Adobe Pho­to­shop is known as the most com­mon and con­ve­nient graph­ic edi­tor for work­ing with pho­tos. How­ev­er, it is not always con­ve­nient for begin­ners: a license costs a lot, and it is now dif­fi­cult to buy it in Rus­sia. In addi­tion, Pho­to­shop only works offline, and the pro­gram itself is com­plex — a real mis­sile flight con­trol cen­ter, and a begin­ner often needs a cal­cu­la­tor. Read about the best free online Pho­to­shop alter­na­tives in our mate­r­i­al.

Online edi­tors will be use­ful not only for a begin­ner. There are times when a lap­top with a fresh ver­sion of Adobe Pho­to­shop is not at hand, and it is nec­es­sary to bring a few pic­tures into a more or less decent look. Let’s con­sid­er some of the most con­ve­nient ana­logues of Pho­to­shop using the exam­ple of typ­i­cal pho­to manip­u­la­tion tasks.

This appli­ca­tion is very sim­i­lar to Adobe Pho­to­shop, tool­bars and menu items are in the same places. The choice of instru­ments, how­ev­er, is some­what poor­er. There is a Russ­ian lan­guage, but some ele­ments are not trans­lat­ed.

The edi­tor sup­ports Adobe Pho­to­shop (.PSD), Adobe Illus­tra­tor (.AI), and can also work with RAW files / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Fotosklad.Expert

To begin with, let’s try to solve the stan­dard task of prepar­ing pho­tos for social net­works. Let’s open the image in RAW for­mat. You can sim­ply drag it into the brows­er win­dow, you can use the menu File — Open.

The RAW con­vert­er set­tings are, to put it mild­ly, poor. There is not enough oppor­tu­ni­ty to work sep­a­rate­ly with lights and shad­ows, there is no way to accu­rate­ly set the WB, there is no noise reduc­tion / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

Let’s take advan­tage of those small oppor­tu­ni­ties that the con­vert­er gives. Since the image is dark and cold, let’s raise the expo­sure by one and a half steps and move the Tem­per­a­ture slid­er to +10.

By the way, when you try to move the slid­ers with the mouse, Pho­to­pea freezes for 10 sec­onds, you won’t be able to move the slid­ers and imme­di­ate­ly see the result. It is bet­ter to enter val­ues ​​from the key­board, so it will be faster and more accu­rate. After the set­tings are applied, click “Open” and see the main win­dow of the reac­tor.

Since there was no noise reduc­tion in the RAW con­vert­er, let’s get rid of the noise first. To do this, select Fil­ter — Reduce noise / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

The pho­to is too wide, 16:9. Let’s first crop it, giv­ing it more com­mon pro­por­tions. The Crop Tool looks exact­ly the same as it does in Adobe Pho­to­shop and sits in rough­ly the same place in the tool­box.

In the drop-down menu on top, select a fixed ratio and next to it in the box for the ratio of width and height, enter 3:2 / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Fotosklad.Expert

Now let’s increase the con­trast using curves. Let’s cre­ate an adjust­ment lay­er “Curves” — we act in the same way as when work­ing in Adobe Pho­to­shop.

Adjust the curves by mov­ing the black point and white point to the edges of the his­togram. The pic­ture imme­di­ate­ly became more con­trast / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

Get rid of the peo­ple using the Spot Heal­ing Brush, Patch and Stamp. Again, the dif­fer­ence with Adobe Pho­to­shop is min­i­mal. Brush and stamp size adjustable with keys [ и ]soft­ness — in the menu by the right mouse but­ton, we take a sam­ple for the stamp by hold­ing ALT.

A cou­ple of clicks with a stamp and a heal­ing brush — and we have a desert­ed fog­gy land­scape in front of us / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

After that, it remains only to reduce the image size to 2000 pix­els on the long side (Image — Image Size), and export in Jpeg for­mat (File — Export As).

With sim­ple tasks, this pho­to edi­tor copes well. Let’s com­pli­cate the task and try to get rid of bruis­es on a female por­trait using the fre­quen­cy decom­po­si­tion method. Open the file in the edi­tor, and then cre­ate two copies of the lay­er. To use the right mouse but­ton and the com­mand “Dupli­cate Lay­er”. Blur the first copy by Gauss (Fil­ter — Blur — Gauss­ian Blur).

