As of 2023 Adobe Photoshop is 33 years old. A true game changer when it was first released in 1990. It is still the industry standard in any Raster graphics work. Over the years it has evolved from a grayscale display on a monochrome screen to an AI-enabled, all-powerful image editing tool. Anything new still has to measure up to. If not surpass this iconic software. In this blog let’s explore what are the Top killer image editing tools.
Over the years other software tools have come along. Some sought to upstage Photoshop, some to extend it. While others sought to entrench and capture niche applications. Below is a list of (our) top ten image editing programs. We chose each of these for the impact it had on the image editing industry. Without further ado…
Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular image editing tools in the world. It offers a wide range of features for both beginners and professionals, including layers, filters, adjustment tools, and a lot more. With the success of Photoshop. Adobe brought out other ground breaking software programs that together transformed the lives of photographers, magazine editors, advertisers, and artists. Lightroom concentrates on the needs of pro photographers, offering
advanced editing features for RAW files, such as color correction, noise reduction, and lens correction. Elements is both an instant editor for those quick edits, with a lot of pre-population and extensive use of the Adobe Sensei AI engine, as well as a great starting point for novice photo editors. It works really well when most photo edits are meant for social media, like photo & video collages, slideshows, and memorable highlights. Dimension takes the user into the 3D world. It is a great tool to create product mockups, etc. Of course, creative suite users can migrate files between different products easily.
GIMP is a free and open-source image editing tool that is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Released 8 years after Adobe Photoshop, it was the first programme with features similar to those found in Photoshop, such as layers, masks, and filters. In the years since its first release, volunteers have continued developing its features to make it a powerful alternative to Photoshop. Though it has a rather steep learning curve. The fact that it’s free is a huge attractor to many independent freelancers, indie game developers, and even professional companies.
Affinity Photo is a powerful Raster image editing tool that offers advanced features such as HDR merging, panorama stitching, and focus stacking. It also has a user-friendly interface and is more affordable than some other professional-level tools. Affinity represents a class of professional tools that allow live pan at 60 fps2, an extensive suite of tools to edit RAW images, and unlimited layers. Priced cheaper than Photoshop, it offers a great alternative to Raster image editors looking for a dedicated tool. Other tools in this category include Pixlr, Fotor, etc.
Canva is best described as an all-round graphics design tool. Sure, it can do decent image editing, but its real value is the ability to create multi-page social media graphics, presentations, and other visual content quickly. It’s affordable, much easier to use than Photoshop (though not nearly as capable if you want to create stunning visuals) and therefore matches needs of a lot of small business owners and online entrepreneurs. With a Cloud model and continuous improvement, it’s caught on very well with over 30 million active users at the time of the writing of this article.
CorelDRAW is a vector graphics editor that also offers image editing capabilities. It is popular among designers and offers a range of advanced features for creating graphics and layouts. It is most useful for marketing and advertising, where photo-realistic images can be created from scratch. It competes in the Vector Graphics space with other powerful software lik Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, and Inkscape.
We couldn’t end this article without a nod to the next generation AI-powered image editors now entering the market. From simple background removal tools (e.g. remove.bg) to something much more capable like Skylum’s Luminar AI which can do masking, relighting, touchups and blemish removal. Other specialized AI editors like ImagenAI are Machine Learning tools which actually learn to edit in a particular style. Which can be an amazing capacity augmentation strategy for small scale editors as well as larger image editing powerhouses like Manipal Digital which already use a ton of proprietary automation tools to optimize their skilled workers’ time.
Image editing is now an umbrella term for all sorts of activities and domains, from high fashion, 4K level crystal clear images to put on giant billboards in Times Square, to producing thousands of decent quality images for eCommerce. Depending on the application the right tool. Whether purely manual or AI-powered can make all the difference between a ho-hum photo and an image that becomes a powerful customer attractor.
Interested in deciding a workflow that fits your budget and suits your requirements? Contact us today for a free consult!