There is a lot of software on the market for editing photos and a lot 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 saves 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 labor or, then I’ll choose the manual labor.
It might be easier working on a single job or small assignments with expensive software but it will not outweigh the cost because you’re not really saving a lot 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.
|Tasktype||Photo Compositing||Photo Adjustment (RAW)||Vector Drawing||Desktop Publishing||Video Montage||Motion Graphics||3D / Video Compositing||Drawing / Infinite Canvas|
|Subscription based||Photoshop||Lightroom||Illustrator||Indesign||Premiere||After effects||Nuke||Illustrator|
|Closed Source||Affinity||Affinity||Affinity Designer||Affinity Publisher / Quarkxpress||Final Cut / DaVinci Resolve||Motion||Fusion||Misschief|
|Open source donation||GIMP||Raw Therapee / Darktable||Inkscape||Scribus||Cinerella / Kdenlive / Blender||Natron / Blender||Natron||Krita|
*Subscription is where you pay an annual or a 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.
All the software I have used in a professional environment, e.q. have been paid to work with for at least a single assignment.
Because there is a lot more budget for a commercial software developer then there is for an 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 is where all those nice free alternatives come in.