5 Stunning Online Image Editors To Make Photoshop Effects Without Photoshop

From removing backgrounds and objects from photos to turning small images into poster-sized prints, these online image editors are simpler than Photoshop and completely free.

Adobe Photoshop might be the best photo editing software out there, but it’s complicated and expensive for newbies. But the effects it produces are easily reproducible via other photo editors using AI. The ones we’re talking about here are browser-based apps that run on desktop or mobile and don’t include any hidden costs. So who needs Photoshop, right?

1. Clear.bg (Web): Free AI to remove backgrounds from photos

Erase.bg is a free background removal tool for images with no hidden charges

You don’t need Photoshop or fancy skills to remove background objects from a photo. A recent surge in machine learning has made this chore free, with several online and mobile apps offering it as a service. But the catch is often that you have to queue or pay money to download high resolution deleted images in the background. Unlike others, Erase.bg is fast and completely free.

Anyone can use the app without registering and upload images up to 5,000 x 5,000 pixels in PNG, JPEG, or WebP format. Trained on millions of photos, Erase.bg is extremely fast at removing the background from photos of people, animals or objects. AI predicts the “main” object; you can’t select what you want to delete which is the only limitation with this app. But hey, given that it’s free, what can you complain about?

Ultimately, Erase.bg is best for 90% of the times you want to remove backgrounds from images. If you want more control, there are other apps that make a picture background transparent on your phone or online, but these are often paid for or will take more skill.

2. Photos. Cleaning (Web): AI to remove objects and flaws from images

Cleanup Pictures is an almost magical tool for removing unwanted objects or flaws from images, such as photobombs

While Erase.bg removes the entire background, sometimes you only want to remove one object from a photo. Whether it’s a photo bomber or some unwanted item that you overlooked while shooting, Cleanup.pictures is the easiest way to remove objects and flaws from pictures.

Upload your photo to the free online app and using your mouse highlight the unwanted object. You can adjust the brush size to be more precise. Click, hold and draw to highlight. Once you release the mouse click, Cleanup.pictures will take a few seconds and remove the highlighted part.

It’s almost magical the first time you see it. Cleanup.pictures uses LaMa, an open source application from Samsung’s AI lab, to automatically and precisely redraw that part of the image. It’s kind of like using the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop, except it all happens automatically and you don’t need Photoshop either.

3. High-end Photos (Web): Increase image resolution and quality and compress size

Upscale Pics transforms small images into poster-sized images while removing noise and compression size

There are three obstacles that you often encounter with a digital image. You need to increase its megapixel count, but that means it will look pixelated. You need to fine tune its quality and reduce noise in JPEG. Or you want to compress file size due to megabyte limitations. Upscale.Pics does all of this for free.

Scaling uses AI to take a small image, develop it into a large image (up to 64 megapixels), and fill in “smart pixels” to make it look good. The quality of this artificial fill depends on the scaling of the image. Nevertheless, this is one of the best results we have seen among the apps to magnify a digital photo. You can also reduce noise and compress the image in the same process on a single photo.

Upscale.Pics’ basic no-registration tool allows any user to edit up to five images with the above features. But really, it’s practically unlimited since if you open the site in an incognito window, it resets your quota.

4. Blur-Photo (Web): blur part of the photos, with an exact selection

Blur Photos lets you blur any part of an image with precise selection

When you share an image online, it is recommended that you hide any sensitive information to protect your privacy (or someone else’s). Blur-Photo only does this job, but it does the job well for novices.

The app can be a bit tricky to figure out the first time you use it. Once you’ve uploaded an image, move the blur slider to indicate how blurry you want it to be and let the app apply the filter. Don’t worry, it’s not final.

Now click anywhere on the image to assign a point. Then click anywhere else for your second point, creating a line between these two. A third point creates a triangle, a fourth a rectangle, and so on. This allows you to crop and select precisely the part of the image you want to blur or the area you want to keep clear.

If your selection is wrong at any point, click “Reset Selection” to restart. Blur-Photo lets you choose between blur inside or outside the selection. And once you’re done, download the full-size image for free.

PixelHunter crops the best part of any image and resizes it in different proportions to fit social media uploads

There are many apps to resize an image to dimensions suitable for different social media models. PixelHunter differentiates itself from the rest by adding AI that recognizes essential objects in a photo and crops them while resizing them.

Upload any image to the site and choose the social networks you want to crop and resize. Options include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Open Graph, and Email. There are also sub-categories, like profile photo, image post, and cover photos on Facebook. You can upload any size individually or download all images as a Zip file.

In our testing, PixelHunter did a pretty decent job, but not a perfect one. About 80% of the images were usable as is, while a few appeared to have been poorly cropped. However, if you upload an image with the main object right in the center, the usability of the images goes up to 100%. No matter how you look at it, PixelHunter saves a lot of time and effort when resizing images for different social media.

What about built-in photo editors?

These online image editing apps use a little AI to make your life easier. But if you can’t sign in, you can use the built-in photo editors that came with your operating system, like Paint on Windows and Photos on macOS.

These two apps allow you to perform many effects mentioned in the above apps. It might not be the same quality or speed, but in many cases speed is getting used to an application. We tend to overlook built-in apps and take them for granted, but Paint and Photos offer features you might not have explored.


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