THE ADOBE ALTERNATIVE

More Than One Way to Skin An App

by Felipe Parada

Adobe has always been of the middle of a strange love/hate relationship with its customer base over the past couple of years. Ever since Adobe initially moved everyone to the cloud back in 2017, it hasn't really been a smooth transition for anyone. As predicted, many of their customers were up in arms claiming that Adobe made the move simply because of greed. But how much of this decision was based purely on greed? Was it an evolutionary decision? At this point nobody really knows and it's unfair to put the decision solely on greed.

 

If you didn't know by now, Adobe is a business. And as in business, you're in it to make money. Adobe can go about it anyway they want, just as long as it's legal. Their product has always been at the forefront of design. If you are a designer, then at some point you have used Photoshop. Many businesses have adopted the Adobe Brand into their culture, so there is a reason to know the Adobe product. Many have adopted the switch and are more than happy with moving to the cloud. I mean why wouldn't you be happy? For a flat fee, you have access to the entire Creative Suite. No brainer right? Well not for everyone.

 

Let's take my experience for example. I have been using the Adobe Brand since the early 2000’s and I continue to use it till this day. I have seen the evolution of the product and I am impressed by how far it has come. But with evolution comes inflation and over time the Adobe Product has become quite expensive. So that puts me in a bit of a bind because Adobe is everywhere but I'm still running Adobe CS3. So will I get left behind? Is it time to evolve past Adobe? Absolutely.

 

Thankfully we live in a time where adaptation is key to one's survival. Just because I don't have the latest Adobe software means I won't get the job done. In a moment of curiosity, I stumbled upon 2 Open Source design programs called Inkscape and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). And the best part is that they are totally FREE. These 2 programs are the alternative programs to Photoshop and Illustrator.  Now, I am in no way shape or form advertising for these programs and I'm not telling you to switch from Adobe. What I am merely saying is that there's always an alternative.

 

Many may argue that you are just renting the Adobe Product since making the move to the cloud. In all honesty, you may have a case. But remember, you are renting their ENTIRE Creative Suite so you can say it’s justified. The other side of that coin is the fact that you DO NOT own any of their product. Guess what? If Adobe decides to raise their prices, and there is a slight change they will, you’re stuck with paying the price. Also, what happens if you can't afford the prices anymore.

 

That's why it's so important to have a backup, you just never know. There was one occasion where I had to transfer CS3 (Illustrator, Photoshop & InDesign) to my new laptop because my PC was dying. The Herculean task of trying to get the old software to my new laptop was nothing I ever experienced before. Thank you to the Adobe Community for the help because Adobe Customer Support just wasn't cutting it. So my search for alternatives began, thankfully GIMP and Inkscape came to the rescue and stepped in when Adobe couldn't. What we're to happen if I didn't have an alternative? Some of my clients wouldn't get the work they paid for (that's right, on top of having a full-time job, I have this site and I do freelance work. No rest for the weary.) Oh did I mention that both programs read .AI and .PSD files? SCORE!

 

For that reason I never jumped on the bandwagon. I've used both creative suites and the only difference is the interface. The process of creating the design files remains solely the same. I do feel bad for those who switched to the cloud and have nothing to show for it. Imagine investing 1 year into the new Creative Cloud and not getting your return. But that's a topic for a whole new discussion.

 

I think the biggest mistake Adobe has made thus far is ignoring that group that only wants one piece of the software and not the whole suite. There are a lot of creatives who buy software and keep it forever. For them, the CC is exorbitantly more expensive. It's a really tough situation and one where, amongst the folks I've talked about this with, we think Adobe is really missing the mark. There are a lot of angry people out there because people hate feeling forced into things they don't want. They can't invest. That's the real issue. Maybe it's innovation, maybe it's not but looking for other alternatives may be a solution until Adobe comes up with a better solution.

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