Replacements for Adobe apps

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I’m reminded of when I tried to quit Office. The replacements were…like uncanny valley. Just close enough, and far enough away, to be truly annoying.

Interested in some reviews of/insights about the replacements for Adobe…


@beschizza Some of those apps (e.g., GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus) are pay nothing apps: they’re FOSS.


There’s a color-coding for that (the whole word could have been colored for easier visual identification though)


Oh! Yes, you are right. Those bullet points are pretty subtle though (also: green vs yellow! Yeesh!), and I agree that the whole name should have been changed to make it more apparent.


or just put a $$$ only by the ones that cost money…works better for color-blind that way.


Capture One Pro should be included in the Lightroom replacement list. It is a very serious competitor. I switched as soon as Adobe went subscription-only and don’t regret that decision. It’s not quite as easy to use, but it is more powerful than Lightroom in many ways (better color control & layers come to mind).


I’m not sure I want something called “Fire Alpaca” on my computer, but even more sure I don’t want it in my zodiac…


My biggest problem is that lots of publishing vendors will only accept certain file types, and we can’t be certain of any conversions. When publishing a magazine or our books, we can’t afford any delays with conversion issues or problems with vendors reading the files. Our company will always beholden to Adobe, and can’t get away from them.


Scribus as a replacement for InDesign is truly annoying, in a way that reflects badly on me.

Scribus isn’t all that bad, but the workflow that you follow is completely inside-out from the way InDesign works. Instead of setting text visually, you have to apply paragraph styles. This has the impact of enforcing best practices, but the effect is kinda like programming in Pascal.


Most of these programs will export to industry-standard formats, like PDF, MS Word, or ePub (which may not be open formats, but that’s a different discussion). I suspect you can still work with most publishers without an .indd file.


Paint Shop Pro is another one-time payment program that covers a lot of graphic creating and editing tasks, ala GIMP. I use it all the time, tho it’s never been quite the same since the original creators JASC sold it to Corel.

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Sketch deserves a mention. Sketch gives you 2 years of updates for $50 and works forever after that, though not always compatibly with the modern version. It’s a totally reasonable price point for a workhorse of digital design.


As someone has already said, Capture One by Phase One is an excellent commercial replacement for Lightroom, and in my experience will usually produce superior image quality. Another commercial option is DxO PhotoLab 2 which provides autocorrection of lens/sensor aberrations (if the combination is in their enormous database), but you may need Affinity Photo for final image manipulation. DxO bought the Nik Photoshop plugins from Google, and have tried to implement the superb U-Point interface in PhotoLab, but it’s pretty clunky compared to the plugins.

If you don’t want to spend too much money, and want the fit-and-finish of a commercial product (FOSS software often has loads of horsepower, but a user interface from Hell: three accelerator pedals, five brakes, and two gearshifts, and the speedometer is calibrated in ancient Icelandic ells per second), then look at Luminar from Skylum (demo available), which is available for both macOS and Windows.


Yeah, probably could switch. But would also mean re-training, and changing out our workflow. But I’m stuck by decisions made by others :slight_smile:

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It definitely went downhill when Corel bought it. I used it all the time before that, but with the changes Corel introduced (they merged it with their own already-extant and inferior paint program) it immediately started to go downhill. Within two versions I found it unusable and went elsewhere.

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None of the alternatives to Photoshop are complete enough to compete with it. What you have to do is exchange one single software in a workflow to many, each one doing bits of what you need. So the workflow gets annoying and time consuming. I have tried every “alternative to Photoshop” in the market for the past 2 decades, online, offline, app, software and nothing really works efficiently as a replacement.

Inkscape is a great free alternative to Illustrator, created by designers with designers on their team of collaborators.

Canva is great for quick web content and amateur design, but no way in hell it substitutes Indesign for book and magazine editoring!

I also missed Sketch as a tool that the majority of designers use nowadays for web content.

Dreamweaver needs to die a painful death because it creates crappy websites with lots of garbage code. Any decent text coder plus Github is better.

I would absolutely go with Clip Studio for illustrators and animators.

I could talk about this all day, lemme shut up.


Interesting how many of the free ones are online services. That seems… problematic.

It seems to be complicated by the fact that some of the software is both free and single purchase. (In one case, seemingly for the same software…) The yellow/green was a mistake, though.


My “replacement” for the apps is a late 2012 iMac that will not be upgraded past Yosemite OS as I am still doing fine with InDesign CS4.
I don’t really do enough work anymore to justify paying for the new InDesign.
Just a few magazines a year now and I need to update them occasionally.

No MS Paint. Incomplete.

(I’ll stick with Deluxe Paint II)