Alternatives to Photoshop & Illustrator?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by sk3pt1c, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. sk3pt1c macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    a simulacrum
    #1
    Looking to remove Adobe's apps from my mac.

    I recently saw Affinity for an Illustrator alternative and it looks pretty awesome!

    Is Pixelmator the best Photoshop alternative?

    I am by no means a power user of either app btw, but I have been using them for quite some time for web design mostly and the occasional photo cleanup etc.

    What are your favourite alternatives?

    I'd prefer something that's Mac specific i.e. faster and with a more mac "friendly" design.
     
  2. olup macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    #2
    I personally use Pixelmator, which is totally fine for my means(web stuff). I'd say it's definitely closer to Photoshop than GIMP is and its GUI is also a bit nicer. I can't say anything about Affinity, since I only took a brief look at it.
     
  3. CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a

    CrickettGrrrl

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    B'more or Less
    #3
    I just bought Affinity Designer too but haven't had a chance to really delve into it. It looks very exciting.

    Mischief is pretty good, vector with infinite zoom & like working in raster, with a very simple interface.

    I LOVE iDraw for vector work, interface is sort of like Pixelmator. It recently had a huge update and is more powerful than before.

    Acorn for raster work like Pixelmator.

    I wouldn't call Manga Studio 5/Clip Studio Paint (same thing, different branding) a Mac-like interface, but it is pretty powerful for illustration work.

    Personally, I feel so lucky to have so many great alternatives at the present time. :)
     
  4. superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Location:
    East Riding of Yorkshire, UK
    #4
    I'd be very interested to hear what you think of Affinity Designer. It seems too good to be true but it does sound really good. I've yet to hear from anyone who's actually used it in a pro-scenario.
     
  5. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #5
    Sketch is a hybrid of Photoshop and Illustrator. It is aimed at web designers and UX people. Workflow things like asset generation are really well thought out.
     
  6. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere!
    #6
    Affinity Designer is an alternative to Illustrator. Pixelmator is a good alternative to Photoshop.

    I have been using Affinity Designer since very early in the betas and have found it to be very powerful. I do not open Illustrator very much any more. Plus you can not beat the price.

    Pixelmator I have only recently started testing but so far I like it and find it a good alternative to PS. And again you can not beat the price. Both good apps even for the advanced user.
     
  7. MechaSpanky macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #7
    firedept,

    I saw some stories last week about Affinity Designer being released on October 9th and it looks very solid. From what I've seen, it has many of the same tools and features that Illustrator has, plus it looks very responsive and the UI looks pretty good too. There are two things that I'm curious about and I couldn't find it anywhere on their website is, 1). Can you hide individual items (not the whole layer) and 2). What kind of options do they have for locking things (can you lock individual items and layers both)? The price for Affinity Designer makes it very attractive especially seeing how it has support for different colors spaces (something that iDraw doesn't offer).

    I bought iDraw and I really liked the program. I was really hoping that I could leave Illustrator behind and completely move to iDraw. I felt that the drawing tools were very smooth and robust. While I liked the program I can't use it other than for doodling because it has some odd color behaviors, which I'm guessing are because it doesn't offer color spaces (which is a must if you are going to use it for print work). I had problems with the program when I would draw something and then assign a CMYK color to it but later it would change back to RGB (of course it looked the same on screen but it would never print correctly). The program is also missing the features that I mentioned above. I also felt that choosing and applying colors was not very intuitive and very clunky. I contacted the developers but I never heard back from them. As well, the developer (or developers) doesn't have a forum or any way other than email or Facebook to communicate with users, which for me isn't good enough. I think that iDraw could become a great program but it has some maturing to do if it is going to become a serious vector tool. I will probably buy Affinity Designer sometime soon and give it a shot.

    I knew it was only a matter of time until a company came out with a graphics suite to compete with Adobe. I'm sure that after Serif there will be others too. Affinity Designer is just the first product which will be followed by a photo editing app and a page layout app. There are just too many unhappy Adobe customers ready to buy something that is near in features to what Adobe has to offer without the subscription and without all the other crap that people have to accept when using an Adobe application. The fact that Affinity Designer will open Illustrator (and possibly Freehand) files as well as Photoshop files gives it a big boost. Plus it gives you some reasonable export options.
     
