Not Your Everyday Banana

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What are some professional-level alternatives to Photoshop (I am specifically interested in solutions available for Windows)?

I am not a professional, but I personally find Photoshop is not that flexible (you can do everything, but seldom in the most easy way you can think of) and has some design flaws. For example I watched a demo for DaVinci Resolve and it looks much more powerful and easy to use to me.

I read this question: What are the alternatives to Photoshop? Is Gimp a good option? but it is focused on cheap alternatives more than else.

Is there any program which allows the same level of capability as Photoshop while being possibly being easier to use?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

What are you trying to do?

This answer depends on what you are trying to do. Each piece of software is designed with a goal in mind.

Detailed Manipulation

Adobe Photoshop is the go-to tool here. Photoshop is designed around the idea that you have one idea you are trying to express through the manipulation of various images. Photo shop is also a great place to come up with new processing techniques for images, that later might become their own dedicated tools.

Non-selective Manipulation and Organization

Adobe Lightroom allows easy organization and basic editing of thousands of images. Yes, it does have some selective tools, but the power is the quick tagging, choosing, and batch processing tools.

Task Specific

Deep Sky Stacker

Allows images to be processed to increase the signal to noise ratio in sky images by stacking tens to hundreds of images.

PTGUI, Autopano, Hugin

Tools to put together panoramas. Although newer versions of Photoshop have fairly good panorama stitching tools, these programs bring the buttons out front and have more detailed options.

What is my point?

As far as what photoshop is for, it is the best and easiest to use. If you are trying to use Photoshop for something that can be acomplished by task specific software, or if you are trying to run every image you take through Photoshop, then yes there are better tools for the job.

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Your specific question: "Is there any program which allows the same level of capability as Photoshop while being possibly being easier to use?" is easy to answer:

No.

If you want to do the pixel level hacking that Photoshop is so good at, you need Photoshop. You can do nearly all the same stuff at the pixel level with Gimp, but IMHO, its user interface is much harder to use.

But if you rephrase, and ask: can I do 99% or more of what a typical serious amateur needs to do with photographs with other tools, then the answer is yes, yes, YES.

Lightroom 4, Aperture, probably Photoshop Express, and others do most of what most photographers want.

Now if you stay in graphic design or are shooting products for advertising, then you are after than 0.9% that needs Photoshop.

If you could be more specific, we can help more. Things like fixing zits on faces is easy with any of the more photographer friendly tools.

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It depends on what you need from a program like Photoshop. Personally, I use Lightroom 98% of the time, and find little need for Photoshop.

Alternatives include Aperture, Photoshop Elements, Paintshop Pro, Bibble (Corel Aftershot Pro now). GIMP is an alternative, perhaps you can try GIMPShop, which is GIMP with a Photoshop like interface.

Photoshop (and in some sense Lightroom) has the benefit of being the de facto standard, which makes it simple to find tons of education, tutorials, tips, tricks and classes.

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I am certainly glad that I can move away from PS and into LR, as LR is much more user friendly and allows me to work on loads of photos all at once. –  dpollitt Aug 28 '12 at 21:24
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