$100–200 for a sub­scrip­tion to a com­plex edi­tor is a high price for every­day tasks. You can make retouch­ing, cor­rec­tion, crop­ping with­out finan­cial costs. We chose and eval­u­at­ed 5 free pho­to edi­tors with use­ful fea­tures and tools for those who are not ready to over­pay.

Free graph­ic edi­tors have every­thing for suc­cess­ful cor­rec­tion. Pho­to: pexels.com

Pix­el X
Pixlr E
Pho­to­Scape X


GIMP is an edi­tor with poten­tial, one of the lead­ers in the free seg­ment. Pho­to: itigic.com

Pro­gram rat­ing from 1 to 10:

  • for­mat sup­port — 10
  • inter­face con­ve­nience — 6
  • num­ber of func­tions and tools — 9
  • com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing sys­tems — 10
  • dif­fi­cul­ty of devel­op­ment — 9/10

Edi­to­r­i­al eval­u­a­tions may not coin­cide with the opin­ions of users. Piv­ot table and sum­ming up — at the end of the arti­cle.

GIMP is a com­plete­ly free and open source raster graph­ics edi­tor. Works on all plat­forms: Win­dows, Lin­ux, macOS, Solaris, FreeB­SD, OpenB­SD, etc. GIMP is not a com­peti­tor or ana­logue of Pho­to­shop. But this free edi­tor is able to replace the giant from Adobe in tasks of ini­tial and advanced lev­el.

The GIMP inter­face requires a thought­ful approach. Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photostore.Expert

In the main GIMP win­dow — work­space (cen­tered), tools, addi­tion­al pan­els. The group­ing is log­i­cal, but it dif­fers from the tra­di­tion­al Pho­to­shop scheme.

Work­ing in GIMP goes faster when using key­board short­cuts. All com­bi­na­tions are con­fig­urable as desired.

GIMP has a nice set of col­or grad­ing tools. You can com­bine dif­fer­ent ele­ments of pho­tos in the chan­nel mix­er, work with mid­tones, bright­ness, col­or bal­ance, con­trast.

Curves tool — for quick col­or cor­rec­tion. Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photostore.Expert

In GIMP, lay­ers and masks are avail­able for deep study, pho­to mod­i­fi­ca­tion. In the edi­tor, it is easy to align the hori­zon, remove defects on the object with a brush, and sim­u­late any col­or fil­ters. Lay­ered designs can be turned into fun col­lages.

GIMP will help you make a fun­ny or com­mer­cial col­lage, poster, fly­er. Pho­to: gimp.su

The edi­tor sup­ports almost all image for­mats, from native XCF to BMP, JPEG, JPG and ICO. This sim­pli­fies the work: no need to wor­ry that the pho­to will not open, con­vert files, waste time and effort.

The pro­gram is eas­i­ly updat­ed through the offi­cial web­site. Fast and free. If the built-in func­tions are not enough, you can down­load and install exten­sions and plu­g­ins. In the GIMP fan com­mu­ni­ty, expe­ri­enced users answer ques­tions and share help­ful links.

There is a bit of absur­di­ty in the log­ic of work­ing with GIMP. If you want to com­plete even a sim­ple task, under­stand the inter­face, learn hot keys. If you then pur­chase a paid, dif­fer­ent edi­tor, a new train­ing will begin — from scratch. But that does­n’t detract from GIM­P’s sta­tus as a use­ful free edi­tor. Func­tions (espe­cial­ly after installing addi­tion­al mod­ules) abound for novice design­ers and pho­tog­ra­phers, ordi­nary users.

Pixel X

Pixlr — edi­tors of dif­fer­ent lev­els of com­plex­i­ty for online and offline work. Pho­to: alphr.com

Pro­gram rat­ing from 1 to 10:

  • for­mat sup­port — 6
  • inter­face con­ve­nience — 10
  • num­ber of func­tions and tools — 5
  • com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing sys­tems — 7
  • dif­fi­cul­ty of devel­op­ment — 3/10

Pixlr is a pho­to manip­u­la­tion and basic design soft­ware. A notable fea­ture of Pixlr is online and offline ver­sions with a dif­fer­ent set of tools. The ver­sion X edi­tor opens direct­ly in the brows­er or installs on a Win­dows PC or Mac. Basic fea­ture sets are com­plete­ly free.

