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Alternatives To Adobe's Creative Suite? 695

Posted by kdawson
from the sure-the-gimp-has-a-plugin dept.
jsepeta writes "I've been using Adobe products for years, and own several older versions of the products from their Creative Suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Acrobat Pro, and Dreamweaver. I'd like to teach some graphic design and web production skills to my coworkers in the marketing department, and realize that most of them can't afford $2500 to buy Adobe's premium suite and, frankly, shouldn't need to because there should be competitive products on the market. But I can't seem to locate software for graphic design and printing that outputs CMYK files that printing companies will accept. And I'm not familiar with any products that are better than FrontPage yet still easy to use for Web design. Any suggestions? Our company is notoriously frugal and would certainly entertain the idea of using open source products if we could implement them in a way that doesn't infringe upon our Microsoft-centric hegemony / daily work tasks in XP."
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Alternatives To Adobe's Creative Suite?

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  • Well... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Raven737 (1084619) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:50AM (#19392421)
    GIMP [gimp.org]
    and
    CMYK support for The GIMP [blackfiveservices.co.uk]
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

      by pugdk (697845) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:55AM (#19392463) Homepage
      Want something really photoshop like I'd recommend gimpshop http://plasticbugs.com/?page_id=294 [plasticbugs.com] instead.

      Or maybe try out paint.net? http://www.getpaint.net/ [getpaint.net]
    • by JContad (1088777) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:27AM (#19392651) Homepage
      1.) Someone suggests an open source alternative to [graphics-editor/word-processor/audio-management]

      2.) Someone comments on the sheer mediocrity of aforementioned $ALTERNATIVE.

      3.)

      a. Someone brings up $ALTERNATIVE good points

      -or-

      b. Someone disses $LEADING_PRODUCT's management, pricing system, ethics, etc.

      4.) Someone mentions that aforementioned is irrelevant to the quality of the $LEADING_PRODUCT, then complains more about $ALTERNATIVE

      5.) Someone runs out of retorts, says "Go code it for yourself."

      6.) Someone comments on how they had sessions of lengthy, drawn-out fornication with your mother; alternatively, your sexual preference.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @03:02AM (#19393233)
      GIMP and CMYK support for The GIMP

      It's always funny to see someone who never designed professionally in their life suggest GIMP.

      GIMP lacks so basic features such as a usable grid, 16-bit/HDR image support, and requires special plugins with numerical inputs to draw a simple rounded rectangle, let alone something more complex.

      The closest I've seen to Photoshop is Pavel's Pixel [kanzelsberger.com] editor. It works on any OS you can imagine, from DOS to OS/2, Windows, MacOSX, Linux etc. It's very cheap and it's basically a clone software of Photoshop in many regards.

      Other than this, there's Corel's Paintshop and Painter, but Painter is more oriented towards natural media art, not synthetic design or editing photos. Yes, neither of them are free, either. That's because people who have a clue designed them, and people who have a clue in the design industry don't work for free.

      You could skimp on Dreamweaver, InDesign, Illustrator, but you won't last long without Photoshop, even if when someone sends you PSD next time and you realize that when GIMP advertised "importing PSD" they actually meant more like importing Photoshop 4 level PSD and losing everything else in the design, thus wrecking it in the process.

      Comparing Photoshop-GIMP to MS_Office-OpenOffice is extremely unfair. GIMP is really a toy, it has few interesting plugins and crude tools, while OpenOffice is actually quite usable, even if it lacks some features, it definitely has the basics right, and working.

      I have both OpenOffice and GIMP installed here, next to MS Office and Photoshop. I use GIMP only to run the texture resynthesis plugin when I need a tileable texture.
      • Re: Pavel's Pixel (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AaronLawrence (600990) *

        A multiplatform clone of Photoshop for $38??? Is this some kind of joke, or the best deal in picture editing ever?

        How come these kinds of things never get found ... I looked through a dozen shareware apps and never heard any mention of this.

