Alternative To Photoshop or Inexpensive Photoshop?

jroug

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Original poster
Aug 26, 2008
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Hoping someone with some graphics experience can offer some advice.

I have been running parallels so I can keep using my prehistoric PC version of Photoshop, but am looking to lose Parallels and switch to a mac program. I only use a fraction of photoshop capabilities, so I want to know if another program (or a scaled down PS like elements) will meet my needs.

Here's what I do in PS currently:

scan, touch up & resize artwork (99& B&W line art)
resize photos
combine an image and text for a website (do this rarely, not a feature I'd pay extra for)
and I'm considering learning computer coloring for some of the line art (again, this is not a feature I'd really pay extra for)

Would I be able to do any or this in PS elements? Or is there an alternative that's as easy to use and a better value?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 

velocityg4

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Dec 19, 2004
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You should give Gimp a try. Since it is free if you don't like it who cares? It doesn't have the spit and shine of Photoshop but gets the job done. It'll take a bit of getting use to and be difficult at first. Sort of like using Linux instead of OS X or Windows.

http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/

As I recall Photoshop Elements used to be a stripped down version of Photoshop. From what I have seen of it. Elements looks more like a pro version of the now defunct Photoshop Albums, iPhoto or Picasa. So it doesn't seem to have the familiar Photoshop toolbars.

You can get the trial of Photoshop Elements straight from Adobe. Just choose it from the drop down list under the featured products. I know they have the Windows version trial likely the Mac version as well. The page seems to autodetect the OS and not give you an option.

http://www.adobe.com/downloads/
 

Aidoneus

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Aug 3, 2009
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GIMP is a horrid program. About the only thing it has going for it is it's free. Other than that, the interface is horrible, and I believe it still runs atop X11.

Pixelmator is cheap (around $30) and is a much nicer app than even Photoshop, if not quite as powerful.
 

maril1111

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Mar 14, 2010
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GIMP is a horrid program. About the only thing it has going for it is it's free. Other than that, the interface is horrible, and I believe it still runs atop X11.

Pixelmator is cheap (around $30) and is a much nicer app than even Photoshop, if not quite as powerful.
i agree with your opinion on gimp however i do think photoshop is still a lot better than pixelmator maybe because i mostly grew up with photoshop but also because of the vector editing capabilities of photoshop that pixelmator doesn't quite have.... yet.
 

Mal

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Jan 6, 2002
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You can try GIMP, but honestly, I find it really sucks. While it can do what you need, it's clunky and will waste time and leave you frustrated.

Pixelmater works wonderfully. I've been using it for a while, and while it takes a little longer to do a few things than Photoshop, it'll do what you're looking for without significant effort.

jW
 

thekev

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Aug 5, 2010
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i agree with your opinion on gimp however i do think photoshop is still a lot better than pixelmator maybe because i mostly grew up with photoshop but also because of the vector editing capabilities of photoshop that pixelmator doesn't quite have.... yet.
And cmyk support and a bunch of other things. I think the best options are pixelmator or elements. Wacom tablets used to come bundled with photoshop elements. I do not know if this is still the case. They used to offer cheap upgrades of photoshop from the bundle packages too, but they stopped doing that years ago :(.

Edit: I haven't used elements in many many years. At that time it didn't include layers which might make some of the line art irritating to produce. As long as that has changed, I don't think elements would be a huge issue, and as someone else mentioned, there is a trial version available.
 

maril1111

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Mar 14, 2010
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And cmyk support and a bunch of other things. I think the best options are pixelmator or elements. Wacom tablets used to come bundled with photoshop elements. I do not know if this is still the case. They used to offer cheap upgrades of photoshop from the bundle packages too, but they stopped doing that years ago :(.
I can't find it in the customer/care download section so i am guessing it doesn't happen anymore.

http://www.wacom.eu/index2.asp?lang=en&pid=31&gm=2
 

TjeuV

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Dec 14, 2011
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I'd give elements a try. I have some experience with an older version but I can say it's very easy to do so some decent work with it.
 

thekev

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Aug 5, 2010
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I can't find it in the customer/care download section so i am guessing it doesn't happen anymore.

http://www.wacom.eu/index2.asp?lang=en&pid=31&gm=2
Well the tablets used to ship with a software bundle that included elements. The upgrade path thing (which was $350 if I recall correctly) hasn't been around for a while. I still have an intuos3 here that replaced my older 2, and it did come bundled with elements and a couple other cds. That was a few years ago. I use the full version of photoshop, so I'm not sure what is and isn't in the current version of elements.
 

quasinormal

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Oct 26, 2007
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Photoshop elements 9 is bundled with Roxio Toast Professional 11.

