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Alternatives To Adobe's Creative Suite?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the sure-the-gimp-has-a-plugin dept.

Software 695

jsepeta writes "I've been using Adobe products for years, and own several older versions of the products from their Creative Suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Acrobat Pro, and Dreamweaver. I'd like to teach some graphic design and web production skills to my coworkers in the marketing department, and realize that most of them can't afford $2500 to buy Adobe's premium suite and, frankly, shouldn't need to because there should be competitive products on the market. But I can't seem to locate software for graphic design and printing that outputs CMYK files that printing companies will accept. And I'm not familiar with any products that are better than FrontPage yet still easy to use for Web design. Any suggestions? Our company is notoriously frugal and would certainly entertain the idea of using open source products if we could implement them in a way that doesn't infringe upon our Microsoft-centric hegemony / daily work tasks in XP."

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just pirate it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392389)

You can download Adone's Creative Suite here [] .

Re:just pirate it (2, Informative)

Lars83 (901821) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392395)

Yeah, pirated software is really appropriate for education....

How 'bout GIMP [] ?

Re:just pirate it (2, Informative)

kinaole (261317) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392433)

In addition to the gimp (linux / mac / win ) ... check out scribus [] which does a pretty good job of reproducing most of what indesign does, and is quite stable.

Scribus (4, Informative)

The Rizz (1319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392515)

I tried Scribus about a year ago, and it was nowhere near as good as InDesign or QuarkXpress. It included only the most basic features, and even lacked some of those. Also, it was far from a professional-level interface - I had a hard time finding the functions I needed, and the interface was far from intuitive. I would put it maybe on par with MS Publisher, but it was nowhere near being in the same class as InDesign and QuarkXpress.

Re:Scribus (3, Informative)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392557)

You might try it again. That's one project which seems to move along quite quickly.

Re:just pirate it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392435)

Re:just pirate it (2, Interesting)

Hendronicus (874834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392785)

Don't you mean [] Anyway, Paint.NET is a good program.

GIMP = low investment, great productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392613)

GIMP helped me start web design. I'm generating revenue with a photography site that started out as a mere hobby, and GIMP was used to edit every picture. I've cropped, stitched, layered, made use of transparency, and edited these photos with some pretty satisfactory results. It's a great way to accomplish digital image manipulation without having to risk most other initial monetary investments.

arrrr (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392583)

My dad was a programmer and thanks to pirates like you now he give homeless men blowjobs on the street in broad daylight for crack and meth. You ruined his life!

They (0, Offtopic)

Disharmony2012 (998431) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392391)

have not switched to Vista yet? =O

Well... (4, Informative)

Raven737 (1084619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392421)

CMYK support for The GIMP []

To make things easier- (5, Insightful)

JContad (1088777) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392651)

1.) Someone suggests an open source alternative to [graphics-editor/word-processor/audio-management]

2.) Someone comments on the sheer mediocrity of aforementioned $ALTERNATIVE.


a. Someone brings up $ALTERNATIVE good points


b. Someone disses $LEADING_PRODUCT's management, pricing system, ethics, etc.

4.) Someone mentions that aforementioned is irrelevant to the quality of the $LEADING_PRODUCT, then complains more about $ALTERNATIVE

5.) Someone runs out of retorts, says "Go code it for yourself."

6.) Someone comments on how they had sessions of lengthy, drawn-out fornication with your mother; alternatively, your sexual preference.

the GIMP (0)

GrapeSteinbeck (970275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392427)

The Gimp [] is one of the best image manipulators out there. It has drawbacks of not having the user-base of Photo$hop, but it is highly adjustable and modifiable to fit most needs. Plus it's free, and open-sourced.

Wait... (4, Funny)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392437)

You mean people actually buy photoshop?

Re:Wait... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392483)

Some one has to pay for the software in order to cover the cost of development so everyone else can pirate. I have licenses for all my software. It doesn't make me stupid just legit.

Re:Wait... (4, Funny)

Crayon Kid (700279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392693)

Now now, don't put yourself down, it's perfectly possible to be both!

Let's all suggest the Gimp... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392445)

...the only open source raster graphics program we know.

The one that doesn't support more than 8 bits per channel.

The one that doesn't support anything other than RGB, indexed, and grayscale modes for images.