        Maybe his marketing is terrible...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WWWWolf (2428)

        GIMP lacks so basic features such as a usable grid, 16-bit/HDR image support, and requires special plugins with numerical inputs to draw a simple rounded rectangle, let alone something more complex.

        On the rectangle issue:

        Meanwhile, you can't do something as basic as debugging ActionScript in Flash files while you're sitting in Photoshop.

        GIMP isn't meant for rounded rectangles. It's not a vector program and doesn't even try to do vector stuff; the logical conclusion is not to gripe about it but use an

      • As for the rest (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @04:41AM (#19393763)
        No doubt that I would agree with the parent 100%. GIMP may be acceptable for casual doodler or cropping photos, but it ultimately a complete waste of time for any professional accustomed to a plethora of serious tools and a myriad of features used daily to make a living. We don't even have to discuss its' intolerable user interface because GIMP's graphic capabilities are not even in the same ballpark as Photoshop.

        However, one may be able replace some of the other software depending on how you used it. The original poster framed the scenario as tools for the marketing department to use, which clearly lowers the bar in terms of expectations as to what level of competency will be applied. Marketers are not designers, so it would appear as though if Software X does a reasonable job approximating most tasks of Adobe Y, then one can adopt it.

        Photoshop - You're unlikely to replace that one. Although, someone else mentioned Pixel [kanzelsberger.com] which could possibly cut the mustard depending on your needs. Otherwise, there really is nothing to compare to Photoshop.

        Illustrator - Definitely have a strong look at Inkscape [inkscape.org]. I've toyed with it for 2 or 3 years to keep tabs on its' development, after being fairly impressed during my first run through. These days it has continued to advance and I'd suggest it's ready for the professional world. You can create substantially complex pieces with Inkscape which will probably far out-pace the ability of your Marketing department to bother learning in the first place. While it might be missing a pet feature or two, the bottomline is that Inkscape is ready to be taken seriously as a replacement for Illustrator (and, previously, FreeHand).

        InDesign - Professionals already use Scribus [scribus.net] to handle multipage full color layouts sent directly to commercial print houses, so it's gotta be worth your time to look at. CMYK separation, PDF generation,and much of the toolsets you'd expect to see in Quark or InDesign; certainly more than enough power for your Marketing department.

        Acrobat Pro - If you're heavily using features like annotation, collaboration, form creation, et cetera, then you probably won't be replacing Acrobat Professional. Nothing can touch it. However, if all you need is to be able to allow your Marketing droids to generate PDFs from documents they create in other software, then you can slap PDFCreator [pdfforge.org] on their little Windows boxen. Remember that OpenOffice already has the ability to turn any of their normal documents and spreadsheets into a PDF at a click of a button. Surely, you've dumped MS Office by now.

        Dreamweaver - This is a tough one because you should probably rethink your environment to realize you most likely don't really want Dreamweaver to be used. Unless you're just using Slashdot to conveniently survey the geek mindshare, the odds are that WYSIWYG is an old paradigm no longer needed by most scenarios. What you probably want is some kind of content management engine which your key tech person(s) can administer such that your Marketing department can monkey with the website(s). One engine could be adapted to various websites, if you proposed such a need. If I were to suppose someone was trolling Slashdot, then I would mention Quanta Plus [kdewebdev.org] before realizing Marketing droids would be helplessly confined to Windows and thus I'd point to Nvu [nvu.com] as your capable hero.

        But, really, if an evaluation of your technical needs leads you back to WYSIWYG, then you've made a logical error somewhere. The days for that hobbled solution are definitely over.

        There you have it! Free and open source software is up to the challenge is most regards. Where there are shortcomings, there are adept proprietary solutions for far, far less than the onerous cost of Adobe
      • CMYK (Score:5, Informative)

        by Craig Ringer (302899) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:41AM (#19394039) Homepage Journal
        Yep, lack of CMYK is a significant limitation in the GIMP, and it has some issues. I wouldn't characterize it as a "toy" by any stretch, however, and I've found it quite capable for much of the work I do. The biggest day-to-day complaint I run into is its' inferior performance and previews as compared to Photoshop.

