Tips and Tricks

Need An Alternative to Photoshop?

If you have students who do not have access to Photoshop at home they can still work on their projects. I stumbled across the site It’s a web-based, free site that mimics Photoshop. You can open and edit psd files. It has layers, and the UI looks similar enough to Photoshop that students can easily navigate through the site. In fact, in recent years I have introduced Photopea prior to teaching Photoshop so that students can practice simple lessons at home. When I introduce Photoshop, the students are excited to see many of the familiar tools that they have been using.

Other alternatives

In my beginning graphics classes, we have also used photo editing sites like Sumo Paint and Pixlr Editor. Both are free and web-based.

Pixlr Editor


  • looks very similar to Photoshop
  • it can open PSD files
  • works with layers
  • plenty of online tutorials available
  • comes with some cool custom brushes and filters


  •  you cannot save the files as PSD files
  • the layered native format cannot be opened in Photoshop
  • the site is sometimes unstable and crashes when files get complex (save often)

Sumo Paint


  • some similarities with Photoshop
  • works with layers
  • has some fun tools, brushes, and filters


  • cannot open PSD files
  • only saves as JPEG, PNG, or SUMO native format
  • crashes occasionally

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