Brendan Dawes
Analogue + Digital

Adobe Alternatives

No longer will you find Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator on any of the Macs I use. You will find Premiere but that's only kept around in case I need to load an old project. After twenty three years of using Adobe products in a professional capacity, I've now moved away from them as a company as I find there subscription model not something I can partake in, especially when they can suddenly decide to switch off older versions of the CS suite, making those programs you might use everyday useless — unless you stump up more money.

So what are the alternatives that I now use in place of these usual go to pieces of software? Well here's the three I now use that have replaced my core Adobe use of Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere, and even After Effects.

To replace Photoshop and Illustrator I turned to Affinity Photo and Designer. They can both open PSD and AI files and can also export PSD files, in case you need to share stuff to someone using Photoshop. The In Painting Brush Tool is really amazing, especially as someone who was brought up using the clone tool to brush out blemishes and the like. This thing seems to work like magic. I love the art boards in Designer — much better than the system Illustrator used in my opinion. I've also tried Photo with really big PSB files and it opened them without a problem, and operations were very fast too. Both of these are really stable and feel very slick. Working with masks in OpenEXR files is a little clunky but once you get used to it it's fine. I have to say I don't miss Photoshop or Illustrator.

For my Premiere replacement I turned to HitFilm Express. Yeah, this is the free version, and let me tell you for the majority of what you need for editing video, it's a beautiful thing. I've composited 4K footage together, from an image sequence, for a commercial piece of work and it didn't event blink. Didn't crash once. The export options are very intuitive and the effects and adjustments work equally well. It's a real joy to use and again feels so slick. Be sure to also check out all the tutorials they do to see the quality this thing can produce.

These are my main three I use on a regular basis. I don't use InDesign but apparently everyone is raving about Affinity Publisher which has crazy good integration with their other products.

I'm now subscription free and in full control of the software I use everyday. Feels good.