Hi, my name is Ivan Kutskir, I am 29 y.o. and I live in Prague, the Czech Republic. I created Photopea , an advanced image editor which works in a web browser. There were 7 million visitors in July.

I started to work on it in 2012, the first version was published in 2013, it was just my hobby until 2016, when I graduated and started to work on it full-time. I did not fully "believe" in Photopea until 2017, when I started to monetize it (with ads) and was able to make $400 a month :)

I had an AMA on Reddit over a year ago and I would like to tell you what happened since then :)

  • the number of users doubled (again)
  • my income doubled
  • I added the support for text on a curve, smarter selections, opening Figma files, puppet warp, content-aware scale, improved PDF support and more
  • I reached 2,300 solved issues on Github!
  • Photopea still wasn't acquired by anyone, even though I received several offers of an investment

I still work on Photopea alone, but I would like to hire more people (someone I can work with in person). I would like to start making a video editor, too, at some point. Ask me Anything! :)

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

Comments: 3075 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

creation-of-satanism3856 karma

Is there a comprehensive guide I can find for all the tools in photopea? I’m new to photo editing and still confused by the interface.

ivanhoe904859 karma

Photopea is an advanced editor and it is hard to learn simply by using it. I wrote a manual here: www.Photopea.com/learn .

Adama00014874 karma

You made documentation?

What kind of unholy programmer from the abyss are you? Don’t let our bosses find out or we’re screwed.

ivanhoe902024 karma

I made it after several years of explaining people how to do things in emails, etc :) Now, I can simply send them links to my documentation. It took me less than a week :D

300Savage1387 karma

First of all, thank you for making a great alternative.

My question is, how would you compare Photopea to The Gimp in terms of features and interface?

ivanhoe901361 karma

The interface of Photopea is closer to Photoshop than GIMP (so it is more comfortable to Photoshop users). I think all you can do in GIMP you can do in Photopea, but with a different workflow. You can open GIMP files (XCF) in Photopea.

There are many advanced features in Photopea, that are not in GIMP. The most important is probably the full support of a PSD format.

WellWishez697 karma

Have to confess I'd never heard about this software until reading your post, but your mention of the PSD feature makes me want to check it out immediately. I admire your determination, dedication, and skills.

ivanhoe90138 karma

Thank you :)

BasiliskXVIII768 karma

Do you pronounce it photo-pea, or photo-pee-ah?

ivanhoe90696 karma

I pronounce it Photo-pea, but most of people pronounce it photo-pee-ah.

It is probably the most asked question in our subreddit :) /r/photopea.

EDIT: I did a quick search and here is what I found :)

4silvertooth701 karma

Here to say I've been using it, maybe the only white listed site on my ad-block.

What was the hardest part to implement?

ivanhoe90683 karma

The advanced foreground selection was quite hard. It is used e.g. in MagicCut. I wanted to reach the quality of remove.bg (where you pay $2 per image), but it still does not work that well.

Anyway, I think MagicCut works better than all other free tools and many commercial tools, so it can save you a lot of money :)

tehdog79 karma

You should look at U-2 Net https://github.com/NathanUA/U-2-Net a recently released paper with code that has amazing results

ivanhoe90107 karma

I know quite a lot about this research :) The problem is, that people use Photopea for free, so it would have to run on their computers. They would have to download a 200 MB network, and unless they don't have a $2000 GPU, they would have to wait for hours to do such foreground / background detection.

segyges131 karma

From the paper:

To facilitate the usage of our design in computation and memory constrained environments, we provide a small version of our U2-Net, called U2-Net† (4.7 MB). The U2-Net† achieves competitive results against most of the SOTA models (see Fig. 1) at 40 FPS.

Unless there's something similar but better or they're outright lying, 4.7 MB sounds like an extremely reasonable memory footprint and it's pretrained so nobody's going to max out their GPU. You might want to give it another look.

ivanhoe90166 karma

Wow, that sounds great, I will put it into my issues: https://github.com/photopea/photopea/issues/2368

IWantTheDiesel679 karma

How did your learn how to make software?

ivanhoe901119 karma

I was interested in computers since I was 14. I was studying computer science at the university between 18 and 25 years of age.

I studied theoretical computer science at the Charles university in Prague. Finishing the university was probably the hardest thing in my life (I do not enjoy learning as much as I enjoy creating stuff). But I also think it was the most valuable and productive part of my life and I am very proud of it :)

Haasts_Eagle524 karma

Good stuff. Love a free image editor.

Why is this already on the front page, with just 6 comments and 22 points?

ivanhoe90531 karma

I don't know much about the Reddit algorithm, but I think it is also about how old the post is. E.g. if you get 20 points in 5 minutes, you will be on top of a post, which received 50 points in an hour.