        I don't consider lack of 16 bit RGB support a crippling problem for all workflows. Certainly, along with limited RAW support and lack of any sort of ICC colour management it's a problem for high-end photography work, but it's not really a killer for many uses. In fact, the newspaper I work with uses 8-bit colour all the way through its workflow at the moment - and while we'd probably benefit from moving to 16-bit colour for image archival and manipulation, it really doesn't make that much difference for many uses.

        I have a much bigger problem with the lack of ICC colour support and CMYK support. You need at least one or the other for a print-targeted workflow, with both strongly preferable. If you only have ICC colour support, you'll need DTP apps that can do the right thing with tagged images, and you won't want to be working on really difficult images that need fine-tuning after colour space conversion. And if you only have CMYK support you'd better have a decent external tool with ICC colour support to the RGB->CMYK conversion, or the result will be muck.

        It's exciting to see all the work going in to GEGL (the core for the new GIMP revision with much-improved support of ICC colour, multiple colour spaces, higher bit depths, non-destructive workflow, etc) and I can't wait until some of that starts appearing in a reasonably usable form. Their approach to non-destructive editing & history is the first thing I've seen in GIMP that makes me sit up and take notice when working on Photoshop.
  • Wait... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rix (54095) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:52AM (#19392437)
    You mean people actually buy photoshop?
  • no alternative (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:55AM (#19392459)
    I'll get flamed to a crisp for this but there's no alternative to photoshop. Gimp is clumsy and underpowered.
    • Re:no alternative (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jeppe Salvesen (101622) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:10AM (#19392553)
      agreed.

      it's good for limited stuff and for getting started, but you hit the barrier after a while. there's too much stuff that's too hard/clumsy/hacky in gimp.
    • I really hope anyone feeling the urgent need to do marketing for money will have to pay $2500 before being able to do it, frankly.
    • Re:no alternative (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:18AM (#19392597) Homepage Journal
      I'll get flamed to a crisp for this but there's no alternative to photoshop. Gimp is clumsy and underpowered.

      Get flamed for bashing gimp on /.? I doubt it.

      Gimp is an alternative for photoshop in much the same way Openoffice is an alternative to MSoffice or linux is an alternative to OS X.

      It depends on the job at hand. Sometimes the OSS tool is better for the job, at other times the proprietary tool is better for the job.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Gimp is an alternative for photoshop in much the same way Openoffice is an alternative to MSoffice or linux is an alternative to OS X.

        Actually, I don't think that that's a fair comparison at all.

        OOo is not a horrible replacement for MS Office. I could, with a straight face, recommend that the average user use OOo rather than fork out $400 for Office 2007 Standard. Especially if that person is not an Excel junkie. I use OOo at home and MS Office at work, and not only am I am perfectly happy with both, I c

    • Re:no alternative (Score:5, Insightful)

      by trisweb (690296) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:22AM (#19392625) Journal
      This one really is a no-brainer -- you get what you pay for. Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, etc. etc. are best-of-breed pieces of software. They're actually quite good, and probably worth the exorbitant license fees you will pay in productivity improvement, quality of output, employee frustration (lessened), support, usability, compatibility, you name it. They're standard for a reason, and Adobe is a fairly good company in that they haven't taken that for granted.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bromskloss (750445)

        This one really is a no-brainer -- you get what you pay for. Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, etc. etc. are best-of-breed pieces of software. They're actually quite good, and probably worth the exorbitant license fees you will pay in productivity improvement, quality of output, employee frustration (lessened), support, usability, compatibility, you name it. They're standard for a reason, and Adobe is a fairly good company in that they haven't taken that for granted.

        Mabye they are the best,

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gullevek (174152)
      It's horrible slow. At least on Mac. In Photoshop you can actually edit, move around curves and see the result live, in Gimp you can literally see how the screen builds up. And I talk about a G5 2.5 PowerMac with more than enough RAM ...