The one that doesn't have adjustment layers.


Re:Let's all suggest the Gimp... (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392509)

beats the hell out of paint

Re:Let's all suggest the Gimp... (2, Informative)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392589)

The one that doesn't support more than 8 bits per channel.

Oh yeah? []

Re:Let's all suggest the Gimp... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392761)

Cinepaint does not do what Photoshop or even Gimp 2.x does, it's being changed to do mostly video pic manipulation, not all raster pics.

no alternative (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392459)

I'll get flamed to a crisp for this but there's no alternative to photoshop. Gimp is clumsy and underpowered.

Re:no alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392493)

I'll come out and agree. I do graphic work a decent bit, and the GIMP is a mess. It's powerful enough for most tasks, but for advanced editing it falls short and the interface is awkward. I'm not really a big fan of the default Photoshop interface, so GIMPshop doesn't help much. GIMP needs a cleanup. :|

Re:no alternative (0)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392779)

Maybe it's good for people who "do graphics work a decent bit", but Photoshop absolutely sucks for programmers who want to draw some icons and artwork. Undo is limited to ridiculously low number of operations. Layer styles produce ridiculous results on common images and randomly refuse to work with different layer types. Simple things take forever to complete. Gimp still has a learning curve but also features logical design that appeals to programmers.

Re:no alternative (3, Informative)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392553)


it's good for limited stuff and for getting started, but you hit the barrier after a while. there's too much stuff that's too hard/clumsy/hacky in gimp.

I wish there is no alternative (2, Funny)

XPitrM (919507) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392563)

I really hope anyone feeling the urgent need to do marketing for money will have to pay $2500 before being able to do it, frankly.

Re:no alternative (4, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392597)

I'll get flamed to a crisp for this but there's no alternative to photoshop. Gimp is clumsy and underpowered.

Get flamed for bashing gimp on /.? I doubt it.

Gimp is an alternative for photoshop in much the same way Openoffice is an alternative to MSoffice or linux is an alternative to OS X.

It depends on the job at hand. Sometimes the OSS tool is better for the job, at other times the proprietary tool is better for the job.

Re:no alternative (4, Insightful)

trisweb (690296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392625)

This one really is a no-brainer -- you get what you pay for. Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, etc. etc. are best-of-breed pieces of software. They're actually quite good, and probably worth the exorbitant license fees you will pay in productivity improvement, quality of output, employee frustration (lessened), support, usability, compatibility, you name it. They're standard for a reason, and Adobe is a fairly good company in that they haven't taken that for granted.

Re:no alternative (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392825)

I agree, if you're seriously using these tools there's just no free equivalent. I know I don't need them, but a friend of mine that's using them but at the same time is interested in Linux looked at the possibile alternatives. His conclusion was that there just wasn't anything close. It's an unfortunate reality of how the market works - if free isn't good enough, there's not much for commercial alternatives.

As for teaching - if you're training them to be dabblers who won't ever afford the tools, go with whatever you can find. If you're training them to be professionals, go with the tool you know to teach amd figure that if they're serious about it, they'll find a way. Print shops certainly take other things than CMYK, or find a tool to convert. No, it won't look as good as a professional tool that's properly calibrated where you'll see what you actually end up with in print. But then again if they need that, they're "pro" enough they should find a way to pay for what they need (maybe they don't need the full suite?). After all, if you take a look at their rates you should get a pretty good idea of how many hours of productivity they could spent extra to learn something else. Usually that's not many hours at all. Particularly if they have a Photoshop guru they can ask for advice when they're stuck.

Re:no alternative (1)

ColeonyxOnline (966334) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392685)

Gimp is clumsy and underpowered.
Not sure about being clumsy and underpowered. I think most graphics designers skills are not in the area of computer software. They learn a tool and for most, that's it. In some cases, it is just too hard to learn something from scratch so Gimp is not even an alternative, unless it emulates 90% of everything that Photoshop does.

Re:no alternative (2, Interesting)

gullevek (174152) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392703)

It's horrible slow. At least on Mac. In Photoshop you can actually edit, move around curves and see the result live, in Gimp you can literally see how the screen builds up. And I talk about a G5 2.5 PowerMac with more than enough RAM ...

I invested in Photoshop at the end, and there is no way back at the moment.