  8. MechaSpanky macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #9
    Michaelgtrusa,

    Thanks for the link. There do seem to be more vector apps out there than I ever remember before and many of them are pretty good, especially for the money. While many of them are good, most of them are nowhere near being able to replace Illustrator. I hope that Affinity Designer is at least close. One of the nice things about Affinity Designer is the user interface looks pretty good. The Logoist 2's user interface looks too simple. Simple is good but there is a fine line between simple and too simple. Of course that is just a first impression based on the screen shots.
     
  9. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere!
    #10
    Yep - both those things are possible. See the attached screen grab - I’ve expanded the layer in the layers tab which exposes all the individual objects. The check box next to each layer/object allows you to hide/unhide objects or layers, and you can also choose to lock layers/individual items. So here, the 2nd ellipse object is locked, and the third ellipse object is hidden. Hope that makes sense...
     

    Attached Files:

  10. MechaSpanky macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #11
    firedept,

    Thanks for the response. That is good news, I'm glad to hear that Affinity Designer can Hide and Lock items like in Illustrator. For what I do, it is a must. I really like what I see with Affinity Designer. I hope that Serif continues to improve the program and that they also have success with their other projects as well. The market is ripe for a company to offer a viable alternative to Adobe's products. One more question, they market Affinity Designer as being super fast and responsive. In your experience does the program live up to the hype?

    Mecha
     
  11. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere!
    #12
    So far it does. I am using it on an iMac late 2012, 3.4GHz i7, 1 TB Fusion, 24 GB RAM. Have had no problems with renders and actually it is quicker than Illustrator. I have used iDraw as well, but only for a trial period, and did not find it as comparable to Illustrator as Affinity was.

    I, as you, am looking for alternatives to Adobe's subscription pricing. I just feel like I will be held hostage if I take the Adobe route. I prefer to own my software as opposed to renting it, with the option of upgrading at my leisure. Just wish Adobe would bring back packaged software. I would happily pay as I always had.

    Adobe created an opportunity for developers to come forward when they went subscription. I am just amazed that the developers are doing it so cheaply. Kudos to them.
     
  12. niewiesznic macrumors regular

    niewiesznic

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Internet
    #13
    Is Affinity Designer suitable for print work, like book covers?
     
  13. firedept, Oct 12, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014

    firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere!
    #14
    I am in the print business and I can tell you that it does work and I have no doubt as I use it for small print jobs on my Canon Pro 100 and Pro 1. Both very formidable printers. The work looks every bit as good as I have done in Illustrator.

    But my suggestion would be to ask the print shop you are going to be working with. I know the files will work as most shops only ask for finished PDF's anyways. Very few shops need the original files for anything. You should be sending the finished product, so I could not see why they would not work.

    If anything needs to be touched up, you will do it once you see the proofs they provide you. Then you just send them corrected PDF's.
     
  14. MechaSpanky macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #15
    After re-reading firedept's post about hiding and locking individual items in Affinity Designer, I tried it in iDraw and I found that I was able to do it in iDraw as well. I always use the keyboard shortcut "command + 3" in Illustrator and when I didn't see the option in the view menu, I just assumed that I couldn't do it in iDraw. In Illustrator I never hide/show things using the layers palette. Having to go to the layers palette every time I want to hide/show/lock something isn't as efficient as using a keyboard shortcut but at least the option to do it is there. Thanks firedept. While it clears two big issues for me with iDraw, I still want to give Affinity Designer a try and see which one I prefer. It is always nice to have choices.

    I completely agree with firedept's reply about most commercial printers don't want the original files, they prefer finished PDF files instead.
     
  15. bit density macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    #16
    If you're designing for press, it will simply be more expensive in the long run, NOT to use Illustrator/Photoshop/Indesign...

