Adobe is a staple of creative work in the modern world, with software covering everything from graphic design to video editing under its umbrella. It is the first company many people turn to when they want to break into any creative field. But while Adobe products are great, they are not cheap and many people better start with the many free alternatives available today.
Adobe products are at the forefront of their respective fields, so naturally they are expensive to produce, which, in turn, translates into a high price. But the vast majority of people do not need benefits. Even a lot of professionals don’t, so when you go down to just one or two overall power levels, you can find great free alternatives.
And the best part? We have already done the research for you.
Alternatives to Premiere Pro
Premiere Pro is the industrial-grade Adobe video editor. It is used for everything from YouTube vlogs to the latest blockbuster movies. While it is difficult to match the huge number of features in Adobe Premiere Pro, most users do not need half of what Adobe Premiere Pro offers. And given that, there are many free options to try.
DaVinci Resolve Pro: DaVinci is more than enough for the video editing needs of most people. It has an elegant interface and allows you to cut, rearrange and merge clips easily. Although if you try to get into a really advanced montage, you might run into obstacles; plus it’s a fantastic option.
Shotcut: Shotcut is a fairly standard video editor, but it has the advantage of being open source. This means that anyone can open the source code and modify what they want. This opens the door to third-party plugins, which can add a lot more functionality to the program.
Hitfilm Express: Generally, when working in Premiere Pro, you should use it in conjunction with Adobe After Effects to add special effects. Hitfilm will cover both your video editing and visual effects needs in one program with impressive results. It is a great option for those looking to learn visual effects.
Alternatives to After Effects
After Effects covers visual effects and motion graphics editing, and since these areas of work are particularly advanced, there aren’t many free options unrelated to a specific video editor. Still, we were able to find a good general option.
Natron: Natron has many of the same basic features as After Effects, enough to get you started with visual effects and animated graphics. It is open-source, so once you start to go beyond these basic features, you can extend the program’s capabilities with third-party plugins.
Alternatives to hearing
Audition is a professional audio editing program ideal for editing voiceovers, podcasts and even music. However, the two alternatives that we have here should suit most people’s needs very well.
Audacity: Audacity is a fantastic audio editor with powerful features that has managed to stick around now. It is also open-source.
Sodaphonic: Most people don’t need complicated audio editing options. Chances are you just want to mute certain audio tracks. Sodaphonic is ideal for this because it is web-based and has a simple design that makes editing your audio quick and easy.
Alternatives to Photoshop
Photoshop is probably Adobe’s most iconic product. People who have never launched a photo editor in their life know Photoshop. And this fame is well deserved, because it is an extremely powerful photo editor. But there are a lot of free options that have popped up over the years that give it a run for its money (metaphorically, of course).
GIMP: When it comes to free photo editing, there is no name better known than GIMP. It has been around for many years and still manages to be one of the best photo editors. This is largely because GIMP is open-source, and with the massive community that surrounds it, there is almost certainly a plugin for all of the functionality you might need.
Photopea: Not all photo editors must be installed on your computer, and Photopea displays them perfectly. It’s an incredibly powerful web photo editor, which means it’s perfect for computers with less powerful hardware (or people who use ChromeOS).
Paint.NET: Designed as a more powerful alternative to classic Microsoft Paint, Paint.NET may seem disappointing at first glance. But it incorporates many features behind its dated design. The program is also well optimized so that you can load it, make a quick change and stop it without too long loading times.
Alternatives to Lightroom
Lightroom is a program designed for photographers. It simplifies the photo editing process so that users can give their photos a professional, edited look in minutes. However, Lightroom is not alone in this endeavor.
Darktable: You can expect the same color grading and general editing options you see in Darktable’s Lightroom. The user interface is a bit clunky, but it compensates for this by being open-source so that you can customize its feature set as you see fit.
RawTherapee: Second verse identical to the first, RawTherapee is also an open source photo editor in the same vein as Lightroom. Choosing between him and Darktable comes down to the one you like the most.
Alternatives to Illustrator
Illustrator is a vector graphics program generally used to create logos and other digital illustrations. For graphic designers, this type of program is essential because vector images retain 100% of the image quality even when they are resized.
Inkscape: Inkscape is a complete vector graphics program. This program has been around for a while, and the design reflects that, but if you can handle a dated design, it’s one of the best options for vector graphics. It’s also open-source.
Vectr: If you prefer (or need) web tools, Vectr is a fantastic option. With an elegant design and responsive tools, editing graphics is quick and simple. Projects are also easy to collaborate, because each project has a dedicated URL that allows you to work with other people at the same time.
Gravit Designer: Another awesome web editor. Gravit covers all of your vector graphics needs with powerful functionality and is also a great option for UI designers.
Adobe Animate (formerly Adobe Flash) is a 2D animation tool. He tries to bridge the gap between drawing and animation as simply as possible.
Synfig Studios: This is just an excellent full 2D animator. It gives you powerful tools to bring your drawings to life and also allows vector art editing. It is also open-source.
Pencil2d: Pencil2d is probably the most similar to Animate, with simple ways to animate hand-drawn art. There is nothing too complicated here, but it is also its main attraction.
OpenToonz: OpenToonz is an advanced open source animation program that is even used in some professional studios. Not only can you do all the basics of animation, but you can also easily add effects to spice things up. And of course, third-party plug-ins only extend the capabilities of the software.
It’s great to see so many free options in these advanced areas. These programs lower the entry barrier and allow a wider audience to acquire these skills. And even for amateurs and experienced professionals, saving money by not having to pay subscriptions or pay large one-time fees still helps.