Photo Pea – “Photoshop” For Free

First things first let me give you some background info on how I came across this great editor.

In the beginning…

Last year I needed a laptop urgently so I bought a used one really cheap. It was a relatively low spec and the guy I had bought it from had updated it to Win 10. Needless to say it ran like chocolate tyres. So first thing I did was installed Ubuntu Budgie which now works great.

I have used Ubuntu Budgie in my previous job so was familiar with the set up etc. The difference being is at work I also had a Windows PC with Photoshop for editing designs and images etc. My fiancĂ©e does have Photoshop on her laptop but she also runs her own business so I can’t be bothering her everytime I need to resize an image or whatever else I need doing.

Up in the “cloud”

Now I know Ubuntu has GIMP which is great for small bits and bobs although a bit clunky but it isn’t much of a match for Photoshop.

GIMP is a great piece of kit and has served me well but I have planned to do everything I can in the “Cloud” so I’m not tied to one PC…ever.

I already do 99% of work online from coding to invoicing so it just makes sense for everything to be online. Which is why I began my search for a online image editor.

There are plenty of free to use image editors online but to be honest nothing has come close to Photo Pea for me.

It’s Photoshop but free

If you have ever used Photoshop before then you will be right at home when you land on the Photo Pea website. Tools on the left hand side, layers on the right and of course your canvas in the middle. The theme colour can be changed to suit you needs if the dark theme is too dark for you.

So my main use of an editor is to crop, resize and create mock ups. Nothing too crazy but I still want a nice smooth process and for it to just work without faffing around. So I’m mostly editing JPGs or PNGs etc and then the mockups I use are usually in PSD format with smart object layers.

Features galore

  • Opens PSD files ( Photoshop files )
  • Opens XCF files ( GIMP files)
  • Opens Sketch files
  • Opens up images files including: JPG, PNG, GIF, SVG, TIFF and more
  • Opens files from Google Drive
  • Use it offline – once you have it open you can disconnect from the internet
  • Various filters ( which seems to be updated regualrly )

One of the coolest features I really liked about this is the ability to connect to Google Drive. As part of my quest to be truly in the “cloud” I already use Google Suite and with that I store my files on Google Drive

With Photo Pea you can install a Chrome plugin and that allows you to open files from Google Drive straight into Photo Pea. You navigate Google Drive in the browser, right click on the file > select “open with” > select “Photo Pea”. Then depending on the size of the file it shouldn’t take too long to open.

Once you have edited your file you can save the file like normal and it will update your file in Google Drive. The slight “downside” is if you wish to “save-as” you currently have to save-as onto you PC then upload the file back up to Google Drive. Alternatively if you know you need to “save-as” then in Google Drive make a copy of the original file > rename it > then open-with Photo Pea. Nothing major it’s just a different work flow as it doesn’t add any time to the job in hand.

I have been using Photo pea for about a month now and it works great for me. Everything just works it’s quick to open files and does want you have to do ( better then GIMP in some cases ).

Photo Pea is free to use and does have an ad on the site which doesn’t get in the way but if you did want to pay and help the development of it you can pay month to month or on a 90 day basis.

There are a few different tutorials on the website also and can be found here. I just really love it and I have “tweeted” the guy a question or 2 and he got back pretty quick too.

So if you are in need of free version of “Photoshop” then I believe this is the best alternative and is definitely worth a go. If you give it a go or know of a better alternative let me know your thoughts below.

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