adobe killer?
November 21, 2005 9:00 AM   Subscribe

I've been wondering. Is anyone working on a OSX replacement for photoshop and illustrator? Something native to the OS and without all the baggage, oddness, and expense of the Adobe programs. I wondered about this for some time, but after checking out Microsofts' (yes really) Expression package, it makes me wonder . . . what's next for drawing/illustration software on the Mac?
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
Well there are open source alternatives that aren't made solely for osx, but work well on it.

Inkscape and the Gimp come to mind.

Also Gimpshop if you wan't something that resembles photoshop more closely.
posted by meta87 at 9:16 AM on November 21, 2005

Aperture? Though I've never used it.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:17 AM on November 21, 2005

I doubt it - there's always Gimp if you want something for nothing.

Maybe I'm in the minority but imho Photosop really is the best application ever written. It's stable, very efficient, does what you want and works beautifully.

Also, in the grand scheme of things Adobe products aren't that overpriced. compare the price of Adobe CS (4 really good apps) to Quark (1 big pos!) and you'll see what I mean!
posted by twistedonion at 9:17 AM on November 21, 2005

Aperture? Though I've never used it.

Aperture is really aimed more at pro photographers who want to work with RAW images. It's also really overpriced and you need a Supercomputer filled with all the worlds RAM to use it
posted by twistedonion at 9:19 AM on November 21, 2005

Aperture is nothing like Photoshop. It's for organizing photos and little else.

I don't think there are any viable alternatives to either out there. You don't say what you're requirements are though, because there's lots of things that can do simple stuff.
posted by cillit bang at 9:22 AM on November 21, 2005

Good to know.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:22 AM on November 21, 2005

macromedia fireworks and free hand? corel draw?

go opensource and use gimp with gimpshop
posted by at 9:37 AM on November 21, 2005

I'm a fan of pretty well for what I need it for and has been stable thus far.
posted by LunaticFringe at 9:54 AM on November 21, 2005

I'm familiar with gimp, the macromedia (now adobe) apps, and corel stuff. The question arises more out of curiousity -- with Tiger and Core Image out there, it seemed inevitable that someone would try to create a simpler application for image work. Maybe the Omni people.
I just feel that photoshop is often adapted for uses it was not originally designed for and the disconnect is evident in the interface. However, many photoshop users use it all day long and feel perfectly comfortable with it -- but I think that's an effect of familiarity and not the brilliance of interface design.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 9:59 AM on November 21, 2005

Deneba Canvas X is a legitimate alternative to Photoshop and Illustrator.

I don't rate Macromedia as an alternative any longer, since they were purchased by Adobe.

GIMP is nowhere near the level of commercial usability, IMO.

Aperture is an organization tool for digital photographers.
posted by Rothko at 10:05 AM on November 21, 2005

Corel makes both Paint Shop Pro X and Painter, Painter being more of an artistic playground than a professional imaging editor. Both are available for OS X.
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:32 AM on November 21, 2005

it seemed inevitable that someone would try to create a simpler application for image work.

But what is "image work"? Photoshop is the killer app simply because it caters for any type of image editing imaginable.

If you are looking for a simple application to make your home pics look spiffy then I'd say you can't really go wrong with the highly intuitive tools in iPhoto. I reckon you will see Apple develop this further into a baby Photoshop. But something that contains the complexity of Photoshop in an easy to use app (considering the capabilities) - not likely. I'll eat my negatives if anyone comes close to a Photoshop killer anytime soon.

Gimp is close but it's a bit like OpenOffice - trying to clone a popular pay for app but always lagging behind. I certainly agree that a bit of innovation, making use of built in Apple technology would be amazing.

One thing though... how does the move to intel affect Core Image? I'm not very offay in these matters but was it not something tied to the PowerPC architecture?
posted by twistedonion at 10:34 AM on November 21, 2005

Photoshop, flaws aside, is so deeply entrenched, I'm not sure there is a jugganaut big enough to take on Adobe in the Apple world. Commerical users of all types of software are famous for not switching to new tools, regardless of the possible advantages, because of the considerable risks.

A related aspect I'm interested in, the photoshop interface (which is based on substituting keyboard buttons for mouse buttons, eg alt-click) works poorly for Tablet-PCs when in slate mode and thus without a keyboard. Tablet-PC's are otherwise great art machines, and since Microsoft is trying to push them, I wonder if Expression is being designed with "working well with the Tablet-PC pen interface" as a minor priority.

If so, that would be interesting approach to watch.
(I use photoshop on a Tablet-PC, but in laptop mode instead of slate (sketchpad) mode, due to Photoshop's need for all those keyboard keys).
posted by -harlequin- at 12:13 PM on November 21, 2005

macromedia fireworks

If fireworks didn't choke on large or hi-res images, and added a few features, and Macromedia hadn't been bought by Adobe, it might be a photoshop/illustrator killer.

As it is, it merely kicks Photoshop's/Illustrator's trash for web graphics, and works as an interesting proof-of-concept for integrated raster/vector tools.
posted by weston at 12:15 PM on November 21, 2005

Photoshop actually has some reasonably fine-tuned image processing routines that you wouldn't get from Core Image. It'd be interesting to have an app that makes full use of the Image Unit technology, but some of the Adobe filters and miscellaneous plugins have hand-tooled assembly behind them. This is true for both PowerPC and x86.
posted by mikeh at 12:21 PM on November 21, 2005

I have friends who swear by Inkscape in windows, but it's OS X implentation may not be what you're looking for. It still runs inside X11, and has all the clunkiness of a clearly non-native app. I also don't know if it can deal with eps' as gracefully as Illustrator does. Still, I get the feeling its developers aren't just aping Adobe's products and are striving to create something that's different and maybe better.
posted by heresiarch at 1:34 PM on November 21, 2005

I use PhotoShop Elements, it's enough for photo touchups. If you're looking for image creation it's not your best choice, obviously. I avoid the X11 apps for the Mac, but if you're up to it, the above-mentioned tools are decent enough.
posted by tommasz at 3:42 PM on November 21, 2005

Graphic Converter does far more than the name would suggest and for many purposes is a drop-in replacement for Photoshop. Excellent, affordable shareware.
ArtRage is a painting package.
Seashore is a native GIMP-based image editor. It's a ways from being ready to compete with Photoshop yet.
Cenon is an open-source vector package that will never be a competitor to Illustrator, but is kind of handy for simple stuff. I use X11 software though (Inkscape, Sodipodi).
posted by nowonmai at 6:10 PM on November 21, 2005

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