Re:no alternative (5, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392719)

"I've been using Adobe products for years, and own several older versions of the products from their Creative Suite."

You've said it yourself, use older versions. Your marketing colleagues don't need the most recent versions. On ebay, you could probably pick up a few training videos and training manuals real cheap too, since the training stuff for old software loses its value as quickly -- if not quicker -- than the software it supports.

If the cost is still prohibitive, you could probably buy an old PC (or an old Mac), and have your coworkers share the station whenever they need to use the software. That's the thing with this kind of software, since it's not their primary job to do graphic design -- they may not all need to use the same graphic design software at the same time.

I realize you may just be looking for a place to complain, and perhaps my unsympathetic suggestions were not what you were looking for, but really -- look around some other businesses -- many businesses are still using Windows 98 -- and they're doing fine.

Re:no alternative (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392757)

There are a *lot* of gimp users that I know of that would switch 100% to PhotoShop if it was released on Linux, gimp is only used to avoid switching back to windows. $2500 is not much compared to a salary. I also aggree with some of the above comments. For a large majorty of people Gimp would be fine as they don't use any of the photoshop fetures anyway.

Best replacements for Dreamweaver (0, Troll)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392461)

You can replace Dreamweaver with the following superior Web Development applications:

  • Notepad
  • vi
  • Emacs
  • nano
  • edit.exe
  • Notepad

The list goes on, but my fingers got tired.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (1)

n0w0rries (832057) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392467)

Bah, just give me EDLIN.EXE

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (1)

GrapeSteinbeck (970275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392489)

So it seems that good coding and a good gui is in order: try amaya []

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (1)

absent_speaker (905145) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392497)

When referencing front page, I think he is looking for a good WYSIWYG type editor - not something that can only be used by someone who already knows how to code.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392545)

People that don't understand HTML and CSS shouldn't to webdesign in the first place.
If you want to learn webdesign you should learn to design webpages, not learn how to use a program.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (4, Insightful)

trisweb (690296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392647)

Hm, that's slightly ignorant -- in that case, shouldn't they be designing web pages and not coding them? Don't get me wrong, I agree with you, but seriously--designers will be designers, some will work best in a WYSIWYG environment where design--not code--is the focus. I would say these people should learn as quickly as possible how to code the designs they make that way, but for some, they really are most interested in the design. Good design tools like Dreamweaver that allow you to ignore the code in most cases are fairly good for that purpose.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (2, Insightful)

Crayon Kid (700279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392661)

We can't all be web designers. Besides, I thought one of Web's strongest points was freedom of expression. Gotta lower the technical bar if you really want anybody to be able to express themselves on the Web.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392807)


Of course that sets the technical bar so low a world champion limbo dancer couldn't get under it.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (2, Insightful)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392679)

"People that don't understand HTML and CSS shouldn't to webdesign in the first place."

Why should someone learn to program HTML just to make a webpage? With a WYSIWYG editor, it's unnecessary. Sure, those editors don't make the most beautiful code, but it's HTML for God's sake!

I think that statement's equivalent to saying someone shouldn't make documents unless they learn LaTeX, or should only use a computer if they know the command line - but then there are probably people who believe that too.

I think that some people have an overinflated sense of their own importance... but good for you if you know HTML.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (2, Informative)

prockcore (543967) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392749)

Why should someone learn to program HTML just to make a webpage?

They don't.. but if they want to make a dynamic webpage, for a company, for money, they better know HTML. When a page is dynamic, the page needs to be designed with that in mind. You're not designing a flyer, you're designing something that can change drastically depending on what flows into it.

Basically, a web designer who doesn't know html is going to have a hard time finding a job.

Re:Best replaceme....Re: I HATE NOTEPAD-OPHILES (1, Interesting)

Cheesemold (882389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392731)

"People that don't understand HTML and CSS shouldn't to webdesign in the first place."

Well, that's what WYSIWYG web development programs are for. There's no reason to go through hand-coding a site just in spite of an expensive package that does it for you. People that develop sites for a living don't need to go through that nonsense on every single project. What's better use of time? Typing six lines of code over and over again for some element on a page, or clicking a few times and dragging it right to where you want it?

"If you want to learn webdesign you should learn to design webpages, not learn how to use a program."

