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Cutting the Adobe cord

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Recently I've found I'm having more reasons to want to use things like Premiere Pro, After Effects, Illustrator, InDesign and of course Photoshop for professional use and obviously pirating is right out if I'm not just retouching family photos or whatever for my own purposes. I qualify for educational pricing for the forseeable future but that's still endless renting of software with no end in sight. So, I was wondering how everyone was managing with/without the Adobe in various ways? What's replaceable? And what isn't?


I've just gone all in on Affinity software, starting with a "what the hell, it's only £40" for Affinity Photo, then trying the Publisher beta which rapidly turned into a special beta tester discount. Then why not, should get Designer too to complete the suite, right? And aside from the ridiculously competitive pricing, the software itself is really good. Lots of well thought out features (high-pass filtering in Photo is a real highlight), copious video tutorials on their website, official learn-by-doing workbooks for every tool and a surprising number of high quality guides on youtube too. I've got some conferences coming up and I'll be doing a lot with the Affinity suite for producing quality research posters, slidedecks that aren't awful and that kind of thing.


That got me to wondering what else was out there. Affinity Photo doesn't do raw collection management so I gave Darktable and RawTherapee a shot and I think I might actually prefer RawTherapee to Lightroom. Which is great, because it's free!


I also found out Google still offer the Nik Collection for creative photo processing at the free version before it got sold on to DxO (who also offer a free version).


DaVinci Resolve has managed to fill the gap for both Premiere Pro and After Effects, while at the same time having just phenomenal colour grading tools. And it's free (unless you want denoising and hardware accelerated encoding and a few other sort of essential things...). I'm not sure you could honestly replace After Effects but Resolve comes with Fusion built in, which serves just fine for particle effects, 3d titling, keying, motion tracking and other stuff. I definitely love the node graph workflow over having a massive layer stack. Full pro version is a little pricey for casual use, but if you like to own software it seems like a really solid option.


I haven't tried Krita yet, but I have played around with Autodesk Sketchbook which is sort of free for everyone and it's got a lovely brush engine and some clever workflow design. I've got it on my Surface Pro for doodling, turning on the symmetry tool to bash in some linework and then going to town colouring is really relaxing ^_^


So yeah, what else is out there? Have you tried out the alternatives to Adobe for professional or home use and what did you think of it?

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Due to work I'm pretty much tied to Adobe's ecosystem and the only exception to this is Sketch App (not to be confused with Autodesk Sketchbook).  A while ago I was having no end of bullshit with Lightroom Classic and I nearly threw in the towel and defected to ON1 Photo RAW  and Capture One Pro. A mixture of getting a new Mac and updates to Lightroom Classic sorted it out (I was so close to building my own PC just for Lightroom).


As I said I'm pretty much tied to Adobe due to work, but the upside is that I have access to Adobe CC on my own Mac as it allows two logins per account.

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I wouldn't recommend C1 if you're coming from LR and want to use it as a catalog replacement. C1 was originally designed and still works best with sessions, which is essentially a self-contained catalog that you create for every shoot. The two main advantages it has over LR is first and foremost the quality of the raw processing, which starts with better colors than LR will give you, and secondly, the tethering functionality is much better.


I can't vouch for the software, but it popped up on one of the photography news sites this week and that's ACDSEE Photo Studio. There's a free trial if you're interested.

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I left ADOBE behind. I was using photoshop to paint BGs and to clean up animation, and aftereffects for comping, track mattes, various effects, some animation cheats etc... I got a disgruntles when they went to the pay per month model as I try not to have any direct debits due to how up and down freelance is. So I went all in with TVPaint, took a year or so to really get to grips with it but I'm as good as I was with aftereffects for the things I use, although the TVPaint system of working is completely different than the adobe one, so you have to kind of retrain your instincts. for painting and animation/clean-up it's fantastic. For traditional animation its fantastic too.



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  • 1 month later...

Yeah a year or so ago I did the same, kicked up a fuss and they waivered it. Its nuts though they will be scalping so many people.

It does say clearly in the ( current ) up front documentation that they will charge this amount . But who's going to read that and not think its a mistake or that they read it wrong.

Having said this I've just got back on the Adobe train for just photoshop due to being unable deregister my CS5 installs and move over to my new computer. If I could do without it I would. 

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no way I can get out of it, we have to work with other studios and they 99.9% use Adobe, it's just such a racket nowadays I increasingly hate it. 


Maybe one day we can make a setup where most of the team are on alternative products and we keep one CC licence going for crossover work conversions, but I can't see it any time soon. And then Adobe will probably just swallow any competition that starts to threaten that kind of scenario.

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