As much as we love Adobe’s powerful tools, budget is one of our highest priorities.
Luckily, we live in a world abound with affordable alternatives. Some aren’t as robust, but you may not need all the bells and whistles for your team. Given the lower price tags, we reckon they’re worth exploring!
In this post, we’ll compare one alternative to each tool in the Adobe suite.
Let’s find a great Adobe alternative that won’t break your wallet.
About Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud is a suite of 20+ desktop and mobile apps and services for design, photography, video, and more.
Its user base ranges from professionals to casual users, and students to businesses.
For individual plans, a standalone Adobe app sets you back anywhere between $9.99 (e.g., Lightroom) to $20.99 (e.g., Photoshop)/month when billed annually. An annual subscription for the complete suite costs $52.99/month.
It’s even more expensive to use Adobe as a team or business. A single app costs $33.99/month for each license. If you want to subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud, it’s $79.99/month for each license. For students, educators, and schools, there are discounts available.
Adobe may be the industry giant, but it has gotten its fair share of criticism. The software company has consistently received flak for its subscription model and lack of transparency.
Recently, Adobe came under fire for its exorbitant cancelation fees.
After a customer tweeted about paying US$229 (A$291) to cancel his account, the Twittersphere exploded with similar complaints.
Source: Republic World [Adobe does offer a full refund for annual contracts paid monthly, but you need to cancel within 14 days of your order. After 14 days, Adobe will charge 50% of your remaining contract. You have access to the apps until the end of that month’s billing cycle.]
Adobe’s cancelation fee is nothing new—in fact, here’s a comment about it on Reddit from two years ago.
But enough with the doom and gloom. You’re here for the tools! Let’s explore some Adobe alternatives.
1. Lightroom vs Pixelied
Adobe Lightroom is a photo editing and organizing software.
Photographers often use it to speed up their workflow (e.g., apply adjustments to multiple images at once instead of individually on Photoshop), lightly edit their photos, and manage their photos catalog.
There are many Lightroom alternatives—Darktable and RawTherappe come to mind. But if you find it challenging to organize your messy photo collection on both platforms, here’s what we recommend.
Top Adobe Lightroom alternative: Pixelied
Pixelied is a feature-rich design suite. It offers workspaces that help you organize and manage your photos without leaving a platform.
Invite team members to your workspaces to streamline collaboration. You can easily switch between workspaces as each workspace comes with its separate assets, members, and designs.
Here’s what an AppSumo user said about the convenience it brings:
Pixelied is also a great tool for light editing. There are features like one-click background removal, millions of stock photos and icons, and professional filters and effects (e.g., sepia, contrast).
Pixelied starts free, with the Pro Plan scaling at $7/month when billed annually. Grab the Pixelied lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $59.
2. Photoshop vs Pixlr
Adobe Photoshop is a powerful graphic manipulation tool.
Nothing is impossible with Photoshop, thanks to its pixel-level manipulation tools. Whether it’s compositing elements together into a photo or retouching headshots for a LinkedIn profile, many users will pick Photoshop in a heartbeat—that is, assuming they have no issues with the outrageous cancelation fee.
In terms of popular alternatives, users like Affinity Photo and Photopea. Both photo editing platforms feature a similar UI and steep learning curve to Photoshop. Looking for a user-friendly photo editing tool? Then check this out.
Top Adobe Photoshop alternative: Pixlr
Pixlr is an AI photo editor.
The tool lets you access 5,000 decorative texts, 18,000 assets, and more. For the Creative Pack pricing plan, you’ll unlock extra attractive overlays and 10 million graphics, fonts, templates, photos, videos, and 3D files.
With Pixlr, it’s easy to get started right away. Add gradient effects to text and use layers to create image composites.
Another great feature is the instant background removal. Click your photo’s background or any unwanted object in your image, and the AI cutout tool removes it in seconds.
Sure, Pixlr may not be as powerful as Photoshop. But here’s another way of looking at it: as a business owner, 99% of your editing needs are basic. It’s unlikely that you need an advanced photo editor when you use only a tiny fraction of the features.
Take it from this AppSumo user:
[Caption: Tony knows what he’s talking about.]
Pixlr is also browser-based—you don’t need to download any software and use your laptop or desktop’s storage space.
Pixlr offers a free plan. Paid plans start at $4.90/month when billed annually. Grab the Pixlr lifetime deal for $49 on AppSumo today.
3. Illustrator vs Inkscape
Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard for vector graphics.
Its standout features include the:
- Pen tool for creating freehand lines and shapes
- Transform tool to distort artwork
- Pathfinder for combining different objects into new shapes
For a free replacement to Illustrator that’s worthy of your business, here’s what we suggest.
Top Adobe Illustrator alternative: Inkscape
Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics software.
Don’t let the price tag (or lack thereof) fool you. Inkscape is packed with flexible drawing tools, embedded bitmaps, gradient editor, and native SVG support.
