Adobe shocked many in May 2013 when they moved from selling retail box software to their ‘Creative Cloud’ monthly subscription model costing £46 per month for individuals – that’s over £550 per year. Currently CS6 sells for around £1200, so that’s equivalent to buying the software every two years VIDEOMARK. Many people will skip several releases if there are no tangible benefits, or simply because of the cost. So what alternatives are there?
Adobe products cover a wide variety of disciplines – web design, image and video editing, design and layout and DVD authoring to name but a few. The best way to break this down is to look at like-for-like replacements. There are some products that will be difficult to replace; for example, if you use Dreamweaver’s templates to design a single file that maintains the look and feel across a website then moving to an alternative HTML editor will be problematic.
Let’s take a look at the key products:
Alternatives to Adobe PhotoShop
For many years PhotoShop has been the leading image editing package, but there are plenty of free or paid for alternatives. Corel has several in its portfolio to meet most needs. Paintshop Pro, at around £50 is the entry level. Painter takes it up a notch, and also supports PhotoShop files, but at £219 starts to get pricey. The CorelDraw Suite includes Corel PhotoPAINT, which is an incredibly powerful alternative. It has all of the main features that you’ll generally use, along with a plethora of of filters. The Smart Carver allows you to easily remove unwanted areas from photos and also adjust the photo’s aspect ratio. As a complete package the CorelDraw Suite offers a formidable arsenal of tools, but at £479 it’s not cheap either. Corel’s Painter takes things up a notch, with native Photoshop file support and excellent brush control, so if you are serious about ‘digital painting’ rather than just basic image manipulation then this with consideration. At the time of writing Corel and bundling Painter as a free inclusion with CorelDraw suite – normally it’d set you back £275 alone.
Corel PaintShop Pro is their third image editing solution at a more pocket-friendly £60. It doesn’t have the steep learning curve of the previous packages, so would be suitable for beginners and intermediates alike. It comes with all of the usual filters that you’re likely to want, such as Artistic, Film Styles, Black & White and Landscape. A range of ‘makeover tools’ allow for easy removal of blemishes, wrinkes and red-eye, and photo restoration tools such as scratch removal, cloning and fade correction cover just about all of the correction tools that day to day users are likely to want.
Outside of the Corel fold there are still several options. The open source GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) has a rather unorthodox interface for many, but its well supported and of course free. Paint.net is another free alternative and prides itself on performing well, even on lower spec computers, and has an interface not disimillar to Photoshop.
Alternatives to Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe’s flagship video editing package has ruled the roost on PCs for some time. Apple users have been loyal to Final Cut Pro, but version X was too dumbed down for many, causing a mass exodus to alternative products. Sony Vegas did very well out of that! Vegas is Sony’s higher end product, costing around £400, however their entry level product, Movie Studio retails for around £60. I wanted to get as like for like comparison as I could for the most reasonable price. After lengthy comparisons I took a look at Corel VideoStudio X6 Ultimate. In addition to the now standard features of titling and motion tracking it now includes a plethora of new features, such as support for Ultra high Definition 4k footage editing, a very powerful titling system including the renowned Boris Graffiti system, and the ability to produce content for Blu-ray, DVD and the latest range of smartphones and tablets. It’s more socially aware too, with the ability to upload to Facebook or YouTube. You can even create stop motion photography by linking in a DSLR camera. Using the software was pretty intuitive, and Corel has produced a library of videos on all major tutorials for those that don’t want to wade through a manual.