It was ho-ho-ho and a kerching for reassuringly expensive graphic design software maker Adobe last night as it danced all the way to the bank, reporting double digit spike in Q4 revenues (PDF) and an upward swing in profit. The position Adobe has carved for itself means there are relatively few viable alternatives out there, …
I generally agree... I actually stopped paying for creative cloud when Affinity Designer came out... but their Bézier curves (a fairly simple thing to get right) are somewhat of a pain in the ass.
Then there’s Affinity Photo that still has major scaling problems that causes visual artifacts when zooming the workspace. It makes it almost unusable. My daughter is using Photoshop CS6 because it doesn’t need a subscription and it’s still quite a bit better than Affinity. Her reasoning is brushes. But she’s using other Asian software a lot more now.
PSP became unusable when Corel bought it an fully aimed it at the lower-end market. I had to ditch it after X3. Maybe they turned it again into a better tool now, but when you have years and thousands of photos with Lightroom editings, switching is not so easy, you need a very compelling reason which is not price alone.
Yet I can't understand where all these new Adobe users are coming from, and which products they buy. Camera sales are down, are people now feeling the need to edit their smartphone selfies with something better than Instagram filters?
I disagree that there are few viable alternatives but whether they're actual alternatives when you come to use them is a different story. For me, I have way too much invested in muscle-memory when it comes to photo editing and raw processing on products such as Affinity Photo is just too much of a learning curve for me.
A couple of years ago I went completely iOS for my personal compute - 10.5" and then 11" iPad Pro - so my choices are more limited but even so, I much prefer the LR CC package with DAM, editing and offline storage all bundled into one option than any of the alternatives. Yes, the subscription doesn't work for all but it does for me. Add in freebies such as PS Express and PS Fix and I find it quite a usable, portable approach.
I used much of the Serif "Plus" suite on my Windows PC for many years (it started with PagePlusv2 - I still have the original disks somewhere in the attic). Some of their programs (such as PP) were really good; others not so. Photo editing became a pain until I tried PhotoShop which made things much easier. Then, a few years on, someone suggested Lightroom (v2) and I rarely go to PS now.
Another problem with Serif was their aggressive marketing - regular phone calls with offers to upgrade or add packages, even after asking them to stop. Now on a Mac, I've considered their Affinity suite as a purchase of all three is little more than a year's Adobe LR/PS subscription but they don't yet have a DAM module, nor will Affinity's RAW editor read any of my LR edits. I regularly go back to old photos and tweak (everything from my DSLRs is in RAW, with non-destructive edits in sidecars). I could generate full size jpg versions of each but still lose history...
Much as I'd like to move away from a subscription model, Adobe is still my goto. (I went from CS6 and LR6 as the former needed Java plug-ins to run and neither are being updated to run with newer MacOS).
Sure, you can learn PSP or the Gimp or whatever for photo editing, maybe blow the dust off of an olde copy of Quark for layout, use CorelDraw for vector graphics, Divinci for video post production maybe if you are an individual user, or FCP if you are a masochist. You’ll be hard pressed to find a suitable alternative to AfterEffects and few other tools. If you do creative work professionally you are likely part of both a team and a workflow and file interoperability, a relatively common interface and collaboration tools become much more significant than saving a few hundred bucks a year for software for a user., and will improve productivity in terms of time taken per task. Depending on the shop, that is less per seat than what is spend feeding the Creatives soy latte and vegan cheese. Adobe doesn’t really care about individual users, it’s the commercial shops that are driving that top line revenue.
That said, I bought a license for the very last non CC version, CS6 to avoid paying a yearly tax on the tools that get used daily. I don’t love Adobe at all, but they do build good tools.
If you do creative work professionally you are likely part of both a team and a workflow and file interoperability, a relatively common interface and collaboration tools become much more significant than saving a few hundred bucks a year for software for a user
Indeed. There are non-Adobe options that are fine for personal use or lone ranger designers, but Adobe brings a lot to the table for teams -- e.g., consistent handling of CMYK and Pantone across apps, as just one key example.
Since Creative Suite is the de facto standard, any designer hoping to make a living in the corporate sphere has to know it (or at least, PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat). It's not so easy for HR to find someone who knows a random collection of GIMP, PSP, Inkscape, Scribus, etc., and they will probably need extensive training on your workflow.
Unfortunately, Adobe knows this and sets their prices accordingly.
For nearly 20 years, I have heard people venting frustration with Adobe, although at one time I think people actually despised Quark's licensing model a bit more, and while despising the cloud method, I am remiss to say any of the alternatives free or paid get close to the integration and efficient workflow the Creative Cloud suite provides.
At this point, my hope leans more towards them releasing versions to Linux so as to ditch Microsoft in toto as opposed to finding a replacement for the highly efficient Photoshop-Illustrator-Premiere Pro-Audition-Media Encoder workflow.
It won't happen until:
1) Linux users stop to despise closed source code, and are ready to pay for it.
2) Distro fragmentation of UI and libraries is reduced, and it becomes easier to deploy closed source code, which can't break at every update.
3) High end graphic devices (including scanners, printers, tablets, etc) are fully supported natively, even with proprietary closed source drivers.
Otherwise the ecosystem for many professional users is simply not there. Maybe only video has less issues, since it's less relying on many external devices. Still you'll need support for editing consoles, and some specific processing cards.
"although at one time I think people actually despised Quark's licensing model a bit more"
Yup, it's hard to believe now, but Adobe was once the young upstart challenger against the Xpress monopoly. Like so many successful rebellions, its leaders simply became what they rebelled against.
I go back as far as version 2 of potatoshop on a mac plus and after effects when it was a pet project of the centre of supercomputing applications. I know not what goes on in the belly of Pixzilla but the last time adobe got creative with other platforms was version 3 of potatoshop and it was ported to sgi irix with Illustrator which I was using with Alias Studio and Maya 1.0 at that time. It was a usable port but clunky compared to mac or windows cause of how irix handled panes and was killed off shortly before sgi hit a large wall that saw their outlook turn chapter 5 in months and their funky purple mountain view hq become the googleplex.
I can highly recommend Resolve as a beautiful all in one sound, vfx, edit and output package. Its free to download and has all the apps in one app with a beautiful tabbed workflow removed from dumb dated dropdown menu clunk which shows what you can do to innovate a UI to 2019 when you are not a bloated shareholder driven cash guzzler. Autodesk sketchbook pro also has significantly better brushes and ui imho and I always puzzle why they don't push it harder to compete.
Liking that I teach for 2 unis that give me free Creative Crud so I don't have to pay the beast a bean. If they could come up with something more integrated instead of the bloated single app for everything model that need endless oversized updates I would feel more generous toward them.