Adobe Photoshop is arguably one of the best programs for artists, designers, and photographers to have in their collection. The capabilities of the program are mind-boggling; it has features for everything from digital painting, to template creation, to photo manipulation. Although there is a bit of a learning curve for beginners, once familiar the program becomes intuitive to use.
I have been using Photoshop regularly since the middle of highschool, around 10 years ago. (Anyone starting to feel old?) ...and while I don't consider myself an *expert*, I do consider myself highly experienced in the software and qualified in sharing my opinions.
I purchased the Creative Suite using my student discount, back when it was still sold as a standalone program. Even heavily discounted, I spent nearly $1000 on the bundle! I was working a part-time job at the time and spent months saving up my money; and let me tell you, it was worth every penny. I still use the program almost every day. If you can afford purchasing a subscription for Adobe Photoshop, I would highly recommend it over any free alternative that you can find online.
That being said, it's expensive.
Like, really expensive.
Not everyone can afford purchasing a subscription, so what are the alternatives?
I am not here to write a comprehensive list of all of the free options available. You will find dozens of articles online that do that. Instead, I am going to share a new application that is not yet widely known to the public. I have only used this program minimally, but I can already tell you that it is MUCH easier to use than my previous go-to free option, GIMP.
I'd like to introduce you to PhotoPea.
PhotoPea is different than most free Photoshop alternatives because it is a web-based application. It runs in your web browser. There is no download required, which means it works for both MAC and Windows, or Linux if that's your thing. Simply go to https://www.photopea.com/ and anyone can begin creating amazing things instantly.
I was able to open up PhotoPea for the first time and create exactly what I wanted within just a few minutes. Many of my favorite tools are easy to access from the main toolbar of PhotoPea, and the program also includes a lot of really nice "convenience" features that simply make working in the software easier. While many of these features are also available in GIMP, it always felt like I was jumping through hoops to accomplish what I needed, or that the features were hidden within several sub-menus and difficult to navigate. PhotoPea just feels so much more natural.
The tools in PhotoPea are fundamentally similar to those found in Photoshop. Much of the verbiage is the same between the two programs. I would argue that beginners would benefit from learning the basics of photo editing programs in PhotoPea, as the skills are more directly applicable to Adobe Photoshop, should the student ever choose to upgrade or need to use their knowledge in a professional setting.
For those familiar with my blog, a big part of what I do is designing sticker sheets in Photoshop.
I have been slacking in writing my guide on how to design stickers in GIMP, because it has been such a struggle trying to find a concise way to design even the most basic sticker sheet. One of the most important tools for creating sticker sheets is the alignment tool, and the implementation in GIMP has been less than helpful. Many of my viewers are complete beginners and I have not felt comfortable with the complexity of the tutorial that was required in GIMP.
PhotoPea, on the other hand, works just as expected. I was able to create the same sticker sheet I had attempted to create in GIMP in many less steps and in only a matter of minutes.
I am going to be removing the old empty guides and working on a new guide instead that focuses on using PhotoPea to design planner stickers. I believe it will be easier to for beginners, as they can just go to PhotoPea and instantly begin following along. I hope to make many YouTube videos as well, visually stepping my viewers through the process of using the application and designing planner stickers.
Let me know in the comments below if you have used the program, and if so, what you think of PhotoPea!