    The core renderer's of these programs are color independent and PostScript based. This means that you have many, many fewer technical problems getting to press and meeting expectations. These are the number one issues for those that are designing for press application. If the user is going to work for press oriented processes will be best spent on learning and using these applications which are very powerful for that process. For those applications that are machine GUI based tend to be RGB and use the drawing mechanism of the OS. (Adobe applications RIP to a window using builtin PS), Applications that attempt press ready output have to do a lot of dancing to make it work. Aldus/Adobe both went through that process before PS was finally wedded to the applications as it's primary path, and it was a grizzly world before that being successful in the press process.

    However, if your designing for largely composite printing (desktop/kinko's/web), then you can use pretty much any program, but you will discover all of the issues when you finally decide to go to press. That said, I see technical errors all the time from folks that are using non-adobe paths for getting output. It's not easy to get it right. And if you're taking your skills on the road (paying design jobs), you will find that most places that pay are using the Adobe path as predictability is worth way more than the fifty bucks a month they have to pay to provide tools.

    Each major release has provided additional power, creativity, and ui advances to more than pay for the ongoing costs.
     
  16. niewiesznic macrumors regular

    niewiesznic

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Internet
    #17
    Thanks for answers, I still have question for freezing/expanding to vectors the fonts. Is AD able to do it before export to PDF?
     
  17. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #18
    I produce hundreds of press-ready pages every week, and I've been checking the PDF and TIFF outputs from Affinity Designer and comparing them to the same final outputs from Illustrator and InDesign, and I think it's going to work just fine.

    Right now, there are two deal-breakers in AD for print work (in my workflow, at least):

    1) No direct trapping control. I need to be able to specify (for example) overprinting black on an object-by-object basis.

    2) No easy way to swap out a bitmap image in place (ie: you place a low-res or provisional B/G image in your document and then simply re-link to the high-res/final version when it becomes available).

    Both of these are on the development roadmap and are promised within the next few months. The AD team have been very clear that print/press use is a strong focus for them.

    There is one other important caveat:

    I'm unconvinced by the pen/tablet input at the moment — on my Cintiq, brushes are laggy in both vector and raster mode, and there's a degree of stroke correction that I can't find a setting to change and which is bloody annoying.

    ----------

    You can select text boxes/objects and use 'Convert to Curves' in the exact same way as 'Create Outlines' works in Illustrator.

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  18. niewiesznic macrumors regular

    niewiesznic

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Internet
  19. iDento macrumors 6502

    iDento

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    iCloud Servers
    #20
    I've already done that

    Before 2 years I replaced Photoshop with Pixelmator and Illustrator with iDraw and I've never looked back, iDraw syncs over iCloud with iDraw for iPad and the developers are working on iDraw for iPhone, not very useful to have that in a small screen but it's always good to have the option.

    Currently I'm looking for a replacement for InDesign, I can get even Pages to work faster and easier than InDesign sometimes, Swift Publisher seems good but I didn't look into it yet.
     
  20. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Location:
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    #21
    Dunno if this conversation is still going on, but thanks to this thread, I just learned about Affinity Illustrator, and decided to see how good it was.

    I came across this page that does a good job of explaining the basics of Illustrator, Affinity, and Sketch, and their respective strengths and weaknesses. I can't offer my own opinions, since I'm only now taking my first steps into vector drawing, and barely know what I'm doing, but it seems pretty thorough.
     
  21. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #23
    The latest beta (coming as a free update to paid versions shortly) is claiming a lot of improvements…

    [​IMG]

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  22. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #24
    I'm still very much finding my way around in AD, and I've just realised there's no need to convert the text on your document —*there's a 'Text to Curves' option in the PDF export screen.

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  23. bhtwo macrumors 6502a

    bhtwo

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    Location:
    Oxford UK
    #25
    I'm afraid Adobe is still the 'industry standard'... I see no job ads saying 'Pixelmator/iDraw skills required'...

    You still have to learn the hard way.

    Saying that, if I ever have to dump my adobe apps, Pixelmator is a great alternative. Still not sure about an Illustrator replacement.
     

Share This Page