Open Source Photo Editor PhotoDemon 9.0 released

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 12, 2022
Windows software

The developers of the open source photo editor PhotoDemon have released PhotoDemon 9.0 after two years of development. The new release features user interface improvements, support for new image formats, reduced resource usage, built-in support for Adobe Photoshop plugins and more.

Users who have PhotoDemon installed on their devices already may get the update automatically, depending on their preferences under Tools > Options > Updates. Select Help > Check for Updates to run a manual update check and install the update on the device.

PhotoDemon is a portable application that is provided as a ZIP archive. You may run the photo editor after you have extracted the ZIP archive to the system. Note that Windows may throw a SmartScreen warning because of the freshness of the new version. VirusTotal returns two hits by lesser known antivirus engines, which are (likely) false positives.

PhotoDemon 9.0

One of the main improvements of the new PhotoDemon is that it uses less resources than the old version.  On cold start, for instance, it is using 12% less memory than the previous version.

Users who upgrade from an earlier version of PhotoDemon to version 9 may notice the revised interface right away. Tools have moved, and popular settings appear directly on the toolbar, with the rest appearing as flyout panels. According to the developer, the new user interface takes up "less than half of the vertical space of the old design" without sacrificing functionality.

The UI is still designed to work with different display resolutions, including classic resolutions such as 1024x768. The redesign gives more room for photos that are opened in the editor.

The photo editors selection tools have worked well in previous versions. The new release introduces support for multiple selections. Selections may be combined using Add, Subtract and Intersect, and the last selection remains editable even when multiple selections are active.

Another new feature is the content-aware fill tool, which is also called smart object removal or inpainting. Users may select Edit > Content-aware fill, or Select > Heal selected area, to use it. The tool works automatically but includes preferences and tweaking options to customize the operation.

The tool does not require an Internet connection or artificial intelligence. In fact, running the tool multiple times may produce better results because of that.

PhotoDemon 9.0 adds support for new image formats. The new release has import and export support for PSP images, AVIF and animated WebP images. AVIF support is available, but the required encoder and decoder apps do not ship with the program because of their sizes. First time a user loads or saves an AVIF file, the required data is downloaded. Import support is now available for XCF (GIMP), SVG and SVGZ images.

Last but not least, PhotoDemon 9.0 supports lossless JPEG (JPEG-LS), comic book archives (CBZ), Symbian images (MBM and AIF), and lossless "quite OK" (QOI) images.

The latest release includes an optimized automatic GIF optimizer, which the developer calls best-in-class. Image formats that rely on palettes benefit from the new neural-network color quantizer.

Other improvements in PhotoDemon 9.0:

  • Image Resizer supports 12 advanced resampling modes with live interactive previews.
  • Built-in support for Adobe Photoshop plugins (8bf).
  • Full support for 3D LUTs (three dimensional Look-Up Tables).
  • New Effects: Bump Map, Droste, Truchet Tiles, Animation menu and Gradient Flow.
  • Improved Stained Glass and Crystallize tools.
  • New Dehaze tool to recover photos "marred by haze or fog".
  • Curves tool performance improvements and new user interface.
  • Photo Filter tool has been redesigned to "better match Photoshop's implementation".

A full list of changes, with lots of examples, is available on the official PhotoDemon website.

Closing Words

PhotoDemon 9.0 is a massive update for the photo editor. It adds support for new formats, improves the user interface and reduces the program's resource usage.

Now You: which photo editing software do you use, if any?

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  1. opensour said on September 12, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    I use Photo Demon, because it is one of the few free editors able to work on webp files, without forcing the user to convert them to jpg, ugh. And, contrary to the mainstream ;) I convert jpg to webP – webP files take up much less space and without looking with a magnifying glass, you can’t see the difference against even 10x larger in MB jpg.

    1. Lemegeton said on September 14, 2022 at 10:01 am

      >And, contrary to the mainstream ;) I convert jpg to webP – webP files take up much less space and without looking with a magnifying glass, you can’t see the difference against even 10x larger in MB jpg.
      JXL (jpeg-xl) is better than WebP in all aspects (except for its spreading so far): picture quality, output size, etc.
      If format prevalence is not an important factor, but is only important as a format for storage, there is no point in preferring WebP over its superior JXL.

  2. Anonymous said on September 12, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    Maybe people should improve their photography skills and stop relying on software to make up for it.

  3. John C. said on September 12, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    I use a lot of such graphics programs, including this one. Mainly though, I use Photofiltre and Adobe Photoshop Elements. It doesn’t hurt to have as many graphic programs as are useful, since very often a program can have some function or feature that the others don’t.

  4. froggyranita said on September 12, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    Hello, i use Zoner Photo Studio 17 (latest free version) since years to change/edit some EXIF data of my pictures (dates/times/locations/keywords for example).
    I might nevertheless give it a go at PhotoDemon to see if it suits my needs

  5. 32 said on September 12, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    Doesn’t work with 64-bit photoshop plugins. Tested with Redfield Fractalius.

  6. pd said on September 12, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    Written in a Visual Basic?


    There’s a surprise and a blast from the past. Still, is rarely the tool and more about the operator.

    1. owl said on September 14, 2022 at 12:41 pm

      > Written in a Visual Basic?

      Participate | PhotoDemon: the fast, free, portable photo editor
      Write code
      PhotoDemon is written in Visual Basic 6.0. Developers with VB6 experience can submit pull requests directly, while developers in other languages can submit their work by creating a new issue on GitHub.

    2. Anonymous said on September 13, 2022 at 3:06 am

      Where did it say Visual Basic? Found nothing on the site.

      Visual Basic programs were really clunky in past, I wonder why they don’t use newer techs like WPF.

  7. Shiva said on September 12, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    I didn’t know this one and missed it when I recently rearranged the bookmarks on the programs available from several sources, thanks.
    Just tried exporting an animation with 2 layers. Not bad, portable and I can use it with a dedicated button with XnViewMP. Added.

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