-_-_-_-otalp-_-_-_-488 karma

I understand that people are always hesitant to answer this very specifically, but I'm always curious - given 7 million visitors, what your ballpark profit? And what's the ratio of the profit-to-expenses, which I assume is mostly server hosting costs as a one man operation?

ivanhoe901522 karma

Most of my profit comes from ads. I make around 5 cents for every hour someone spends in Photopea (on average). In 2019, people spent 5 million hours working in Photopea, so I made around $250,000. I hope it could be 2x to 4x more this year :)

Photopea runs completely in your computer (after Photopea.com loads, you can disconnect from the internet and use it offline). I use only a file hosting, for which I pay around 50 USD a year.

shunabuna149 karma

How is that possible to only pay 50 USD/year when you get ~7 million people in a month and your site is 1.8mb. That's around 12tb/month. I don't know of any host willing to do 12tb of data for $50/12

ivanhoe90260 karma

I don't understand it either :/ I will ask my hosting provider.

wysiwywg220 karma

Don’t! :)

ivanhoe90152 karma

I already did :)

TheBirdOrTheCage43 karma

How much do you think you're losing out because of adblockers?

ivanhoe90126 karma

It is hard to tell, maybe between 10 to 40 percent :/

laptopaccount39 karma

I'm glad you have a subscription option. As a policy I don't turn my adblocker off, but I'll totally subscribe as your rates are quite reasonable!

If you're around and don't mind answering, how many subscriptions do you have?

ivanhoe9077 karma

There are hundreds of people paying for Premium :) so about 0.01% of all users :)

Netero1999336 karma

Hi !! Can I know about your backend ?

PrimaryAverage1504 karma

Not without dinner first

ivanhoe90251 karma

Take my upvote, too :)

ivanhoe90558 karma

There is a webhosting which stores one HTML, one CSS and several JS files. Photopea is written in Javascript and runs completely in a computer of the visitor.

Netero199959 karma

Have you used any frontend frameworks?

ivanhoe90268 karma

No, I wrote my own Javascript, HTML and CSS. I usually prefer to use what I know, instead of learning how to use new tools :)

Netero199946 karma

Wow. Awesome man!!!How many hours have you spend on this?

ivanhoe90177 karma

Thanks! Probably between 12,000 and 20,000 hours :D

ericek111141 karma

I use Photopea regularly when developing web sites. I don't have to fire up my VM or limit myself to GIMP or Kritea. The third most popular tech magazine in the Czech Republic, Letem světem Applem, was developed with the help of your tool. Díky!

My question: will you ever open-source Photopea, at least partially?

ivanhoe90101 karma

Hi, thanks a lot!

A huge part of Photopea is open-sourced and available at https://github.com/photopea?tab=repositories

MrAkerfeldt30 karma

I'm scared to even open that repo 😂.

What's hosting provider are you using that can handle 5 million users in a year?

ivanhoe9063 karma

I have a local hosting provider from the Czech Republic. It is just distributing HTML, CSS and JS files (no server-side computations like PHP or SQL databases), so it is not that hard.

RedditUser241767134 karma

I love using photopea! I open it almost daily.

Is there a way to review the source and contribute pull requests?

Have you thought about providing an offline or self-hosted release?

ivanhoe90110 karma

Thanks! The open-source parts of Photopea are published on our GitHub: https://github.com/photopea?tab=repositories . We provide a self-hosted versions for money, as it needs to be updated regularly.

OmnipresentIntrovert110 karma

How would you compare it to photoshop?

ivanhoe90324 karma

Photopea has about 90% of features of Adobe Photoshop, but there are some features of Photopea that Photoshop doesn't have (e.g converting PDF, SVG, Sketch, XD, Figma to layered PSD documents).

Also, only Photoshop and Photopea fully support the PSD format, so I think Photopea is the best alternative to Photoshop at the moment.

Fantastic_Courbet91 karma

What do you think about GIMP?

ivanhoe90175 karma

GIMP is great, but it can not work with PSD files properly. Also, the interface is quite different from Adobe Photoshop, and it is hard to use for former Photoshop users.


IHeartGeorgeConway7 karma

I’ve used photoshop since 1995 and I’ve never had a problem converting PDFs with it...?

ivanhoe9039 karma

A PDF is "rasterized" when you open it in Photoshop. You could do the same by taking a screenshot in Acrobat Reader and pasting it in Photoshop.

But you can not edit the text in a PDF, edit the vector graphics (bezier curves, gradietn fills ...). Photopea can do it.

Gutchies93 karma

I just discovered this software and it is bloody amazing.

