My name is Ivan Kutskir, I am 28 y.o. and live in Prague, the Czech Republic. I am the author of , an advanced image editor, that works in a web browser. There were about 3 million visitors in June.

I already did the AMA here seven months ago with an amazing response! I would like to let you know, what happened since then, and how much has Reddit helped me :)

  • the number of users doubled
  • my income quadrupled (I replaced AdSense with other ad providers)
  • I added the support for new RAW formats, Actions, Slices, Templates and many other features
  • Photopea is fully translated into 38 languages (by users)
  • I got in touch (videocalls) with Corel, Adobe, Google and many other tech companies (mostly from the Silicon Valley)
  • I gave a talk about Photopea at the Web2Day conference in France

I still work on Photopea alone from the same apartment in Prague, on the same $500 laptop :) I was never so excited about the progress of Photopea. Ask me Anything! :)

You can follow Photopea on Facebook or Twitter :) Proof: I put a link to this AMA here!

Comments: 2830 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

aparker3141594565 karma

What do you think the biggest advantage of Photopea is over Photoshop (other then being free, of course)? What about GIMP?

ivanhoe907021 karma

Unlike Photoshop, Photopea can open almost any structured graphics file (XD, Sketch, SVG, PDF, XCF, Corel) and save them in a PSD format. There is a Vectorize Image (bitmap tracing) feature and several other features, that are not present in Photoshop. Also, Photopea runs on Linux, Chrome OS, Android, iOS and anywhere else, where you have a browser :)

Unlike GIMP, Photopea fully supports the PSD format. So it has features such as layer styles, adjustment layers, smart objects, smart filters, text warping etc.

squid50s1654 karma

What inspired you to create this?

P.S. I’ve recommended Photopea to multiple people on Reddit. Keep up the incredible work!

ivanhoe901665 karma

Originally, it was just a little experiment (100 hours of work). I was curious about what can be done in a browser. I kept improving it to a point, when it actually became usable (it took years, see the last AMA). P.S. thanks for your recommendations! :)

Vullein0701218 karma

a little experiment (100 hours of work)


ivanhoe9054 karma

I expect every such experiment not to take more than 1 hour. But sometimes, I start to enjoy seeing it grow. I definitely enjoyed most of my work on Photopea.

Koloses1111 karma

I got in touch (videocalls) with Corel, Adobe, Google and many other tech companies (mostly from the Silicon Valley)

Could you say something more about that in general? Im curious.

ivanhoe901483 karma

They were also curous. They asked me various questions, what are the capabilities of Photopea, what plans do I have for the future, etc.

In case of Google, I received a direct contact to a Chrome developer, so I can report my opinions and findings directly to him, and be sure, that they will be noticed :)

EddyMerkxs1043 karma

I'm sure this plans to remain a web app, but have you thought about porting it to a desktop program? Seems like it would be easier to integrate in to people's workflows, with the ability to open files with photopea, and ability to use offline.

Can you support yourself with the ad revenue?

Do you have other similar projects planned?

Thanks! The .psd file support is amazing. And amazing it is better than the work of all the people at GIMP. You're amazing!

ivanhoe901279 karma

I was always afraid, that it would take me too much time to maintain several native versions. But soon, such capabilities (like opening files in Photopea from a desktop) will be possible through a Web App. You can already press More - Install Photopea, to add an icon to your homescreen.

Yes, I have been able support myself with the ad revenue in the past two years :)

At the moment, I plan to add new features to Photopea. Thanks for your compliments! :)

Rhinosaur24959 karma

Is it pronounced Photopea, like Utopia but with Photo? Or like Photo-Pea?

ivanhoe901134 karma

I pronounce it like a vegetable Pea, or like Black-Eyed-Peas :)

ScabbedOver448 karma

How'd you come up with the name?

ivanhoe904138 karma

Apple was already taken

GambleResponsibly732 karma


ivanhoe901288 karma

**** The person above said, that this is their favourite Reddit reply.

Thanks! When I think a feature is useful, and it would take less than 30 mins, I usually add it immediately :)

AllWhiteInk411 karma

To edit images they need to be uploaded. So what about the usage rights of the contents/images?

ivanhoe901672 karma

Photopea runs completely in your device, just like Gimp or Photoshop do. It does not upload any of your files to the internet.

