I’m going to show you the best free raster graphics editor out there. Unlike vector graphics which scale up and down without any loss in quality, raster graphics don’t scale quite so well both in terms of image quality and file size. Therefore it’s important to have a good editor that doesn’t give you headaches, and actually helps you not to mess up the images in your initial creation.
As a designer, you know how important good quality images are to a design. Choosing an image is hard when you have so many options. It becomes especially difficult when you’re looking for raster graphics editing software programs. So I’ve narrowed them down to some of the most useful and best raster graphics editor programs that are free to download and use.
If you’re just starting out, paint.NET is a great place to learn how to edit and retouch raster graphic files thanks to its simple user interface. Designed to be intuitive and easy to learn, this software is a fast image editor that’s responsive and has all of the tools you need to make a rich image.
- Quick and responsive to every click
- Comes with special effects including blurring, sharpening, red-eye removal, distortion, 3D rotate/zoom, and more
- Drawing tools for curves, gradients, coling, text editing, and more
- Has the same layer technology as expensive software programs, like Photoshop
- Growing online community with tutorials and plugins
- Automatically updated with free features, improvements, and bug fixes
- Not meant for professionals, as the program doesn’t offer a lot of advanced features
- Text integration is not as seamless as other software programs on our list
How it compares
paint.NET might have a somewhat cluttered interface in comparison to more modern tools, but the tools and features for raster graphics, specifically, cannot be overlooked. If you’re just starting out, paint.NET is a great tool to start out on to learn how to edit and retouch raster graphics.
Adobe Photoshop is probably the most popular raster graphics editor out there, with a huge global client-base. It is a product of Adobe Corporation, and it is supported on both Windows and Mac computer systems.
Adobe Photoshop, to many people, is the established standard in the world of photoshopping and raster image editing.
The software is equipped to edit raster image layers and color patterns, for all the major raster image formats including BMP, JPEG, PICT, PNG, PSD, and TIFF.
It hosts a highly customizable and extensible platform, which is made possible by plug-ins like Camera-Raw, filter plug-ins, color correction plug-ins, 3D effects, special effects, and so on.
Adobe Photoshop hosts a myriad of powerful features, some of which include: Paintbrush, 3D extrusion, Video editing, slicing and cropping tools, frame and shape tools, Symmetry mode, Clone Stamp, etc.
Corel PaintShop Pro, fondly tagged PSP, is a top-rated raster graphics editor, which is specially designed for Windows computers.
However, PaintShop Pro is not just a raster graphics editor, it is also a vector graphics editor. As such, it is an all-rounder, which makes it one of the leading options for millions of digital artists across the globe.
PaintShop Pro’s original build was not designed by Corel; it was instead acquired from a middle-class tech firm in 2004.
The software has gone through a series of development since then, and today, it is comfortably one of the best graphic design and photo editing tools in the market.
PaintShop Pro hosts the latest in AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology, 360o editing, and much more like 4K support Customer support, and free trial.
It also includes Paintbrush, Auto-save, Swift image cropping, Vintage tools, Pic-to-Painting presets, Photo restoration, Layers, Masks, Image filters, Media sharing (via Social media integration), and more.
GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program – is one the oldest raster graphics editor in the market, having been around for over 20 years now. It is supported on all major computer operating systems.
GIMP is specially built to simplify the art of photo/image editing. It can be employed to retouch any type (format) of photos, and also change images from one format to another.
This makes it ideal for quick editing since virtually all image formats are supported.
GIMP includes Watercolors selector, HSV color selector, Paintbrush, Airbrush, Bucket fill, Blend tool, Clone tool, Smudge tool, Dodge & burn tool, Multilayer support, 150+ image filters, and more.
More advanced features include Animation package (plug-in), Resynthesizer (plug-in), Unsharp mask tool, Multi-format support, Color management extensions (Inkscape & Scribus), and more.
GIMP is an open-source application, developed under GNU’s General Public License (GPL). As such, it is available to all at absolutely no cost.
Artweaver rounds up our list of best raster graphics editors. It is similar to Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter in terms of functionality.
It also offers exclusive support for only Microsoft Windows computer systems, although it can also be used on Linux PC.
Artweaver, just like Corel Painter, is capable of simulating traditional paint works, with a set of color management and photo editing tools like airbrushes, paint brushes, oil paint effects, photo filters (mosaic, emboss & blur), and so on.
Furthermore, Artweaver houses support for virtually all image file formats, albeit with limited layer support.
This software includes lasso, magic wand, multilingual support, pen tablet/eraser support, custom pallets, color themes, multiple CPU core support, user-friendly UI, a dedicated helpline and more.
Artweaver is a freemium program, with a free version for personal use and an optimized commercial edition for business owners and professionals.
When it comes to exploring for a lower alternate to Photoshop, Pixelmator Pro is at the best of numerous photographers’ lists. While it’s not a full substitute, a bunch of users say what’s deficient in Pixelmator Pro in comparison to Photoshop isn’t completely necessary for several photo editing tasks.
Affinity photo is economical software, its fee just $49.99 . It’s provides potent tools such as Raw processing within the interface. It has steep knowledge curve for beginners And there is no custom workspace. There are a few incredible features such as exposure controls, layers and paintbrushes etc.
It also helps intelligent object and third party plugins. Affinity Photo works on equally Pcs and Macs. Because its open source software It has extremely active community of users who built plugins that add additional functionality to the software.
Raster graphic software is an indispensable tool for designers and graphic artists. Raster graphics editing software allows you to create digital art from scratch, manipulate and edit your digital photos, create banners and templates for your web design projects or even edit mobile app assets.