The Pixlr X inter­face prompts and guides from the start. Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photostore.Expert

The desk­top ver­sion of Pixlr X is an entry-lev­el edi­tor. In con­trast to Pho­to­shop and GIMP, the dash­board (work­ing win­dow) looks like a toy. But the func­tions of the X‑version are enough for ini­tial tasks. You can remove defects, crop or straight­en the image, and per­form sim­ple col­or cor­rec­tion.

Pixlr X — beau­ti­ful styl­ized and artis­tic effects. Halftones, spot­ting, fil­ters — in the pho­to edi­tor, pho­tos are processed in two mouse clicks.

Each effect has an addi­tion­al set­ting. Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photostore.Expert

All tools on the left pan­el are designed as large icons. This is done for an intu­itive under­stand­ing of the embed­ded func­tions. The online ver­sion of Pixlr X has few­er fea­tures.

Tem­plates in Pixlr X make cre­ative projects easy to click-and-paste. Ready-made lay­outs include pre-designed mul­ti­lay­er posters, ban­ners, fly­ers, “blanks” for social net­works and YouTube. It is enough to place the processed pho­tos on the desired lay­er — and the task is solved. With­out a long study of set­tings, masks and tools.

Each lay­er is editable and cus­tomiz­able, off and on. Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photostore.Expert

Pixlr E

Pixlr E — more fea­tures in a famil­iar shell. Pho­to: Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photostore.Expert

Pro­gram rat­ing from 1 to 10:

  • for­mat sup­port — 6
  • inter­face con­ve­nience — 9
  • num­ber of func­tions and tools — 7
  • com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing sys­tems — 7
  • dif­fi­cul­ty of devel­op­ment — 5/10

Desk­top Pixlr E — ver­sion of X with an addi­tion­al set of fea­tures and tools. Added fill, gra­di­ent and sponge options for smooth tran­si­tions, chang­ing col­or tem­per­a­ture and gam­ma. Unusu­al effects — plas­tic­i­ty, blur, clone add sun­light, haze. You can stretch or com­press objects in the pho­to, care­ful­ly cut out the excess.

Tools are accom­pa­nied by clear set­tings. Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photostore.Expert

Pixlr E retained the visu­al sim­plic­i­ty of the X ver­sion’s inter­face. All func­tions are in easy Russ­ian, with expla­na­tions. But to real­ize the poten­tial of Pixlr E, the abil­i­ty to read is not enough. You will need an under­stand­ing of pro­cess­ing tech­nolo­gies. In the help sec­tion of the edi­tor — a link to the user com­mu­ni­ty with exam­ples of work, instruc­tions, tips. The com­mu­ni­ty reveals every­thing you need to quick­ly dive into the intri­ca­cies of Pixlr E.


Edi­tor for begin­ners with a famil­iar inter­face . Pho­to: genbeta.com

Pro­gram rat­ing from 1 to 10:

  • for­mat sup­port — 9
  • inter­face con­ve­nience — 9
  • num­ber of func­tions and tools — 7
  • com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing sys­tems — 3
  • dif­fi­cul­ty of devel­op­ment — 5/10

Paint.Net is a graph­ics edi­tor in a shell famil­iar to Win­dows users. The pro­gram was cre­at­ed sep­a­rate­ly from Paint — you can’t put it on a par with an appli­ca­tion for chil­dren. The edi­tor has more than 15 tools for pro­cess­ing ordi­nary pho­tos, sep­a­rate func­tions for vec­tor graph­ics (adver­tis­ing lay­outs, etc.). Paint.Net works only under Win­dows, sup­ports all pop­u­lar for­mats: PNG, JPEG, BMP, etc.

The Paint.Net work­spaces are rem­i­nis­cent of the style of Microsoft Office prod­ucts. This makes learn­ing eas­i­er. Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photostore.Expert

In the “Tools” win­dow — brush­es, texts, lines, shapes, col­or replace­ment and oth­er options for quick edit­ing. Press­ing acti­vates the change of but­tons of the top pan­el. The sys­tem is adap­tive and clear: with­out a dozen extra tabs and drop-down lists. Win­dows in Paint.Net are not anchored to posi­tions by default — they can be dragged around and cre­ate a con­ve­nient work­ing area.

