Adobe to offer web-based version of industry standard Photoshop software for free - report

Someone using Photoshop
The free-to-use version is being trialled in Canada before being rolled out everywhere. Photo credit: Getty Images

Adobe's industry standard image editing software Photoshop is set to become available online for free, according to a new report.

Website The Verge said the company has started testing a web-based free-to-use version in Canada, with plans to open the service up to everyone.

However, exactly when it will be available to Kiwi photographers wanting to edit their photographs for free isn't yet known.

The company, which also makes industry standard audio and video editing software, says it hopes to introduce more users to the app via the web version, which could translate into more subscriptions to its Creative Cloud platform.

According to the report, Adobe describes the web version as "freemium", with plans to - eventually - offer some of the functionality only to paid subscribers. However Photoshop's core functions will remain free for all, it said.

Photoshop currently costs a minimum of AU$14.94 per month, bundled with image processing software Lightroom, and comes with 20GB of storage. The bigger 1TB plan costs AU$29.80 per month.

As a standalone, Photoshop, with extra tools for graphic designers, costs a minimum of AU$31.35 per month.

Software like Pixlr and Photopea, which offer Photoshop-like functionality, are available to use for free on the web, but neither are considered the gold standard.

Maria Yap, Adobe's vice president of digital imaging, told The Verge the company wanted to make Photoshop more accessible and easier for people to try out.

For the first time that will include Chromebook users, which potentially opens the tool up to millions of school children around the world for the first time.

Adobe first released a web version of Photoshop in October last year, essentially offering a simple version of the desktop application able to handle basic editing functions.

It was intended as a collaboration tool, with ways for artists to share an image with others to edit and then hand back. But in the months since, the service has been updated and its functionality has widened.

It's also intending to extend the web version with more tools, according to The Verge. That includes curves, the dodge and burn tools and the ability to convert Smart Objects. 

"I want to see Photoshop meet users where they're at now," Yap said. "You don't need a high-end machine to come into Photoshop."