The act of designing a web page is different from actually coding it. When typing out all that code, the site should already be designed, otherwise you'd have no basis from which to code.

Using only Notepad to make a site doesn't make sense on any level. Would you use it to make your image files as well? After all-- it would offer the deepest level of control over your image content. Hell, test it in your own W3 compliant web-browser that you compiled by hand in Notepad.

The level of specialized training for any of these tasks are obviously all too redundant and useless compared to getting the software, any software, and focusing on the design of your project-- the rudimentary communicative objectives that must be fulfilled by the project.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392517)

You said notepad twice.

HTML is not so complex of a language that we shouldn't have a WSYIWYG to make the job less frustrating. I see nothing wrong with users who want to build websites as they would build a document or an image.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (1)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392527)

I would have to second the backing of vi/vim. I am not a programmer but I do some basic bash scripting and I write every one of my scripts in vi.

In my experience the simplest app that can do the job is the best. no BS "features" interfering with what I am trying to do and fewer resources used to do it.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (4, Interesting)

batwingTM (202524) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392549)

I teach Website Development at a TAFE and I have found Notpad++ [] to be pretty good. It is still a simple text editor, but it's free and it colour-codes your text (useful for finding those unclosed tags or quotation marks).

Dreamweaver does more, but it depends greatly what you are doing. I use Dreamweaver a lot, but I spend nearly all my time in code view anyway. The only major problem I have with Dreamweaver is it's inability to handle frames properly. but frankly, no WYSIWYG editor does. You're better off setting frames and framesets in text editors anyway, if you are using them at all.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (0, Redundant)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392565)

Strike notepad from the list. Ever try to open a file with unix format newlines with notepad?

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392611)

Yeah, he must be thinking of Wordpad.

Besides, those fancy editors leave in lots of drag-inducing whitespace and pointless formatting. Not only that, but it's the same whitespace and formatting as most of the other websites out there. Do search engine spiders ignore identical formatting, or does that count against the site's "uniqueness"?

Maximum content, no stinking GUI.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392577)

you forgot to mention:

Norton Editor

(both for DOS)


cat - > newfile

(for unix and linux)

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (2, Informative)

trisweb (690296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392667)

Let's add jEdit ( [] ) to the list... my current favorite editor.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (1)

Cheesemold (882389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392797)

"The list goes on, but my fingers got tired."

My fingers would get tired with all of those programs to make a site. That's why I'd use a WYSIWYG editor.

Re:Best replacements for Dreamweaver (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392833)

That's not design. That's implementation.

(Ob. car metaphor:) The guy who designed your car was probably not a mechanical engineer.

I understand your willingness to help, but (2, Insightful)

fohat (168135) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392471)

I'm sure there's got to be cheap/free classes/lessons on the internet for this stuff. If you are teaching this software to the students and they can't afford it, then what's the point as they will never actually be able to use the software? If they are going to use the skills at work, then why won't your company purchase proper licenses for them?

Re:I understand your willingness to help, but (1)

fohat (168135) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392499)

hmmm, maybe I shouldn't post to Slashdot at 2 a.m.

Re:I understand your willingness to help, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392507)

Probably chicken and egg. You have to show value first before a company foots the bill for such expensive licenses.

TIFFs? (1)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392485)

Every design program worth using should be able to output CYMK TIFFs. And every printing company worth dealing with should be able to use them as a source.

Personally, I use Corel's Graphic Suite [] . Corel DRAW has been an industry standard right along side Illustrator. Their PHOTO-PAINT is a pretty strong competitor to Photoshop.

The other programs included in the Suite I don't find much use. But getting a Photoshop and Illustrator -like programs for $400 is pretty good. Also check their upgrade eligibility [] , you may be entitled to the $180 version.

Re:TIFFs? (1)

jrady (127288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392633)

> Corel DRAW has been an industry standard right along side Illustrator yeah, right just like the Lada ( [] ) has been an industry standard alongside the S-Class Mercedes ( s [] ). Please! how many "industry" people (and that does not include 6th term greeting cards tweakers) do you know that use or have used corel draw productively? cmyk comps are a nightmare, bezier curves fail to print, and so on... sigh

CYMK TIFF is a backwards tradition that must die (1, Insightful)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392655)

CMYK is not a device-independent color space. As such, you CAN NOT safely ship it off to some random printer and expect good color reproduction. Well, I guess you could expect it and then be sorely disappointed!

