CS3: Best way to be creative?
I’m Nathan Chapman, Guest Blogging on Clazh from Pixl Design.
Adobe’s Creative Suite is one of the best productivity products of, perhaps, all time. And yet, does it really serve to be the perfect product for everyone?
With Adobe’s not-too-recent acquisition of Macromedia, the next release of a Creative Suite would be sure to include Dreamweaver, Flash and Fireworks. CS3 sure did, but at a cost: over AU$2,000 (US$1,500) and that’s just for Dreamweaver, Illustrator and Photoshop! For both Macromedia and Adobe’s Products, you would fork out AU$4,445 (US$1,399). There just has to be a better way!
Luckily, there is. There are several open-source and shareware/freeware options out there.
- The Gimp is a open-source “photo manipulation program”. With excellent flexibility, loads of plugins and a interface that looks suspiciously similar to the real thing, The Gimp is an excellent alternative to Photoshop.
- Paint.NET, which utilises the Microsoft .NET Framework to create a stable, lightweight app with nearly every major function the home user could want, from a Lasso tool to Gaussian blur. The interface is completely familiar, with the added benefit of translucent panels that make it easy to see what’s going on when the windows get cluttered. Paint.NET doesn’t yet support RAW format, however, which certainly limits its range.
- The only major free competitor for this vector image editing program is Inkscape, again open-source, which is very responsive and extensible. Easily a very good, well written program. Sure, it looks a bit different, but when it comes down to it, Inkscape’s interface is still very easy to use.
- Adobe’s Own free version of Acrobat. Mind you, it’s laggy and is for viewing pdf files only.
- Foxit Reader is the pdf viewer that I personally use, and is very compatiable with different forms of pdf files. It also has basic editing tools, and may, in the future, come with a built-in OCR software.
- Nvu is an excellent, intuitive program that I was using at one point. The interface is very clean, and Nvu can (like Dreamweaver) edit in WYSIWYG or code view. The produced code is very clean and user-firendly, validates and uses CSS.
- RapidWeaver, (Mac only) is very similar to Apple’s own iWeb software in both its looks and designs. The code produced is valid, although not as nice-looking as Dreamweaver or Nvu.
- Notepad ++ is an extraordinarily useful replacement for Note pad. However, its main feature (for me) is that it supports automatic code highlighting, enabling it to be a replacement for Dreamweaver’s Code View. Open-source, useable and light-weight, Notepad ++ is perfect for coders (it supports many languages, Python, HTML, CSS, C, C+ etc etc).
Here are the best alternative that I would use to replace the Creative Suite. However, with these programs, you don’t get the “combined” interface that CS3 has, and there are not (due to licensing restrictions) alternatives for every product.
Me? I use CS3 (a legal copy; remember, pirates are losers) and because I could afford it, I prefer it to these Alternatives.