Whilst print-on-demand is a fantastic low-cost business model to start, we understand that not everyone has the spare funds to pay for tools like Adobe Photoshop. The great news is, there are lots of options out there and many of them are free or very low cost.
We provide all of our product design templates in Photoshop’s PSD format, and PNG, but you’ll find out very soon this doesn’t mean you have to use Photoshop. Many of the free and paid Photoshop alternatives can open and edit PSD files.
In this guide to Photoshop alternatives we will discuss 12 of the best free and paid alternatives for your graphic design needs.
Whether you are looking for a program that is slightly more affordable, or one that is completely free, we have you covered!
Free Photoshop Alternatives
Everyone loves free, so we’ll start with the Photoshop alternatives that aren’t going to cost you a cent. Yes, some of them have premium paid options but there are so many different choices here for you to try without having to pull out your credit card.
GIMP certainly has a strange name, but it actually stands GNU Image Manipulation Program. GIMP is very similar to Photoshop, with the major advantage being that it's free to download and use. It offers a wide range of features and plugins, making it a great option for those who want to save money on software.
GIMP Price: Free
Operating Systems: Linux, Windows, Mac, Sun OpenSolaris, FreeBSD
PhotoPea is one of the more popular Photoshop alternatives in the print-on-demand space. What's great about PhotoPea is that it's web based, so you can access it anywhere and you don't need to download and install anything.
Whilst PhotoPea has a free version, you will need to put up with ads and only 30 "undo" levels instead of 60, which is no big deal in our opinion. The premium subscription is very affordable if you want to go down that route.
PhotoPea Price: Free, or $40 per year for a single user for premium.
Operating Systems: Any - it's web based.
Canva is probably the most "famous" pick of the bunch, and that's because it's a really great tool. Whilst it might be better for more simple print-on-demand designs, and probably more suited to creating other things like ads and website graphics, this is one Photoshop alternative that you definitely should use at some point.
It offers a wide range of templates and tools, making it a great choice for both beginners and experienced designers.
Canva free has a heap of features but if you decide to upgrade to premium, you can unlock even more great features. It's quite affordable too, if you decide you need more than what the free plan offers.
Canva Price: Free, or starting at $120 USD per year for premium.
Operating Systems: Any - it's web based. Also has a mobile app.
Krita is a powerful program suited to those who want to create beautiful digital art. You can open and save files in PSD (photoshop) format and it offers a wide range of brushes and other tools, making it a great choice for artists and graphic designers of all levels.
Krita Price: Free
Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, Linux
This vector graphic editor is perfect for those who need to create high-quality illustrations or logos. Whilst it is definitely a great free alternative to Photoshop, it is often considered more of an alternative to Adobe Illustrator which is slightly different. This has to do with vector vs raster graphics, which we won’t go into here but you can read about that on Adobe’s website.
It has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to create beautiful designs with ease. Inkscape is a completely free, open source software that is worth trying if you're looking for a decent free Photoshop alternative.
InkScape Price: Free
Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, Linux
If you’ve used Photoshop before then you will find it easy to move over to this free alternative. Pixlr is nifty web-based tool with mobile app options, but it does lack more advanced features.
Pixlr has some great photo and imaging editing tools along with a background remover tool. User will no doubt find this quite useful.
Pixlr Price: Free, or $7.99 a month for premium. A 30-day free trial for premium is also available.
Operating Systems: All, it’s web based.
Photo POS Pro
Photo POS Pro is another popular option but it isn’t as easy to use as some of the other photoshop alternatives mentioned here.
Packed with advanced features such as layers, layer masks, and text effects, this free tool has a lot of features for users.
Photo POS Pro Price: Free
Operating Systems: Windows only
The suite of apps available over at Sumo are very cool, and Sumo Paint is perfect for those wanting to do image and photo editing quickly and easily. Sumo Paint has some great features however they are somewhat limited in the free plan. Give it a try and see how you like it.
Sumo Paint Price: Free, or $9 per month for premium.
Operating Systems: All, it’s web based.
Paid Photoshop Alternatives
You probably noticed that some of the above mentioned free Photoshop alternatives also have premium paid options. We won't repeat the details, but here's the free options that also have premium plans:
- Sumo Paint
So before we wrap up this photoshop alternative article, here’s some really great paid options that can certainly replace photoshop in your print-on-demand business.
Affinity Photo is probably the closest you'll get to Photoshop, even though it doesn't quite have all the features of PS. Affinity is known for being fast and lightweight, while still offering all of the features that you need to create impressive graphics.
You can even import your Photoshop files into Affinity so unless you are a professional graphic designer with a particular set of requirements, you could probably replace Photoshop with Affinity and save quite a bit of money in the process.
Affinity Photo Price: $54.99 USD One time fee
Free Trial: Yes, 10-days
Operating Systems: Mac, Windows & iPad.
CorelDRAW is an advanced program that often comes head-to-head with Photoshop as their main competitor. It is slightly more geared towards vector work, but it’s also considered “easier” to learn than Photoshop.
Ultimately both CorelDraw and Photoshop are fantastic programs and they are relatively similar in price. Photoshop will cost you around $21 USD per month and CorelDRAW charges an annual fee of $249.
This software is perfect for those who need to create professional-looking graphics. It offers a wide variety of tools and features, making it a great choice for both beginners and experienced designers.
CorelDRAW Price: $249 per year
Free Trial: Yes, 15-days
Operating Systems: Windows & Mac.
Created by software giant Autodesk, Sketchbook Pro is often compared to Photoshop and recommended as an alternative even though it’s probably designed more for digital artists than graphic designers.
If you have an artistic flair and like to draw your print-on-demand designs then Sketchbook might just be the perfect fit for you. It offers a wide range of brushes and pencils, as well as layers and other advanced features that you’d find in Photoshop.
Sketchbook Price: $19.99 one-time fee, plus there are premium upgrades like brushes and pencils.
Free Trial: No
Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, iOS & Android app.
Even though PaintTool SAI creator, Systemax, has a website that looks like it's from the 1990’s, the software is a popular and lightweight alternative to Photoshop.
This software is perfect for those who want to create digital paintings and it’s an affordable choice for both beginners and experienced painters and graphic designers.
PaintTool SAI Price: $42 one-time fee
Free Trial: Yes, 31 day free trial
Operating Systems: Windows
So there you have it! These are just some of the photoshop alternatives that are available to designers in the print-on-demand space.
We hope you found this blog post helpful in finding the right software for your needs. What other photoshop alternatives do you know about? Let us know in the comments below!
And be sure to check out our blog for more helpful tips and ideas to help you succeed with your print-on-demand business!