Whether you need to create artwork from scratch or manipulate existing images, the Adobe software suite contains powerful tools to get the job done. Unless that’s what you do for a living though, the chances are that the vast majority of its functions aren’t necessary and the hefty price tag isn’t worth it.
Fortunately there are some free alternatives which come with enough bells and whistles to satisfy even the demands of most marketing teams. Leaving the heavy stuff to the photographers, graphic and web designers, here’s a rundown of Adobe’s commonly used packages, and their free or low cost friends.
What is Adobe Illustrator used for?
Use Illustrator to create brand new vector images, or edit existing ones. A vector image is basically an image made of points joined together by lines. If you wanted to create an image, like a new logo, you’d use Illustrator.
Free alternatives to Adobe Illustrator
Gravit is a free browser-based app with most of the commonly used Illustrator tools. Menu layout is straightforward and easy to master, even without prior experience. You can create images from scratch or, if the thought of that is a step too far, import existing vector files to edit. Stock image sites like Shutterstock are a good source of ready-made vectors that you can then import to chop up, recolour, or otherwise mess about with.
What is Adobe InDesign used for?
InDesign is the desktop publishing branch of the Adobe family tree. The professionals use it to lay out posters, magazines, webpage mock-ups and banners, and more.
Free alternatives to Adobe InDesign
There are certainly plenty of desktop publishing options available online. Annoyingly a lot of them require you to create a login before you get to discover that the ‘free’ nature of it is only temporary. Canva and LucidPress both require account setup, and although paid versions available for a decent price, the free versions are also excellent.
Both options have ready-sized artboards, or you can create your own custom sized one. They abound with templates, or with a fairly decent level of tools to help you create your own artwork. Files can be exported in lots of different formats, so you can send things to the printer or for use online.
What is Photoshop used for?
Photoshop is now the industry standard for graphics editing and digital art in general. It is incredibly complex, and an absolute powerhouse of functions. It’s priced and laid out for heavyweight use, so think professional graphic designers, artists, and photographers.
Free alternatives to Adobe Photoshop
Like most of the Adobe suite, users not in the industry need something cheaper, and probably a lot easier to master!
Photopea is another free browser-based app, and it is powerful. A lot of the layout is very similar to Photoshop, which is useful if you’ve got a vague knowledge of it already. Some of the functions can be a little tricky to master, but that’s more down the nature of that type of work than any failing with the package itself.
Do you have a favourite free alternative to Adobe for lighter work?