After briefly using Paint Shop Pro in the early 2000s, I switched to Adobe Photoshop. In 2014 when Adobe switched to the subscription business model. I stood by Adobe and I have been paying the subscription price ever since. Recently, I decided that enough was enough… I was tired of making a monthly tribute to Adobe, so I did some exploring, looking for a viable Photoshop alternative.
My goal: to get off of my dependency on Adobe products.
I looked at quite a few alternatives and settled on three options to choose from. A variety of photo editing tools are available in each of the three programs listed below, including cropping, resizing, and retouching. Both Paint Shop Pro and Affinity Photo have more features than GIMP, and all three have fewer than Photoshop. What sets them apart from each other and Photoshop is their price.
- GIMP (FREE Open Source Software) The program comes with more than 120 powerful filters and special effects in GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). My favorite features are the Reflections, Gradient Flare, and Whirl & Pinch effects. Additionally, GIMP works on multiple platforms, is very easy to use, and uses very few resources. Photoshop has always slowed down my computer a bit.
- Affinity Photo ($49.99 to keep, no subscription.) Affinity Photo is a photo editing application. Just like Photoshop, Affinity Photo is capable of performing very advanced image editing tasks, but at a fraction of the price of Photoshop. Layer-based editing. Panorama, HDR merge, focus stacking, macro support. Raw image support but also works with raster and vector images. Affinity Photo is very similar to Photoshop but a bit easier to use.
- Paint Shop Pro (79.99 to 99.99 to keep, no subscription) I don’t have recent experience with the modern version of Paint Shop Pro. I downloaded the trial version, and the software was exceptional. There are a few new features in PaintShop Pro 2021, such as an updated interface for photography mode. The new feature includes a split before-and-after view, handy for seeing the effects of your edits. Paint Shop Pro is a great software program that deserves to be on this list.
A the end of the day, I purchased the Affinity Suite (it was on sale for 50% OFF), and now I own my very own software again. I canceled my Adobe subscription and replaced all of the other software that I was using from Adobe. I will talk about those here at a later date.