Recommended free/cheap Photoshop alternative?

karlth

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 13, 2010
210
0
In Windows I've used Paint.net which is an excellent and free Photoshop look-a-like application.

Does anything similar exist for OSX?

I tried Pixen(?) and it crashed constantly and couldn't even save .jpg files.
 

karlth

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 13, 2010
210
0
A need to do pixel work mostly with layering. Apple's Preview is probably too basic.
 

MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
10,648
29
USA
In Windows I've used Paint.net which is an excellent and free Photoshop look-a-like application.

Does anything similar exist for OSX?

I tried Pixen(?) and it crashed constantly and couldn't even save .jpg files.
  1. iPhoto. You already have it.
  2. GraphicConverter. Every Mac user should have this wonderful application. It is awesome on several levels. Full-functional nagware until you pay the shareware fee.
  3. Photoshop Elements. Photoshop's smaller sibling stands on its own. Roughly the same price range as GraphicConverter shareware fee.
 
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ezekielrage_99

macrumors 68040
Oct 12, 2005
3,336
17
This thread is looking like a drunk uncle doing the robot at a friends wedding...

Without a doubt try Pixelmator, it's a very well designed application and isn't nearly as tweaky as GIMP plus does far more than the other suggested applications.

Furthermore you can get a 30-day trial, while the application wont break the bank for $30 and on comparison with PS Elements this is far better for features, ease of use, online community and price. I've actually been using this more than Photoshop 5.5 recently, it's a little snappier with the new build and GPU rendering.

Paint is pretty rubbish no offense... Try Pixelmator I can recommend it, and for $30 you're getting an excellent application.
 

danjames99

macrumors member
Oct 10, 2006
76
0
By Photoshop Express, do y'all mean Photoshop Elements? If I'm not mistaken, Photoshop Express is merely the live online version.

I'm looking for an editor likewise. I purchased a new MacBook Air that will be used for a lot of photo processing. I downloaded Pixelmator to try out.

I've used Gimp on Linux, but I've found that it's clunky on the Mac with the X11 version. Is GimpApp much better? I haven't tried it on Lion yet.
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,045
127
Canada, eh?
I second PixelMator. Even though I recently splurged and bought the CS5 suite, I still pop into PixelMator from time to time when I have a simple job that needs to get done. It's a great little program that reminds me of the days when I used (and loved) Paint Shop Pro on the PC.
 

ezekielrage_99

macrumors 68040
Oct 12, 2005
3,336
17
I've used Gimp on Linux, but I've found that it's clunky on the Mac with the X11 version. Is GimpApp much better? I haven't tried it on Lion yet.
I'm really not a fan of GIMP and GIMPshop/App they have an air of duct tape and glue about them, don't get me wrong there are not bad for what they are though they're not the nicest of UX around not to mention it's very clunky to actually use. It's just not a refine experience or application that's why it would always be hard to recommend to prosumers or newbies.

While GIMP in Lion I'm less than impressed with, not sure if it's the actual build or Lion but it does seem sluggish and flaky for the moment.

This is the main reason I'd recommend Pixelmator over GIMP, the user interface, support with tutorials/help, how it runs on Lion (1.6.7 is awesome in Lion), price and overall experience is far better even though you need to invest the whopping $30, otherswise you can trial it for 30 days as well and see how it goes from there.
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,658
1,778
Isla Nublar
I third Pixelmator.

I absolutely hate Gimp. I hate to talk bad about open source software but it in my opinion is one of the worst common open source programs I've used.

Some people like it though.
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,045
127
Canada, eh?
I absolutely hate Gimp. I hate to talk bad about open source software but it in my opinion is one of the worst common open source programs I've used.

Some people like it though.
GIMP has been sort of a poster child for open source software over the years, and people especially love comparing it to Photoshop. "See? It's FREE! You save hundreds of dollars!" That may be true but it always had that "hacked together" feel that I really don't like. I always feel like someone built a home made ultralight aircraft out of balsa wood and a bicycle and then says "See? A lot cheaper than a Boeing 747!"
 

danjames99

macrumors member
Oct 10, 2006
76
0
I downloaded a Pixelmator demo and do agree that it's a brilliant program. $30 seems well worth it.

