I've been looking over the net for Photoshop alternatives, but all I have been getting is "photo-editing" software alternatives - Gimp, and Photoshop Elements are basically the two I keep getting, unfortunately they are not what I'm looking for...

I, like all of you web designers, use Photoshop to fine tune the interface - I could not make rounded corner tabs in Elements! and Photoshop advertises web abilities in their higher rank Photoshop (Professional)! I just need to be able to quickly create wallpapers, adjust them, slice a bit, iconize, path, few corners, and of course TYPE (Gimp is very lacking in that area)... Any ideas?

6 Answers 6


For web graphics, fireworks takes the cake, in my opinion. Very streamlined and easy to use and is geared towards making shapes and doing fonts and the tasks that you need for making websites. It is definitely not a photo editor.

  • yea, adobe's really changed fireworks into a program built web designers. it has plenty of tools for handling web grahpics, but also prototypes really well. It can even export mockups into CSS and HTML for you. Oct 6, 2010 at 17:51
  • evaluating right now...
    – Ayyash
    Oct 6, 2010 at 22:11
  • hmmm, that is good, dont know why i never considered it before, although Expression Design could replace it on many levels, but not the bitmapping side, i think its worth getting
    – Ayyash
    Oct 6, 2010 at 23:05
  • I like Fireworks, but I don't understand why you would consider getting Fireworks (which costs the same as Photoshop) when you consider Photoshop to be too expensive. If you had wanted a better prototyping tool, then it might make sense. But everything you listed could have been done in Photoshop, and they both cost the same. Oct 7, 2010 at 3:06
  • no they're not! are u sure? its HALF price or maybe less, at least in AUD
    – Ayyash
    Oct 7, 2010 at 7:11

I use Paint.Net when I need something quick and dirty. It supports layers and a few other things that make it far better than plain old Paint. It is free and easy to use.

  • +1 The official site is getpaint.net
    – Bevan
    Oct 6, 2010 at 18:03
  • naah i want a bit more complicated stuff than this :)
    – Ayyash
    Oct 6, 2010 at 22:54
  • @Ayyash - Could you list what features you want that paint.NET doesn't have and what features major features Photoshop does have that you don't? I am not an image manipulation expert but I just can't think of any software that fills a middle ground between Paint.NET and GIMP and Photoshop. Oct 7, 2010 at 12:01
  • yeah there is, Firworks :) it has a bit of bitmapping, a lot of path control but not extreme, and TYPE control, paint.net fails at that, u type, it rasterizes immidiately, Gimp opens a popup, you cannot type in place, in fireworks, and photoshop not only u can type in place it is so easy to preview fonts in place too, and fireworks also have all effects available in photoshop (stroking, blending, coloring, drop shadow...)
    – Ayyash
    Oct 7, 2010 at 22:02
  • @Ayyash - I guess I put Fireworks in with Gimp and Photoshop as it seems on level. Granted there are differences between the 3 but they seem to be around the same level. Oct 8, 2010 at 13:15

I wouldn't say Gimp is lacking in this area. I use it all the time and prefer it over PS, that being said I have an old version of PS. Perhaps you should take some time to do some Gimp tutorials and learn how to use the software properly.

  • Let me caution, though, while Gimp is powerful, if you're an experienced user of Photoshop you'll sorely miss the keyboard shortcuts you're used to in PS. It's maddening for Gimp to have entirely different ones! Oct 6, 2010 at 19:57
  • i donno mate it might be me, but i couldnt understand the Bounding Box thing at all, it eventually drove me insane
    – Ayyash
    Oct 6, 2010 at 20:55
  • @Ayyash: What bounding box? The box from rectangle select, or maybe the layer bounds? Rectangle select tool is the best out of all graphics programs ever. Layer bounds can be a little weird I guess, you can always use "Layer to image size" option. Oct 7, 2010 at 13:53

Photoshop is awsm. But you can try paint shop pro as an alternate.

