13 GIMP Alternatives for Mac/Windows

July 30

20 min. to read

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Our selection of the most popular and powerful GIMP alternatives will help you find the one that best meets your creative needs. This list also includes some apps for drawing.

GIMP is one of the most powerful all-purpose image editing apps and is beloved by many creatives. It’s free, feature-rich, and available for macOS, Windows, and Linux. It brings a vast selection of editing tools that allow you to do even the most advanced editing.

There’s hardly any reason not to use GIMP. However, due to the abundance of features, its interface can be a bit confusing, especially for beginners. If you don’t want to spend hours coming to grips with GIMP, you might want to consider other photo editors that can do the editing job just as well. Our selection of the most popular and powerful GIMP alternatives will help you find the one that best meets your creative needs. This list also includes some apps for drawing.

List of 13 GIMP alternatives we chose for the article: 

1. Luminar (7-day Free Trial)

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If you hate spending hours tweaking all kinds of controls to refine your photos, Luminar is the app for you. It has a great interface that’s fully customizable according to your needs and skill level and is available for Windows and macOS.

Luminar is an all-in-one photo editor that automatically enhances your photos in the blink of an eye. If you’re not very experienced in photo editing, use the Accent AI feature to make your photos stunning. Accent AI automatically enhances what needs to be enhanced in less than a second. But that’s not the only thing Luminar has to offer. You can also improve your pictures manually using three tabs: Adjust, which contains all the necessary tone and color adjustments; Lens, which can be used to improve lens flaws; and Transform, which improves some perspective issues. Luminar is also packed with over 300 tools and features including brushes, customizable filters, and support for layers and masks. It’s not free, but it’s worth the money. Besides, there’s a 30-day free trial available.

2. Paint.NET (Free)

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Paint.NET is a simple image and photo editor. It was meant to be a more powerful version of Microsoft Paint and as such brings a lot of the features from Microsoft Paint. Naturally, Paint.NET is nowhere near as feature-rich as GIMP. However, it’s a decent alternative for someone seeking a free photo editing app for Windows. Though its interface may seem a bit dated, it’s intuitive and easy to get a handle of. 

Paint.NET features layers with blending modes, unlimited history, and lots of special effects like blurring, red-eye removal, noise, and sharpening. It also has lots of useful tools for drawing shapes, splines, and Bezier curves. Other powerful tools include a gradient tool, a recolor tool, a selection tool, a magic wand tool for selecting areas of a similar color, a clone stamp tool for erasing or copying particular areas of an image, a text editor tool, and, of course, a zoom tool. Paint.NET also features essential controls for enhancing a picture’s contrast, saturation, brightness, and hue.

3. Aurora HDR (7-day Free Trial)

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Aurora HDR is an award-winning HDR photo editor that has won the hearts of millions of photographers around the world. With an abundance of powerful features, there’s no doubt this app can replace even some of GIMP’s most advanced tools. Besides, it’s available not only as a standalone app for Mac and PC but also as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Apple Photos.

Powered by Artificial Intelligence, Aurora HDR offers tons of automatic features that enhance your HDR photos in no time. HDR Denoise eliminates any noise from your photos, HDR Smart Structure makes your photos more detailed and vibrant, and HDR Clarity improves clarity by increasing contrast only in areas lacking it. Aurora also supports layers and masking and allows you to process multiple photos at the same time. For more professional users, Aurora HDR offers more than 20 tools for advanced editing needs including a polarizing filter, LUT mapping, dodge & burn, color toning, and tone curves.

4. Photolemur (Free version with watermark)

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Photolemur is an innovative photo editing app that does the editing for you. If you find GIMP a bit too much for your needs, you might like Photolemur. Even though it has just a few buttons, it does an impressive job at enhancing even mediocre shots.

Photolemur is a completely automatic photo enhancer. You don’t need to know anything about photo editing to improve your photos with this software. Photolemur uses Artificial Intelligence to instantly perform complex adjustments and produce the best editing results. It automatically detects what areas of a photo need adjustments and gets down to editing, enhancing colors, adjusting contrast and brightness, removing haziness, reducing noise, and even retouching faces. Additionally, it offers a bunch of amazing effects that can make your photos even more beautiful. Try it yourself to see the magic. Photolemur is available for both Mac and PC.

5. AirMagic (Free version with watermark)

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If you’re a fan of drone photography, you’ll probably find AirMagic useful. This app was the first to use Artificial Intelligence to automatically enhance aerial photos. It brings a bunch of innovative and unique features to make your drone shots look breathtaking.

Since AirMagic is fully automated software, it doesn’t matter whether you have any photo editing experience. The app does the job for you. It automatically removes haze, adds sharpness and color to the sky, boosts details, recovers hidden details, and improves colors. Plus, you don’t need to spends hours opening, editing, and saving every single image. Simply import all the photos you want to enhance and AirMagic will do the job. In about a second, your photos will be ready to share with the world.

6. Affinity Photo (Free Trial available)

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Affinity Photo is not only a great GIMP alternative but one of the most powerful image editing apps out there. Its nearly limitless features will leave you open-mouthed. This app is probably not the best choice for beginners, however, as its slightly overwhelming interface and abundance of features take time to come to grips with. 

Affinity Photo is no less rich in features than GIMP. It supports limitless layers and brings a huge library of adjustments, effects, and filters, which can be blended, clipped, grouped, and even masked together. It provides a vast selection of instruments that enable you to get creative and bring your craziest ideas to life. Affinity Photo allows you to merge HDR photos, edit PSD documents, edit RAW and 360-degree images, and do much, much more. It’s suitable not only for photo editing but for drawing too. Affinity Photo supports drawing tablets and offers an extensive library of brushes that you can use to create artwork. The only downside of Affinity Photo is that it’s paid. Luckily, there’s a free trial version available, so you can try it out to see whether it meets all your creative needs.  