The proper conversion from device-independent RGB (sRGB unless you like pain) to printer ink is done by the printer driver or press house. It takes into account numerous ugly details of the printing process (exact ink color, dot gain, paper color, drying time, soggy paper concerns, worse...) and several economic/quality tradeoffs.

TIFF is a way to waste disk space. It's used by people who think "300 dpi" (used in place of pixel dimensions) is meaningful for a digital image, and by people who think that abusing CMYK makes you a Real Professional.

BTW, if you press house is so stonage that they prefer some random uncalibrated CMYK over a proper device-independent color space, go elsewhere! You'll get random quality variation from people who are that clueless.

Open-Source for sure (5, Informative)

bigben7187 (754240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392495)

Free Alternatives:

Photoshop -> Gimp []
Illustrator -> Inkscape []
InDesign -> Scribus []
Web Design -> Kompozer [] , which is a bugfix release of Nvu [] (there's actually a lot of these, I've also heard Microsoft Visual Web Dev Express [] , which has a lot of praise from various people)

Not sure of a good PDF editor, but it looks like this claims to do the trick (though i'm sure is nowhere near the level of Acrobat Pro): PDFEdit [] . Be warned it looks like it's a cygwin port to windows...

I can't guarantee that those will all live up to your expectations, but I am fairly familiar with most of that software, and it certainly gets the job done.

Re:Open-Source for sure (1)

smok23 (1105325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392627)

Well, the user interface of the Gimp is more like something different. But Gimpshop, which is a 'fork' of the Gimp, is much more like Adobe Photoshop. I like it. []

Re:Open-Source for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392707)

For those who like Corel Draw, the base of it is open source and available as [] . Not finished but very usable. However I was surprised how quickly Inkscape has progressed. GIMP development seems to be slow, with its poor user interface, poor previews, and so on. Cinepaint seems to be making real progress now - I will have to try. I'd expect it to be better as it is written for a professional user base.

try GIMP (2)

SpaceballsTheUserNam (941138) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392505)

There is a program called GIMP. It is an open source image manipulation program released under the GNU public lecense. It runs on many different platforms and its pretty much better than photoshop. You should try it.

I could compare GIMP to Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392511)

But that's like comparing a Civic to a Ferrari.

Re:I could compare GIMP to Photoshop (4, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392631)

But that's like comparing a Civic to a Ferrari.

A reliable, economical, easy to drive car compared to something that's beautiful, but too powerful & expensive to buy & maintain for 99.99% of users?

Is that really the sort of analogy you wanted to make?

Re:I could compare GIMP to Photoshop (4, Funny)

soupforare (542403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392681)

It's an unfair analogy, the GIMP isn't economical or easy to drive.

Re:I could compare GIMP to Photoshop (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392775)

It's an unfair analogy, the GIMP isn't economical or easy to drive.

The GIMP isn't economical? Bullshit.

Remember, we're talking about a teaching aid here - not a professional productivity suit.

Re:I could compare GIMP to Photoshop (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392637)

Hmmm....Does the civic have a full tank of gas?

Or: Is the Ferrari stolen?

Or: How about open hand slapping anyone that feels we need an analogy based on vehicles when it has nothing to do with proprietary software vs. open source software?

Re:I could compare GIMP to Photoshop (4, Insightful)

trisweb (690296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392753)

More like a Model T to a 2007 BMW M5.

The BMW drives in style and fast, gets full service for free (4 years of 50,000 miles), has touch-screen interfaces and 8-point surround audio that plays all the formats, and gets you where you need to go quickly and elegantly. Did I mention it's a brand new model, just out this year?

The Model T drives you places, but it takes 3 times longer and sometimes you have to go to the back and crank the handle, or even open the hood to fix that loose sprocket yourself. Plus the stereo is just a boombox and it's pretty hard to control and skips when you run over bumps. But hey, it goes. Practically the same!

Though there is still the question, would you take a free Model T over a BMW at full price?

Now, let's be honest (4, Insightful)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392521)

Now, let's be honest: there's no such thing as an alternative to Adobe's creative suite.

