Photoshop might finally be as accessible as its many alternatives. Adobe has made its existing web-based version of Photoshop free—or, well, freemium—in Canada, and will hopefully expand availability in the near future. Adobe VP of digital imaging Maria Yap didn’t say when that will be, but did say that she wants to see it “meet users where they’re at now” in an interview with The Verge (opens in new tab).
To access it, you’ll need to have a free Adobe account (opens in new tab) and use a link on that page (which you’ll only see if you’re in Canada at the moment) to open it.
The web version of Photoshop isn’t as robust as the software that costs you at least $10 per month via Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription, but it has the features needed to do most simple tasks. You can use keyboard shortcuts, crop images, swap between layers, create masks, add adjustment layers, and use the healing brush. Crucially, you can’t turn images into smart objects, which means when you resize them multiple times they won’t maintain the correct resolution.
Photoshop for the web can’t really compete with some other popular free photo editing tools like Photopea, GIMP, and Paint.NET. Photopea, for example, has image filters, layer merging, and layer styles—it has most of Photoshop’s big features and a near-identical UI. Surprisingly, Photoshop on the web isn’t as close to its desktop version, maybe as an attempt to make it more approachable for new users. The point of it is to get you to eventually pay for a Creative Cloud subscription or some other form of unannounced monetization to unlock more features. It’s pretty barebones if you intend to use it for more than really basic editing, like creating memes or just quickly touching up images.
This free-to-try format for Adobe apps isn’t new. The company already has several apps that are free on mobile, including Adobe Premiere Rush, Adobe Fresco, and Adobe Express. Photoshop on the web is the first time one of its most popular pieces of software will be available this way, though, and it could be pretty useful if you don’t have a powerful laptop or tablet.