As a hobby animator, I'm wondering - Do you have any plans, or have you at least thought about, making an animation software in the same way you have achieved this? Something like Adobe Flash/Animate or Toon Boom Harmony. (I'm already sold on your idea for a video editor, since Davinci Resolve's free version has NEVER been able to render videos for me without crashing)

There is a distinct lack of reasonably priced animation software that achieves nearly as much as these two ridiculously expensive subscription programs, without sacrificing something really important to animation. The closest thing to achieving what Animate or Harmony has is Blender's new 2d animate mode, and even then, you have to sacrifice convenient features like easy tweening.

An alternative free (or one-purchase) animation software would make me - and so many other people happy.

Now that I know this software exists, ill be sure to donate to its production.

ivanhoe90111 karma

Thanks! You are not the first one asking for this :) I wish I could make so many tools, but I am afraid my life is too short for all that work :D

If I manage to make a good team of programmers in the future, I would love to make such animation software.

jouze77 karma

Hi! Two questions 1. Does photpopea have support for RAW photo files of varying cameras? (.ARW for example)

  1. Why do you think Adobe charges so much for their platform when your model is clearly fairly simple to produce (if one person can do it alone) and functions profitably?

ivanhoe90103 karma

Hi! Yes, Photopea can open .DNG, .CR2, .NEF and .ARW files :)

There are programs that are much more expensive than Adobe products :) It is hard to tell, but I think it is because there are no reasonable alternatives, or the alternatives are not known very well.

iwasdropped55 karma

Any chance your program can export files to work with a cnc machine?

ivanhoe9095 karma

Sure, just tell me what format does that machine accepts? Is than an open format? Can you use e.g. an SVG?

Manufacturers often create their proprietary formats to make you dependent on their software.

ZarMulix37 karma

G-Code is pretty common, although I'm unsure as to what Z-axis information you would capture in an image format unless it was texturized somehow and interpreted that as topography? Maybe like the color coded images to show 3 dimensions in a planar view.

I know laser/waterjet cutting and similar that do 2D operations typically ask me for a DXF file or equivalent. I've never used Photopea for this (or even tried) but typically I take a vector format and import into CAD software to generate a DXF for this purpose. I know my media guy can never get me a format I need to import a logo and such for mechanical design. A DXF or similar vector would be amazing if it doesn't exist already.

ivanhoe90110 karma

Hi, would you be able to write this into our GitHub? https://github.com/photopea/photopea/issues . And most importantly, would you be able to discuss it there with me, if I have any questions? I never worked with any CNC machine.

gavers49 karma

What are your plans for the video editor, and how can I keep up to date on its progress?

(video editor here that loves what you did with photopea)

ivanhoe9051 karma

I do not have any specific plans about the video editor yet. You can follow Photopea on Facebook or Twitter to know about the progress (links in my origianl post) :)

BlownHappyKid40 karma

How about a Desktop version? That'd be great!

ivanhoe90162 karma

You can go to Photopea.com and press More - Install Photopea. It will add an icon to your homescreen, which will start Photopea without the browser UI. But it works only in the latest Chrome, Edge and Opera.


lurpaq36 karma

What things does Photoshop do better than your alternative?

ivanhoe9080 karma

Photoshop can open almost all RAW image formats (in their Camera Raw program). I think Adobe pays the camera manufacturers, so that they allow Adobe to open raw files from their cameras.

At the moment, Photopea can open only four RAW formats, which cover around 80% of the market.

im_a_jeww35 karma

You mentioned your income is through ads. Have you thought of other avenues for revenue sources or ways to increase your current revenue even more to be able to hire more employees?

ivanhoe9087 karma

Yes, I have thought about it, but I don't know about any ways, which could work better than ads.

Most of the current Photopea user can not afford to pay for the software, so I don't want to make half of features available only after the payment.

productivish33 karma

Would a premium version that's identical in features but without ads be an option? Unless this is already a thing?

ivanhoe90141 karma

It is already a thing :) You can hide ads for $10 for three months. Also, there is no subscription, you pay manually any time you want. Ads come back once it runs out :)

shexna3 karma

Maybe add a donation button and limit the few version to private use and let businesses buy a license.

ivanhoe905 karma

Right now, people can pay to hide ads. I don't think the donations could make as much as ads do.

askmeaboutmysciatica34 karma

Do you think that photopea has been a success?

I use it for work everyday and I certainly think it is!

ivanhoe9097 karma

I think it is the most useful thing I made in my life so far, so it is a success :)

leto7820 karma

Are there any new browser features or HTML features that will make your code a lot simpler?

ivanhoe9059 karma

I would love if browsers let Photopea know, when Ctrl+T was pressed on the keyboard. People have been using the Ctrl+T shortcut in Adobe Photoshop for decades and almost every week, someone asks why it does not work in Photopea.

At the moment, when you press Ctrl+T in any browser, it opens a new tab (panel), and a we can not do anything about it :( I have been personally arguing about it with browser developers for over five years.