There's nothing out there that can compete in ease of use, or power. Someone mentioned superior tools to web design (notepad, for example) and I can agree there. But for the rest of the products mentioned (among them, photoshop, illustrator, indesign etc.) there's nothing else that can hold a candle up to Adobe.

Re:Now, let's be honest (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392791)

I'm really surprised no one has suggested Deneba's Canvas [] . Or maybe it is for OSX only? It's nice because it's different than Illustrator, and therefore, things made in it don't automagically look like they were done in Illustrator.

for web design try SiteSpinner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392535)

I've been using it for several years and it's very simple, flexible and cheap []

*Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392547)

Everyone knows if you really want to get work done you buy the Adobe Creative Suite.

Not a Troll.

Open Source Beer (2, Informative)

Hucko (998827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392561)

Trying to peer into a professional point of view, it would seem the consensus is that no other suite touches Adobe suite. A mix of apps may work, but they will be non-standardised ui, such as the much vaunted Gimp.

As a complete amateur I have enjoyed Nvu for its interface.

other alternatives may be [] [] (quite good, but haven't used it for web applications) []

ZDNet [] has an article on that very subject.

Last Windows App I run...CorelDrawX3 (2, Informative)

SirSpammenot (1075889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392579)

I run 100% on Linux except in this domain. CorelDraw suite is dirt cheap compared to Adobe, has both vector and bitmap (Great CMYK support) and is a solid worker. My graphic artist friends describe it as a production tool instead of a creative tool, but they got work to pay for their copies of CS3. I cannot wait for Xara to finish their Corel import filter - Or for Corel to get back into Linux app market (Yup, I'm a dreamer!). Newer versions with new MS installer isn't working under WINE yet, so I run a copy on XP inside Virtualbox.
But I increasingly create alot of my artwork in Inkscape as vector exported to target size in bitmaps (like glass looking buttons...) that I used to do 100% as bitmap. Makes custom art soooo much faster.
Krita in the KOffice suite has CYMK, nice controls, but lacks the vast the plugin library we have become accustomed to. It will come I am sure.

Here's some suggestions... (1)

imperious_rex (845595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392585)

For vector graphics, check out Adobe Illustrator's nearest competitor, CorelDraw [] . For bitmap image editing, check Corel PhotoPaint (part of the CorelDraw suite) or Corel's PaintShop Pro software. For desktop publishing, consider QuarkXpress [] or the open source app, Scribus [] . For making PDF files, look into Foxit PDF Creator [] or PDF Creator [] . I don't believe there are many low priced or open-source alternatives that are comparable to Front Page or DreamWeaver. However, take a look at Kompozer [] (an improved version of the open-source NVU). For what it's worth, that's my advice for low cost alternatives to the Adobe Creative Suite.

My short list (2, Informative)

llamabot (525655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392591)

Raster Graphics (Photoshop alternatives): GIMP - although I only use this for web design which it does a good job of. The aforementioned CMYK plugin looks interesting if you're in a print environment.

Vector Graphics (Illustrator alternatives): I prefer Xara Xtreme (which has an open sourced version available) over Inkscape.

Desktop Publishing (Indesign alternatives): Scribus looks the business, can anyone tell me if Scribus can import RGB Tiff's (for example) and colour separate them for print?

Video Editing (Premiere alternatives): Cinelerra - A pain to install, crashes like a madman and exporting video is trial and error; but it beats all the other simple video editors hands down.

Web Design (Dreamweaver alternatives): There's a few out there, but none as good as Dreamweaver by far. I do most of my web design using PHP and hardcoding the websites with xhtml and CSS. I personally use Eclipse with a few choice plugins for this purpose.

Cinelerra and Scribus only run under Linux (although there may be MacOS versions?). This may not be suitable for your situation, but heck, how much does it take to install a dual boot system on a computer nowadays?

All these apps are pretty good for educational purposes. I wouldn't dare argue they're any good for production purposes, as the closed-source products are simply miles ahead in every way. If you're starting out and can't afford the full packages though, or are only interested in learning the concepts/creating a portfolio etc. then they do the job just fine and dandy :)

And just for the heck of it, a good 3D modelling/animation program is Blender.

Re:My short list (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392743)

Cinelerra and Scribus only run under Linux...
Scribus supposedly runs on Linux/Unix, OS X, OS/2 and Windows (according to

The first rule of The GIMP (4, Funny)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392593)

The first rule of The GIMP is you don't talk about The GIMP.

