Looking to hear from designers that have canceled their Adobe subscriptions - what software do you use (besides. Sketch/Figma)? I would need an alternative to Photoshop & Indesign
Affinity Designer is a pretty adequate replacement for Illustrator in my opinion. Also hearing good things about Affinity Photo.
Love Designer, easily reproduces 95% Illustrator does for a fraction of the cost and super fast. I'm also a Pixelmator stalwart for bitmap editing!
Plus it appears the fine creators of Pixelmator have a UI design app in the works (maybe? not sure exactly what they're cooking):
Graphique? by Pixelmator Team
I've cancelled my Adobe subscriptions and use these apps that are either free or don't cost nearly as much as a subscription to Adobe would:
- Sketch -> UI design (my only subscription)
- Affinity Designer -> Illustrator replacement
- Affinity Photo -> Photoshop replacement
- Hitfilm 4 Express -> After Effects replacement
- Pixave -> Bridge replacement
- Google Fonts -> Typekit replacement ... sorta :)
I didn't know about Hitfilm 4 Express. It's good for motion graphics?
I actually really like Fontstand as a Typekit replacement. It's subscription too but only for the fonts you use.
This is amazing for demo'ing fonts... thank you for this resource!
Don't forget Pixelmator!
I'm pretty similar although I never bothered renewing my Sketch license and just use Affinity Designer. I prefer the speed and workflow of AD and honestly believe most people don't realise how powerful it really is.
I heard that the Affinity Team are also creating a Bridge style app which would be handy. I currently use Pixa with linked folders that are in my Google Drive so it works like a makeshift Adobe Cloud for assets.
Agreed—once Affinity gets scripting support or a dev handoff integration I'll be very tempted to use it full time.
Nothing comes close to InDesign (so far).
which is exactly what folks that used to use Quark Express said ;)
Wouldn't surprise me at all if Affinity Publisher and Serif do a decent job.... Adobe has done pretty well for a VERY long time as essentially a monopoly. And while I love using photoshop, I do love an underdog. and I'm betting some of these companies are gonna enjoy a lot of success from folks that are sick of using adobe products at adobe prices....
I for one have switched over all my UI work now to Figma.. am going to be doing the same for my web design mockups as well... after using Figma for the past few weeks full time etc, It's changed the way I look at things...absolutely amazing program :)
And that is why I wrote so far.
InDesign is still the champ for print design and although I'm happy to see Affinity trying to take down Goliath, "decent" software doesn't cut it for a lot of users.
Try sending a non-adobe file off for commercial pre-press and print, and see how well any of the non-adobe products go ;)
Pro tip: Not well
you can get around it some ways I suppose, by converting everything to vector (if possible)
but yeah...for pre-press/print...you're right.....'not well' is almost an understatement ;)
I worked as a prepress operator for a few years in a commercial large format digital printing factory - we were pretty strict with file type submission. There were more than a few times I had to slowly explain to home-based designers that by not using Adobe products out of ideology or cost-saving reasons meant they were severely hampering their ability to deliver finished products.
I've been through something like that myself.
I was doing some freebie work for an activist group/newsletter etc that my brother-in-law was working with at the time. Some young kid on that team got the bright idea that we should eschew all connections with corporate programs like Adobe etc...and only work using free or open-source programs...'gimp' and the like.
I told my brother-in-law, look.... i'm doing this work for free dude....and I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time explaining why i use certain programs etc...especially not to some kid that doesn't know the first thing about design. If he has a problem with my using Photoshop or anything else, he's welcome to do the work himself. which he can't. he's an idiot.
long story short, i did the work, they were happy, and I haven't heard about the kid in a long time..
as for printing and pre-press...you're absolutely right.
you can't show up to a printers and say 'hey...can you print this thing? it's a (make up a weird file format) and I need it made into a billboard and a magazine ad for tomorrow...
on the other hand, you 'can' use some different programs, create a vector work, and save it as .eps and be reasonably sure things will work out ok (so long as you understand CMYK vs RGB etc...
And Photoshop too, for photo editing.
