Pricey Cloud Subscriptions And Adobe Software Alternatives

I just recently took note that Adobe is starting to offer what they call their new Creative Cloud experience, or "subscription-only" with any new software of theirs.

But the pricing seems a bit crazy to me.

They're offering $50 per month for online access to "Full versions of our most popular desktop applications — Adobe® Photoshop®, Illustrator®, Acrobat®, and more." They're offing $30/month for CS customers and single app access is $20/month.

To me that seems crazy and even more costly than dropping the cash for any one image application.

Right now they're selling things like Lightroom 4 ($99) and Elements 11 ($70) while the getting is good.  But if you sign up for their cloud subscriptions, that kind of money would be spent in just over 6 months.  Me, I buy an app and use it for quite a few years if it gets the job done.  In one year's time, I'd be paying three times what I could for the boxed or downloadable app.

I'm not fond of dropping excess cash on a product in what appears to be a scheme to make more money off it.

This new scheme will eliminate all of the amateurs, making Adobe products only affordable for the professionals.  We rank amateurs are being left out in the cold.

And why is Adobe doing this now?  Because apparently their corporate clientele are eating up the online programs.


What I don't get is why the little guy might not get the opportunity to pay less, or to pay as you go, like some services these days do?

My reasoning is that professionals will be using the tools all day, every day.  So sure, they can afford the rates.  But the little guy that edits an image every now and then, and isn't doing their work for pay or sales, should be getting a break.

So what is the regular guys different options if you can't afford Adobe?

Adobe Software Alternatives

Well, there's plenty of alternative options.  Sadly, they're not Adobe, but hey, those of us budget minded folks have been getting by with them for years.

There's always GIMP or even  It's been referred to as the best replacement for Photoshop.  If you've ever used After Effects, there's apps called Blender and Wax.  For Acrobat, there's Preview or PDF-XChange Viewer.

I found a great and comprehensive list of alternatives, both free and not a cgsociety forum.  Here's a part of that list:

For photo editing, manipulation, and composition (instead of Photoshop):

  • Artweaver Plus 3
  • camerabag
  • Corel Painter
  • Corel PaintShop Pro X5
  • CorelDRAW Graphics Suite
  • FaceFilter3
  • Gimp
  • GraphicConverter 8 * by lemkesoft
  • Graphics Converter Pro 2013 * by*
  • InstantMask Pro
  • Oloneo PhotoEngine
  • OnOne standalone plug-ins
  • PhotoLine
  • PhotoPlus X6
  • Pixelmater
  • Portrait Professional (by Anthropics Technology Ltd)
  • Snapheal
  • Topaz standalone plug-ins
  • Xara Designer Pro X
  • Xara Photo & Graphic Designer*


Instead of Lightroom:

  • Aperture
  • Capture One Pro
  • Corel AfterShot Pro
  • DarkTable (free)


I'm adding ACDSee apps to both lists.  I've been using their software for many years.


So there are plenty of alternatives, for now.  And these companies, seeing what's going on, will be ready, I'm sure, to step up and take over the void in our part of the market that Adobe is abandoning.

Other sources and references that you should look over:

Lifehacker: Build your own Adobe suite for free

Hongkiat: 11 Free Adobe Alternatives

Reports on the subscription change:

Techcrunch, Cnet.

And creative cloud buying guide