March 21, 2015
Alternatives to Adobe’s Creative Cloud
Adobe may have the market for digital artists when it comes to their creative cloud platform but there are many other suitable applications for creating works of art that aren’t so mainstream. This post will document a few applications that can live up to Adobe’s potential. Give them a try and see if you can fathom jumping ship with these alternatives to Adobe's Creative Cloud.
Graphic and Vector Editors
Sketch has created a lot of buzz around the internet lately as many long time Adobe users have switched their tools of choice to be Sketch. The software focuses on having only the necessary tools for user interface and vector-based designs. Compared to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Sketch is a lightweight contender that can do a combination of the same things as both applications. If you are interested in user interface design then you ought to give Sketch a try.
Pixelmator is an image editor (for Mac) much like Adobe Photoshop was intended to be but with a pleasant twist on the interface and some unique tools. The attention to the design of the application is very prominent letting you feel like you’re working inside a highly professional application. Even if you work in Photoshop or Illustrator your files can still be migrated into Pixelmator with ease.
Acorn is an image editing tool with vector tools. Think of this software as a free version of Photoshop without all the expensive fees and unnecessary filters or layer effects.
Inkscape is a free vector graphics editor available for Mac, PC, and Linux based systems. Any type of designer can benefit from Inkscape as you can design anything from illustrations, and patterns, to web sites and UI designs.
iDraw is a vector-based application available for Mac and the iPad. You can find the application inside Apple’s Appstore. Included in the app is what you need to create everything from detailed technical illustrations to beautiful works of art.
Affinity designer is a newcomer to the graphics editing world. The software is available for Mac and is offered for a one-time flat fee as opposed to a subscription-based rate like a creative cloud. The software can do anything Photoshop and Illustrator can do and even a little better. The focus was put into the user experience of the software so you no longer have to constantly search to find a specific tool or effect. It’s all right in front of you.
Web design tools
New tools have hit the market to appeal to designers who aren’t well versed in coding or programming. These tools author code automatically while you design inside an editor much similar to one like any type of graphics editor. As your design comes to life you can hone in on specific devices all while knowing your designs are being coded for you behind the scenes. There are some downsides to this method. To me, I think the concept of what Adobe Dreamweaver in preview mode is coming back. Sure, you can design much more sophisticated websites now inside these applications but they are still limiting in terms of code quality and advanced designs. If you’re looking for simple website design then these tools will work fine. If you are looking for something more custom and dynamic you may look elsewhere for support or buddy up with a web developer.
Macaw provides the same flexibility as your favorite image editor but also writes semantic HTML and CSS. The tool itself seems super appealing and I still remember all the hype about it upon launch. Macaw kind of lead the way for what later became a multitude of web design tools on the market. Issues with code bloat and quality will always be present inside these tools. Macaw, unfortunately, is no exception.
Webflow is similar to Macaw. It features great attention to detail within its own user interface as well as the idea of designing responsive websites. You can adjust your design based on specific widths commonly seen on mobile devices and tablets.
Pinegrow is a website builder for professionals. Rather than geared towards novice designers, Pinegrow strives to appeal to professional web designers and developers as well. Multipage editing is well worth the price of admission!
Just like Webflow and Macaw, Froont is another contender in the web design tool world. The same idea of designing websites without having to touch code is emphasized.
Hype is a unique tool for mac that allows you to author interactive HTML content using its GUI. You can also create animations all without coding. The interface reminds me of the Sketch interface in terms of application UI. I think an avid Sketch user would feel right at home using this tool as there are a lot of similarities. It is currently available on the app store for $49.99(USD). You can download a free trial on their website.
In the end, you shouldn’t limit your creativity to the tools you use nor should you let your creativity be limited by a tool. Give multiple tools a try and see which one feels the best. Adobe leads the way with their creative suite software. Until now there are more developers and designers looking for tools better adjusted to their working conditions. Will Adobe reign supreme? We will certainly find out soon.
Would you switch to something other than an Adobe product? Have you tried it with success? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments