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I am very impressed by the productivity benefits of Photoshop 2018's "Select Subject" functionality. I probably spend a few hours a month doing this the hard way using the standard select.

But I would prefer to not signup to Photoshop's Software as a Service model to get this functionality. Are there other programs with similar intelligent selection functionality that can be had for a one off payment or are free?

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    I'm going to say no, there is not. It's features like that that are the reason PS costs as much as it does. You can select a subject with GIMP, but it takes a lot of work and isn't a "single click" feature like PS's select subject. – Scribblemacher Jul 18 '18 at 12:18
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I don't believe currently any of the alternatives have this feature as it is brand new. There are other tools on the market such as On1 and Affinity Photo with some of the other advanced selection tools that make it a bit easier but Photoshop is the first to have a straight up AI powered select subject feature.

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