Free media production software

Why Open-source,

There is a lot of software on the market for editing photos and allot of media related software in general. The main reason for using the software I use is price, in a commercial assignment its not uncommon that the client will want stuff fast, Price isn’t an issue then and I can charge the software subscription to the client so when speed is an issue I will use exclusive suites like Creative Cloud or similar “expensive” products to save manual labour.

In my opinion paid software is worth its money if it takes away manual labour or save time though smart algorithms or automation of bulk adjustments.

But when I consider that I can charge the licence fees (80-100 euros per assignment) to save two hours or do

two hours of manual labour or, then I’ll choose the manual labour.
It might be easier working on a single job or small assignments with expensive software but it will not outweigh the cost because your not really saving allot of time. Plus you will never develop any real skills in the area of expertise because you are letting fancy tools do the brainy part of the job.

So now that I clarified why I work like I do, here’s what I generally use. To make it understandable I’ll give a list with the alternative software next to it.

Type of taskSubscriptionLicencedOpen-source
Photo editingPhotoshopAffinityGimp
Photo Adjustment (RAW)LightroomAffinityRaw Therapee / Darktable
Vector DrawingsIllustratorAffinity DesignerInkscape
Desktop PublishingIndesignAffinity Publisher / QuarkxpressScribus
Video MontagePremiereFinal Cut Pro / DaVinci ResolveCinerella / Kdenlive / Blender
Motion GraphicsAfter effectsMotionNatron / Blender
3D CompositingNukeFusionNatron
Drawing / Infinite CanvasIllustrator / Flash / PhotoshopMisschiefKrita

*Subscription is where you pay a annual of monthly fee for the usage of the service.
*Licenced is a single purchase for the permanent usage of the software.
*Open-source a freely distributed program without additional charges or costs.

Free Marketing

All the software I have used in a professional environment, e.q. have been paid to work with for at least single assignment

Because there is a lot more budget for a commercial software developer then there is for a open-source variant. But don’t be fooled by cheap tricks from expensive marketing departments at Adobe because the alternatives are sometimes better but at least equally capable of handling the task.

I’ll not take the effort to explain software that is either licenced or on a subscription base, they have the marketing teams to do that themselves.

Honourable mentions go to Affinity for making  an affordable alternative to the basic Adobe DTP suite (e.g. Photoshop/Illustrator/Indesign).
And Nuke for having the most excellent non-commercial licence to learn.

But if you are on a low budget or no budget you should be able to produce industry standard visuals as well. Here’s where we find all those nice free alternatives.

Individual solutions


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