Photoshop is free to paint on the web

Photoshop may finally be as accessible as its many alternatives. Adobe has made its web-based version of Photoshop free – or, well, freemium – in Canada, and we hope to expand availability in the near future. Adobe’s vice president of digital imaging Maria Yap didn’t say when that would be, but said she wants to see “meet users where they are now” in an interview with On the edge (opens in new tab).

To access it, you will need to have a free Adobe account (opens in new tab) and use a link on that page (which you will only see if you are currently in Canada) to open it.

The web version of Photoshop isn’t as robust as the software that costs at least $10 a month through Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription, but it has the features you need to get the simplest of tasks done. You can use keyboard shortcuts, crop images, switch between layers, create masks, add adjustment layers and use the healing brush. Fundamentally, you can’t turn images into smart objects, which means that when you resize them multiple times, they don’t maintain the correct resolution.

Photoshop for the web can’t compete with some other popular free photo editing tools like Photopea, GIMP and Paint.NET. Photopea, for example, has image filters, layer blending, and layer styles – it has most of Photoshop’s great features and an almost identical user interface. Surprisingly, Photoshop on the web isn’t that close to its desktop version, perhaps in an attempt to make it more accessible to new users. The purpose of this is to make you eventually pay for a Creative Cloud subscription or some other form of unannounced monetization to unlock more features. It’s pretty basic if you intend to use it for more than really basic editing, like creating memes or just quickly retouching images.

This free format for Adobe applications is not new. The company already has several free mobile apps, including Adobe Premiere Rush, Adobe Fresco, and Adobe Express. Photoshop on the web is the first time one of its most popular software has been available in this way, and it can be quite useful if you don’t have a powerful laptop or tablet.

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