"Fighting" with browser developers is quite a big part of my work, which is quite sad :(

apennypacker18 karma

Not a question, but I just want to put this out there for all the non-developers, but the fact that Photopea was created by a single programmer is absolutely astounding. As a developer myself, I cannot fathom the productivity of this developer nor have I ever met someone that could be this productive. Teams of 10-20 developers could not match the functionality and feature list of photopea.

And actually, here is a question after all, have you ever recorded or livestreamed yourself coding? I'm having a hard time imagining the pace required to be this productive. Do you have an estimate of the number of hours you have put into this?

ivanhoe9024 karma

Hi, thanks a lot! I think I put between 15 000 and 20 000 hours into Photopea :) I never recorded myself programming, but most of it is just staring into the wall thinking, opening Youtube or Reddit from time to time (to "relax" a bit), and I wroting code once in a while :)

Man-Toast14 karma

What's your favourite video game?

Also thank you the amount if complete trash I have cropped using photopea is immeasurable

ivanhoe9030 karma

I received my first computer when I was 13 and PC games seemed too complicated to me (and most of them were in English, which I did not know well). I never had a playstation or a gameboy. So I never played video games much.

The first game I "understood" and truly enjoyed playing was Serious Sam :) I also spent A LOT of time playing Clash of Clans.

NotLostJustWanderin9 karma

How do you approach creating something that is intuitive? How do you know that your logic is universally understood? Are there any examples of tools, tasks, icons that you have had to change based on feedback? Thank you and great work!

ivanhoe9015 karma

The user interface of Photopea has been evolving for seven years and there were probably hundreds of suggestions from users, which I listened to and modified, to get what we have now :)

xNeox8 karma

Love photopea, I use it all the time! Does anyone trouble you with any legal issues since it's basically an online photoshop?

ivanhoe9033 karma

Thanks! I think the similarity of the interface of Photoshop and Photopea (and other photo editors) is a good thing. Imagine if each brand of computers had a different layout of a keyboard, because they wanted to be "different". I am very happy, that I can simply take any keyboard and start typing on it right away.

Maybe one time someone will come and say, that we have to make the background red, because the dark grey color is already used in their program. And we have to rename the Brush tool to "hair on a stick tool", because the Brush tool is already used in their program. But I hope such time will never come :D

jabber_2 karma

You mentioned you plan on making a video editor. Have you considered an Illustrator alternative as well?

ivanhoe904 karma

Photopea already has many vector-related capabilities. It can open, edit and save SVG and PDF files. Somehow, I feel like a video editor would be more fun to make than an advanced vector editor.

FeliciusFlamel1 karma

Will it stay free or is there a possibility that you're gonna put a price on that?

ivanhoe904 karma

Photopea has been free to use since the first release seven years ago, and I would like to keep it free to use in the future, too.

Moizsh101 karma

Do you plan to keep photopea solely browser based?

ivanhoe908 karma

Many people think that browser programs are slower or "less capable" than desktop programs, but it is not true in the last five years. So a "downloada and install" version of Photopea would not have many advantages.

I could provide an offline version of Photopea, but at the moment, most of money come from ads, which would not work offline :/

Okkido1 karma

Congrats on the success. Nice work!

However, the website is absolutely garbage when it auto translates to my native language (Swedish). It’s so bad that I can’t take the app serious. You should really work on the site since it’s the first thing a new user will interact with. Maybe ditch the auto translate?

Let me know if you’re interested in more feedback and I will gather my thoughts.

Once again, great work!

ivanhoe902 karma

Hi, you should not use Auto-translate, as we have a professional Swedish translation. Just press More - Language - Svenska. You can switch languages without restarting Photopea.

Photopea.com should be in Swedish the first time you open it, if Swedish is set as your main language.

BeseptRinker1 karma

It's really great that you're offering an alternative to Photoshop! I was wondering, what language or software did you use to write Photopea?

ivanhoe902 karma

I wrote my code in Javascript, but in my opinion, the language is not important at all.

The best language is the one you know how to use. Also, for me, it is important, that there is a way to execute my code fast, which is possible with Javascript in modern browsers.

PayTheManuel1 karma

Is there a downloadable version available/in the works?

ivanhoe902 karma

You can go to www.Photopea.com and press More - Install Photopea, to get an icon to your homescreen.


existentialism913420 karma

Why didn't you just use GiMP like everyone else?

ivanhoe9011 karma

Photoshop and the PSD format has been a mainstream for over 20 years and I was really sad, that there was no free tool to work with PSD files.

GIMP is great, but I felt like it would be easier to make an editor from scratch, than to remake GIMP to make it fully support the PSD format. Also, I was a huge fan of web technologies since 2005, and I believed the web platform would help me get Photopea to users faster.