Watch how many moderation points get blown stifling any suggestion that The GIMP isn't up to the level of Photoshop.

Watch how many moderation points get blown on this here comment :P

GIMP? (1, Redundant)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392601)

Perhaps the CMYK Plugin [] for the ubiquitous GIMP [] ?

No, it's not exactly in the same league, but for many uses, it's plenty good enough...

Re:GIMP? (1)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392653)

The color spaces for CMYK and RGB do not quite match, so conversion is not perfect. However, if by CMYK support you really mean you use it because your print shop expects it then the conversion is probably good enough.

Quick short list of cross-platform OSS apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392621)

Photoshop --> GIMP []
Illustrator --> Inkscape []
InDesign --> Scribus []
GoLive --> Nvu []

I'll let the others here argue/bash/whine/praise each app.

Suggestions... (1)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392663)


Web Design:
Dump FrontPage, move to SharePoint designer (in Office 2007) or MS Expression Web Designer. (The products are the same, SharePoint version has additional features for SharePoint sites.) Unlike FrontPage, these push CSS and standards harder than any other web product currently in the mainstream, are still easy, but provide some of the best tools to move developers to CSS and understanding concepts beyond the old HTML tags. (Yes I know these are MS products, but honestly are nothing like FrontPage and have many professional site developers jumping ship from Dream and other products because of their power.)

Graphic Design:
Not so much cheaper, but CorelGraphics Suite (CorelDraw,Photopaint) work as good alternatives to the Adobe products. They are generally more user friendly for complex tasks and you can buy them much cheaper. CorelDraw being the strongest product. (Do not go with MS Expression Graphic Designer or MS Blend unless the people are going to building application interfaces, they are light graphical tools for UI development, not full fledged replacements for AI or CorelDraw.)

I'm sure others will mention OSS solutions, so I will skip my recommends in this area. I also don't have many OSS favorites that I can rely upon fully without hitting a wall for a feature. In contrast CorelDraw can do pretty much anything wihtout having to move over to AI for anything.

Indesign and Scribus NOT .doc compatible. (1)

rinkjustice (24156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392671)

I've recently written and self-published a book Zero to Superhero, and it's been formatted with Microsoft Word and OpenOffice, so it's interior is rather plain jane (the cover was done with GIMP and I'm very happy with the results). The problem I've found with Adobe Indesign as well as Scribus is the fact these programs don't understand .doc files. I can't simply import the doc files of my book into Indesign or Scribus and work on them directly.

I'd expect this type of behavior from proprietary software like Adobe, but generally not open source software. Any work arounds I've considered would be too time consuming because of the length of my book.

Believe me you, I've experimented with an assortment of software, and I've come to the realisation that if you want pro looking page formatting - above and beyond what word and OpenOffice can provide - start and finish your project in Scribus.

Re:Indesign and Scribus NOT .doc compatible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392725)

You could of course use the Scribus importer which will bring in general text formatting etc including styles. Then there's the Draw importer that will bring in your Draw files.

As for Word files, either pump them through, or perhaps install antiword and you will at least be able to bring in your text.

Re:Indesign and Scribus NOT .doc compatible. (1)

rinkjustice (24156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392771)

You could of course use the Scribus importer which will bring in general text formatting etc including styles.

Are you saying I could essentially import the design capabilities of Scribus into OpenOffice, and work on my book within OpenOffice?

Bluefish (1)

QueePWNzor (1044224) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392673)

Bluefish [] is a text based web editor which allows far more code-based freedom. For code, frankly, it works better than Dreamweaver. It's not exactly user friendly, but is efficient and works surprisingly well once you know HTML coding. It has tons of Wizards, too, so people can insert things like pictures and charts with ease.

Let me be the dick, please. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392677)

No good has ever come out of a marketing person being shown 'graphic design'. They're slow, they're horrible at it, and if they had a brain in their head, they wouldn't need you to show them how to do it. That's why they're in marketing.

