About one and a half years back, my Adobe License expired. A little context for you, I use:
- Adobe Lightroom for photo editing
- Adobe Photoshop for intricate photo editing and composition purposes. (Not to mention, some telegram stickers creation! HAHA)
- Adobe Premiere Pro for Video Editing
- Adobe Media Encoder to convert file formats
- Adobe Illustrator for logo design
When it expired, boy was it difficult to produce what I want to produce. Adobe Creative Cloud is by a subscription service. It collects a monthly fee for the software. It is usually S$69.72 per month for all the software or S$13.14 for the photography plan, which only includes Lightroom and Photoshop. Students have a special price of S$26.30 for all the software, which is honestly a pretty good deal! Except that, I wasn’t a student back then…
I was going to be a student, so I was wondering if it was possible to get a cheaper registration early. Just so I could complete my lyrics video for 离别的拥抱. I even tried IMovie. Which even for a free software, I think they cut out way too many essential capabilities. That honestly threw me off a little as I thought that I might purchase Final Cut Pro. Like Logic Pro X, it was a one time payment, so in the long term, it won’t incur additional charges. I like that about a program as I can count on that software all the time, not worrying how long my subscription would last.
Just when I thought that I would get the subscription plan as a student, I contacted my friend that is still in poly. I managed to get access to all the software again! WHOO! It was quite liberating as I could do everything I wanted to do. I could edit photos I took in Indonesia. I could finish my Lyric video. I could do so much! For the whole period, it was very comfortable having this software in my laptop for me to use. Then, recently, the Adobe License expired again. Hias….
This time was the real deal, I really had to either buy the software subscription or find some other software to replace my Adobe ones.
Some things changed from back then. I started studying in university. In uni, there is no software provided. ._. They actually taught us a lot of free source software. Software like Unity 3D was a lot of fun to play around with. I was really impressed with the community for Unity 3D. There are so many tutorials and instructions to help you build in Unity.
I also made a friend that is really good at video editing in hall. He told me that he uses Premiere Pro and Davinci Resolve to edit videos. He even told me that Davinci is the future because it is free. That stuck in my brain, because I have never heard of this program and this is the future? Wow!
So when I needed to edit videos, my first course of action was to download Davinci Resolve and boy was I blown away. The free version is fantastic! I love the workflow, I love the tools and there is no need to render the edited video! It saved so much time! The colour editting tools is so good that I honestly kinda hate how bad I am at colour grading now. I actually thought that Davinci was better than Premiere. It did not crash at all throughout the three videos I edited.
When I experienced how great Davinci was, I can’t help but think there would be good free software to replace the software I use.
The software that I need the most is one to replace Lightroom. Lightroom is a photo editing software which helps with sorting photos and curating images. It has a photo library which really helps to filter out photos you want or batch edit photos. I first tried Rawtherapee. Rawtherapee doesn’t have a photo library which made photo editing quite clunky.
In photography, quite a lot of effort goes into curating. Everyone takes bad photos, even the best photographers, the only difference is that photographers curate the best photos to show people. Curating is EXTREMELY important. Hence, Rawtherapee failed in this aspect. Hence, I found Darktable. Darktable is awesome. HAHA. It has a photo library. The tools are plentiful, there is a favourites tab to customise with you favourite functions. There is a work around for batch editing. It definitely isn’t Lightroom, the work process is different, but it is just as powerful. It is just a matter of getting used to, so I decided to settle on Darktable as my replacement for Lightroom.
During the same period, I had a need to Photoshop some photos for a project in school. The replacement for Photoshop is GIMP. GIMP acts very differently from Photoshop. There is no Layer via Cut or Layer via Copy. That made life quite difficult for the first few times I used GIMP. The tools is really not too bad! Powerful tools, but it took a while to get used to. Now I have a proper work flow after using GIMP so many times.
I started a new project recently and I need graphics for it. You will be surprised at how difficult it is to find proper graphics for it. There is often a need to pay for graphics. For the free ones, there is a need to reference the source, which isn’t difficult, but just difficult to look exactly what I want. Hence I found Inkscape, a vector software. Inkscape is REALLY good. Give it a try if you are interested to go into vectors. It is really good. Interface and usability wise is really quite great! As of now, I have made 4 illustrations and it looks pretty decent! 🙂
That concludes my journey finding free software to replace my Adobe software. I am really pleased.
- Davinci Resolve replaced Premiere Pro
- Darktable replaced Lightroom
- GIMP replaced Photoshop
- Inkscape replaced Illustrator
I think that more attention should be given to free and open source programs. These are programs that are available to everyone. Having so many powerful software available, it empowers whoever that wants to learn to actually have access to professional grade software. Anyone can have access, this means collaborations will be easier. Free software will bring a revolution to the industry. Please do give these software a try, they are free and very powerful!