      I invested in Photoshop at the end, and there is no way back at the moment.
    • Re:no alternative (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stephanruby (542433) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:37AM (#19392719)
      "I've been using Adobe products for years, and own several older versions of the products from their Creative Suite."

      You've said it yourself, use older versions. Your marketing colleagues don't need the most recent versions. On ebay, you could probably pick up a few training videos and training manuals real cheap too, since the training stuff for old software loses its value as quickly -- if not quicker -- than the software it supports.

      If the cost is still prohibitive, you could probably buy an old PC (or an old Mac), and have your coworkers share the station whenever they need to use the software. That's the thing with this kind of software, since it's not their primary job to do graphic design -- they may not all need to use the same graphic design software at the same time.

      I realize you may just be looking for a place to complain, and perhaps my unsympathetic suggestions were not what you were looking for, but really -- look around some other businesses -- many businesses are still using Windows 98 -- and they're doing fine.
    • by delt0r (999393)
      There are a *lot* of gimp users that I know of that would switch 100% to PhotoShop if it was released on Linux, gimp is only used to avoid switching back to windows. $2500 is not much compared to a salary. I also aggree with some of the above comments. For a large majorty of people Gimp would be fine as they don't use any of the photoshop fetures anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ash-Fox (726320)

        There are a *lot* of gimp users that I know of that would switch 100% to PhotoShop if it was released on Linux, gimp is only used to avoid switching back to windows.

        You know what, I've heard this argument both ways, "If Linux had [favorite application] lots of people would switch to Linux" "If [favorite application] ran on Linux, lots of people would use it instead of using " and so on.

        What have I seen over the years? I've seen countless [favorite applications] running under Crossover/Wine just fine (includ

  • by fohat (168135) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:57AM (#19392471) Homepage
    I'm sure there's got to be cheap/free classes/lessons on the internet for this stuff. If you are teaching this software to the students and they can't afford it, then what's the point as they will never actually be able to use the software? If they are going to use the skills at work, then why won't your company purchase proper licenses for them?
  • Every design program worth using should be able to output CYMK TIFFs. And every printing company worth dealing with should be able to use them as a source.

    Personally, I use Corel's Graphic Suite [corel.com]. Corel DRAW has been an industry standard right along side Illustrator. Their PHOTO-PAINT is a pretty strong competitor to Photoshop.

    The other programs included in the Suite I don't find much use. But getting a Photoshop and Illustrator -like programs for $400 is pretty good. Also check their upgrade eligibilit [corel.com]
  • Open-Source for sure (Score:5, Informative)

    by bigben7187 (754240) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [yrrehcb]> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:01AM (#19392495) Homepage
    Free Alternatives:

    Photoshop -> Gimp [gimp.org]
    Illustrator -> Inkscape [inkscape.org]
    InDesign -> Scribus [scribus.net]
    Web Design -> Kompozer [kompozer.net], which is a bugfix release of Nvu [nvu.com] (there's actually a lot of these, I've also heard Microsoft Visual Web Dev Express [microsoft.com], which has a lot of praise from various people)

    Not sure of a good PDF editor, but it looks like this claims to do the trick (though i'm sure is nowhere near the level of Acrobat Pro): PDFEdit [petricek.net]. Be warned it looks like it's a cygwin port to windows...

    I can't guarantee that those will all live up to your expectations, but I am fairly familiar with most of that software, and it certainly gets the job done.
    • by Allen Varney (449382) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @04:52AM (#19393815) Homepage

      Scribus will probably be hot stuff in three to five years, but for now, it's low-end desktop publishing, only a couple of steps above Word. In particular, Scribus currently offers only rudimentary support for tables, which was a dealbreaker for me.

      There's LaTeX, of course, but I'm not yet ready to drink that particular ocean. LaTeX is oriented toward document design, whereas I need page design. I need to move the illo on page 43 two picas to the right, and then I need to look at it and decide to move it back. Dipping in and out of a config file to do that isn't appealing.

      For my current DTP project, I had to move from Linux back to WinXP just so I could use InDesign. InDesign is a great program, but even so... groan.

