Free Software Alternatives to Substitute Adobe Products

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The price of Adobe software can really put the pressure on both experienced and beginner creatives, lets take a look at some of the best free alternatives to popular Adobe software.

At the time of writing, the newest version of the Adobe master suite is priced at a wallet-busting $2,499, a lot for an aspiring web or graphic designer. For newcomers to the sector especially, it's easy to think that the Adobe products on offer are the only industry-standard pieces of software actually available when infact, there are many different free alternatives to some of the main elements of the creative suite.

Lets take a look at some of the best free alternatives to Adobe software...

dreamweaver

Dreamweaver

1. KompoZer

KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing.

2. Aptana

Aptana Studio is a complete web development environment that combines powerful authoring tools for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, along with thousands of additional plugins created by the community.

3. Amaya

Amaya is intended to be a comprehensive client environment for testing and evaluating new proposals for Web standards and formats.

4. HTML-Kit

HTML Kit is a full-featured editor for HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and other text files.

Photoshop & Fireworks

photoshop

1. Gimp

GIMP is perhaps the most favourite free alternative to Photoshop.

GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.

2. Seashore (Mac only)

Seashore is an open source image editor for Mac OS X's Cocoa framework. It features gradients, textures and anti-aliasing for both text and brush strokes. It supports multiple layers and alpha channel editing. It is based around the GIMP's technology and uses the same native file format.

3. ChocoFlop (Mac only)

ChocoFlop is an image manipulation program based entirely on Apple's new CoreImage technology which takes advantages of the processing power in your GPU.

4. PhotoFiltre (Windows only)

PhotoFiltre is a complete image retouching program. It allows you to perform simple or advanced adjustments to an image and apply a vast range of filters on it. It is simple and intuitive to use, and has an easy learning curve. The toolbar, giving you access to the standard filters with just a few clicks, gives PhotoFiltre a robust look.

illustrator

Illustrator

1. Inkscape

Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor similar to Adobe Illustrator. What sets Inkscape apart is its use of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), an open XML-based W3C standard, as the native format.

2. OmniGraffle (Mac only)

Need a diagram, process chart, quick page-layout, website mock-up or graphic design? OmniGraffle 5 handles all of these in one award-winning application. We're not just a pretty interface, however. There's plenty of power under the hood to make all your diagramming and design fast and easy, with the ability to customize and tweak every aspect of your work.

flash

Flash

1. Ajax Animator

Ajax Animator is a project to create a fully standards-based, online, collaborative, web-based animation suite.  It's a great Flash IDE alternative and a cross-platform/cross-format animation tool which can be used to create Animated GIFs, SWF (Flash), SVG Animations, and more.

2. FlashDevelop

FlashDevelop is a free and open source code editor for ActionScript 2, ActionScript 3 & MXML and HaXe.

3. Synfig

Synfig is a powerful, industrial-strength vector-based 2D animation software package, designed from the ground-up for producing feature-film quality animation with fewer people and resources.

indesign

InDesign

1. Scribus

Scribus is an Open Source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/UNIX, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp 4/eComStation and Windows desktops with a combination of "press-ready" output and new approaches to page layout.

after_effects

After Effects

1. Wax

Wax is a high performance and flexible video compositing and special effects software. The idea for Wax is to be very general purpose and flexible in video compositing and effects, so that you can compose your dream video sequence with ease every time.

2. Jahshaka

Jahshaka fixes many of the compatibility and file sharing problems that exist in large facilities today. The ability to run multiple seats of jahshaka off a single server, with full project and media sharing solve the problems of distributed vs shared storage.

Conclusion

As we've shown above, there are a surprising amount of free alternatives to popular Adobe products, especially web-related ones such as Photoshop, Fireworks and Dreamweaver.

Although we've shown some great alternatives, it's important to remember that the Adobe products are so popular (and expensive) for a reason. The tools available in each piece of software is industry standard, giving the user a skill-set to create fantastic creative pieces of work.

Perhaps the most effective group of free software contained above is the free alternatives to Dreamweaver as all a developer needs to build a website is notepad, and the software above certainly builds on that kind of functionality.

Have we missed any great pieces of software that are worth mentioning? Let us know and comment below.

27 Comments

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