Free Programs Like Photoshop:
Cost Effective Alternatives
for College Students

There are a few classes where programs like Photoshop would come in handy, such as all levels of marketing, graphic design, or any class that has projects requiring the use of graphics manipulation. Many college classes don't "require" programs like Photoshop, but you can make your own graphics or manipulate existing ones to really impress your professors in many classes.

Adobe products are not cheap, Photoshop is no exception costing around $800 for a new version. Here are some alternatives that college students can use, that are completely free of charge.


GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Software, is a free to download program that has many of the same features as Adobe Photoshop. While not being nearly as 'pretty' as its more expensive counterpart, GIMP can do many of the more important functions that Photoshop can do.

However, GIMP will seem a little complicated and complex for first time users...many students (including me) don't want to spend hours learning new software just to create or edit a simple graphic. In short, download GIMP if you want complex software that has many of the functions Photoshop has. If you want something that gets the job done and is simpler to use, check out the ones below...

GIMP Features:

programs like photoshop

  • Photo Enhancement

  • Colorization Techniques

  • Image Format Converter

  • Complex Color Schemes

  • Image Distortion and Special Effects

  • Largely Expandable with Add-Ons and Plug-Ins

  • Layering Technology

  • Much More... doesn't have as many bells and whistles as GIMP has, but it gets the job done in most cases. is my personal "go-to" graphics software. It uses layering techniques to compile images, color, and other various graphics capabilities. Plan on spending about an hour learning all the techniques in creating graphics with is much better than countless hours on Photoshop or GIMP. Features:

programs like photoshop

  • Colorization Techniques

  • File Format Converter

  • Layering Technology

  • Automatically Updated

  • Special Effects


Picnik is Google owned, web-based software. Picnik doesn't exactly fit into programs like Photoshop, as it is used as a supplement for the two programs listed above. I find that Picnik is great for resizing pictures without losing the clarity of the image, as well as easily cropping them down to the exact dimensions you're looking for. One issue I have with them is that they automatically upload your image into the database...

Picnik Features:

Programs like photoshop

  • Cropping and Scaling Photos

  • Auto-Fix Images

  • Rotating and Moving

  • Image Clarity Settings

  • Red Eye Removal

  • Top-Notch Image Resizing

  • Special Effects

  • Other Non-Essential Features

Read enough about Programs Like Photoshop
Check out other Free Software for College.

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