In defense of GIMP, the program looks better on Debian Linux, where it is a native application on Linux. It is usable, and has many wonderful plug-ins and scripts that others have created and shared. In defense of open-source in general, it serves a purpose that there is no excuse for piracy or warez because no one can say they have no choice. But there is a line between finding usability with open-source and being completely freetarded in one's determination to pay nothing. Which is why, even though I'm well adept at Linux, there are reasons to pay for a commercial OS and commercial apps.

Seashore with a few Gimp plugins would be very nice. But it's not there. Right now it's basically something like what Irfanview is for the PC.
 

CarlJ

macrumors 601
Feb 23, 2004
4,168
6,722
San Diego, CA, USA
"Dammit Jim, I'm a programmer, not an artist!". Er, sorry, I mean my graphic editing needs/skills are rather modest. Haven't tried recent versions of Photoshop Elements... back it the day it was capable but ugly and slow, and suffered from excessive copy protection paranoia.

These days, I have both Pixelmator and Acorn on my Mac, and Pixelmator is flashier, but Acorn is the one I always end up using.

They both have trial versions available on their respective websites - you could download both and see which you prefer.
 

MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
10,648
29
USA
...

In defense of GIMP, the program looks better on Debian Linux, where it is a native application on Linux. ...
The GIMP is an X Windows-based application. X11 on MacOS X is a standard port of the X Windowing System. The GIMP running on X Windows on MacOS X is no less native than the GIMP running on X Windows on Linux.
 

Nostromo

macrumors 65816
Dec 26, 2009
1,358
2
Deep Space
There is no real Photoshop alternative.

If you are doing Photography you could do with just a RAW processor.

I wouldn't bother with GIMP.
 

dmz

macrumors regular
Jan 29, 2007
139
0
Canada
PhotoLine???

I looked at a program called PhotoLine last year, and it seems the closest to a real Photoshop alternative, though I never gave the program much of a workout. The program is at version 16, and cost ~$59US - placing it somewhere between PixelMator and Photoshop. It is also amazingly compact - 28.6 MB download for Mac OS.

Has anyone had any experience with this program? I'm very surprised I don't hear more about this program, and I wonder why? Here's the link:

http://www.pl32.com/

Yes, abbreviating your URL not a good "Google" practice, but is that what's keeping them obscure, or is it just poor software? Was called PhotoLine 32, but I see they have dropped the "32" now that we're all "64"-ed.

Cheers!

dmz
 
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Cantello

macrumors member
May 29, 2008
75
0
Lüneburg
Has anyone had any experience with this program? I'm very surprised I don't hear more about this program, and I wonder why? Here's the link:

http://www.pl32.com/
As you said, it is rather poorly known and it sports non-standard UI on both Mac and Windows.
However, it is a very capable programme, integrating pixel and vector work much better than comparable apps. I have both Pixelmator and Photoline and end up doing my work mostly om Photoline. Pixelmator may be flashier but aso a lot slower and more cumbersome to use.

There is also a very helpful forum at http://www.pl32.de/pages/forum.htm plus the author responds to questions asked via email.
 

dmz

macrumors regular
Jan 29, 2007
139
0
Canada
More Photoline...

Thanks for your reply - I was wondering if this program was just a pigment of my imagination...

I played with it for a bit, but didn't give it much time. How strange is the interface? - it looked fairly normal at first glance - palettes, tool bars, etc..

I like that it has vectors/rasters... anything about this program that would make it a non-starter?

Cheers!

dmz
 

Nostromo

macrumors 65816
Dec 26, 2009
1,358
2
Deep Space
The problem with free software is the interface.

I tried out Blender - a nightmare. Going to sign up for a Maya class the day after tomorrow.

Gladly, I never pimped with Gimp. Saved me a lot of nerves.
 

Cantello

macrumors member
May 29, 2008
75
0
Lüneburg
I played with it for a bit, but didn't give it much time. How strange is the interface? - it looked fairly normal at first glance - palettes, tool bars, etc..

I like that it has vectors/rasters... anything about this program that would make it a non-starter?
It's not that it has a really strange interface, just a little bit different than what you might be used to, be it Photoshop or Acorn (or Pixelmator, but that one has a different UI itself). I has a certain non-Mac feeling to it, but rather easy to use nonetheless.

The fact that it is a drawing & painting programme keeps me from buying another tool just for the two occasions per year that I would need a vector app.
 
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