8 Best Open Source Image Editors to Try in 2024

best open source image editor

An open source photo editor differs from commercial software because it’s available for free and its code can be accessed and tweaked by any user. Usually, such a solution has an open-source license and is created on such public online platforms as Github, which minimizes the risk of it becoming a paid app later on.

The biggest benefit of using an open-source tool is that you won’t have to spend a single cent to enjoy an expansive photo editing feature set. The overview below will help you find the best open source image editor that you can take advantage of right now.

1. GIMP

gimp open source image editor workspace
  • Available on multiple platforms
  • Adjustable UI
  • Supports a broad range of image formats
  • Advanced photo manipulation

GIMP is a free and open source photo editing software for photographers that you can employ for performing image manipulations, creating drawings and graphic designs, and much more. It’s the best open source image editor if you need a feature-packed and flexible solution that is suitable for both casual and professional use.

GIMP comes with a variety of tools that set it apart from alternative photo editors. You can customize its interface and layout according to your taste while leveraging a variety of themes, icons, toolbars, and hotkey combinations. Additionally, it lets you set up different color schemes and profiles to guarantee precise color reproduction for both digital and printed media.

2. Inkscape

inkscape open source image editor workspace
  • Available on all the most popular platforms
  • Vector drawing functionality
  • Customizable UI
  • Print and web design

Inkscape is based on photo editing software open source code, meaning you can use and distribute it without spending a dime. As such, this solution supports all the popular OS options including Windows, macOS, and Linux, appealing to the broadest user base possible.

This software was initially developed for working with vector assets, representing a terrific option for designing and editing scalable graphics, illustrations, logos, and various infographics. Inkscape is supplied with a broad selection of vector design features, drawing and object manipulation tools, text and path editing functionality, layer support, and much more.

3. Krita

krita open source image editor workspace
  • Multiplatform
  • Personalized UI
  • Layer functionality
  • HDR drawing

Krita is an open-source bulk image editor that provides an expansive toolset for drawing and enhancing bitmap images. It’s arguably the best open source image editor for beginners due to its clean and intuitive UI as well as the provided layer functionality. It allows you to freely add, delete, group, and filter layers as you see fit. Additionally, it offers different maxi (filtering, transparency, etc.) that can further improve your workflow.

Krita has a dedicated resource manager that lets you employ brushes made by other users. As such, the number of drawing and photo processing tools you have access to increases tremendously, as you can also take advantage of different textures, gradients, and other assets.

4. Lightzone

lightzone open source image editor workspace
  • Non-destructive workflow
  • ZoneMapper
  • RAW format support
  • Geometry and perspective correction

Lightzone lets you perform non-destructive changes, meaning you can restore the original look of your photo anytime you want. It provides a unique tool called ZoneMapper, which was designed for conveniently tweaking the exposure, tone, and contrast. This feature is particularly helpful for setting specific tonal ranges in your images.

The UI of this open source photo editing software is rather beginner-friendly and intuitive, meaning it’s a reasonable option for aspiring and experienced retouchers alike. Lightzone is equipped with an array of enhancement tools that allow you to tweak the exposure and color balance, reduce the amount of noise, and perform photo sharpening.

5. Darktable

darktable open source image editor workspace
  • Available on multiple platforms
  • Non-destructive workflow
  • RAW file support
  • Tone curve and histogram features

Darktable is a non-destructive image editing solution that lets you enhance your photos without permanently changing the original file. Thanks to its open-source code this software is now equipped with an expansive feature set that allows you to improve the look of your images with maximum efficiency.

This software lets you work with layers, meaning you can alter specific photo areas without changing the rest. Layer functionality also lets you alter specific image parameters like brightness, sharpness, or vibrancy without affecting everything else.

6. Luminance HDR

luminance hdr open source image editor workspace
  • HDR editing
  • Tone-mapping
  • Allows merging and aligning images
  • Metadata editing

Luminance HDR is a free photo editor open source solution that lets you open images with different exposition levels and combine them to achieve a higher dynamic range than what a single photo can offer.

This tool provides different tone-mapping algorithms that allow you to edit and enhance the dynamic range of your photos quickly and easily. Additionally, it provides alignment and ghosting correction features to ensure the HDR merger is completed seamlessly.

7. PhotoFlow

photoflow open source image editor workspace
  • Non-destructive tools
  • RAW image support
  • Layer-based tools
  • Local adjustments

PhotoFlow is possibly the best open source image editor if you’re interested in non-destructive RAW editing. Thanks to the provided layer functionality, users can conveniently tweak individual parts of their images while performing color correction, changing the exposure, and applying different effects to make their photos more eye-catching.

Other than its advanced image editing functionality, PhotoFlow is also known for its RAW processing tools that give you an even greater level of control over the final look of your photos. This software allows you to establish a personalized editing workflow and create presets to simplify the retouching process and ensure all your images are edited in the same style.

8. Graphite

graphite open source image editor workspace
  • Gradients and patterns
  • Blending modes
  • Transformation features
  • Photo filters

Graphite is a free, open source image software that allows making non-destructive edits thanks to its node-based compositing system. Meanwhile, its user-friendly browser version can be used for generating beautiful AI art while also leveraging a comprehensive suite of raster photo editing tools.

This software is impressively scalable and can be adapted for both small and large environments. Graphite is capable of processing large amounts of data to ensure you enjoy seamless real-time monitoring. Moreover, this platform can gather data from different sources like custom apps, servers, and network devices, meaning it’s perfect for keeping track of different infrastructure elements.


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