The 8 best alternatives to Adobe Photoshop for Mac in 2021

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Adobe has just released a new version of Photoshop Elements, its popular image editor for photo enthusiasts and advanced amateur photographers. Adobe added six new features and updated two more in Photoshop Elements.

Adobe Photoshop Elements, a powerful digital image editing program masquerading as a simple platform for beginners and casual users, offers a lot at an affordable price. If you want to get out of the Adobe ecosystem, read the article to learn more about the 5 best Adobe Photoshop alternatives for Mac.

The best free and paid Photoshop alternatives for Mac

  1. Affinity photo
  2. Pixelmator Pro
  3. Skylum Luminar 4
  4. Colorcinch
  5. ON1 RAW Photo
  6. GIMP
  7. Krita
  8. Pixlr Editor

No surprises here. Due to Affinity’s one-time payment option coupled with frequent sales (and, of course, a great feature set), Affinity Photo has a positive WOM (word of mouth) among professionals.

Affinity is available on multiple platforms. It is accessible on Windows and Mac. The feature set is almost identical to Adobe Photoshop. However, you will need to master the user interface as it requires a bit of a learning curve. Some of the noteworthy features include color correction, RAW support, panning, batch processing, etc.

Are you working with PSD files? Affinity has that covered for you too. You can easily import Photoshop files and start editing. The software is also powerful enough to support 360 ° image editing.

As mentioned above, Affinity does require a bit of a learning curve, and naturally there aren’t many online guides available for the software just yet. The company offers a hard cover binder to help new users familiarize themselves with their schedule.

Pixelmator Pro is more of an alternative to Lightroom than the current Photoshop replacement. But if you have a light workflow and don’t have any issues with Pixelmator Pro’s current feature set, I would definitely recommend giving Pixelmator a try.

I love the Pixelmator Pro interface. It’s simple, easy to use, and smooth compared to Photoshop’s complex user interface. Instead of offering each option to the user, Pixelmator intelligently organizes the functions in the sidebar.

The company claims to have written the editing engine from scratch on Metal, Apple’s hardware-accelerated graphics API. The method allows developers almost direct access to the graphics processing unit (GPU). And it shows in the final product. I have been using Pixelmator Pro for over six months and have never encountered any random errors or issues which I often encounter with Adobe Photoshop.

When it comes to features, you get the usual set of editing options like support for RAW photos, tons of filters, retouching tools, text styles, ready-made shapes. employment, etc.

Skylum highlights the artificial intelligence capabilities of Luminar 4 to attract potential Photoshop convertibles. The entire software is designed to let users spend less time playing around with endless editing options and let the AI ​​establish and fix photos for you.

True to Skylum’s big claims, I love the AI ​​contour tool in Luminar 4. With just one click, you can let the software make any necessary adjustments to an image to look richer and give a pop-up effect. We’ve seen something similar on Google Photos and it’s great to see Luminar offering something similar on Mac.

Luminar’s library feature is a blessing for anyone who frequently uploads photos from their hard drive. When you connect your hard drive to Mac, Luminar will mirror your hard drive and sync changes between software and hard drive.

The list of remaining features includes add-ons like erase tool, adjustment amount slider, portrait enhancement, and more.

Lumiar 4 is available for Mac and Windows. However, it still doesn’t natively support the M1 architecture, which both rivals Pixelmator Pro and Affinity offer right out of the box.

So far we’ve only talked about dedicated Photoshop alternatives for Mac or Windows. Let’s take a look at Colorcinch, a web-based image editor. Using a web-based solution allows you to use the same software on Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, or even Linux. There is no need to worry about cross-platform availability.

The software has a large collection of presets, graphics, and other creative resources. One of Colorcinch’s main selling points is the fact that it features a handful of AI-based special effects. One of my favorites is the Cartoonizer effect which can perfectly transform pictures into cartoons, sketches and paintings.

Need to access royalty free images for your next project? Colorcinch has you covered, too. The software offers a choice of 1.5 million high resolution photos.

You can also enjoy hundreds of artistic borders, vector graphics and icons. The only problem with Colorcinch is the lack of offline support. Of course, the software only works with an efficient internet connection.

Colorcinch offers a free version with basic editing features. The Plus plan starts at $ 5.99 per month.

If you don’t want all those AI tools doing a mediocre job for you and instead want all the control, ON1 Photo RAW is a Photoshop alternative for you.

ON1 has most of the photo adjustment tools you would expect from a Photoshop replacement. Some of the head rotation features include portrait editing, a variety of freebies, filters, smart organization, and masking tools to explore your creative side.

My only problem with ON1 Photo RAW is the complex user interface. New users will find it difficult to navigate menus and options.


The GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP, is one of the best-known free Photoshop alternatives on the market. Being a very feature-rich solution for photographers, GIMP can do almost anything Photoshop can do. However, GIMP is not without its problems. For example, many preset brushes have the same settings. Also, there are no drawing features in GIMP either.

7. Krita

Another very popular free Photoshop alternative is Krita. In fact, it’s one of the most recommended tools by photographers on image editing and creative design forums. The best thing about Krita is its similarity to Photoshop. The toolbars look almost the same and the dark theme reminds you to work with Adobe. Unfortunately, the tool is a bit slow at times and no RAW filters are included.

8. Pixlr editor

Although it is a browser-based tool, the Pixlr editor is as powerful as many desktop apps. Unlike other free Photoshop alternatives, the Pixlr editor was created by AutoDesk, one of the leading names in computer aided design. There are several versions of Pixlr Editor available. The editor offers a wide variety of tools, including blur, sharpness, noise, levels, and curves. There is also a GIMP-like toolkit, including tools for stamps, corrections, brushes, fills, and more.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to enhance your images and don’t want to worry about complicated software, Pixlr is a great solution.


As for me, I personally use Pixelmator Pro on my MacBook Air and switch to Affinity Photo on a Windows desktop. And you? which Photoshop for Mac alternative will you choose? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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