You can load, disconnect from the internet and keep using it completely offline. None of your files ever leaves your computer.

almanor28 karma

Can it work on a chrome book?

ivanhoe90205 karma

I never used Photopea on a Chromebook, but 4 000 people a day do use it on Chromebooks, so I guess it can :)

NiueyueDuankuKoujiao335 karma

What’s bigger in Prague, hockey or basketball?

ivanhoe90489 karma

Everybody watches hockey during a world cup, but it is football for the rest of the year :)

FishySushi335 karma

This is amazing! Used it before but didn't know the story behind it. As a cs/econ major myself how did you learn all the skills you needed to create something like this?

ivanhoe90697 karma

At the beginning, I did not need any advanced knowledge, basic programming skills were enough. Later, I had to learn about advanced algorithms, to add some advanced features. But my CS degree definitely helped me understand all the terminology, so it was not very hard.

I also had to learn about many standards, such as PSD, PDF, PostScript, PNG, TIFF, OpenType ... It has nothing to do with science, you just have to go through hundreds of pages of specifications, to be able to implement that standard. And you return to these specifications from time to time, to fix problems in your implementation :)

MrDannyOcean324 karma

Have you ever been contacted by any big names in the tech world with monetary offers?

ivanhoe90597 karma

I have been offered acquisitions (but not by "big names"), which I refused. It feels like everybody wants to see what will happen next, before they make any offers.

Broadband-227 karma

Always amazing all this is possible in a browser. I prefer this over and gimp and find myself opening Photoshop less and less for my basic graphical needs.

Have you ever considered offering this as an app in say windows store or standalone? Also, I'd love to support your work but with how rarely I need a graphic editor $80 annually for adfree is outside my usage pattern / needs. Have you considered offering any other options.

Thanks again and always amazes me!

ivanhoe90304 karma

I don't want to provide too many options (like pay 1 USD to use Photopea for 5 hours ad-free during a next year). It is ok if you don't pay directly :) You can recommend Photopea to your friends, I appreciate it even more than money :)

Brananyan218 karma

Do you plan on making an ad free service for a set amount, or do you always intend on keeping it free and getting your revenue from ads?

ivanhoe90409 karma

You can buy a Premium account (press Account at the top), which is ad-free :) But most importantly, the user interface is "wider", as it stretches to a space where the ad was.

cybergamer1214 karma

I’m stupid so ignore if this doesn’t make sense but has there been any legal troubles with Adobe (I think? The photoshop company) because of both programs (?) being so similar?

ivanhoe90290 karma

I was never contacted by anybody regarding this matter. There are many more programs in this category, which are all quite similar. But Adobe Photoshop is the most famous one.

Gorillapatrick200 karma

How much money do you earn from it?

ivanhoe90617 karma

With ads, you can make between 2 to 6 USD per 1000 visits on your webpage. So with 3 millions of visits, I can make between 6 to 18 000 USD a month, it depends on a month and an ad provider (I have been testing several of them lately).

chris48064 karma

What's the cost to run something like Photopea?

ivanhoe90135 karma

I pay about 50 USD a year for webhosting, but I have 7 more websites there (not as popular as Photopea). The traffic is quite big (200 GB a day), but my hosting provider seems to be ok with it.

Photopea does not use any SQL databases, PHP or any other server-side programming, as it runs in a browser.

adamadler12173 karma

What did you replace with AdSense with? How did it increase your income?

ivanhoe90275 karma

I tried, and , they all work in a similar way. The revenue increased abuout 3x if compared with AdSense. But I think they require you to have large traffic, as they tune ads manually for each client.

Kessarean139 karma

What languages is the tool primarily written in? How did you scale the infrastructure to support your user base?

ivanhoe90225 karma

It is written in Javascript and GLSL. As Photopea runs in your browser (there is no upload or download), it does not need any advanced hosting.

andreyred133 karma

How old were you when you created it? And what was your background in?

ivanhoe90196 karma

I was 21. But I did not work on it full-time until 26 :) Here you can find more details:

lndianJoe124 karma


you said previously that Photopea runs offline once loaded. How big is the software ? I'm asking because it is definitely faster to open than to open Photoshop, which do not have to be downloaded !

ivanhoe90374 karma

Right now, Photopea is about 1.4 MB (most of it is zipped javascript).

