The 3 best alternatives to Photoshop for macOS

5 years ago

Since the advent of the Creative Cloud Suite and its subscription pricing model, many freelance creatives have been looking for credible alternatives to turning their backs on Adobe. What creative apps to install on your Mac to permanently replace Photoshop? Answer in this article.

Finish the good old days of perpetual license! To use Adobe's professional software, including Photoshop, you must necessarily turn to a "cloud" solution, understand a rather expensive subscription (the formula with a single application is offered at € 23.99 per month!). With this passage required by the fund every month, Adobe has apparently found a way to make a very effective return to its leading position, while eliminating any possibility of piracy.

But that's without counting on the competition of new tools - often much more innovative - that can replace and even surpass Photoshop, with a license for life and for a much more attractive price! Here is an overview of the most promising graphics applications for macOS, some are real favorites that may upset your old habits;)

Acorn: an air of Photoshop at a mini price

From the outset, you will immediately recognize a rather familiar environment since the interface of Acorn very similar to that of Photoshop. This similarity is not limited to the appearance of the software: its features are very close to what the Adobe tool offers. It includes the management of layers, the ability to apply effects and even practical vector features.

Acorn user interface

The interface of Acorn. By default, there is an environment similar to Photoshop with floating palettes. You will not be left out if your goal is to find a replacement for the Adobe application.

Acorn focuses on the essential features that one should expect from a photo editing application. And let's be honest: it's successful, both for the simplest tasks (crop, resize, edit levels, etc.) than for more advanced uses (working on multiple layers, with masks and integration of vector objects ).

Offered at only € 32.99 on the Apple App Store, Acorn (version 6) comes in a dark mode of the most beautiful effect since the adoption of this variant by macOS Mojave. This is an excellent low-cost solution for us to replace the most basic features of Photoshop. A 14-day free trial version is available on the publisher's website. Only downside: Acorn is (for now) available in English only.

Pixelmator Pro: a very innovative interface

Some of you may be familiar with Pixelmator, reference software for image editing. Its publisher has recently launched a Pro version, with a brand new interface, very refined and frankly well designed. Here, everything happens in a single window that includes both the work plan, the tool palettes and their different options. "Completely Mac", this is the promise of the publisher about the user experience of Pixelmator Pro, and we must recognize that it is successful!

Pixelmator Pro user interface

The daring look of Pixelmator Pro with a completely redesigned interface. The tools and their options are available on the right side with context menus. An approach that is both didactic and effective.

In terms of functionality, we are a step above what Acorn offers. Pixelmator Pro's basic functions of editing and image manipulation, add many filters and effects of a beautiful rendering ... What to have fun for hours on your last holiday photos;) One point particularly caught our attention: the ability of the software to make intelligent selections. Ideal for fast detours allowing - for example - to dissociate the subject from the bottom of the photo or to remove unwanted elements.

Pixelmator Pro is priced at € 43.99 on the App Store (while its little brother, Pixelmator, is priced at € 32.99). Note that a trial version of 30 days is available on the website of the publisher, which also offers a very rich online help (only in English).

Affinity Photo: the next standard on the market?

If you work closely or in the world of design and / or the web, you have probably heard of Affinity Designer. This software has become in a short time a key reference in vector drawing, so much so that graphic designers and illustrators are more likely to abandon Illustrator in favor of the application of Serif. With its success, the publisher now wants to destabilize Photoshop with the launch of Affinity Photo. Know that a replacement for InDesign is also in preparation ... What constitutes an alternative suite to that of Adobe.

Affinity Photo user interface

The (rather elegant) interface of Affinity Photo. Same principle as Affinity Designer, the Personas (top left) allow you to switch from one environment to another, according to your objectives.

If you are used to Photoshop, a little time of adaptation is necessary to make you the interface proposed by Affinity Photo. Indeed, just like Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo offers different tool palettes according to working environments called "Personas". Once this subtlety is acquired, you can access countless professional features, both in terms of retouching, brushing, application of effects of all kinds ... and icing on the cake: the application also manages the PSD format of your Photoshop files!

Affinity Photo is available on the App Store at 54.99 €. For more information, visit the Serif website. Know that a declination for iPad is also available for 21,99 €. Our only regret is that the "Photo" features are not integrated directly with Affinity Designer, which would make it possible to have a double alternative, at the same time to Illustrator but also to Photoshop, in a single software ...

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