Can I use educational software if I am not a student?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ajxoxo, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. ajxoxo macrumors newbie


    Apr 27, 2012
    I've been looking at Design job postings and noticed that alot of places require experience with some top notch design programs such as Final Cut and Photoshop. I would like to learn to use Final Cut and Photoshop, but I can't afford the cost of the software.

    I remember that my former University had discounted software for students, but unfortunately I have graduated years ago and am not eligible for sales through them. I did find that there are some resellers that will sell student software. In fact, one reseller I have purchased from in the past when I was a student.

    I was wondering if I could still use the software if I purchased a student version. I don't know how else I would be able to afford something like that given that most of these programs are priced exorbitantly high for professional use. I am just trying to learn and improve my job skill set.
  2. Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    i don't know how it works with photoshop and i don't think that there's a student-version of fcpx (but it's not that expensive). there's a lot of free student software from autodesk.

    if you can find a student version of a software you want to learn, use it, that's what students-versions are for. while it's probably not 100% legal to use some of these versions if you are not a student at a school or university, i think nobody will mind as long as you don't do professional projects with it.

    most software (fcpx, photoshop) offers a 30-day trial - you can learn a lot in 30 days if you can find the time for it.
  3. kohlson, Jan 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017

    kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    FCPX does not have a student discount. Or if it does, it's only a few bucks. Adobe has a killer deal for registered students (like $20/month for everything) but you have to re-register every year. Then, it's much more.

    FCPX is $299, and might be the least expensive thing you'll ever buy for this space.

    Consider Da Vinci Resolve - free. It's not FCP or PS, but you'll be learning the fundamentals of video editing. Most good editors know more than one NLE (non linear editor, synonym for video editor). The buttons/workflow will be different, but more than half the battle is knowing what to do - not how to do that.
  4. ajxoxo thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 27, 2012
    What does NLE stand for? I am sorry for not knowing this. I am a real beginner at this. I think I would have to learn Final Cut and Photoshop, along with some other design applications and special effects software if I want to have a go at trying to get into this line of work. But all this stuff for a non-student requires a huge upfront investment.

    I would like to try the Da Vinci Resolve, but I'd rather just spend time learning the pro tool since that is what employers want anyway. Plus, I have to learn a LOT of new design tools so I don't really have time to be ultra proficient at knowing multiple applications. Of course, once I get comfortable with the mainstay, like Final Cut, then I'd want to explore some other tools.

    Somebody told me that if you buy a student software application from Adobe, on initial online registration it will ask for your credentials to confirm that you are indeed a student. And if you can't provide the requisite proof, then your product will cease working in like 30 days or something. Is this correct? I'd like to buy the student software for Photoshop, or like Illustrator, or After Effects, or something like that, but I think the student versions are significantly cheaper for those programs.
  5. BeefCake 15 macrumors 65816

    BeefCake 15

    May 15, 2015
    near Boston, MA
    Once a student always a student, you don't need 4 walls and a diploma to keep learning!
  6. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    The design jobs will probably want a diploma or a training certification from a school as well as experience and perhaps samples of your work. You may want to think about taking some classes (perhaps on line), or check with the job poster to see if they need more than being self taught experience. I seem to recall awhile ago that someone posted a thread discussing what it takes to get an entry level job... or to be a independent contractor. I'd hate for you to invest in tools and months of training without any chance of a job. You may already have done that, just wanted to check.
  7. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    Portfolio matters most. I think certifications (software wise at least) can be a waste of money.

    As for educational software, there are a lot of good options out there but to varying levels of accessibility to non-students. For Autodesk stuff I believe you need a .edu address for verification, and I want to say there was some sort of verification for Creative Cloud as well.

    As for the legality of it all, I don't think law enforcement is going to be banging down your doors if you're using the software for its intended use and learning (not profiting).
  8. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    NLE is non-linear editor explained here:

    As for Davinci Resolve, while there is a free version available with some limitations on what can be done with it (eg limited to high definition output rather than 4K or better), make no mistake it is in fact professional software. Its main use in a professional setting is color correction but I understand the video editor itself is similar enough to Premier Pro and it would be a fine piece of software to learn the art of video editing.

    As suggested above, your portfolio will be of great importantance since it will demonstrate that you know what to do and not just how to do it (how is something that can be learned easy enough with tutorials and by creating projects).

    If you have any interest in 3D animation, perhaps check out Blender; it too is free and very powerful although the built in video editor seems confused to my son and I (I'm mostly looking over his shoulder trying to help him remember how to output the final video file but he enjoys modelling with it).


    Edit: Pixelmator is an inexpensive alternative to Photoshop, but probably just to learn basic concepts since Photoshop truly is the standard.

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