Although Adobe Creative Cloud is the industry standard, we realise that not everyone is going to have access to the Adobe suite of tools. Here are a few alternative programs for you to try as an alternative.
Please note: we cannot offer support in these programmes or apps.
Photoshop & Image Editing
Pixlr – Free
The interface on Pixlr is easy to pick up if you’re already familiar with Adobe software. Plus it offers some pretty advanced editing tools such as AI-driven background removal. It is available on iOS and Android, on desktops, tablets and smartphones, or it can be used as a web app. So there’s something for everybody.
GIMP – Free
The original alternative to Photoshop made for designers, GIMP is a powerful contender in the image editing world. It can open Photoshop files, with limitations of course, but useful if you were previously using PSD files. It can also support common file types such as JPEG (JFIF), GIF, PNG and TIFF. As it’s open-source there’s a wealth of GIMP tutorials and information to help you get started.
General Graphic Design
Canva – Free with paid options
With literally thousands of templates from social media, to presentations and workbooks to flyers and infographics, and a well-stocked image library – there’s something in Canva for every graphic design project. Available for iOS, Android and a web app, the interface is seamless and intuitive. There is also a paid version which gives you the opportunity to create a brand kit and upload your own fonts and logos. It also integrates really well with social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc for making good looking graphics to post on the go.
Scribus – Free
A common alternative to InDesign is Scribus, an open-source desktop publishing programme. As well as professional page layout, it also has many unexpected touches, such as powerful vector drawing tools, support for a huge number of file types via import/export filters, even emulation of colour blindness. It has it’s own ‘Scribus-wiki so there’s plenty of learning support.
InkScape – Free
A popular alternative to Illustrator, Inkscape supports many advanced features that you don’t often find elsewhere, including alpha blending, cloned objects and markers. It runs SVGs as its native format on both Mac and Windows, perfect for creating intricate vector files.
Vectr – Free
If you are looking for a simple programme for creating 2D vector graphics, Vectr could be your answer. Available as a browser web app and as a desktop app, it has all of the vector features expected, plus other options for using filters, shadows and fonts for example. Vectr is definitely suitable for everyday vector design tasks.
Premiere & Video Editing
Davinci Resolve – Free with a paid option
Premiere Pro alternative, the sleek and intuitive DaVinci Resolve, is a professional video editing tool for Mac and Windows, that’s so good that it’s used on big-budget film and TV productions. The free option will give you plenty of scope to cut and edit your films. If you do decide to purchase the full version, it’s a one-off fee, rather than subscription-based like Adobe, making it very economical in the long-term.
Filmora9 – Free trial version with a paid option
The useful part of Filmora is the green screening effects you can take advantage of. If you think video editing is going to be something worth investing in, you can pay a one-off fee of $69.99 which also includes a stock video library. Available for Mac & Windows.
Blender – Free
AfterEffects is a pretty niche product but if you use some of the Premiere alternative options as outlined above, along with Blender, you will be able to achieve some really great results for your videos. Blender is a free, open-source platform for Mac and Windows. Its tools include a 3D creation suite that supports the 3D pipeline, modelling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, as well as motion tracking, video editing, and game creation.
Affinity – Paid with trial versions
Something I discovered whilst researching this article is the Affinity suite of tools:
- Affinity Photo – an alternative to Photoshop
- Affinity Designer – an alternative to Illustrator
- Affinity Publisher – an alternative to InDesign
Whilst they aren’t free, you pay a relatively cheap one-off fee. The reviews of these apps so far have been great so they are definitely worth checking out. They support all of the usual file formats plus the Adobe ones, are available for Mac and Windows with an iOS app available too. They work seamlessly together and are definitely a contender to Adobe tools. I’ll definitely be exploring them more.
Whilst this isn’t a comprehensive list, there are many more apps to be discovered and explored. And ultimately, if you are planning to enter the creative industries professional, you will still need basic Adobe CC skills.
As always, the technical team are here for you, so get in contact with your Adobe CC related queries. Email me, Georgie, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, I’d love to hear what other apps you’ve discovered or Adobe tutorials you would find useful.