Open source alternative to Creative Suite 3
June 20, 2008 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Is there an open source equivalent to Adobe Creative Suite CS3 for Windows that you're happy with?
posted by Sia Stewart to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
An open source equivalent to the entire suite? You may want to provide more details about the functionality you're looking for; things like The Gimp and Inkscape may be great for you, or you may be completely SOL.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:25 PM on June 20, 2008

The whole software package? No. But GIMP does a reasonable job at PhotoShop-type work, and NVu is a good (although nowhere close to Dreameweaver standards) Web author.
posted by Shepherd at 1:25 PM on June 20, 2008

Scribus is, uh, okay. It's not ready to replace InDesign yet, and (last time I checked, at least) The Gimp's CMYK output plugin actually produced files which Scribus couldn't use, though this may have been fixed by now. Oh, right: no native CMYK or Pantone support in The Gimp, which is probably going to be a problem if paper is your ultimate destinaiton.
I seem to recall that there were workarounds, like allowing Scribus to convert RGB files to CMYK (I never tried this, and might be making it up), but it sounded like a situation you wouldn't want to get involved in if you were trying to produce even slightly nice looking four-color output. All of those design/prepress/print shops? They pony up for Adobe software for a reason.
posted by pullayup at 1:42 PM on June 20, 2008

Hey, give us some more information! Adobe CS covers pretty broad territory these days, and includes something like a dozen distinct applications. Are you making videos? Designing web pages? Flash? Print production? Documents intended for electronic distribution? Editing wedding photos?
Are you a business? A nonprofit trying to stretch your budget? An individual interested in trying stuff out? Help us out here!
posted by pullayup at 1:49 PM on June 20, 2008

Inkscape is pretty good for vector stuff.
posted by Brian Puccio at 1:50 PM on June 20, 2008

The answer is NO.
posted by bitdamaged at 1:52 PM on June 20, 2008

Anyone who has The Gimp has never used it or is exaggerating greatly. It's awful.
posted by null terminated at 2:10 PM on June 20, 2008 [6 favorites]

This really depends on what you're doing. If you're designing for home-use, there's InkScape, Gimp, and Scribus mentioned above. If you're trying to design professionally, there's the Adobe Creative Suite.

Please bear in mind that I'm not maligning either of the first two. I have my opinion of them, but it is my personal opinion and has little to do with your workflow or creativity. It's a poor artist who blames his tools, after all.

From a purely technical standpoint, no print service will touch your files if you use open-source software. I've had to deal with a lot of oddball requests as a printer, and if somebody came to me with a job that had been designed in InkScape, Scribus or Gimp I would politely tell them that I couldn't help them.
posted by lekvar at 2:50 PM on June 20, 2008

It would be helpful to know exactly what programs you need. There are tools to replace some of the components of CS3, but for others there is no realistic alternative. InDesign, for example -- none of the other programs I've tried compare even remotely. Flash seems like another one that's pretty irreplaceable in terms of its specific functionality.
posted by camcgee at 2:50 PM on June 20, 2008

Alas, Adobe has you by the...well, whatever it is you have.
posted by bz at 3:01 PM on June 20, 2008

No. There really isn't.

Given the choice, I'll virtually always use the Adobe apps. The only exception is in video production, where I'll use AVID tools over Premier.
posted by jjb at 5:01 PM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Some versions of "Creative Suite 3" also include Flash 9.
posted by Class Goat at 5:15 PM on June 20, 2008

If you want to do pretty things in Flash, it is somewhat possible (assuming you don't mind some math) to create them using the open source Flex 3 SDK's mxmlc to compile .as sourcefiles (or .mxml, if you swing that way) into .swfs. It's how I make all my flash gizmos, these days.

Inkscape is not to the level of Illustrator yet, but it meets most of my needs.

I could never use Gimp instead of Photoshop, though. That's one place Adobe gets my moneys. Well, my employer's moneys, but same difference to Adobe.
posted by Alterscape at 6:13 PM on June 20, 2008

Scribus pales to InDesign, GIMP is a little better, but not in the same league with Photoshop in my opinion. While some PDF utilities might let you get pretty far, I don't think there's anything approaching Acrobat Pro for integration and control of PDFs.

I think I could live with KompoZer over Dreamweaver, though.

But no suite of FOSS programs would come close to CS3, imo.
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:41 PM on June 20, 2008

For people who don't like GIMP: I haven't used Krita, but it's on my list of things to try out.
posted by flabdablet at 9:15 PM on June 20, 2008

If I could hijack this question a bit, is there any open source alternative to After Effects out there? I was wondering about this the other day.
posted by brundlefly at 9:22 PM on June 20, 2008

Thanks for all these suggestions and observations. If I were a nonprofit, I'd go to TechSoup. I'm an individual trying to find an affordable option for my daughter who's trying to learn about the various functions. The list price is just out of my range.
posted by Sia Stewart at 9:46 PM on June 20, 2008

If your daughter is a student she may qualify for the educational price. Some school systems or universities have negotiated better deals, too.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:08 PM on June 21, 2008

For basic vector work, Inkscape is pretty good - not nearly as rough as the gimp.
posted by unmake at 8:28 PM on June 21, 2008

If you're just looking for a cheaper alternative, you might try finding a used version of CS or CS2 on, for example, Ebay or Craigslist.
posted by camcgee at 9:37 AM on June 22, 2008

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