  • by johncadengo (940343) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:05AM (#19392521) Homepage
    Now, let's be honest: there's no such thing as an alternative to Adobe's creative suite.

    There's nothing out there that can compete in ease of use, or power. Someone mentioned superior tools to web design (notepad, for example) and I can agree there. But for the rest of the products mentioned (among them, photoshop, illustrator, indesign etc.) there's nothing else that can hold a candle up to Adobe.
  • Open Source Beer (Score:2, Informative)

    by Hucko (998827)
    Trying to peer into a professional point of view, it would seem the consensus is that no other suite touches Adobe suite. A mix of apps may work, but they will be non-standardised ui, such as the much vaunted Gimp.

    As a complete amateur I have enjoyed Nvu for its interface.

    other alternatives may be
    http://www.aptana.com/download_all.php [aptana.com]
    http://www.inkscape.org/ [inkscape.org] (quite good, but haven't used it for web applications)
    http://kompozer.net/ [kompozer.net]

    ZDNet [zdnet.co.uk] has an article on that very subject.

  • I run 100% on Linux except in this domain. CorelDraw suite is dirt cheap compared to Adobe, has both vector and bitmap (Great CMYK support) and is a solid worker. My graphic artist friends describe it as a production tool instead of a creative tool, but they got work to pay for their copies of CS3. I cannot wait for Xara to finish their Corel import filter - Or for Corel to get back into Linux app market (Yup, I'm a dreamer!). Newer versions with new MS installer isn't working under WINE yet, so I run a c
  • by amyhughes (569088) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:17AM (#19392593) Homepage
    The first rule of The GIMP is you don't talk about The GIMP.

    Watch how many moderation points get blown stifling any suggestion that The GIMP isn't up to the level of Photoshop.

    Watch how many moderation points get blown on this here comment :P
  • Suggestions...

    Web Design:
    Dump FrontPage, move to SharePoint designer (in Office 2007) or MS Expression Web Designer. (The products are the same, SharePoint version has additional features for SharePoint sites.) Unlike FrontPage, these push CSS and standards harder than any other web product currently in the mainstream, are still easy, but provide some of the best tools to move developers to CSS and understanding concepts beyond the old HTML tags. (Yes I know these are MS products, but honestly are nothing
  • I've recently written and self-published a book Zero to Superhero, and it's been formatted with Microsoft Word and OpenOffice, so it's interior is rather plain jane (the cover was done with GIMP and I'm very happy with the results). The problem I've found with Adobe Indesign as well as Scribus is the fact these programs don't understand .doc files. I can't simply import the doc files of my book into Indesign or Scribus and work on them directly.

    I'd expect this type of behavior from proprietary software like
  • by amyhughes (569088) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:35AM (#19392705) Homepage
    It sounds like you are contemplating buying one copy of the entire premium suite for everyone. Probably overkill. Find out which apps they need and buy only those. If you can get the price down you will quickly cross the "unproductivity and training for poorly-documented apps exceeds the cost of commercial apps that have great resources available at your local book store" threshold.
  • Alternatives (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guerilla* Napalm (762317) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:36AM (#19392711) Homepage
    As a designer, I've been working close on 10 years in Photoshop (on a daily basis), and nothing gets close to it, everything else seems clumsy.
  • by eebra82 (907996) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:37AM (#19392723) Homepage
    There are many alternatives, but none of them offer what Adobe's products offer. Some may argue that many applications are closing in on tools like Photoshop, but I firmly believe that the support for these programs is what makes it so dominating.

    I am a professional Photoshop user and have become one thanks to the vast amount of tutorials and discussions that relate directly to Photoshop. I know Gimp and I know Paint Shop Pro, but aside from the fact that none of these tools are quite as extensive as Photoshop, you still want that large community to back you up when you need help.

