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Thread: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

  1. #1
    Wayland's Avatar
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    Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Well following Adobes decision to make future versions of Photoshop subscription only I have spent the day evaluating a couple of the alternatives on the market.

    While I will continue to use CS6 until either my machine or operating system no longer support it I intend to migrate my work over to a package that offers me backward compatibility even if my circumstances change in the future.

    I started by looking at Paint Shop Pro X5, largely because I started with it way back in it's shareware days and got on well with it until I eventually needed to switch to 16 bit editing. (Which was unsupported by PSP at the time.)

    Coming in at about 51 for a permanent licence the new version (Now produced by Corel rather that JASC) I found nearly all the tools I regularly use in Photoshop and a few new ones like a local tone mapping adjustment layer that seems very useful. The 16 bit issue has been addressed of course and is supported by all of the important tools in my work flow at least. Some of the less important filters appear to only support 8 bit use but such was the case on PS for a long time.

    Overall the interface was logical, well thought out and rather more user friendly than Adobes offerings. One feature that has stood the test of time is the ability to customise virtually everything, which means that you can get rid of the bits you don't use and replace them with buttons or keyboard short cuts that take you the tools you do need. It was a good idea ten years ago and it's still good now.

    Noticeably lacking was the ability to save layered Tiff files. It also had a rather clumsy Graduated filter tool and a very poor Colour Selection tool.

    The scripting system is easy to use which means automation is quick to set up so apart from the weaknesses I set out above it seems a good option.

    The next program I looked at was Photoline. I must admit I had not heard of this until it was mentioned on another forum.

    Arising from the world of shareware again this seems to be a very powerful tool indeed. a full licence costs just under 50 at today's exchange rate and running through the check list of tools that I consider essential I could find nothing missing. In fact many of the tools appeared better supported than similar tools on Photoshop. That was an eye opener.

    The interface is not quite as attractive as PS or PSP although once again it offered a considerable amount of customisation. The only thing I didn't actually like was the brightness of the layout, but that is a small price to pay for the power under the bonnet.

    The more I poked around this program looking for it's weakness' the more impressed I became. In fact I think I am going to enjoy using this program because for me at least it actually appears to offer me more than PS for less that a tenth of the cost.

    In fact I would go so far as to say that if I had known about this program before I shelled out for my upgrade to CS6 I would already be using it and be happily sitting back in my chair and laughing at the current furore.

    I'll carry on playing with it over the weekend to see if there are any hidden pitfalls I may have missed but it looks like I've found my alternative which means goodbye Adobe, you've had the last of my money... Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

  2. #2

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Is PS Elements not an option?

    Ken

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Thanks Gary for doing the assessment.
    I use PSE and LR, but am still thinking of changing.
    Graham

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuck View Post
    Is PS Elements not an option?

    Ken
    It might work for some people but not for me.

    Photoline is cheaper, far more powerful and not made by Adobe.

    I'll be looking for an alternative for Lightroom soon too.

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    A lot of folk use Gimp which is free, whilst Capture One is a really great RAW convertor and image editor. If you have a Mac, consider Aperture.

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    I'm currently using PS CS6, until ....????
    Since I have Gimp already installed, I may try to get more familiar with it. It's an uphill battle trying to get used to the interface.

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    Wayland's Avatar
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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    I considered Gimp and in the future it may well be a contender but it only supports 8 bit RGB at the moment.

    It was my need to go 16 bit that got me to change from PSP in the first place so I have to consider that as top of my "must have" list really.

  8. #8
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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Just found this useful wiki link for people looking for a comparison.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_raster_graphics_editors

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayland View Post
    It might work for some people but not for me.

    Photoline is cheaper, far more powerful and not made by Adobe.

    I'll be looking for an alternative for Lightroom soon too.
    Keep the research up - you have my undivided attention.

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    In the interests of balance and fairness I will mention an interesting thread started on Luminous Landscape.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/fo...?topic=78240.0

    It may just be an attempt to take the sting out of the current bad reaction or it may be a genuine attempt to improve things but it is worth a read.

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayland View Post
    I'll be looking for an alternative for Lightroom soon too.
    Corel Aftershot Pro?

  12. #12
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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Might be worth a look.

    The RAW engine is the most important factor for me, I don't really need the asset management stuff, I've always stored my stuff in logical folders.

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayland View Post
    I considered Gimp and in the future it may well be a contender but it only supports 8 bit RGB at the moment.

    It was my need to go 16 bit that got me to change from PSP in the first place so I have to consider that as top of my "must have" list really.
    the GIMP website reports that "Unstable version of GIMP is now capable of working in 16 and 32 bit per channel modes, both integer and float", while the present stable version (2.8.4) only supports 8bit.
    We - GIMP users - are all waiting for the next version
    The good news is that GIMP users community is growing and a lot of developers are working on it, so I'm confident that it will be only a matter of time.

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Thanks, Wayland! I am giving Photoline a serious look, and I like what I am seeing so far...

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Well I've been working through Photoline this morning and so far I have not found much that I use on Photoshop that I cannot do on this very capable bit of software.

    I'm rebuilding my actions set and one tiny deficit I've found is that you don't seem to be able to set your action up to choose your next tool which saves a fraction of a second or so but I may well have missed something somewhere.

    Typical German engineering, there is more than enough functionality here but you may well have to search in odd places to find it.

    Normally I just set up a colour fill layer for many of my corrections but here I have to create an RGB layer, set the foreground palette to the required colour, dig through the menu to find the fill with foreground command and then reset the palettes.

    Does the same job just as fast once set up as an action, but it took me ten minutes to find the fill command where it was buried under the lasso menu.

    It even has a USB stick function which means I can transport it between machines which is quite handy.

    One downside and it is a fairly big one. Although it saves layered tiffs, it renders the layers into raster layers instead of preserving the exact contents. The visual effect is the same but the re-edit-ability is not.

    It will however preserve the full contents if you save in the native PLD format but that of course leaves you dependant on this software for that full utilization.

    I'm going to send a detailed feedback to the developers when I finish my trial with a few thoughts as well so we will see what happens in the time that my copy of CS6 remains functional.

    On the whole I like what I'm seeing very much and there are some tools here that I will use occasionally for jobs that Photoshop falls behind on. There is some really clever programming here.

    I am deeply impressed.

  16. #16
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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    I am transfering from Windows to Ubuntu. I use Gimp 2.8 and am very happy with it. It has many plug-ins to enhance its capabilities. For raw conversion I use Darktable, which I presume is similar to Lightroom never having used it. For me, after using Darktable I don't use Gimp! I find the result sufficient. A4 is the maximum size I print to and that isn't frequent. PP is not my forte.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    As a stand alone product there are options. but if I look at the integrated suite of Adobe products that I use on a regular basis; Photoshop, Bridge, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Media Encoder and Encore; the answer is no. To even contemplate replacing them with reasonably equivalent products is going to cost more than the CC subscription, so eventually I am going to bite the bullet. There really is no alternative to After Effects.

  18. #18
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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    CC probably makes good sense for your needs. for mine it's deadly so that's why I'm looking.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayland View Post
    CC probably makes good sense for your needs. for mine it's deadly so that's why I'm looking.
    Agreed, that still does not make me happy about the new format. For a business, it's actually not a bad solution as it helps managed the cash flow, but for us amateurs, not owning the product is not something I particularly like. Hopefully Adobe comes out with something better down the road.

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    Re: Viable alternatives to Photoshop.

    There is also Perfect photo Suite 7 (soon to be 7.5) to consider. Not as cheap as Photoline but they give you free updates after the initial purchase is made.

    http://www.ononesoftware.com/product...whats-new.html

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