Is there a FREE version of Photoshop?

Free Photoshop alternative GIMP logo

No, there’s no free version of Photoshop, that’s a myth.

However, there’s a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop that has all the basic tools and enough resources to allow you to get a lot of work done. This alternative is called GIMP and although it doesn’t have a tool-belt as powerful as the one found in Photoshop, it gets a lot of things right. Click here to read more about it and DOWNLOAD.

Why do people think that there’s a free version of Photoshop?

A while ago, when Adobe started experimenting with different methods of payment, such as the subscription model, a rumor spread like fire across multiple websites.

May bloggers and illegal download websites stated that Adobe had decided to release one of their older versions of Photoshop absolutely free of charge.

I myself believed the hype and decided to look for any information from reputable sources regarding this so-called free Photoshop.

Of course that I didn’t find anything. Being stubborn as I am, I even contacted Adobe about it and was told that this was nothing, but a rumor.

Adobe told me that Photoshop would actually become more affordable, but would not be distributed for free.

You may check Photoshop’s current price by clicking the link below:

Check Photoshop’s latest version on Adobe’s website

Why doesn’t Adobe let artists use older versions of Photoshop for free?

Photoshop, like all professional software out there, improved through iteration. This basically means that it gets slightly better each time a new version is released.

This is a very important aspect to consider because it shows that a Photoshop version released 5 years ago is not that different from the one being sold by Adobe today.

Of course the interface gets better each time and the tools get upgraded, not to mention the fact that new tools and resources are also released from time to time.

That being said, the basics of the software are still the same.

A professional designer or artists can do his job perfectly well no matter which version of Photoshop he decides to pick.

This is exactly why Adobe doesn’t allow people to use earlier versions of Photoshop for free. If they did that, most people would simply use that version and wouldn’t have a strong enough reason to buy the software that Adobe is currently selling.

Is Adobe a greedy company for not allowing free access to old software?

Of course not! This is their business. If we, as artists, would like to see Photoshop getting better on a consistent basis, it is vital that Adobe keeps on achieving financial success.

Research and development is an increasingly expensive process and we all know that Adobe wouldn’t be able to strife if they had to depend on donations to move forward.

Adobe is one of my favorite companies because their software, like Photoshop and Illustrator, have been an important part of my life for nearly two decades. Mastering these tools has allowed me to find work from a very early age and to keep on working with what I love most, which is design.

Check Photoshop Price

I need a free version of Photoshop, what should I do now?

I’m sure you know that all Adobe products come with a trial period. You get to use these programs for a few days in order to decide if you should buy them or not.

If your trial period has ended, your next move should be considering using a free software called GIMP.

What is GIMP?

Before going deeper into this subject, I would highly recommend that you Download GIMP in order to get a true feeling of how it works instead of relying on a simple article.

You may read as much as you want about a certain software, but the only know to truly know if it’s for you or not is by actually using it. GIMP is completely free, so you don’t have anything to lose except for a few minutes of your day.

Back to the question: What is GIMP?

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. This is an open source image editing program that runs on the most important operating systems such as Windows, Mac and Linux. If you can access this website to read this article, chances are GIMP will work perfectly well on your computer.

The easiest way to explain what GIMP is would be to simply state that it’s a free version of Photoshop.

I’m completely sure that this statement would drive both GIMP and Photoshop developers mad because people hate comparisons. Truth be said, these two programs are not effectively the “same, but they’re extremely similar once you analyze at the tools and workflow that both offer.

What is GIMP used for?

GIMP can be used for photo editing and art creation, just like Adobe Photoshop.

The software is pretty straight forward and if you’re already familiar with Photoshop it should be easy to hit the ground running as soon as you install GIMP.

Of course that it’ll still take some time before you can feel completely comfortable working with this software, but it’s perfectly possible to start creating professional-grade work from the very first day you use it.

What are the advantages of GIMP?

There’s a whole lot of companies out there trying to emulate Photoshop. More often than not their software are paid and don’t even work that well to begin with.

Among the advantages of GIMP you will find:


It’s a completely free software


You can download it pretty fast, which is a particularly important characteristic when you’re in a hurry and have to deliver something fast


GIMP is composed by a rather large group of developers and artists that are always ready to help newcomers.