    To answer the question of the main article, I would say that the best alternative to Photoshop is yet another Adobe product: Photoshop Elements. It's a capped version of Photoshop at some $100 in retail stores. This is fully comparable to Paint Shop Pro, which is about the same price.
  • Try Xara! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zataang (596856)
    I am not a design expert to know about its CMYK support - but I can tell you Xara rocks as a substitute to Illustrator. It is one of the best designed software ever. And it's blazingly fast.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here it is: Pixel http://www.kanzelsberger.com/pixel/?page_id=12 [kanzelsberger.com]. And it is developed by one person. And it costs 1% of Photoshop price. And it does have a sensible UI, very similiar to Photoshop. Try out the demo. I've bought it and it was worth every cent, even if its still in beta version.

    And yes. It does run on Linux. And on BSD. And on Mac. And on BeOS, and dozen other OSes.
  • Just a thought... You could download the trial versions of Microsoft Expression graphic designer and web designer.
  • by 47Ronin (39566) <glenn@nospaM.47ronin.com> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:58AM (#19392857) Homepage
    At least for mac users, there are quite a few very well designed and maintained products that are shareware and rival Adobe's offerings in both features and pizazz.

    RapidWeaver [realmacsoftware.com] is an industrial-strength alternative to Dreamweaver which includes an SDK, full drag-n-drop designing interface, coding panel, Flash integration, and site maintenance. Currently it's $49.

    Coda [panic.com] is the newcomer on the block, built by one of the best Mac shareware coding companies. As with the others, it allows for drag-n-drop designing and fully supports XHTML. Panic Software's tagline "shockingly good Mac software" is evident here cause they integrate the features of Transmit (their excellent FTP utility) including site/filepath synchronization, drag-n-drop uploading from the Dock... Coda also includes a console that's integrated into the app window that allows for split terminal shells for SSH and other functions. Coda includes a GUI CSS editor and comprehensive HTML programmer's guide in the application itself. $79.

    TextMate [macromates.com] is the Mac's premiere enterprise-level, yet shareware price text editor that does... pretty much anything. It can handle just about as many language bundles as jEdit but is purely Mac. It integrates well with Transmit, the shell, Subversion, and has a fully customizable code snippet library for full programmer control. I can't even begin to summarize all the features that sets this editor apart from the others, but it easily shames Dreamweaver's code window. Just watch the screencasts on the website. It costs 39.

    CSSEdit [macrabbit.com] by MacRabbit is a GUI-powered CSS editor which has a snooping mode called X-Ray that can analyze a website's design similar to Firefox's 3rd party Web Developer addon, except with style, polish, and features that you've come to expect from Mac applications. It includes a CSS "builder" workflow that allows you to use some natural language and object-oriented programming (in the most basic sense) to build CSS effects. $29.95

    There are many others including Apple's own iWeb [apple.com] (which is included with every new Macintosh, is VERY easy to use, and puts out bloated-yet XHTML compliant code) and BBEdit [barebones.com] by Bare Bones Software which is very comparable to TextMate in many ways.
  • Off-topic (ish) (Score:4, Informative)

    by Biotech9 (704202) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @02:02AM (#19392875) Homepage
    On the OS X side of things, when OS X was updated with core image a lot of people were talking about how someone would be able to swoop in and offer a front-end to all the built in image filters that were part of core image. (you can see a list of all the filters that are part of it here [apple.com]. You could open up Core Image Fun House (on the OS X install disc) and play around will all the filters, and easily imagine a company making an interface for that power, offering 60% of the power of photoshop for a fraction of the cost.

    Cut a long story short, someone seems to be almost ready to finally do this, Pixelmator [pixelmator.com]. Cheap, neat and looks like it's easy to use [tuaw.com]. Not a real photoshop competitor, but then again most people pirate photoshop for light photo retouching and occasional messing around. This looks like it could handle what a lot of casual photoshop users want without the insane price tag.
  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @02:11AM (#19392931) Homepage
    If you're serious that CMYK printing is one of the goals you want to accomplish, you've really no choice but to pony up for professional applications. Printing is not cheap, you'll spend hundreds of dollars per job at the printer, any money you "save" on software is guaranteed to be paid many times over to the printer for fixing your files and getting them ready for press. Making software that works for prepress requires spending lots of money on paper and ink experiments, money that GIMP and Scribus simply cannot spend unless a sponsor steps up.

