The one graphic design software that clicks the mind of most people is Adobe Photoshop, an image editing application that has in many ways set the trend when it comes to efficiency, sleekness, and creative freedom.
But are there other graphics editors that offer equivalent satisfaction? The answer is yes, other top products rank as the best there’s in the market.
In this article, we compare the top 10 graphic editors in terms of their main features, pros, and cons and let you know what we think about each in general.
What are the Top 10 Graphics Editors?
- Adobe Photoshop
- Clip Studio Paint
- Medibang Paint
- PaintTool SAI
1. Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular graphic design software. It is a mainstay of the photo editing space, with most graphics editors attracted to its suite of editing tools.
- Full package of mobile and web-based design tools
- Access to Adobe Creative Cloud that allows users to work with key editing features like Face-Aware Liquify and Content-Aware Crop as well as synced libraries, among other top features.s
- A customizable user interface, including 3D, Painting, and Motion
- Downloadable via open-source GIMP Software
- Users access a complimentary mobile app
- Easy-to-use interface
- Access to ready to use tools for typography and drawing
- Synced library and AI-based object selection
- You can edit both animation and video layers
- Subscription to the Creative Cloud is quite costly
- Support for SVG files and other raster and vector images is much less
Bottom line: Adobe is an outstanding image editing software that remains unrivaled and is worth the price.
Inkscape offers great graphic design software for beginners and hobbyist graphic designers. The editing tools allow for creative designs that are both scalable and do not blur when resized.
- Free vector software and a great alternative to Adobe
- Great user experience- easy to operate a set of tools
- Open-source access to code
- Free tool and full-featured access
- Supports cross-platform transfers
- Users can link with a robust community
- Supports multiple gradients and has Bezier handles for more efficiency
- Download and create ready-made plugins
- Problems common with Mac version
- Slow processing and formatting
- Offers poor compatibility with Illustrator
Bottom line: If you need to switch to a tool that offers all the great presets of Photoshop and more, get Inkscape
Sketchbook is a popular vector-based graphics editor known for its web and mobile app interface.
- Sketch offers a yearly subscription that is significantly lower than other subscriptions
- Mobile and web functionality, with snap to grid and snap to pixel tools for perfect alignment.
- Easy selection of artboard templates for both iOS and web design
- Access to custom plugins from a growing community of users
- Low-cost subscription
- Cloud-based sharing and collaboration
- Export layers as PNG files
- Autosave mode enabled to avoid lose of designs
- Low learning curve
- Limited illustration capabilities make working with intricate designs difficult
- Low-resolution screens when accessed via the cloud
- Mac-only use
Bottom line: Sketchbook is a relatively new graphics design tool but which is cementing its place among the top with a robust offering.
GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program and is one of the leading photo editing programs available. Users go for it due to the array of quality functionalities if offers.
- Highly customizable photo editing tool with access to multiple user-friendly plugins
- GEGL Scripts- for open-source image processing
- Compatibility with macOS, Linux, and Windows among other operating systems
- Open source and free version
- Provides regular updates from the developer community
- Sketch tools
- User tutorials to make it easy for new users
- Easy-to-use interface for great image editing
- Optimized for speed
- Users of Mac find the UI a bit cranky
- Small developer community that means updates are rolling in slower
Bottom line: GIMP’s interoperability with almost every other OS makes it a popular graphic editor for people who access their work on multiple devices run on different operating systems.
Krita is an app for graphics editors and digital design artists, illustrators. Users go for the app for drawing, painting, and graphic animations.
- Open-source application
- Access to multiple sets of brush presets that you can use to manipulate the painting
- Create sketches and shapes using paths
- Support for image import and editing
- Image filters
- Free app for graphic designers
- Allows for addition of transparency masks
- best pencils of any digital drawing tool
- Support for layered PSD files, so allows you to save projects as Photoshop files
- Limited filters compared to top software tools
- The software may lag due to huge ram needs
Bottom line: This is a user-friendly and freely available image editor that is good both for the professional and the beginner.
6. Clip Studio Paint
Clip Studio Paint offers a graphics design program targeted at digital painting and rendering. The tool supports a versatile range of features that make it a top go-to application for artists.
- Gradient maps and custom brushes
- 2D and 3D drawing
- Vector lines with a hand-drawing feel
- Supports macOS, Windows, and iOS
- Digital creation with AI support
- Dark theme
- Easy user interface
- Lacks some of the features available with other editors
Bottom line: Clip Studio Paint combines all the top features of Adobe Photoshop and Paint Tool SAI and is available at much less cost.
Procreate is a raster graphics editor app for digital painting developed and published by Savage Interactive for iOS and iPadOS.
- Specific tool for iPad Pro (latest versions of iOS).
- Great for sketching and flat illustration
- Digital zoom
- Available on Apple Store as a one-time purchase- no subscription
- Lots of brushes and adjustment settings for manipulation
- Autosave and time-lapse recording
- Supports all most file formats: PDF, PSD, TIFF, JPEG, and PNG
- No trial or demo
- No vectors
- Long learning curve
Bottom line: Procreate offers a pretty handy tool and is worth the one-time license purchase price.
8. Medibang Paint
This full-featured drawing app has been in the market for a while now and is loved by many artists. It’s available on all major operating systems.
- Cloud support for file saves and sharing
- Multiple drawing tools and settings
- Dedicated drawing app
- Free drawing tool
- Supports desktop, tablet and mobile use
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Fantastic brush presets
- Must have a MediBang account
- Not made for image editing
Bottom line: Medibang is an amazing app available for free and any digital artist would love it. If you are familiar with Photoshop, this app won’t give you any problems.
FireAlpaca is a digital painting software tool popular with artists from across the globe, with support for all features that make it a go-to platform.
- Supports macOS and Windows
- Snap feature for easy grid functionality
- Built-in animation toolset
- Supports the PSD file format
- Simple and intuitive user interface
- Basic animation tools
- Free tool
- Basic design unsuited for intricate graphic editing
Bottom line: FireAlpaca offers a powerful and reliable painting tool that works well even when used on older versions of the computer.
10. PaintTool SAI
PaintTool SAI is a top raster graphics editor and painting tool available for Windows. This lightweight program gives users access to a range of simple yet powerful vector tools for painting and drawing.
- Cloud-hosted and full-featured digital drawing support
- Create magnificent anti-aliased drawings
- 16bit ARGB channels
- Layer tools
- Touch-sensitive digital pen
- 31-day trial period and one-time purchase plan
- Powerful user interface
- Easy learning curve
- Needs tutorial to grasp workings
- Not good for professional graphics designers who need photo editing features like those on Photoshop
Bottom line: Recommended for any artist ready to experience great features and grow their painting space.