  • Paintshop from Corel? ive just installed it (it comes with CorelDraw and called Photo-Paint), the paintshop one is not what im looking for, but yeah coreldraw i think it does it all, two issues, u gotta get used to the new panels and everything, 2: its as expensive as photoshop :(
    – Ayyash
    Oct 6, 2010 at 23:03
  • articlestack probably means the older Paint Shop Pro from Jasc (I think they got taken over or something). Personally I love version 7, it got ruined after that. You can get it here: oldversion.com/Paint-Shop-Pro.html Oct 7, 2010 at 13:50
  • Since i belogs to programming field, i hadnt worked on designing from last 5-6 years. So not sure with its current version. @DisgruntledGoat got me correctly. I was talking about its 7th version only. Oct 8, 2010 at 6:26

Photoshop is for a lot more than just photo editing. It's a full featured raster image editor. You can create any type of graphics with it, not just edit photos. In fact, there is a special edition of Photoshop, called Photoshop Lightroom, for those just interested in editing photos (OK, you could get by on Elements too). Photoshop is used by all kinds of graphic designers and artists. It's used by professional illustrators to create digital paintings; it's used by graphic designers to combine any combination of rendered 3D graphics with hand-drawn 2D graphics with photos with texts, such as in a magazine ad layout; it's even used by law enforcement for digital forensics.

I don't know why you can't created rounded corners in Elements, but if you want alternatives just to see what else is out there, Fireworks is commonly used for designing web graphics, layouts, and creating wireframes. Alternatively, you could try vector imaging programs like Illustrator or Inkscape, but they're not suited to web design IMO (though for diagraming and wireframing they're great).

The bottom line is, your use of a graphics editor is likely different from my use of a graphics editor, even if we're both doing web design. You want to be able to lay out type, create rounded corners, slice images, and create wallpapers (what does that mean and entail?), while for others just being able to position/align text and graphics using rulers and guides is enough. Meanwhile, more advanced graphic designers require more than what you need and expect to be able to create more involved designs (take a look at popular web design galleries on the web to see what's out there).

So most image editors try to include the most commonly used features by all users. That means that no matter what program you pick, there will be features you don't use. All that matters is that nothing you need is missing. And frankly, it makes sense that a general-purpose image editor can also edit photos. Photos are just a class of images. And think of all the movie promo sites, band websites, photographer websites, designer websites, etc. that have photographs embedded in their layouts. Besides, most of Photoshop's features/tools are not specific to photo-editing anyway. It's not like there's a red-eye removal function or a sepia-tone filter or the crap you find in coin-operated photo booths.

  • i know! thats why i dont want photoshop, too expensive for my needs, wallpaper? i just want to be able to crop, resize, flip attach, merge, and export, you have no idea how hard it is to do that in Gimp! and Element does not have simple path editing at all, besides, for more illustration work i can use Expression Design, to put u in perspective, you see THIS SITE we're on? I just want to be able to create something like that (graphics wise), thats all...
    – Ayyash
    Oct 6, 2010 at 20:51
  • @Ayyash: You won't be able to find a program that can only create just this particular style of design. That would be a near-useless application for 99% of web designers and too much of a niche application to be worth marketing. And the graphics on this site were probably all created in Photoshop. Oct 7, 2010 at 2:55
  • Oh, and you don't need to be able to edit paths to created rounded corners. Use the rounded rectangle tool, which is available in Elements. Also, if you already have Expression Design, then why can't you use that for everything you mentioned? Oct 7, 2010 at 3:01
  • because Design doesnt do bitmapping, and Elements is really oriented towards photography, im so used to simple paths even Illustrator sometimes make me irritated, i found Fireworks to do it though
    – Ayyash
    Oct 7, 2010 at 7:10

Gimp we can trust! packed with features, and sometimes even beats Photoshop!

  • In which case it beats Photoshop?
    – john
    Dec 5, 2011 at 1:07

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