Replacing Adobe programs for a Mac
June 23, 2020 5:53 PM   Subscribe

It’s becoming more apparent that I’m gonna need to update my iMac’s aging OS and I need replacement ideas for Adobe programs.

Running 10.11 allows me to use the pre-cloud Adobe programs I regularly use - Photoshop, Bridge, InDesign and Dreamweaver. Updating will force me to either accept Adobe’s new business model of endless payments to keep subscribed (and I’m not keen on the whole cloud thing) or to find new replacements.

Affinity ( looks like a promising alternative to the first three programs. Anyone use this and have an opinion? Any alternatives I should look at?

I’m really having a hard time finding a replacement for Dreamweaver. I know web designers hate it but I’ve found it very handy. Anyone have a good WYSIWYG web design program to replace it for Macs?
posted by jabo to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Haven’t used it myself, but I have read several
Reviews touting the $40 Pixelmator Pro as an excellent Photoshop replacement.
posted by ejs at 6:05 PM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Affinity programs are very good for their price. With that said, there are probably a lot of ingrained Adobe habits you'll need to learn how to do a new way. There may be certain automated functions no longer available. Others that are easier.
I found GIMP to be a bit more directly comparable to Photoshop than Affinity Photo, but Affinity far more powerful as I got to know it.
posted by meinvt at 7:19 PM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Pixelmator Pro is next to godliness.

Its major downside is making you wonder how Adobe got away with charging that much for Photoshop all that time.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:23 PM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

One note about Affinity: they semi-often run sales, so check for a sale and maybe wait for an amenable holiday/event to see if perhaps they run a sale? Their software isn't terribly expensive, but it'd be a shame to miss 50% off by a couple of days...
posted by aramaic at 7:26 PM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Pixelmator is definitely very nice. I don't like that you can't open a jpeg (or whatever), and save it in the save format (like you can in photoshop). You have to export, which is far more cumbersome than command-S. But other than that, it's quite capable for what most people need.

I didn't enjoy Luminar when i played around with it. GIMP is awful.

Some people seem to like Inkscape as an Illustrator replacement, but it seems like complete nonsense to me (horrible performance, unintuitive interface).

Darktable is a free alternative to Lightroom. If you have a Fuji camera, CaptureOne express is a free Lightroom/photoshop replacement, and it's quite nice.

I think the Affinity design/illustration stuff is the only non-adobe stuff that seems to have gained any traction.

Fortunately, all these things, if they're not already free, have free trials so you can find out for yourself.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:27 PM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Affinity sale actually just ended within the last day or so. I was going to pick up Photo, but I'll wait.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:28 PM on June 23, 2020

i went to a demo of the Affinity apps not long ago. My takeaway was that the Photoshop and Illustrator equivalents were pretty solid but the Indesign one, which is relatively new, was pretty far from being a satisfactory substitute.
posted by zadcat at 7:44 PM on June 23, 2020

Inkscape just went version 1.0, and changed a lot of things: for example, it ditched the X interface in favor of native windows.

It's pretty good for quick edits to SVG files for using on my daughter's Cricut machine. :7)

I don't love it, but I also have access to Illustrator and...I just can't find my way around like I did in 1996, you know? Inkscape has less going on, and it feels "quirky" instead of "rage-inducing."
Have you looked at this list for alternatves to Dreamweaver? (No endorsement express or implied, etc., etc.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:25 AM on June 24, 2020

I have no experience with it, but Krita is pretty popular among the Mastodon artists I follow. It's free so you can always just install it and give it a try.
posted by suetanvil at 8:50 AM on June 24, 2020

Best answer: As a counter point, I very much dislike Pixelmator, mostly for fiddly/inertia reasons, and much much prefer Flying Meat's Acorn. They're similar pricepoints; Pixelmator packs an awful lot more in than Acorn does, though. Everyone does seem to like Pixelmator but I've just always liked Acorn better, with the note that I'm not a visual artist and not creating things or anything in these apps.

For web design type thing, RapidWeaver always seemed pretty nice if you're looking for a WYSIWYG type thing. Seemed to produce pretty decent code, though I haven't used it in a while. There is a trial version of it. I'm not sure if you can import existing things into it, though, since it's got its own file formats and stuff that get exported to HTML and such; it may be a good time to learn some basics about Web programming and such so you can use more traditional text editors/IDEs. Some of them do include some WYSIWYG type stuff nowadays but I can't recommend anything specific there.

These three tend to show up in bundles pretty often (like MacHeist and things of that nature) and RapidWeaver is part of Setapp if you have that already too.
posted by mrg at 1:56 PM on June 24, 2020

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