Alternatives to Adobe’s CC

Adobe’s creative cloud; an all in one suite for creative software, is easily the standard for computer design software.  While adobe software is easily the most recognizable, it’s easy to understand why some users have been unhappy with Adobe’s subscription model. The monthly price of adobes subscription packages are quite large sums. Large corporations might be able to shoulder the load of these subscriptions but small businesses and home users may balk, especially for programs used only occasionally.

Luckily, there are lots of free and cheap creative tools out there, and a small number provide a welcome alternative for students and hobbyists. Some of the apps on this list a simply alternatives while some can easily be considered rivals. Now prepare to view some of the most outstanding alternatives to Adobe’s CC that are absolutely free.

Google Web Designer

Ad and website design

This software from Google is a readymade ad-design tool that can output directly to the company’s money-spinning ad service DFP, where better-designed and less-buggy ads means more ad dollars.

GWD sports a brand new integrated visual and code interface it allows designers to create interactive HTML5 ads and other HTML5 content. It offers a wide range of design tools such as a Text tool that integrates with Google Web Fonts, a Shapes tool, a Pen tool, and 3D tools, as well as the ability to animate objects and events on a timeline.

Another interesting feature of GWD is the different view modes. The design mode workspace shows your images, text and other elements visually, just as they will be displayed in a browser. In code view, you can create CSS, JavaScript and XML files, and uses syntax highlighting and code autocompletion.

GWD has a massive collection of components that lets you add image galleries, videos, maps and other kinds of functions to web sites and advertisements, as well as to automatically include tracking code events for DoubleClick and AdMob.


Image manipulation and editing

The GNU Image Manipulation Program or GIMP for short is an open-source software that has it’s been around as long as Photoshop. Open source means that it is constantly updated and available for free.

GIMP has a wide variety of many useful tools, some of which are unique to gimp. The new cage transform and rotatable brushes in the latest version are some of gimps exclusive tools while utilities such as layer groups and text editing should be familiar to most ex-Photoshop users.

The downside of GIMP is the slow and rather clunky workflow. It’s still quite usable considering it has no price tag. 

DaVinci Resolve

Video editing

This is a rather complex video finishing tool, multitrack editor and colour correction software. it makes use of node based processing where each node can have colour correction, power windows and effects applied. Resolves’ in built editing tools are context sensitive and multiple people can work together on the same timeline at the same time.

This application, like most video editing software is highly scalable and supports up to eight GPUs working together and offers powerful delivery options for versioning, finishing and delivery at any resolution.

Fusion 7

Video and 3d manipulation

Running on 64-bit architecture, Fusion 7 is a visual effects and motion graphics suite that was recently released as a free product by its new owner; Blackmagic Design. It was designed originally by Eyeon, the software has been a mainstay of VFX studios worldwide for many years.

Fusion 7’s main appeal is the infinite 3D workspace and node-based workflow for quickly building unlimited effects, as well as advanced 3D compositing, paint, rotoscope, retiming, stabilisation and titling tool. It also has an interesting 3D particle generator and multiple keyers, including Primatte.


Image editing

Pixlr is basically a free version of Photoshop, packed with over 600 effects. On surface level, it’s designed for non-professionals, however, the cloud-based set of photo editors include some pretty advanced tools, such as cropping, red-eye removal and teeth whitening.

Pixlr is available to use on desktops, iOS and Android. It also has a web app for users who can’t get the installed version for whatever reason. Its interface is  quite similar to to Photoshop, so, it’s easy to pick up if you’re already familiar with Adobe software.


Video editing

Shotcut is an unpopular but highly effective open source video editor; it’s truly phenomenal in terms of quality and functionality. Once you get a hang of exactly what it can do, you’ll be highly impressed. As an open source software, it receives updates on a regular basis, typically once every one to three months.  This means that it’s constantly being improved, so if it isn’t the best alternative yet, it will be soon enough.


Photograph production

Quite similar to Adobe’s Lightroom, RawTherapee is a software package that is capable of editing Raw photo files, as well as other formats. RawTherapee has a broad range of tools that will help you correct distortion, boost colours, recover details and much more. With a wide range of advanced and complex capabilities, RawTherapee allows users to tweak their photos until they’re looking exactly how they want. It supports Mac, Windows and Linux.

RawTherapee recently saw an upgrade that included multi-threading and batch processing. This has successfully made RawTherapee one the most powerful Lightroom alternatives. 


Image correction and editing

Inkscape, like Adobes Illustrator it focuses on the SVG format. Inkscape houses a large number of advanced features that you don’t often find elsewhere, including alpha blending, cloned objects and markers.

Inscape can replace Illustrator with the native SVG format and its full support for different colour modes. Inkscape has a significantly simpler interface but this doesn’t affect its usability in the least. With support for Windows, Mac or Linux, Inkscape is a solid choice as an alternative to Adobe’s line of products. 


Designer tool

Scribus is another free alternative to Adobe’ CC as it is commonly-used InDesign alternative for creatives on a budget. It supports Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems, and even comes with a range of press-ready output that’s ready to roll out of the box. With an active community surrounding Scribus, you’re never alone if you need some troubleshooting.



3d modelling and editing

A good substitute for Adobe’s After Effects, Blender features a state of the art interface that can be used to create ultra-realistic animated graphics and 3D visual effects. It is used by both amateurs and experts alike and it can be downloaded absolutely free. 

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