Although GIMP is still light-years behind Photoshop when it comes to tutorials, GIMP specific tutorials are becoming increasingly popular lately and it’s highly likely that within a few years there will be countless pages of content dedicated specifically to GIMP.


One very common trait of software that are distributed for free is their lack of stability. Usually these programs do work, but they tend to crash quite a lot.

The developers that created GIMP were very careful to make sure that this software is stable. And while it may not be as robust as Photoshop, it still does an incredible job at handling heavy files and still maintaining a stable core.


If you’re used to Photoshop, any other software will feel a little bit weird at first. GIMP also falls into this category.

That being said, among all the other software I’ve tested, GIMP is not only the best one in terms of performance, but it also has the best workflow. I can’t say it’s as good as Photoshop, but it’s not that far behind either.

What are the disadvantages of GIMP?

Nothing is perfect. Even though GIMP has a lot going on, it still has some flaws that need to be addressed. This doesn’t mean that the software is bad, even Photoshop has its short comings.

It’s a secondary software

This is an unfair observation, but it’s entirely true: no employer will take you seriously if you say that the main software you use for work is GIMP.

While you may think that this is pure prejudice, the world works like this and you’re in it. If you want to get that dream job, GIMP will most likely not get you there.

Studios use Adobe Photoshop. Period.

Professional studios, whether they’re geared towards photo editing or digital art will always demand that you master Photoshop.

Some resources are missing

Like I said, this is not Photoshop. While GIMP has all the important tools you need to do great work, its tool-belt is still smaller than the one seen in Photoshop.

If you’re one of those artists who loves throwing special effects into your work, GIMP may be a little limited for you.

Even if you’re able to produce unbelievable artwork with GIMP, they will still want you to prove that you have the same skills with Photoshop.

You can’t blame them, Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard and it’s perfectly understandable that studios want to hire people who are already used to the most popular software.

Is GIMP as good as Photoshop?

No. GIMP is not as good as Photoshop. But it is good enough to get work done when you can’t access Photoshop for one reason or another.

Think about it, if GIMP was the same as Photoshop, Adobe would lose a substantial part of its profits.

Other than that, even if it’s not as good as Photoshop it doesn’t mean that it isn’t good enough. This is what truly matters, isn’t it?

Let me try to give you an example: let’s suppose that Photoshop fulfills 100% of your needs when it comes to editing images and drawing. Now, if GIMP only satisfies 90% of your requirements for a great software, does it mean that it’s a bad software?

Of course not! 90% is still great.

Should I use GIMP?

You should absolutely download GIMP and learn how to work with it as soon as you can.

Although I don’t recommend that you use it on a daily basis to do your work (you have Photoshop for that), it’s important to learn how to handle it in order to be ready for the day when an emergency happens and Photoshop becomes unavailable.

GIMP is like a “plan B”. Nobody cares for “plan B” until “plan A” fails.

Don’t wait for that day, get ready now so that you will be ready when it happens.

Should I stick to Photoshop?

Yes. You should stick to Photoshop. If you work with design, it doesn’t matter which kind, this is one of the most important tools you have to master.

Adobe Photoshop is the king of the digital world. If you still don’t have a license, get one. The only thing you can’t do is decide to abandon it and move completely to GIMP simply because it’s free.


A Photoshop license is something every artist needs. Those who don’t master Photoshop have absolutely no space in the industry. However, I highly encourage you to go beyond what regular artists do and add GIMP to your arsenal.

Knowing how to work with GIMP will only help you on the long run and even if nobody hires you specifically for this reason, some studios will still see your mastery of this software with good eyes.

If you need a drawing tablet to use with Photoshop or GIMP, make sure to read the other articles on the website.

Take care and keep on creating!


Bruno Brasil

Hi! My name is Bruno. I'm a web developer/designer based in Toronto, Canada. I've been working with drawing tablets for over 20 years and I'm among the Top 10 Most Viewed Writers on Quora in the Graphics Tablets category. Do you have any questions? Just leave a comment =)

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