Select the blur radius so that the fine details of the skin tex­ture are blurred.

Apply the “Col­or Con­trast” fil­ter to the sec­ond copy of the lay­er (Fil­ter – Oth­er – Col­or Con­trast), using the same radius val­ue with which the pre­vi­ous lay­er was blurred. Then cre­ate a Bright­ness-Con­trast adjust­ment lay­er, in which we put a check­mark “use the old” and reduce the con­trast by 50%.

Press CTRL + E, merg­ing the adjust­ment lay­er with what lies below it, and select the blend­ing mode of the lay­er “Lin­ear light” / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

Go to the first copy of the lay­er, and get rid of the bruis­es. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Pho­to­pea does­n’t have my favorite col­or tool, the Mix­er Brush. Let’s try to get by with a reg­u­lar brush. To do this, set the blend­ing mode of the brush to “Replace­ment with light”, and the trans­paren­cy in the range of 15–30%. After that, with the ALT key pressed, we take a sam­ple of the col­or of nor­mal skin some­where near our bruise, and care­ful­ly paint over it.

There is still a bruise on the left, but it has already been paint­ed over on the right / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

Over­all, Pho­to­pea does a pret­ty good job of han­dling typ­i­cal tasks. At the same time, it has no lim­it on the size of the opened and saved file, it can work with dif­fer­ent for­mats and sup­ports the Russ­ian lan­guage. Of course, it does not have as many fea­tures as in Pho­to­shop (the func­tions of the RAW con­vert­er are espe­cial­ly cur­tailed), but we have just an online edi­tor, which is also free.

At first glance, the PIXLR inter­face is sim­i­lar to both Adobe Pho­to­shop and the pre­vi­ous edi­tor. How­ev­er, in the process of work, it becomes clear that there are even few­er tools here. First, let’s try to open and edit our fog image. Drag and drop RAW into the PIXLR win­dow. and noth­ing hap­pens. We try through the File — Open, and also noth­ing. It does­n’t seem to sup­port RAW con­ver­sion.

Let’s open the JPEG and try to clean it up with PIXLR. The first thing we find is that the edi­tor does not sup­port adjust­ment lay­ers. If you want to change the strength of the adjust­ment, it is bet­ter to apply it to a copy of the lay­er. So, copy the lay­er and select Cor­rec­tion — Curves (hot key, as in Pho­to­shop, CTRL + M).

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the his­togram is not shown in the curves win­dow, and you will have to drag the white and black dots by eye / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

Now let’s try to get rid of peo­ple. A lone per­son on the left on the pier does not cause prob­lems, a stamp can eas­i­ly cope with him.

It is unusu­al that the size and soft­ness of the tool can­not be changed either with hot keys or with the right mouse but­ton — only from the menu in the top line / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

But with a crowd of peo­ple, things are worse. It is incon­ve­nient to remove them with a “stamp”, and the heal­ing brush (here this tool is called “Retouch”) does a poor job. The “Spot” and “Soft” meth­ods allow you only to click the mouse to remove spot spots, and do not allow you to paint over the entire desired area. You can paint over unnec­es­sary areas only in the “Object” method, which belongs to pro­fes­sion­al paid func­tions — the grid with a water­mark that has appeared tells us about this.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, even the “pro­fes­sion­al” method leaves notice­able stains / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

Now let’s see what can be done with the por­trait. There are no ana­logues of Pho­to­shop’s High Pass, so advanced meth­ods with fre­quen­cy decom­po­si­tion are not avail­able to us. But there is the “Retouch” tool already known to us, with which you can get rid of acne and spots on the skin, and the “Plas­tic­i­ty” tool, which allows you to cor­rect the shape of the face. Unlike Pho­to­shop’s Liquify / Liquify fil­ter, there are no smart tools here (enlarge eyes, change the shape of the chin, etc.). Plas­tic­i­ty in PIXLR allows only the old fash­ioned way to move, stretch, com­press and twist frag­ments of a pho­to.

