Adobe's Creative Suite is probably the best set of tools for any creative on this planet. But let's be honest, it also comes with a huge cost. And that cost isn't exactly budget-friendly on every country on this planet.
Some would argue with me that earlier one-time purchase of the software was actually a lot of money compared to the subscription service adobe has now. And I would have agreed with you until this happened - Adobe is now forcing users to be on the latest version of their software or face legal action. Similarly, the company recently started testing a new pricing strategy that effectively doubles the price of the standard photography plan (although it is to be noted that the bump in price is for the 1 TB storage offered). Many would be wanting to stay on older version, either for compatibility reasons or maybe because their hardware won't support the newer version anymore. It's not like we are changing our laptop or PC every few months. I know people who still use Windows XP because some of the software they use in their jobs isn't supported on the new Windows editions, be it 7 or 10. So essentially, stuff like this from the company are actually worrying and even more so when you realize that Adobe has a huge influence on the market, one which effectively makes it a monopoly.
One of the other arguements that frequently come up is the polish and quality of the company's software. Adobe's applications are built to perfection and integrate with one another seamlessly. They even have apps on Android & iOS which can be used in tandem with their desktop & Mac counterparts that effectively makes it the go to choice for almost everyone. Whether you are working on your PC or your iPad, you can always resume on any other device, thanks to the cloud sync without worrying about if it will work or not. As of now, there is no one company to provide such an integration among its catalog of applications.
But as with any monopoly, Adobe doesn't cater to local conditions to adjust its pricing like other companies. Let's take a look at Adobe's pricing in India:
When you take a look at the pricing, its very clear that it isn't exactly budget-friendly. Now, for long time professionals, this price might not seem much and it might be perfect solutions to their needs but for someone who just wants to start in this area to make it a profession or someone who just wants to learn, this prices are way too much. Sure, there is a student & teachers discount plan but that is only effective if you take in the whole bundle, the photography plan is essentially the same as regular plan.
I am not saying you to abandon Adobe's apps right away and jump to other platforms. No, that is not my motive here and I understand how important these tools are to some people's lives, many depend on these tools for their livelihood. What I am trying to emphasize here is always be prepared for the worst scenario and know about the good alternatives that the competition has to offer. Obviously, no single competitor company makes the whole plethora of apps like Adobe does (you lose your seamless integration).
Below are some of the applications that I have compiled in a list. Please keep in mind though, I haven't used all of them so a little research is advised before you try to purchase any software. I also won't be describing much (because that's not a good way to talk about these software) rather I will be embedding YouTube videos for better understanding.
Perhaps, the closest competitor to Lightroom yet, Luminar has a much better User Interface. It also has AI funcationalities to enhance your photos based on the scnario. The most interesting feature is that Luminar has a save point (in a similar fashion to layers on Photoshop) for each edit you make, you can turn on/off anytime to see your pre & post-edit photograph. That is not to say it is without its problems. The basic software package costs ₹5100 which is a one-time payment. Check out this video from Sawyer Hartman (it's 6 months old now and Luminar has come out with their brand new version 3 which has a lot of improvements but you will still have an idea):
As the name suggests, this software helps you work with RAW files in a very seamless manner. It is a non-destructive editing suite and available for Windows, Mac & Linux. The best part is that its totally free (and also open-source)! Check out this video from YouTuber Anthony Morganti to learn more:
Darktable is a Lightroom alternative for users on the Linux platform (where Adobe is totally absent). It is available for all major and popular Linux distributions. It is completely free of cost and open-source. Again, check out this video Anthony to learn more:
This is the closest Photoshop competitor on the planet right now with beautiful interface and a well polished code. It even has first party Mac apps. Affinity Photo is used in the professional industry and its much more popular in Europe than any other part of the world. It costs about ₹3500 (approx.). Here is a youtube video about the experience post switching from Adobe product:
Almost everyone who is into Image manipulation has heard about GIMP. It's free, available on all 3 desktop platforms and completely open-source. Although, it lacks the advanced tools of its competitor but it is still a very easy alternative as an entry point into the world of digital image manipulation and creation. Here is a video from Logos By Nick (his channel is all about GIMP tutorials) demonstrating one of the usage of this software:
Another outstanding offering from Affinity and a solid competitor to Adobe Illustrator. It is available for both Mac & Windows. And just like its Photo app, this one is also a one-time payment application. Here is a quick start video to get started on Designer:
Inkscape is a free vector graphics tool for Linux & Windows. It is somewhat lacking in a lot of features that its competitors have but it can be a good way to start. Take a look at the video:
This is a free & simple online vector graphics tool. This is really meant for the more simple stuff out there like a quick presentation or for people who don't want to spend a whole lot time figuring out the other complex tools. It is cross-platform because well, it works from the browser (Chrome only for now). As usual, here is a video:
The website says this - A Design App That Works The Way You Do. It works on all platforms and has both free (with limited features) and paid option. What's unique about this software is that the company behind this project is very active on social media and even has active group on Facebook where users post their queries, artworks and lots more. This really makes it wonderful as a close-knit community to use this app.
Premiere Pro alternatives:
Wondershare is a company famous for its simple video editing tool - Filmora but not the company is done playing the underdog and has released a full-fledged professional video editor that almost looks and feels like Premiere. What's great here is that Filmora has three types of plans - Free, yearly subscription of ₹6,250 (approx.) or Lifetime purchase of ₹10,400 (approx.) for either Windows or Mac.
DaVinci is famous all over Hollywood for its colour grading prowess but now the company has combined some of that exclusive technology into a full blown professional video editor and have made it available for free for anybody to be able to make the most cinematic videos. There is no hesitation to give a try to a free software.
Another software famous in Hollywood and has been used to make blockbuster cinemas like the Wolf of the Wall Street and by YouTubers like Austin Evans. The free version of Lightworks is somewhat limited and only allows export for upto 720p resolution. But it can be a good way to test the features before deciding to make the purchase for the full version.
I hope my arguement along with my compiled list gives you reason enough to try or atleast know about Adobe's competitors in the market.
A lot of other alternatives exist for Adobe's wide range of product and as it is, can't be covered in one article. Let me know if you liked this one and I will definitely try to cover Adobe's other tools.
Also, there are now more than one ways to read and also keep track of our posts. We are now officially a verified Flipboard Publisher! Yaay! And so, here is our magazine that you can follow to read all our posts if you use the app.