  • 880 kB is the actual program
  • 150 kB are localizations to 38 languages, with 650 phrases in every language
  • 116 kB is a database of gradients, brushes, patterns and contours
  • 84 kB are icons (112 of them, in a 160x160 px resolution)
  • 23 kB is a font database (names, categories and URLs for 4700 TTF files)

When you open a font menu, this 1 MB PNG file is downloaded with previews of 4700 fonts :) And of course, if you choose a font, it is loaded on-demand.

dazzlingsailor115 karma

I loved your previous AMA, your enthusiasm and hard work really motivates me to keep going. I have Photoshop at work, but at home I use Photopea :)

So my question is: how do you keep yourself motivated to keep working on something when you don't know if it's doable or if it's going to return something to you? Like, during those years it took for you to actually develop Photopea.

ivanhoe90142 karma

Thank you! :)

I believe everything is doable, but it may take a lot of time. And a big part of that time might be learning how to do it.

With Photopea, I simply knew, that if there is a free PSD editor, there will be people using it (as no other such program exists). But I had no idea if I would be able to monetize it, i.e. if I will be paid for my work. But it was just a hobby, so I did not care too much about the future :)

DeathEmpr63 karma

I would like to donate to you when I get my next check. Do you have a donation link?

ivanhoe9029 karma

Hi, you can get a Premium account (press Premium at the top) and you will get Photopea ad-free :)

zulured58 karma

What do you think about Adobe Lightroom? I like its non destructive editing capabilities on raw files. It could work well with a raw file still on the user hard drive and your service might only store the editing settings.

Being a casual user I have a life subscription of old Lightroom version but , but it won't be a good cheap choice for me to pay a monthly subscription.

ivanhoe9092 karma

I never used Adobe Lightroom. I am not a photographer myself (I take pictures with a phone and never edit them). Photopea is for messing around with a single photo for hours, more than batch-processing hundreds of photos by specific parameters.

Jarpa_L52 karma

Hey, love the program! Are there any plans on allowing users to create selections with the pen tool? Using the pen path to form a selection was probably one of my favorite aspects of Photoshop.

ivanhoe9070 karma

Yes, I do plan to make it work this way :)

MrFranx49 karma

What did you study to create a whole new software?

ivanhoe90142 karma

My Bachelor program was "Programming" and my Masters program was called "Theoretical computer science / Artifficial intelligence" :) You can read my Master thesis here: It has absolutely nothing to do with image editing :D

lifecereals35 karma

Do you think you will try to do something like after effects ever?

ivanhoe90141 karma

Give me a week

Livin4Sex22 karma

When you start building an application that needs to scale to this level, do you use open source tools, or do you use paid tools?

Also how do you determine if something you implemented is covered by a patent?

ivanhoe9024 karma

As Photopea runs fully in a browser, the server-side technology is the same as when I had 1000x less users (just a file server for hosting HTML, JS and CSS files).

You can search for patents online. Every invention usually has a name, given by authors, and you can search patents for that name.

Excess21 karma

How did you manage the translations by the users? Which service did you use?

ivanhoe9028 karma

I made my own format for storing translations in a JSON format. It is described here: . I also made a simple web tool, that loads such file, lets you edit JSON through the UI, and sends a new JSON to the server. It is also open-source in that repository.

Translations of Photopea can be made and edited by anybody here: . There are cases of vandalism from time to time, but it is still worth it :)

HM8811 karma

What language did you build this in and how are you dealing with performance optimization in the browser? Are you using WASM?

ivanhoe9019 karma

Hi, I wrote my code in Javascript and I think that the WASM version of it would not be much faster. JS engines are quite smart, and I believe my JS code is very efficient when running on the CPU.

I do use a WASM version of a HarfBuzz library :) I did spend about 300 hours writing my own OpenType shaping in JS, but then, I threw all that code away (as it looked like I will have to spend 1000 more hours), and asked Harfbuzz developers to make a WASM release for me :)