My suggestion: Fire one or more of the marketers, hire a real graphic artist, buy the CS, and save yourself a nightmare of trying to explain to your best and brightest why they should use shortcuts even though all the choices are up at the top. You're going to get better, faster, nicer work that's compatible with every printer/host/etc, and the marketers can continue to come up with catchy slogans targeting bitter mid-30s graphic designers. I could go on about how marketers are a big toilet into which you throw money -as any decent graphic artist could come up with better ideas, but I think I just did. I've made my tiny company hundreds of thousands. Just me, CS, a sense of aesthetics that didn't start with a two year degree in douchebaggery.

They don't need the whole suite (4, Insightful)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392705)

It sounds like you are contemplating buying one copy of the entire premium suite for everyone. Probably overkill. Find out which apps they need and buy only those. If you can get the price down you will quickly cross the "unproductivity and training for poorly-documented apps exceeds the cost of commercial apps that have great resources available at your local book store" threshold.

Alternatives (3, Informative)

Guerilla* Napalm (762317) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392711)

As a designer, I've been working close on 10 years in Photoshop (on a daily basis), and nothing gets close to it, everything else seems clumsy.

There are many alternatives (3, Informative)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392723)

There are many alternatives, but none of them offer what Adobe's products offer. Some may argue that many applications are closing in on tools like Photoshop, but I firmly believe that the support for these programs is what makes it so dominating.

I am a professional Photoshop user and have become one thanks to the vast amount of tutorials and discussions that relate directly to Photoshop. I know Gimp and I know Paint Shop Pro, but aside from the fact that none of these tools are quite as extensive as Photoshop, you still want that large community to back you up when you need help.

To answer the question of the main article, I would say that the best alternative to Photoshop is yet another Adobe product: Photoshop Elements. It's a capped version of Photoshop at some $100 in retail stores. This is fully comparable to Paint Shop Pro, which is about the same price.

Try Xara! (2, Interesting)

zataang (596856) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392737)

I am not a design expert to know about its CMYK support - but I can tell you Xara rocks as a substitute to Illustrator. It is one of the best designed software ever. And it's blazingly fast.

Photoshop alternative: Pixel (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392739)

Here it is: Pixel [] . And it is developed by one person. And it costs 1% of Photoshop price. And it does have a sensible UI, very similiar to Photoshop. Try out the demo. I've bought it and it was worth every cent, even if its still in beta version.

And yes. It does run on Linux. And on BSD. And on Mac. And on BeOS, and dozen other OSes.

Expression (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392787)

Just a thought... You could download the trial versions of Microsoft Expression graphic designer and web designer.

Serif - not free but inexpensive (2, Informative)

jonom (109588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392799)

Serif has some good stuff and some cheaper/free stuff (mostly older versions I think) via

Previous or OEM versions (1)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 7 years ago | (#19392813)

As many others will likely chime in, Adobe products really are best of breed. They represent decades of effort, and are simply excellent software. You won't find anything comparable anywhere else. Period.

Now, if you want a more economical way to go, I recommend looking into previous versions (nothing wrong with training on CS1 or CS2 - the differences for the Adobe products aren't that extreme), or look for OEM copies. Or if you can arrange it, student copies are very, very reasonable. You might justify that as training is similar to education.

nothing comes close (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392821)

sorry, been doing design work professionally for over 10 years now, cross platform, try everything new, open source, blah blah, and hate em all - photoshop, illustrator, and indesign kill (except for maybe Quark > indesign [[ducks impending flames ]] ). The only 'real' competition came from Macromedia :)

I would suggest getting older copies of the apps. At home, I still run photoshop 7 and illustrator 9, b/c I really don't need super tight integration between apps, shared file management, etc. They're stable, etc...

What I use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19392827)

For vector graphics, Corel Draw is awesome. I do a lot of stuff with GMT, which outputs to postscript, and Corel Draw is a very simple tool to manipulate graphics.

For image editing, I remember the pains of using Photoshop (this was back with PS 4 and 6). To be honest, I found Photopaint to be worse. Back in the day, I used Paint Shop Pro, which was decently easy to use. Personally, I now use GIMP exclusively. I don't see why people have such a problem with it. It is easy to use and runs fast. With Photoshop, I remember fumbling around the menus to find simple things like rotating and resizing images. Everything is pretty clear in GIMP.

For Paint, I use KolourPaint. It is like a jacked up version of MS Paint. Now you too can participate in drawing bad pictures.
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