A life without Photoshop is almost unthinkable in the age of Instagram and Co. What can the image editing program do and what are the alternatives?
- In 1988 the first version of Photoshop appeared.
- The functions now extend far beyond mere image processing.
- There are some free alternatives to Photoshop.
- The paid edition of Photoshop is now only available by subscription.
Facts about Adobe Photoshop
Short for PS by abbreviationfinder, Adobe Photoshop is the epitome of an image editing program. In the meantime, the word “Photoshop” even stands for all programs that are used for digital image processing and manipulation. Similar to “Tempo”, “Tesa” or “Labello”, a proper name (in this case that of the Adobe software) has expanded to include a whole group of comparable products. But what is Adobe Photoshop actually? A couple of facts:
- Photoshop is a desktop application for image processing from Adobe.
- It was first published in October 1988.
- With its software, Adobe is the world market leader in computer-aided photo editing.
- Since Photoshop was launched, a new version of the program has appeared at least every two years.
- The software has around 10 million users worldwide.
- The program is chargeable and is therefore usually reserved for professional users, but it is very often pirated.
- Since 2001, Adobe Photoshop Elements has been a simplified and cheaper version of the program.
- Adobe Photoshop Express is a browser plug-in that enables web-based editing of images.
- Photoshop is only available by subscription.
Magic wand and histogram: what can Photoshop do?
Non-professional users usually only need a few image processing functions. Often it is enough to select a certain section of the picture, to sharpen and brighten the photo a little in order to make it usable for a specific purpose. With Photoshop this is of course not a problem – even if the program can do a lot more. You can use it to crop, cut and paste objects – including glow and drop shadow. Colors can be individually regulated and highlighted, and the software now even removes red eyes automatically. With Photoshop you can also make the skin appear smoother and the waist appear narrower – it is said that hardly any popular magazine does without the software to retouch models or celebrities in photos. You can even restore old, scanned images with the help of the program.
You don’t want to optimize an existing photo, but rather create a new one? There are no limits to your creativity with Photoshop: The program enables you to add text to photos, to draw freely and to create videos or illustrations intuitively. You can insert 3-D elements as well as patterns or other effects. Photoshop also has the right tools ready to transform realistic photos into paintings.
Photoshop also offers some helpful tools for organization: A file can be divided and edited on up to 8,000 levels. If some processing steps did not go to satisfaction, they can be easily traced back and revised thanks to the real-time histogram. User-defined contours, auxiliary lines and grids also help you work precisely.
Who Uses Photoshop?
Anyone who has a lot to do with image processing at work will in all likelihood use Photoshop – in the professional sector the software has a market share of around 90 percent. Whether designers, photographers, advertising agencies, picture editors or various online and offline media: Photoshop offers you all the tools you need when it comes to the professional refinement of picture material or the creation of logos, posters, packaging designs, banners or even entire websites . For hobby photographers, hobby bloggers or if you only edit the snapshots of a family celebration from time to time, Photoshop can be rather overwhelming given the multitude of possibilities. If you only use a fraction of the functions, the relatively high price of the program does not pay off.
Inexpensive alternatives to Photoshop
- GIMP: The free, open source software runs on Windows, macOS and Linux and is often referred to as the fiercest Photoshop competitor. The variety of functions does not have to shy away from the comparison with Photoshop: There are different levels and a journal available, as well as countless filters, a measuring tape, magnetic scissors, automatic improvement, rectification and much more. GIMP is also often used in a professional environment.
- Affinity Photo: This alternative to Photoshop is also popular and capable of doing a lot. Batch processing, editing RAW formats and photo montages are all possible. Retouching also works well with the application. Serif Labs software is available for macOS and Windows, and an app for iOS is also available. There is a one-time fee of 55 euros for the desktop program, but the trial version is free of charge.
- NET: Almost every user of a Windows PC is probably familiar with Paint, the very simplified image processing program from Microsoft. Paint.NET is a further development of this software that can compete with Photoshop for many functions. Above all, the work on several levels and the history function also allow more demanding projects, and Paint.NET is compatible with a large number of image formats. The program is available free of charge, but so far only for Windows.
So if you want to get the best out of your photos, you don’t necessarily have to resort to Photoshop. Other programs can also produce satisfactory results. If you still don’t want to do without the market leader, you can use the cheaper Photoshop Elements – this quickly shows whether the already extensive functions are sufficient for your own purposes or whether an upgrade to the full version is worthwhile.