A US seller on eBay is selling the same for about $45. I have no connection to seller apart from a recent purchase of Toast Pro 11 which arrived in less than 2 weeks. (my last post linking an ebay seller was deleted because was incorrectly reported as being the Hong Kong based seller of a Steve Jobs doll, despite having an Au IP address)

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/ROXIO-TOAST-11-Titanium-PRO-/140674938098?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20c0e134f2#ht_1420wt_1306
 

balamw

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Aug 16, 2005
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jroug

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Original poster
Aug 26, 2008
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0
Thanks for all the good advice.

I'm very embarrassed to say I have a two year old Wacom tablet here that I've yet to connect & turn on (runs & hides). Good to know that Elements works with it (think I have a copy of Anime studio that I was going to use).

I'm going to stay away from GIMP as avoiding potential aggravation is worth a lot to me.

An earlier post mentioned that Elements did not have layering (at least a while ago). Does anyone know if latest version does have layering?

If not, does Pixelator?

Thanks again - you are very helpful.
 

balamw

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I'm very embarrassed to say I have a two year old Wacom tablet here that I've yet to connect & turn on (runs & hides).
Have you checked to see if you have a Mac version of Elements that came with that? Or are you committed to getting a current version.

B
 

robgendreau

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Jul 13, 2008
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You might also give Acorn a look. Does text well, and has vector shapes.

Elements is nice; it actually did some things easier than PS IMHO.

There's also Photoline and ImageWell.

And rather than GIMP, try Seashore: it's native OS X, based on GIMP. Not as many features, which may be one of it's best features (besides the cost).

Rob
 

jroug

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 26, 2008
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Have you checked to see if you have a Mac version of Elements that came with that? Or are you committed to getting a current version.

B
Yes, it's got an offer to buy some larger version of PS at a piddling discount, but no free elements. Too bad, but as much as I will use it, Elements is worth the price for me. Pixelator sounds great, but as I'm already familiar with PS, it probably will be cleaner for me to stay in the adobe family and have a lesser learning curve. Again, many thanks for all the help!
 

thekev

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Aug 5, 2010
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Thanks for all the good advice.

I'm very embarrassed to say I have a two year old Wacom tablet here that I've yet to connect & turn on (runs & hides). Good to know that Elements works with it
A word of advice with Wacom... if the cursor feels too jumpy, you can address the mapping area or switch it to mouse mode (with acceleration off) and tailor the tracking speed to a good fit. I mention this as I don't know your tablet and display sizes. Many people purchase the bamboo tablets and use them on large displays then wonder why they can't get used to the tablet :rolleyes:. I use a 9x12 with a 24" display. I couldn't stand one smaller than that. I'd prefer 1:1, but when I tried a cintiq, there were little quirks about it that bugged me too much. The point of all this is if you adjust the settings to where they are comfortable, it can be much more enjoyable than a mouse, especially for painting/drawing types of actions.
 

rebby

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Nov 19, 2008
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I've currently got Elements 8 this way. I don't know if it was Elements that was "free" or the tablet, but I basically got both for the price of Elements.

Now it looks like the Bamboo Capture is the cheapest one to still come with Elements. http://www.wacom.com/en/Products/Bamboo/BambooTablets/BambooCapture.aspx (see What's Inside).

B
That's actually a really good idea. Elements is actually a pretty solid program and is overkill for what the vast majority of people need/want.
 

radiogoober

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Jun 7, 2011
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IMHO: Gimp is horrible. Pixelmator is fantastic. It's not quite as powerful as photoshop, but something tells me that if you truly needed photoshop for your use, then, well, you'd be using photoshop :)

I think Pixelmator is $30. Fantastic application.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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IMHO: Gimp is horrible. Pixelmator is fantastic.
Agreed for the price you cannot beat Pixelmator, and while Gimp is free the UI is aweful. For short money you get a powerful image editor. If you don't want to pay for PS, I think Pixelmator is a very powerful alternative.
 

BreakGuy

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Nov 23, 2009
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I'm interested to see the next version of the GIMP. Having a single window would drastically improve the UI and make it far friendly to use.

I might have to look further into Pixelmator. It looks nice, but I'm not convinced to part with my money on it (My wallet is hard to pull open :D)
 

radiogoober

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Jun 7, 2011
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I'm interested to see the next version of the GIMP. Having a single window would drastically improve the UI and make it far friendly to use.

I might have to look further into Pixelmator. It looks nice, but I'm not convinced to part with my money on it (My wallet is hard to pull open :D)
Pixelmator has like a 30 day free demo.