Framer has been on a streak lately, adding the ability to do some UI design in Framer Studio with about the same level of tooling as Adobe Xd. Depends on the work you're doing with Photoshop, of course.
Been pretty happy with the progress Affinity Designer is making on Windows now - it's definitely my go-to tool for a lot of web layout/UI stuff since Sketch isn't an option.
I still have the full CC subscription but to be honest now I think about it, I use Photoshop for some small scale stuff and not really much else so potentially it's time to cut the cord.
Yep. Give Affinity Photo a run for that current Photoshop work.
Additionally, I'd love to hear if anyone has photography-related alternatives!
Lightroom 5 is still available for one-time purchase, but I'm not crazy about paying $150 for software that is 3 or 4 years old.
I've heard some good things about Capture One Pro. Does anyone here have experience with it or an alternative?
I just started using Capture One for my photography, and I really like it. It has a steeper learning curve than Lightroom, but the quality is much better, and I think the capabilities are greater. I do still go into Photoshop if I need to manipulate the photo, but that could be replaced by Pixelmator or Affinity Photo.
Photoshop has many alternatives with different feature-sets, but InDesign is a little more difficult to replace. Affinity Designer looks like it has some print-specific features, but I doubt that it does everything you might need InDesign to do.
Affinity is working on Affinity Publisher with a beta due out this year. If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you'll see the info: https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/about/
Serif is developing an InDesign competitor called Publisher (last Point on this site). So just wait a little bit longer and you can ditch InDesign as well.
For photography: Affinity Photo is quiet good and very affordable, but definitely closer to Photoshop than Lightroom. As a Lightroom user I've yet to find an alternative, so the $10 CC subscription (Photoshop and Lightroom) is a good cheaper alternative to the full one. My main issue with finding alternatives to Lightroom is that most of the filter providers, and camera companies like Fuji and Mastin Labs / Vsco only have presets and profiles for Lightroom...
I'm wondering if Sketch would work for really basic print-stuff too? (Mainly rollups etc).
Probably not, it doesn't have many of the print-specific options you would find in InDesign.
true...'however' i do know of atleast one dude that created a full-sized poster using Sketch. Didn't turn out that shabby either. certainly not the tool I would have used, but it was all the guy had etc...
Completely true. Things like bleed settings etc wouldn't obviously work.
Can you even set non-pixel dimensions in Sketch?
I've used Sketch for creating print posters before.
Here's a good Medium article I used as reference: https://medium.com/sketch-tricks/sketch-for-print-design-fd165b92cb3a
Indesign has no real competitor. Similar is CorelDraw but I can't recommend it.
Photoshop has tons of replacements for interface design. Best are Affinity and Sketch.
Sketch can also deal with some simple vector icons…
I left Adobe behind years ago and don't miss it one bit. My stack:
- Sketch for UI design
- Affinity Designer for vector drawing
- Pixelmator for bitmap editing
I do still have a Typekit subscription, but that's independent of Adobe CC. RIP Ember née LittleSnapper, so I'm using Pixave now, which is solid but not as polished.
EDIT: Forgot to mention I've been using Affinity Designer for all my print work. I know they're working on a proper InDesign competitor (called Publisher, I believe), but unless you're doing a book or newspaper, Designer will handle most anything a typical graphic designer needs to handle (Letter, A4, biz cards, posters & signage, etc.)
Would Affinity Designer manage print-specific things like bleed settings and stuff like that too?
yes. has bleed settings and upon pdf export you can set things like printers' marks
I guess it depends on what you work. Working as a UI Designer I could live without Adobe and get by just using Sketch, Affinity Designer (For occasional logo and icon design) and Affinity Photo. However, working as a Brand Id. Designer I kinda missed mockups and some features on Illustrator that really make my life easier when designing more complex identity systems. I don't usually use inDesign, so I don't know any valuable alternatives. Good luck :)
Quark is the only alternative to InDesign at the moment and despite some of my annoyances at InDesign and long document layouts, Quark is 1000 times worse. I'd rather use MS Paint to layout print pieces then use Quark. Since you can't replace InDesign you might as well keep using Adobe CC. Why not make the most of it and learn new skill using After Effects, Premiere Pro, or Audition?