Its node selection and cloning objects tools are on par with Illustrator. You can easily create different types of nodes when drawing a path and update child clones in real-time. Some users find that the latter feature is especially helpful when creating kaleidoscopic art.
It’s completely free to use Inkscape.
For more Illustrator alternatives, check out Figma, Sketch, and Affinity Designer.
4. InDesign vs Crello
Adobe InDesign is a page design and layout software for print and digital media.
It’s a top option for users who want to be in the Adobe ecosystem—edit a photo on Photoshop, create a logo in Illustrator, add all assets together on InDesign, and finally download a PDF copy.
No InDesign alternatives list is complete without mentioning Canva and Affinity Publisher. But if you’re looking for a design software tool with fast speed (according to several users, Canva and Affinity tend to run slow), we’ve got you covered.
Top Adobe InDesign alternative: Crello
Crello is a must-have design tool for your marketing needs.
Create posters, print magazines, Twitter ads, videos…you name it. There’s even a Product Hunt category. The next time you’re launching a product on the community platform, use one of the templates to create an eye-catching gallery.
Crello is a fantastic tool if you prefer to do ALL your design work without leaving a platform.
You don’t need to start from scratch, since Crello offers 30,000 customizable design templates in 50+ formats and millions of stock photos.
Plus, Crello loads quickly for a seamless user experience.
Crello starts free, with paid plans beginning $7.99/month when billed annually. Grab the Crello one-year deal on AppSumo today for $67.
5. Premiere Pro vs DaVinci Resolve 17
Adobe Premiere Pro is a high-end video maker and editor.
Its newer features include auto video reformat, text gradients, and captions label colors. Adobe also offers Premiere Rush, a separate all-in-one app for quick and light edits on any device.
Users who have stopped using Premiere typically switch to video editors like DaVinci Resolve (which we’re recommending today!), HitFilm Express, and Lightworks. Discover more video editing tools in our Adobe Premiere alternatives post.
(Sidenote: if you’re using Premiere’s sister tool, Adobe Spark, to create social videos, check out Tyle. It offers three million stock images and videos. Best of all, there’s a smart editor that automatically resizes your videos according to the social media channels.
Top Adobe Premiere alternative: DaVinci Resolve 17
Source: Blackmagic Design
Where do we begin with DaVinci Resolve 17?
This much-beloved video editor is a must-have for the entire post-production process. Fan-favorite features include:
- Fusion for creating visual effects in complex scenes
- Color to adjust one tonal area precisely
- Fairlight for advanced sound editing (e.g., minimizing “s” sounds)
It’s free to use DaVinci Resolve 17. The advanced version, DaVinci Resolve Studio 17, costs $295 for lifetime use.
6. After Effects vs Blender
Adobe After Effects is visual effects (VFX) and motion graphics software. A favorite among filmmakers, it’s often used for compositing and creating cinematic effects (e.g., disintegrating objects).
Alternatives-wise, Blender and Natron often come up in online discussions. Here are eight more After Effects alternatives. If you’d rather cut right to the chase, here’s what we recommend.
Top Adobe After Effects alternative: Blender
Blender is a free and open-source VFX and special effects tool.
Most users recognize Blender as a 3D graphics program, but it’s also an impressive non-linear video editor and node-based VFX compositor.
Blender may feel incomplete in certain areas (e.g., unlike After Effects, it doesn’t create video effects in a click), but it does offer great tools with 3D motion graphics control.
You don’t need Adobe to grow your business
Don’t let Adobe’s cancelation fee crush your entrepreneurial spirit.
As you can see from this list, there are many great Adobe alternatives with excellent features. What’s more is, they’re a lot more budget-friendly.
Here’s a quick recap:
- [Lightroom alternative] Pixelied helps you make minor adjustments to your photos and manage different projects in a single place. Grab the Pixelied lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $59.
- [Photoshop alternative] Pixlr is a user-friendly and browser-based photo editor that removes your background in a click. It even offers thousands of templates, images, and more, so you never have to start from scratch. Grab the Pixlr lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $49.
- [Illustrator alternative] Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics tool packed with flexible drawing tools and native SVG support.
- [InDesign alternative] Crello is a must-have design tool for your marketing needs. Create all types of designs—from magazines to posters to your Product Hunt gallery—without hopping from one platform to another. Grab the Crello one-year deal on AppSumo today for $67.
- [Premiere Pro alternative] DaVinci Resolve 17 is a popular and free video editor for the entire post-production process. Upgrade to DaVinci Resolve Studio 17 to unlock advanced features. For social videos, check out Tyle. It offers three million stock images and videos and a smart editor that automatically resizes your video according to the social media channel.
- [After Effects alternative] Blender is a free and open-source VFX and special effects tool. Use it for advanced 3D motion graphics control.
And if you want to check out more alternatives (we totally get it!), visit the AppSumo store. We often add new tools with one- and lifetime deals.