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View Full Version : Easier, cheaper software than Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat?




TDK
Oct 24, 2007, 04:29 PM
Once again it's time to shell out $557 to upgrade Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat. Are there alternatives that are easier to use and cost less?

I've used Illustrator since about 1996 and never liked it. It's too hard to use. I just need to do simple ads, book illustrations, etc., every month or so. I liked MacDraw. Looking at http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/imaging_3d/ I see nine other image editing applications: DrawIt, LiveQuartz, Inkscape, Pixelmator, Acorn, ImagePlay, Art Director's Toolkit, Microspot MacDraft, and Lineform. Which ones should I try?

I bought Acrobat Pro a few years ago because it had features I needed then. I no longer need those features but I need more than the Acrobat Reader features, e.g., crop pages, add and remove pages, fill in forms, etc. Acrobat Standard would be fine for me but I can't upgrade from Pro 6.0 to Standard 8.0. :-( I can either buy Standard 8.0 for $299 or upgrade to Pro 8.0 for $159. (Plus Acrobat Pro takes almost two minutes to open! No other application takes more than a few seconds.) I see there's an open-source PDF application (free?): http://ghostscript.com/awki Should I try GhostScript instead of spending $159 to upgrade to Acrobat Pro 8.0?

I've used Photoshop since about 1996, like it, and use it almost every day. I see loads of other photo editing applications listed on http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/imaging_3d/. Is there an application as good ad Photoshop that costs less? I like Photoshop's "Adjustments...Autolevels" feature, the color balance, contrast, brightness, rotate, crop, etc., plus I use the "Save For Web" features to optimize file size and image quality.

I could get the CS3 Design Standard suite for $699, which includes Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, and InDesign. I tried InDesign 1.0 and it was awful. I sometimes design academic books and InDesign 1.0 couldn't handle references at all, you couldn't add or remove a verso without adding or removing a recto, no cross-reference ("see page 139") features, etc. Maybe I should try the latest version of InDesign and see if it has features for book design?

I guess I've answered some of my own questions: try GhostScript instead of Acrobat Pro, and stay with Photoshop. That just leaves the questions of which drawing editor to use instead of Illustrator, and whether I should bother with InDesign.



Frozentoast
Oct 24, 2007, 04:36 PM
Is there an application as good ad Photoshop that costs less? I like Photoshop's "Adjustments...Autolevels" feature, the color balance, contrast, brightness, rotate, crop, etc., plus I use the "Save For Web" features to optimize file size and image quality.
Pixelmator? (http://www.pixelmator.com/)

(the site seems to be down at the moment but it is well worth checking out when you can)

shecky
Oct 24, 2007, 04:46 PM
indesign supports all the features you are asking about (at least cs3 does)

superleccy
Oct 24, 2007, 04:53 PM
The lack of decent, affordable mid-tier graphics design applications for the Mac is the one thing that makes me nostalgic for PCs.

Illustrator: In the past I have used EazyDraw, but I find it to be unintuitive, buggy and incapable of doing things I was taking for granted in Corel DRAW! 6 in Windows 95. But check it out anyway, along with LineForm and (if you can stomach X11) Inkscape. Had a brief look at Intaglio the other day and was impressed. And if anyone's got any other suggestions then please please let me know.

Photoshop: Pixelmator looks promising for a version 1.0, but it's feature-set is pretty poor IMO at the moment. But if they expand it like they promise, it could be a real photoshop-killer. There's Acorn too, but that seemed to be even more feature-starved. And there's always Photoshop Elements, but that not universal yet... and I really don't like the interface. Plus Seashore, and (again if you can cope with X11), GIMP.

SL

pna
Oct 24, 2007, 07:00 PM
I bought Acrobat Pro a few years ago because it had features I needed then. I no longer need those features but I need more than the Acrobat Reader features, e.g., crop pages, add and remove pages, fill in forms, etc. Acrobat Standard would be fine for me but I can't upgrade from Pro 6.0 to Standard 8.0. :-( I can either buy Standard 8.0 for $299 or upgrade to Pro 8.0 for $159. (Plus Acrobat Pro takes almost two minutes to open! No other application takes more than a few seconds.) I see there's an open-source PDF application (free?): http://ghostscript.com/awki Should I try GhostScript instead of spending $159 to upgrade to Acrobat Pro 8.0?


The new version of 'Preview' that comes with Leopard may very well work for you for most of these. They significantly updated it, and added a lot of functionality for actually (in a rough sense) editing PDFs. My favorite pdf reader currently is 'Skim', which has a lot of really nice features as well. I'm not sure if it allows for proper editing, though it certainly allows you to enter into pdf forms.

TDK
Oct 24, 2007, 08:33 PM
I looked more closely at Ghostscript (the PDF application) but it's only for Windoze. Sorry to get your hopes up. :-(