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April 14, 2023

Top 5 Open-Source Image Editing Tools for Professional Designs 

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In this advanced digital era, almost every business, influencer, or professional posts photos on social media for online visibility and increased traffic. The quality of the pictures depends on their ‘pixels,’ and, thus, it is when image editing tools come into the picture.

You can modify a grid of picture elements in the raster images using open-source editing software programs. These advanced image editing tools leverage algorithms to modify photos for professional designs. For instance, professionals can change the image’s interface by adding and removing modules or plug-ins.

In this article, we’ve listed the top 5 open-source image editing tools that can be used for professional designs.

#1. GIMP

GIMP is one the best free and open-source raster graphics editing tools. Professionals use this software for free-form drawing, retouching, and processing photos or digital graphics. In addition, you can also resize images, blend them using layers, tweak colors, remove elements, and convert photos into different image formats. You can use it on multiple operating systems, including Linux, Microsoft Windows, and macOS.

Moreover, the tools can be used to ass text and work with different layers. The interface and tools of this free software are similar to Photoshop. Using its Photoshop-like brushes will make it easier to work with layers and masks.


  • High-quality framework to manipulate scripted images
  • Easy-to-use interface and high level of customization
  • Friendly technical support
  • Frequent updates
  • High-quality color management features

#2. Darktable

A powerful, raw developer and open-source photography workflow tool, Darktable has launched over a decade ago. Its stable version, i.e., 2.62, was released on March 20, 2019. The software is licensed as per GNU (General Public License), available in 26 languages, and works in C and GTX+ languages. Darktable has a wide range of photo processing tools and can be easily operated on Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, MacOS, and Windows.

Professional designers use this application to adjust images’ contrast, sharpness, brightness, and saturation. You can also change the exposure and white balance, rotate the images, and fix overexposed areas. This photo editing tool is beginner-friendly, and its well-thought-out UI allows adding new modules to complete the workflow quickly.

Other basic tasks you can do are framing, exposure adjustment, and removing unwanted objects from the photos. In addition, you can access advanced options, like the Low-Light Vision module.


  • Non-destructive image editing
  • Features OpenCL-based GPU acceleration and built-in ICC profiles
  • Supports commonly known image formats
  • Well-designed catalog
  • Powerful RAW converter
  • UI supports two primary models- light-table and darkroom

#3. Inkspace

An open-source vector illustration-based image enhancer, Inkspace is similar to Adobe Illustrator. This free vector graphics editing tool is in C++ with gtkmm and Python. You can operate Inkspace on Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, and MacOS platforms. It is available in 90 languages and licensed as per GPLv3+.

Unlike raster graphics used in Photoshop and GIMP, vector graphics in this tool are not based on a grid of pixels. Instead, vector graphics comprises lines and polygons arranged in a specific shape. A free vector graphics editing software, professionals can create both artistic and technical illustrators with it.

The main application of Inkspace is designing logos and banners. Moreover, it can help in completing any tasks related to vector graphics. They can be scaled and visualized with different resolutions, and that too without losing the quality. Inkspace supports scalable vector graphics standards and tools to convert and render complex tasks and high resolution.


  • Advanced vector graphics tools
  • Flexible drawing tools
  • Streamlined UI
  • Broad file format compatibility
  • Available for several platforms
  • Object manipulation features
  • Completely free tool

#4. Digikam

Another powerful photo manager, organizer, and open-source photo management and editing application, Digikam, is available in C++. The software uses KDE applications, and its stable version, i.e., 6.1.0, was released on April 14, 2019. Digikam was specifically designed for Linux but can be used on Microsoft Windows and Mac. This open-source image editing tool is licensed as per GNU (General Public License).

With Digikam, you can import photos, videos, or raw files in multiple ways and organize them into albums. Moreover, you can search and view them in your collection by people, locations, tags, or time. Using the search option, you can also find photographs that are similar to others. Professionals can also experiment with different tools to create calendars and panoramas, export selected photos, and post them online.


  • Powerful photo manager and organizer
  • Detailed information about each image
  • Light Table feature to compare similar photos
  • Completely free tool
  • Simplifies the development process and sharing code with other software
  • Basic photo retouching tools

#5. Luminar

An image management and editing tool, Luminar can be used to process millions of photos daily. It is popular among professionals due to its auto sky replacement feature, typically a set of portrait and skin enhancement tools. This image editing tool can also be used as a replacement for Lightroom and Adobe’s creative cloud subscription.

Moreover, the program provides users with the most suitable filters and effects. Multiple innovative technologies, like Face AI, Body AI, Sky AI, and others, allow professionals to get the highest quality photo when used with Luminar to process images.


  • Easy to master for beginners
  • It can be utilized as a plug-in for Adobe application
  • Auto sky replacement
  • Advanced controls
  • Customizable panels

Wrapping it all up!

Gone is the time when people used to spend hours painstakingly burning, dodging, cutting, or cropping photos to achieve the right balance of tones. Instead, today’s advanced photo editing programs can edit and enhance images effortlessly.

The above-listed image editing tools suit those who can’t afford expensively licensed software and are searching for software featuring a customizable interface. Moreover, the most attractive feature of these tools is that you can eliminate bugs or errors manually without waiting for official updates.

If you look forward to editing your photos professionally without spending hours or days in front of your laptop, use any image editing software. These tools guarantee fast, affordable, and premium-quality image editing.

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