For a few years I have had a signature that noted the various open source projects that could be used as a replacement or alternative to a program Adobe has offered their creative suite software bundles. I realized that a signature cannot be linked to, and created this thread.
I found that throughout my college years and early in my career, I did not have the funds to obtain the Adobe software. Even purchasing the educational version of the software was beyond my reach. Adobe’s monopoly in the creative software market has always bothered me. While their products have always remained strong, the lack of competition has created high price points. I also thought it was well beyond the reach of most artists or children that simply wanted to dabble with digital art.
Here is my master list. Feel free to distribute as you wish.
Replace Photoshop/Photoshop Elements with…
GIMP (Windows, Mac, Unix)
GIMP stands for GNU Image Manuipulation Program. The program has the ability to edit bitmap images and photos. It saves files in formats that will work with other bitmap editors, including Photoshop (jpeg, tiff, gif…). There is also a modified version of the client for Windows called GIMPshop, which “skins” the interface to emulate Photoshop.
Replace Illustrator with…
Inkscape (Windows, Mac, Linux)
This program creates scalable vector artwork. It can import and export SVG, Illustrator (.ai), PDF files, and also handle many common raster format files (jpeg, png, gif..).
Replace InDesign or Quark Xpress with…
Scribus (Windows, Mac, Linux)
This open source program is designed for desktop publishing. This program supports PDF/X-3 standards and comes with a limited amount of vector tools. It supports SVG importing and Open Type fonts.
Designer Note: If you plan on using software on a semi-professional or professional manner, it is best to ask your printer first. Unlike the other programs on this list, your printer will want to be able to access your native Scribus file. Ask your printer in advance to install the software before sending out a print job.
Replace Flash with…
Synfig (Windows, Mac, Linux)
When looking to replace Flash I had to consider the usage. Flash serves a dual purpose for designers, as a means to animate/present content or to use as an interface. Synfig is a little more confusing than Flash, espcially if you’re a novice user. It can export to a variety of video formats, including Flash (.swf), mpeg, and SVG. This program also supports ActionScript.
Designer Note: While you may be creating with an open source tool, you might want to save your work in a widely-used format (SVG or SWF). Most of the audience will view your work with Adobe’s Flash Player, which is free to download. If you goal is to avoid all proprietary software, then check out Gnash, a free open source Flash player.
Replace Director with…
libavg (Mac, Ubuntu)
While this may not be the ultimate solution, its one of the few products that allow users to develop rich-media interfaces. Perfect for a kiosks and presentations. The interface is nothing like Director, so be prepared to learn a little bit.
Replace Dreamweaver with…
Nvu (Windows, Mac, Linux)
This HTML editor allows code view and WYSIWYG design view, similar to the way Dreamweaver does it. It also allows users to handle their files neatly, integrate forms, and more. This is a great program for those learning web design. It also offers a clean source code view for the people that like to create their HTML from scratch.
Replace Soundbooth with…
Audacity (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Imagine a stripped down version of Soundbooth with the same amount of power. Don’t worry though, because you’ll be able to download all the sound filters you want through the web site. Handles all the major audio file formats (wav, mp3, aiff, ogg vorbis).
Replace Premiere with…
Avidemux (Windows, Mac, Linux)
While this doesn’t have all the features of Premiere, its great for simple linear editing and encoding. This allows you to input MPEG, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, images, H.263 format, and more. Output your work into AVI, MPEG, MP4, or OMG. While an advanced user might need more control, this will do the trick for the majority of users.
Replace Encore with…
DVDStyler (Windows, Linux)
If you’ve created and edited your film, and want to share it, you’ll need to burn it to disc. Encore no longer exists as a stand-alone program, since it was rolled into Premiere in CS3. Open source solutions have yet combine editing suites and DVD authoring into one. Adobe has jumped into the format war and have given Encore the ability to burn Bluray discs. Until the format war is over (and Bluray drives become standard) most people, including the open source community, are sticking with DVDs.
DVDStyler is a great tool that allows the user create simple and beautiful menus for DVDs. Although this program doesn’t give advanced control over video playback, it is great to learn the DVD menu structure.
Replace After Effects with…
Jahshaja (Windows, Mac, Linux)
This is very similar to After Effects. The one thing missing is the After Effects library. Not to gret though, since Jahshaka comes with a slew of their own effects. It even lets you import projects from Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, Lightwave, Maya, 3DS Max, and more. It lets you export your projects into many formats too.
So that is my list. Obviously, this list can change and grow with time. Please add your links and suggestions to this thread and share it with the aspiring artists in your life.