This Free Photoshop Clone May Get You Canceled Your Adobe Subscription


Free software that looks and works like Photoshop sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Here’s what you need to know about this potential ‘Photoshop killer’.

For many photographers, Photoshop is a crucial part of the image creation process. It can also be a huge expense for those on a tight budget. Enter to the left of the stage is Photopea, a completely free Photoshop clone that does almost everything the original publisher does.

The first thing to note about this clone is that Photopea is browser based. This means that you will have to launch the web browser of your choice and access their website to use the program. At first glance, you could easily mistake this web editor for Photoshop. This makes the transition to Photopea easier for existing Photoshop users, as most of the keyboard shortcuts and menus are in one place. I know when I first tried Photopea I quickly forgot that I wasn’t actually on Photoshop editing. You will also be happy to know that the program can read all the major image files that photographers use on a daily basis. It can even open and save Photoshop files which will be useful for those who can overlap the two programs or if you want to edit old files you created in Photoshop.

Similarities and differences of the programs

Photopea has several of the main tools that most photographers use on their images. Point Healing, Clone Buffer, Dodge & Burn, and Curve Fitting layers are just a few of those familiar basics. I know that if I were to use this program to edit my work, my regular workflow wouldn’t be missing. One feature of note that I noticed that was not present was the ability to process images in batches. This won’t be a problem for many users and for those that it might be, there is still the option to record and play back actions in Photopea, which means that a certain degree of automation is always available to you. .

It’s no surprise to learn that the two programs don’t use the same calculation engines that power tools like the Patch Tool and Content. Photopea’s sole creator, Ivan Kutskir, claims to have spent over 7,000 hours creating and developing everything under the editor’s hood from scratch. When you compare that to the decades of development by big Adobe teams, it’s hard not to be impressed with what Kutskir has created. In my testing, both compute engines worked the same when deleting objects although the results were not the same. If I had to hang my hat on what did best I would say Photoshop was superior. Photopea still did a fairly good job of removing objects under most circumstances.

One of the downsides of using a web editor is the speed and response of the program. Sometimes you will have to wait while Photopea “thinks”. It’s not the end of the world, but if you’re used to your programs’ instant responses, you may find that the fractional seconds of waiting for things like content to work can start to frustrate you. It should be noted that the program seems to do a good job of handling large files. I was pleasantly surprised that the publisher had no problem handling files that were a few gigabytes in size.

In conclusion

Overall, I think Photopea is a great addition to the landscape of programs that photographers can use. Of course, this has some limitations, but I think many users will find that they can do all of the usual things that they do with their images on this free program. If you are the type of photographer who uses light and primarily does basic edits on their work, you can easily transition without noticing much change. If your workflow is a bit larger, or if you rely on some of the more specialized tools, you might want to stick with Photoshop.

It’s also worth mentioning that although Photopea is free, it comes with an ad banner to the right of the program screen. If it’s something you’d rather not see, then you can pay to go ad-free for $ 9 every 30 days or $ 40 for the whole year. For those who have never used either of the editing programs before and are on a tight budget, I would recommend Photopea to get you started in the world of photo editing. The great thing about the two programs being so similar is that if you ever decide to “upgrade” to Photoshop, you can switch easily. The same cannot be said of users of other free image editing programs like GIMP which are drastically different in terms of layout and menus. Another good thing about using a Photoshop clone is that you will be able to tap into the already massive resource of Photoshop tutorials that already exist. It’s not something you can say about some of the other free editors that have tutorials on YouTube, but not nearly in the same volumes or the same quality.

For those who are firmly entrenched in Photoshop, I still think it’s worth knowing that Photopea exists so that you can enjoy it every now and then. The fact that it works on any web browser is a game-changer and opens up a whole world of possibilities for working remotely on any device with an internet connection. I can also see the potential of delivering Photoshop files to clients or clients so that they can edit files on their own machines without Photoshop. I’m not suggesting these people edit our photos for us, but there might be times when a file with a few layers can be edited by them instead of the annoying back and forth you get with people sometimes.

Things i loved

  • It’s powerful free software
  • Will be familiar to those who use Photoshop
  • Browser based so it can be run on any device
  • The program regularly receives new features and improvements

Things i don’t like

  • The program can sometimes be delayed #
  • Batch processing of files is not so easy to do
  • Cloning another corporate program seems a bit unfair to the hard work of the original creators

If you want to try Photopea, you can go to on the web browser of your choice.


What do you think of Photopea? Could this program cause you to cancel your Adobe subscription? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Main picture by Pexels and the featured tree image is from Susnpics, both used under Creative Commons.

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