The edi­tor looks easy and does not cause a stu­por at work. Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photostore.Expert

To work with lay­ers — a sep­a­rate win­dow with con­trols. The func­tions of mov­ing, com­bin­ing, trans­paren­cy are avail­able — the pho­to can be worked out to the ground, if nec­es­sary.

Pho­to cor­rec­tion through stan­dard tools is basic, but thought­ful. Invert­ing, work­ing with curves, coars­en­ing and shades — every­thing is adjust­ed man­u­al­ly with a par­al­lel demon­stra­tion of the result. You can down­load free plu­g­ins to expand the edi­tor options.

Paint.Net sup­ports all the hotkeys known in Win­dows — no need to learn new com­plex com­bi­na­tions.

PhotoScape X

Edi­tor with RAW sup­port and min­i­mal­is­tic design. Pho­to: microsoft.com

Pro­gram rat­ing from 1 to 10:

  • for­mat sup­port — 9
  • inter­face con­ve­nience — 5
  • num­ber of func­tions and tools — 8
  • com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing sys­tems — 9
  • dif­fi­cul­ty of devel­op­ment — 6/10

Pho­to edi­tor with one-click pho­to edit­ing and edit­ing fea­tures. The inter­face is in Eng­lish, but the ini­tial knowl­edge of the lan­guage is enough for con­fi­dent work. Pho­to­Scape X is light enough to run on low end Win­dows, Mac or Lin­ux com­put­ers.

Min­i­mal­ism and large ele­ments are a char­ac­ter­is­tic fea­ture of Pho­to­Scape X. Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photosklad.Expert

Basic tools in the free ver­sion of Pho­to­Scape X are not cut. Text, chang­ing tex­tures, masks for work­ing with indi­vid­ual areas, frames, stick­ers — every­thing is built in for fast pro­cess­ing. The pro­gram sim­pli­fies work with the help of ready-made solu­tions: fil­ters and tools are com­bined into sep­a­rate sys­tems. I pressed the but­ton and sev­er­al effects were applied to the pho­to at once. For exam­ple, “Mag­ic Col­or” with two slid­ers fine-tune the con­trast, col­or repro­duc­tion, bright­ness.

There are more than a hun­dred col­or fil­ters in the edi­tor. Of the unex­pect­ed tools — “Geo­graph­ic col­lage”, where a mosa­ic is assem­bled from dif­fer­ent parts of the object.

Sim­ple pro­cess­ing takes one to two min­utes. Illus­tra­tion: Anton Bara­nov, Photostore.Expert

Pho­to­Scape X is max­i­mal­ly “social­ized”: the fin­ished pho­to can be shared through var­i­ous for­eign social net­works. The cor­re­spond­ing but­tons are inte­grat­ed into the inter­face.

By default, the edi­tor has built-in: a file man­ag­er, a GIF mod­ule, a sep­a­rate tab for col­lages, a tool for com­bin­ing dif­fer­ent pho­tos. This turns Pho­to­Scape X into a begin­ner design­er’s sta­tion where every­thing is at hand. The pro­gram can rec­og­nize and con­vert RAW files — pho­tos from pro­fes­sion­al cam­eras.


Edi­tor For­mats Inter­face Func­tions and tools Sup­port for dif­fer­ent OS Total points
GIMP ten 6 9 ten 35
Pix­el X 6 ten four 7 27
Pixlr E 6 eight 7 7 28
Paint.Net 9 9 7 3 28
Pho­to­Scape X 9 5 eight 9 31

In a vir­tu­al com­pe­ti­tion, GIMP wins, but this is a sub­jec­tive assess­ment. There are no per­fect pho­to edi­tors. Advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages are almost syn­ony­mous when it comes to per­son­al com­fort. One thing is clear: all the free edi­tors on the list are wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion and pro­vide 50% good results. The remain­ing 50% is in the hands of the user.


От Yara

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