recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
I made a free alternative to Photoshop, that is used by 3 millions of people. Ask me Anything!

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!

July 3rd 2019
interview date

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!


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! :)



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 !


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.


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


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.


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?


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 :)


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.


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 :)


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.


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 :)


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!


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 :)




**** 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 :)


What inspired you to create this?

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


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! :)


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.


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.


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


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.


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?


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.


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?


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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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


How much money do you earn from it?


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).


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


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.


What did you study to create a whole new software?


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


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?


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.


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


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


What’s bigger in Prague, hockey or basketball?


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


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


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 :)


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


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 :)


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


Give me a week


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


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


Have you considered pairing up with BioFormats, another free ware initiative, but from the open microscopy environment (OME) which is wide spread in the life sciences? If you'd use their file importer, scientists all over the world will be able to open their imaging documents and would probably provide a substantial boost to the user count!


Hi, that sounds interesting, I never heard of it! Could you please tell me more at ?


Does PhotoPea have a "content aware" (or similar) fill feature?


Hi, yes, we have it for a long time, check out this:


What’s the next project you want to work on?


I want to make a video editor.


Dude you are awesome! I just spent the last few days trying to get a decent cracked copy of Photoshop, and then this... nevermore! Thank you!

As for the AMA:

  1. I'm a web developer... can I ask what you coded this in, or what libraries/technologies, all WebGL? Very well done!
  2. How long did this take you to create? By yourself for the most part?

And a couple of things I noticed about the application:

  1. Hovering over menu items with submenus takes a little longer to show than I'd expect... would be nice if the hover reveal took half the time so we could navigate more efficiently.
  2. Right click on Layers box does nothing, but I was hoping it would show me a context menu to add a new layer, but maybe you didn't do that because that might be the only option that would appear ther, but maybe add an 'Add Layer' button on that panel?


Thanks a lot! I made Photopea with my own Javascript and CSS, I did not use any code from other people. It is not all WebGL. I think I invested about 10 000 hours into Photopea.

What do you mean by Right click on Layers box? Such menu depends on the tool, each tool may show something different. E.g. the Move tool shows you the list of layers under the mouse, so that you can switch to a different layer.


Quick question, have you ever thought about developing and iOS and Android app?


20% ouf our users are on Android, and 7% of users are on iOS, so I don't see any need for a separate native app.


Why would I choose your software over e.g. GIMP?


The UI and a style of work in Photopea and GIMP are quite different. It depends on what you prefer.

People often prefer Photopea over Gimp because of a PSD support (and related features). My goal was to unite all programs, you can open files from Photoshop, Gimp, Sketch, Pixlr ... in Photopea, or convert between them :)


Wow, that's amazing, congratulations! Is Photopea a full-time job for you right now? Also, are you working on anything else?


Thanks! Photopea is the only thing I work on in the last 2 years.


Hello Ivan!

I currently just use for something very simple image editing but I'm looking forward to giving your software a try.

My question isn't technically I'm nature, I will be in Prague around the first week of December. In your opinion, what are the non tourist things that I need to see? Is there a restaurant or bar or venue or activity that you feel captures the spirit of Prague?

I currently have plans to see the castle, etc... Also have booked a few tickets for classical music performances at the Rudolfinum. Looking forward to any suggestions you might have.

Thanks for doing this!


Hi, I would suggest regular sights and places, that are usually recommended :) In my opinion, a bit underrated places are Vyšehrad, Letná, Prague Zoo and a botanical garden next to it :)


Will it work with RAW files?


Yes, it supports DNG, CR2, NEF and ARW formats :)


Ever consider making a paid version I can deploy to my chrome OS users that's ad free?


Hi, I offer a so-called Distributor account, see here . Several schools are using it.


Oh damn did you make Photopea? Dude I use your editor all the time! I have made so many memes and other edits thanks to you! So yeah… thank you so much.

Now for my question: What is your favorite anime and if you have never watched any will you ever watch one?


Hey, thanks for using Photopea! :)

I did not watch that many animes. I really liked Death Note, Psycho-Pass and Attack on Titans.


What do you normally eat for breakfast?


I eat cereals with milk. And you?

.... this reminds me of how I met my girlfriend on Tinder.


Could you add a png creator (remove background)?


How do you deal with all the feature requests?


I solve them, one at a time :) Happy cake day!


lol it loads my 20Mb mobile UI PSD with 20 layer co ps correct 😱

you are a genius! will try a day of normal work on this. any chance this will turn into a desktop (non webapp) anytime? (loading large PSDs uploads them to your server first, right?)


Are you kidding? I used to open 300 MB PSDs in Photopea without any problems :D

There is a bug in Chrome, that does not let any website to use more than 4 GB of RAM. But if you have enough RAM and try Firefox, you should be able to open even several-GB PSDs.


Why don’t you buy a better laptop?


