing and manipulation software that offers functionality equal to some of the industry’s major editing platforms.
The software actually has most of what a professional editor would need to create stunning images.
What makes Affinity Photo less ideal as a GIMP alternative is its complicated interface, which often requires tutorials. Plus, it’s optimized for Apple systems, which means that it’s ideal for iPad and Mac users, and not so much for other platforms.
Overall Affinity Photo can be a great GIMP alternative if you’re willing to adapt to the steep learning curve and Mac-first optimization.
You can check out Affinity Photo here.
Photopea is a photo editing suite that has an editing layout very similar to Photoshop, albeit with less overall functionality.
Although not as primed for photo editing as maybe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom, it does offer a respectable amount of editing freedom to both pros and beginners.
Despite having somewhat better editing capabilities than GIMP, it’s still not the best online software out there for the purpose. There is some adaptation involved and some features are hidden behind a premium.
Overall, Photopea is a standard image editor with some additional capabilities over GIMP that make it a good alternative.
You can check out Photopea here.
Darktable is a RAW image developer and open-source photo-editing application that’s designed for high-level image processing.
Unlike GIMP, Darktable has a subset of editing operations that are specifically designed for non-destructive post-production in the RAW format. This also separates it from mainstream photo editors.
However, despite the high-fidelity processing capability, Darktable is not the top alternative to GIMP. This is due to a very specialized role, as well as the fact that not everybody is looking to edit RAW images.
Overall, Darktable is a good GIMP alternative for people with specific needs.
You can check out Darktable here.
Photoscape is an easy-to-use image editing software that lets you fix photos quickly without much of a learning curve.
A free downloadable software, Photoscape’s entire USP is ‘fun and easy to use’. This means that non-professionals can get to editing with minimal effort.
Overall, Photoscape is the ideal GIMP alternative if you’re willing to give up on some advanced editing capabilities and a more feature-rich editing environment.
You can check out Photoscape here.
Polarr is an online image editor that’s optimized for usage on mobile devices but is also good on desktops.
Built to have all the necessary tools in a very accessible place for mobile users, the software can be just as good on PC and Mac, and has a fairly clean layout.
Although it has everything that a basic photo editor needs, it does lack some of the features that other GIMP alternatives offer, such as detailed image editing, color grading, cloning, etc. Plus, the filters are not as interesting as they should be for a modern editing platform.
Overall, Polarr may lack a top-notch user experience, but it does serve as a viable GIMP alternative due to its simplicity.
You can check out Polarr here.
Paint.NET is a very basic photo editing software for the most fundamental image editing tasks.
Somewhat outdated in terms of features, it still serves as a decent GIMP alternative due to its no-frills approach to editing.
The software somehow manages to offer some prime editing features, despite looking very last-gen. However, the limitations usually catch up to it when you look for more modern presets and templates.
Overall, Paint.NET is a good GIMP alternative that’s better if you prefer old-school editing software with all the basic editing properties that you could need.
You can check out Paint.NET here.
Sumopaint is an online image editor that’s Flash-based. It’s similar to Photoshop in that way.
With a significant number of paint features, Sumopaint serves as a great GIMP alternative for those looking to paint over images or create a mix of real-life and cartoon imagery.
Although it serves better as a painting tool, it can also work for dedicated image editing, just like Photoshop. However, the primary use of Sumopaint is still painting rather than photo editing.
Overall, Paint.NET is a good alternative if you’re looking to add paint-based elements to an image.
You can check out Sumopaint here.
Choosing the Best GIMP Alternatives for Your Business
Unless you’re a long-time GIMP user and would like to look for a similar option, then Adobe InDesign is also a good option to have control over your design workflow.
Pixelied is the best alternative on the list without a doubt. Its array of pro-quality features allow completely new users to easily utilize them.
Whether you’re making a social media banner, blog post header, or any marketing design, Pixelied is the way to go for the highest quality image editing.