Face retouch­ing result in PIXLR. Left is before, right is after. Pim­ples on the fore­head have been removed, eyes have been enlarged, the nose and jaw have become a lit­tle nar­row­er / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

In gen­er­al, replac­ing Adobe Pho­to­shop with this edi­tor is unlike­ly to work. There are few oppor­tu­ni­ties, there are no adjust­ment lay­ers, RAW files can­not be opened, pro­fes­sion­al retouch­ing is almost impos­si­ble. More­over, the size of the image decreas­es when opened: by default, PIXLR offers to reduce the pho­to to 1920 pix­els on the long side, but you can per­suade it to 3840 on the long side, no more. But it is quite capa­ble of mak­ing basic bright­ness-con­trast cor­rec­tions or remov­ing pim­ples and spots.

The online pho­to edi­tor is not at all sim­i­lar to FS. No pan­els with lay­ers, masks and blend­ing modes can be found here. But for sim­ple tasks, it is quite con­ve­nient.

There are many ways to cor­rect a fog­gy pho­to. In the Basic Adjust­ment sec­tion, you can adjust the sat­u­ra­tion, bright­ness, and con­trast using the slid­ers. You can use curves — both per-chan­nel and the over­all RGB curve. Well, in the “Tone” sec­tion, you can sep­a­rate­ly work with the bright­ness of light and dark areas of the pho­to.

Fotor’s pants are quite respon­sive, and pho­to changes can be observed in real time, with­out delays or freezes / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Fotosklad.Expert

The object remover will help clear the embank­ment from peo­ple. Just paint over those areas in which there are unnec­es­sary objects, and click “Start Erase”.

Peo­ple dis­ap­pear and a water­mark appears — this fea­ture is from the paid ver­sion of the edi­tor / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

To work with por­traits, there is a “Beau­ty” tab. Judg­ing by the names of the tools, it can get rid of wrin­kles, lose weight and even get make­up. There is also a won­der­ful but­ton “One Touch Skin Retouch­ing”. Yes, it will not replace pro­fes­sion­al retouch­ing, and with its help it will not be pos­si­ble to pre­pare an adver­tis­ing pho­to for a bill­board or mag­a­zine. But you can improve a small pho­to before send­ing it to social net­works.

We press the but­ton. Acne. spots and wrin­kles dis­ap­pear, plas­tic skin and a water­mark appear / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

Fotor makes a pret­ty good impres­sion. It is not suit­able for seri­ous work, but it solves sim­ple tasks quick­ly, con­ve­nient­ly and quite effi­cient­ly. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, you can use all the fea­tures and down­load pho­tos with­out water­marks only by pur­chas­ing the PRO ver­sion for 690 rubles per month or 2890 rubles per year.

We looked at three online ana­logues of Adobe Pho­to­shop. Each of them has its pros and cons.


+ full fea­tures are avail­able in the free ver­sion;
+ works with full-size pho­tos;
+ the inter­face is very sim­i­lar to Adobe Pho­to­shop;
+ many tools and fil­ters sim­i­lar to Adobe Pho­to­shop;
+ you can install addi­tion­al fonts from your com­put­er;
+ there is a library of ready-made tem­plates — pub­li­ca­tions and sto­ries for social net­works, YouTube cov­er, logos, busi­ness cards and even tem­plates for memes;
+ sup­ports .PS, .PDF and .AI for­mats, opens RAW files;

– RAW con­vert­er with lim­it­ed fea­tures and capa­bil­i­ties;
- slid­ers in some tools react with a strong delay;
- some fil­ters (for exam­ple, “Lens blur”) do not always work;
- the inter­face may seem com­pli­cat­ed for a begin­ner who is not famil­iar with Adobe Pho­to­shop.


+ works pret­ty fast;
+ allows you to make basic pho­to cor­rec­tions and clean the skin;

- does not open large pho­tos, reduces them by 3840 points along the long side;
- does not sup­port RAW;
– advanced fea­tures and tools are only avail­able in the paid ver­sion;
- even paid “pro­fes­sion­al” tools do not always work well.


+ there are intel­li­gent cor­rec­tion modes;
+ inter­est­ing tools for skin retouch­ing, includ­ing auto­mat­ic;
+ well suit­ed for a begin­ner who does not want to under­stand com­plex tools and set­tings;
+ allows you to open up to 50 pho­tos and start batch pro­cess­ing (crop­ping, tex­ting, bright­ness-con­trast, etc.);

– does not look like Adobe Pho­to­shop inter­face;
- hard­ly suit­able for seri­ous work with pho­tographs;
- many fea­tures are only avail­able in a paid sub­scrip­tion.


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