Free or very affordable alternatives to Adobe tools

Created by XDaniel on Twitter.

As Audacity has lost some of its reputation lately, you might like to try Tenacity.

And if you think GIMP is too user-unfriendly compared to Photoshop, you might like to check out PhotoGIMP, focused on providing a UI / UX similar to Photoshop.

Also, I can heartily recommend Apple Motion as a powerful and very affordable alternative to After Effects for macOS users.


Thanks for posting. This is actually a pretty darn good list, overall. Usually similar alternative lists tend to be very incomplete, biased, or both. This one is not (of course not all alternatives are as feature-par as the original Adobe equivalent).

Interesting to see how many open source alternatives exist for 2d animation.

A few InDesign alternatives were left out, though.


Please feel free to add tips in this thread, they are welcome. :+1:

Animation (Animate CC)

CelAction - Windows
Pretty much saved the UK animation industry. Serious professional level animation software.

Animation Paper Windows, Mac
Development continues on a new modernized version. Excellent frame-by-frame traditional animation software.

interactive 2d Animation (Animate CC)

Godot - Windows, Linux, Mac
Perhaps a seemingly odd inclusion, but Godot offers arguably better animation and interactive scripting tools than Animate CC. Drawing tools are missing, however.

DTP/Vector (InDesign/Illustrator)

CanvasXPro - Windows
Technical drawing/Technical writer DTP. Aimed at CAD industry

Pagestream - Windows, AmigaOS, Linux, Windows, Mac
DTP software, from the old Amiga days, but still (slowly) developed.

Microsoft Publisher Windows
‘Free’ with Office 356.

Ready-Set-Go Windows, Mac
Old-fasioned, but still developed?

A German developed free / premium paid features DTP tool exists as well, but I forget its name.

Prototyping (XD)

JustInMind Prototyper - Windows/Mac
This is a well-known and widely used prototyping tool. Much more feature-rich compared to XD. More on the level of Axure: these two used to compete before the advent of other popular tools such as Figma and XD.


A great browser alternative to Bridge I use on a daily basis is Diffractor.

Diffractor is designed to manage a collection of photos and videos. It has special collection features such as duplicate detection, fast search and presence.


PS (Painting) alternative
Rebelle (4) - - Single Purchase, Win, Mac
Real media simulation type painting application (Corel Painter-ish)


For vector graphics (Illustrator), I quite like Inkscape.

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Me too. It’s on top of the list. :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi Metin, yes true. And I also never really liked its UI. Personally I really love Ocenaudio instead, its cross platform its free, and its so much nicer and straightforward to use:

Feature Overview:

Give it a try. I am sure, you’re gonna like it.

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Thanks @Debuk , the composer of our old games also recommended Ocenaudio, and for multitrack audio he uses Reaper.


Da vinci resolve is a great alternative to premiere and after effects and is industry leading for colour tools. Its a free download.

On ios you cant beat procreate for natural media painting and sketching.

As alternatives to photoshop and illustrator affiniti photo and affiniti design are fabulous… they were on sale at half price for most if yhe pandemic… they may still be but even full price they are a fantastic deal.

As a substance designer/painter replacement megascans quixel is free and good. Great if you are an unreal user as the megascsns library is free for unreal users. It misses the convenience of texture baking in substance… but that aside I don’t miss substance painter at all. As z designer replacement it is basic though.

Armor paint is worth keeping an eye on.


Yes if its about multi-track support the field of free solutions is pretty small, if its about alternative DAWs, there is ardour as a free open source project and Cakewalk could be mentioned, it needs an account, but is also free.

Edit: Sorry. My comment was just based on your writing. I didnt check the graphic yet and it turns out both DAWs are already mentioned there too. :blush:



Fusion 360 - FreeCAD (I find it really unfriendly so I mostly just use blender with ‘Cad Like Transforms’ Addon for CAD-like work)

DaVinci Resolve - Has a fully featured free version and is a good replacement for Premier as well as a good part of After Effects.


Affinity Photo - A good photoshop alternative, often on sale for $35

Affinity Designer - Same as above but for illustrator

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Yeah, I was an early adopter of the Affinity tools, back when it was still macOS-only. :+1:

I was slightly annoyed that I had to buy both apps again after moving to Windows, but the price is low, so it wasn’t an issue.

Currently running Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher for any 2D stuff that isn’t Substance Painter related (Steam version). Still waiting for Quixel Mixer and Affinity to dip its toes in the 3D texturing business so I can do more hand painted stuff (Quixel isn’t quite there yet for me). As for audio and video, I use Pro Tools 11 and Davinci Resolve respectively. Used to run Adobe Audition for audio, but ever since I got Pro Tools I never looked back. Of course I use Blender as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

Since I am currently enrolled in a school for 3D graphics in games I am also using the typical industry stuff like Maya, ZBrush, Photoshop, etc., so my above list is more for side projects while at home. Although I am free to use Affinity as much as I like because the school isn’t as strict about 2D art programs.

Anyway, after using Maya lately I have come to appreciate Blender so much. If I hadn’t already learned most of the 3D workflow through Blender with its intuitive UI and highly customisable features I would have a much harder time understanding what I need to fix in Maya to make me as efficient in that program. The amount of times I have missed having Blender’s direct response shortcuts to perform tool actions without needing to use the tool bar are too many to count. A saving grace for Maya though is that some of its tools are really, really good. UV mapping especially is such a breeze in Maya when comparing their base functionalities. I hope the GSOC UV mapping developer keeps working on more UV features, since the ones he managed to create this summer were all great and also necessary to make it easier not to use Maya in the future. XD

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Substance Painter/Designer alternative:

Agama materials

:point_right: :wink:




Or just lie to Adobe about being a student - score their ‘All Apps’ subscription for $21/month.

Agama materials Youtube Channel



Yeah. I installed the Maya trial version again a few years ago, and within 20 to 30 minutes I was frustrated again. It’s an old dinosaur with lots of patches, like 3ds Max. Some parts are great, such as the integrated Arnold renderer, but overall Blender is much more lightweight, stable and up-to-date.

At the moment Blender is simply the most feature-complete 3D tool that’s available. I’ve worked with MoI 3D, ZBrush and Keyshot again for the past few months, but I keep returning to Blender, because it’s super-convenient to have great sculpting tools, a powerful polygon toolset, two fine renderers and much more in one tool. :ok_hand:

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How is kdenlive now a days I had trouble with it few timesiI used it.