I guess I am too lazy. It takes several hours to choose and order a new laptop. Then, it takes several hours to move all your stuff to a new laptop and configure it. And my work on a new laptop may be slow, until I get used to it (keyboard, new OS, etc.).

Also, with my current "old" laptop, I can see the performance of Photopea for an average user, instead of seeing it work fast on my fancy laptop, while it would be slow for 99% of users.


Hi, I'm not sure if you're still answering questions or if this has already been answered, but my question is about data privacy.

Where is the data processed? Is it uploaded to a server with the processing occurring there? Or is the application discussed and loaded into the browser itself with all data staying local?

BTW, I've been playing around with the application and it seems quite fantastic. It even seems fast and responsive on mobile (hence my question about where the processing is occurring).


Hi, I know I'm a bit late :P does this have most of the tools Adobe has? Recently I have been using gimp which has alot of tools, although based on what I've heard about your software it sounds like it could be better


Just go to and see for yourself. It literally takes 2 seconds to get the editor in front of you, ready to be used :)

I do think that it is a better alternative to Adobe Photoshop than Gimp.


Hey, Im not skilled in photoshop and I use it only for basic stuff like croping images and reducing size etc so I am using photopea exclusively from moment I found out about it. It's amazing! Can you tell more about technologies that you used to develope it?


I use Notepad++ to write my Javascript :) But you can use even a regular Windows Notepad. Then, I reload my webpage in a browser and see the result :)


This is a dumb question but would I be able to use this for digital art or is this strictly for editing things? I got a Wacom tablet a couple years ago that came with Corel for free and I have been dying for a good replacement that isn’t crazy expensive


Hi, yes, try drawing in Photopea with a tablet and if you have any problems, just let us know :)


What did you choose to market your product?


I never invested any money into marketing. I was writing posts in various forums, comments under related articles, replying to tweets, spamming every discussion.

But I think the biggest effect was from people and news sites, who shared it with each other. Of course, it took years.


Any CMYK support?


You can open CMYK files in Photopea and they will be converted into RGB. Once you send the RGB to the printer, the printer will convert it back to CMYK for the printing purposes :)


What's Ivanhoe?


That is a word that comes to my mind when I try to come up with a nickname quickly.

It is a novel by Walter Scott.


Is it compatible with touch screen tablets?


Many people use Photopea with a touchscreen only. But some featuers are available only at the right-click. Keyboard shortcuts can also simplify many things.


Hi u/ivanhoe90 Our CG school in Australia are looking to abandon photoshop. Due to the difficulties of costs in getting licenses for, all the PC's across our multiple campuses Photopea is great! I use it for a lot of game jams, and I recommend it to my students. and when I am on a PC that doesn't have photoshop I can always rely on photopea.

One of the major elements we are stuck on, that sticks us to other photo editing software. is having the ability to Texture Pack into the RGB channels and have access to Alpha channel. If you were to look into this for a future feature. I think you will have cornered the market, and you will instantly win over the VFX studios and Game development studios. including (schools like the one I work for).

My question is are you looking into including RGB + A editing in future releases of PhotoPea?

Thanks for making such an epic program. keep up the Stella effort. thanks for doing the IAmA.


Hi, thanks! I am not familiar with what you are suggesting :/ could you please tell us more at ?


As a user of many many “alternatives to Photoshop”, the biggest problem I find is all these softwares are more alternatives to Lightroom than PS.

Does your software allow you to stack layers, blend layers, do layer masking, advanced layer masking, liquify pixels, luminosity masking, precise cloning and pixel adjusting, clean skin retouching, make pen selections, keystoning and distortion correction, and frequency separation?

These are the type of pixel manipulation that photographers relying on PS use day in and day out that very few alternatives do well. I’ve used Darktable, Alienskin Exposure, Capture One, Luminar, and at least 5 others and none of them come close to replacing Photoshop but do give Lightroom a run for its money.


Hi, I think Photopea supports all that. I encourage you to try it yourself! Just go to and wait 2 seconds until it loads :)


Do you offer an ad free solution for school districts? I know you can purchase an ad free account but that would be difficult to do for thousands of students and then we also have to deal wth coppa and cipa laws. Any chance of saml authentication coming or a self hosted server we could run internally?


Hi, yes, I do provide a Distributor account and a self-hosted account, see


obviously your work shows the mastery you have over programming and ui and graphics in general

my question is how did you learn to code like that?

what languages have you mastered and what learning plan do you recommend to someone who is 21 and starting web development


Hi, I started to study computer science at a university when I was 18. I was quite good at Math my whole life :) I think that a programming language is the least important thing in programming. I woulld recommend you to study computer science in general. I think I would never be able to learn all I know, if I was self-studying.


You are awesome 👏. Used your site many times. I was wondering if I have a PSD or Sketch file of a design (e.g a business card ) can I use the site to update the text in some layers through an API from my server? Like automating design process.


Hi, I guess you can, look at our API and scripting and see if it is possible.

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Other Interviews
November 6th 2018