Free graphics applications are available to use in place of Photoshop. Photoshop is the industry-standard, premium tool for graphic design, but buying it can be expensive, especially since Adobe began offering it inside the Adobe Creative Cloud via monthly subscription. As with all applications, there are free alternatives, though. I’d like to describe three free graphic design applications you can use today – GIMP, Seashore, and Image Tricks.

  1. Of the free tools currently available, GIMP is easily the most comprehensive. Sometimes called the “free Photoshop”, GIMP is designed for raster graphics and is officially described as an image manipulation program. GIMP is free, open source software, so it is constantly being improved by interested volunteers. GIMP offers photo enhancement, digital retouching, and the ability to create files in multiple formats, including the most common ones (.jpg, .gif, .png, and .tiff) and others. If you need to retouch a photo, GIMP offers tools for cloning and healing. And best of all, you can customize the interface to your own preferences. GIMP runs on Linux, Windows, and the MAC OS platforms.

Seashore is another open source image editor and is based directly on GIMP’s technology. Seashore is designed for the MAC OS platform and thus integrates very neatly with the Apple operating system. While it is based upon GIMP, it isn’t quite as comprehensive, aimed more at the casual graphic designer. Seashore offers the ability to work with layers, a fairly expansive tool set, and many effects. If your graphic design needs are more than simple retouching or mid-level effects, you may be frustrated with Seashore. But as long as you understand what Seashore is meant to provide, it’s a great free image editor.