7. Pixlr Editor (Basic Free plan)

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Pixlr Editor is one of the coolest alternatives to GIMP, and there are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, it’s free. Secondly, it’s an online tool, which means you don’t need to download anything: simply open your browser and get down to editing. This makes Pixlr Editor suitable for all platforms – macOS, Windows, and Linux – which is simply amazing. 

With many useful and powerful tools, Pixlr is one of the best web-based GIMP-like tools on the market. Pixlr Editor boasts support for layers and blending modes, a bunch of filters including Gaussian blur, Vignette, Sharpen, Noise, and Pastels, and tons of tools for selecting, drawing, cloning, dodging, smudging, and more. This powerful online image editor is suitable for beginners and pros. 

8. Seashore (Free)

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Seashore is one of the best GIMP alternatives for Mac users. It fully supports many file formats including JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and even GIMP’s native XCF. Seashore was intended to be a simpler and easier version of GIMP that would run natively on Macs. As such, it brings some of the most essential features from GIMP. It supports multiple layers and layer merging effects, editing of alpha channels, transparency effects, gradients and gradient effects, and plug-in filters. Additionally, Seashore offers a decent selection of tools including for cloning, smudging, creating basic shapes, cropping, zooming, selecting, and drawing. 

If you like creating illustrations using a pressure-sensitive tablet, Seashore can become your go-to app, as it comes with support for drawing tablets. The app’s interface looks a bit old-fashioned, but it’s super easy and intuitive. Seashore is an awesome alternative to GIMP if you don’t need to do any advanced editing. And the coolest thing about the app is its price – it’s free. 

9. Krita (Free)

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If you’re looking for a powerful tool for drawing or sketching, you’ll love Krita. It’s a free open-source app designed for creatives who love spending their time making digital art. Unlike GIMP, which can be used for both photo editing and painting, Krita is focused on the latter. It adopts the best of GIMP’s creative features and adds tons of unique ones. In addition, it supports a number of drawing tablets including the most popular ones from Wacom and Huion, allowing you to express your inner artist without limits. If you’ve been a long-time GIMP user, you’ll probably need some time to get a handle on Krita because its layout is entirely different. In fact, it looks and feels more like Photoshop. If you’re familiar with Photoshop, you won’t have any problems. 

Krita features tons of different brushes to satisfy specific needs and allows you to create your own. Organizing drawings in Krita is easy with a layer management tool that’s even more functional than in GIMP. Krita is one of the best apps for getting creative and is totally worth checking out. It’s free, but if you want to support the developers, there’s a paid option available. 

10. Sumopaint (Free or Pro version)

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Sumopaint is another web-based GIMP alternative you can use for getting creative for free. It might not be the best option for complex projects, but it has all the essentials. Since Sumopaint is an online tool, you don’t need to worry about operating system compatibility, which is probably the coolest thing about online editors. 

With support for layers, layer effects, and blending modes, Sumopaint enables you to do more than just cropping and resizing. It includes over 300 brushes to suit your creative needs; some of them are even animated! Plus, Sumopaint allows you to create not only your own brushes but also shapes of any size and appearance. Sumopaint has tons of mind-blowing effects and filters and features all the necessary tools for creating whatever you have in mind. It’s not as feature-rich as GIMP, but it’s a great option for basic to slightly advanced editing.

11. PhotoLine (30 days for testing)

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PhotoLine is a versatile image editor for macOS and Windows that may be what you need if you’re looking for a decent GIMP alternative. It brings support for both raster and vector graphics, which is pretty awesome. The interface looks a bit old-fashioned, but the toolbars are arranged in a way similar to most editors.

Unlike GIMP, PhotoLine can’t boast a plethora of fancy features. However, it supports layers, grouping, and blending modes, as well as RGB, CMYK, and Lab color models. The app is packed with a decent selection of tools, including for liquifying, zooming, cropping, painting, selecting, erasing, and touching up. It has pretty much everything you need for basic image editing, including dozens of effects and filters. You can try PhotoLine free for 30 days. However, you’ll have to pay to use it after the trial period. 

12. PicMonkey (7-day Free Trial)

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PicMonkey is yet another online editor that can be a great replacement for GIMP if you’re looking for something simple but powerful. The awesome thing about PicMonkey is that you can use it on any operating system as it works completely online. The software is free; however, you can’t export your images unless you subscribe to a pro version, which is a real bummer. 

PicMonkey comes with a ton of filters and effects and even customizable touch-up tools for whitening teeth, recoloring hair, and removing blemishes. Another cool thing is that PicMonkey has about 2,500 customizable templates and over 70 preset blank canvases that you might find useful. It allows you, among other things, to adjust levels, brightness, highlights, hue, saturation, and curves. It also features a powerful text tool and comes with over 200 unique fonts. Naturally, PicMonkey isn’t as fancy as GIMP. But it still can come in handy when you need to do some quick corrections that don’t require any advanced tools. 

13. Pixelmator (30-days Free)

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Pixelmator is another GIMP alternative worth checking out if you work on a Mac. This app is entirely intuitive for Mac users and is probably the most user-friendly app to work with on Mac, even though its interface is radically different compared to most photo editing apps. 

Pixelmator is packed with a comprehensive selection of tools for enhancing and retouching photos, painting, drawing vector illustrations, and creating graphic designs. It also comes with standard features like layers, clipping masks, and blending modes, over 40 tools for selecting, navigating, cropping, typing, and creating shapes, over 50 filters, and over 15 color enhancement tools. Like most really powerful photo editors, Pixelmator is rather pricey. There’s a 30-day free trial available, though.

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