    If all you're trying to do is educate the users about CMYK, then of course you can use pretty much any software that works nicely with a desktop inkjet printer that can do CMYK proofing (in a pinch Photoshop can be used as a RIP for this purpose assuming you have one copy of it). Of course no proof is ever the same as a real print, so eventually people will hit a wall in their real knowledge until big $$$ is spent on real jobs that you get back from the printer and realize were not quite as good as they thought they'd be.
  • by Presence1 (524732) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:35AM (#19396293) Homepage
    ...while GIMP was quite useful for resizing and retouching photos for the web site, we ran into serious limitations as soon as we tried to produce material for printing (biz cards, trade show banners, etc.).

    GIMP does not support Pantone(tm) colors, so we cannot use it for accurate color matching. This means that, even when we get the color exactly the way we want it on our screen and printer, it is likely to come out way different on a professional printer, i.e., the one your printer will likely use to print biz cards, letterhead, trade show banners, etc. For example, some of the professional HP printers are notorious for rendering what you think as blue into a purple-ish color. We end up squandering everyone's time in a guess-the-actual-color game to get even close to the color we intended.

    With Pantone support, the problem is solved because we'll select the EXACT colors we want using the standard color swatches from their kit, and our printer will be able to reliably print these EXACT colors.

    Since the info I've found indicates that GIMP does not even plan to support Pantone, we must switch, probably to Photoshop, if for no other reason that it is the industry standard, and we'll have a greater level of exchange and collaboration with our printers.

    So, I'm sorry to say that my open-source bias has again bitten me in the arse. I knew better than to have skipped past my product research, but I just went for the OS solution. Now, I've squandered valuable time in a startup biz learning the quirks of software that will now be replaced. There, I've said it, so mod me down.
  • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:59AM (#19396751) Journal
    Predominantly, you guys aren't designers. You are engineers.

    Designers don't give a damn about open source, free software, EULAs, software patents, etc.

    Designers care about getting a tool that allows them to complete their workflow in the highest quality, in the shortest amount of time. If the tool they are given has some fucked up interface where they can't find anything, that prevents them from getting their work done, and they get pissed off. They see no benefit to using GIMP over Photoshop, because they have been using Photoshop for years, and know exactly where everything is.

    I managed to ramrod through a transition from QuarkXPress to Adobe InDesign at the company I work for three years ago, and the only way I could make that transition was to set InDesign to use Quark keyboard shortcuts and menus - something Adobe added because they knew it was necessary to match functionality and ease transition, because no one in their target demographic is going to take a couple weeks out of their advertising schedule in order to learn new layout software.

    In the real world, billboards and newspaper ads need to be produced, and fucking around with the flavor-of-the-month OSS version of layout or editing software impedes that for most people. Paying Adobe's price usually ends up saving a lot of time and money in the end.
  • by Rifter13 (773076) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:19PM (#19400695) Homepage
    If you are looking for an IDE replacement to Dreamweaver, check out http://www.evrsoft.com/ [evrsoft.com], and pick up 1st page. I have used them off and on for a lot of years. I mainly use Dreamweaver, but I find it very easy to switch between them.
  • Use older versions! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pestilence669 (823950) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @04:51PM (#19403993)
    The latest and greatest software is always tempting, but what are you really getting? I must admit, I rushed to buy CS3, but I use the tools professionally and needed the new stuff.

    I strongly suggest buying older copies of Adobe products if you can. After years of use, I really haven't found the changes to be that drastic. A beginner would hardly notice any difference, and there are some serious benefits aside from the cost.

    Old Adobe products run with excellent performance. Opening up Photoshop 7 side-by-side with CS3 makes me wonder why I'm even using CS3. Each upgrade gets slower. Unless you absolutely need the latest & greatest feature, not likely as a beginner, then prior versions will do just fine.

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