Free or very affordable alternatives to Adobe tools

Thanks for posting it here, will have to check what people recommend as I am the creator of this list and some things such as some free apps aren’t really so, it was so long I lost track of what was what. It’s crazy how much it was shared in a couple days compared to the previous one.

Don’t think that’s very easy, I think you need an email ended on @/edu for that, it’s weird but I think only in the US or commmonwealth countries people are more hessitant to pirate adobe.

1 Like

A couple of mac options for animation are Keyshape and Tumult Hype. Both are pretty affordable. Hype can output HTML 5 and has some interactive features to make projects that take advantage of user input.

Keyshape is a very lightweight SVG vector animation alternative that can output lottie format and is pretty easy to get to grips with. It has a 14 day trial. I have used both to make simple timeline based animations and was quite surprised at both of their capabilities. They should be getting more attention than they currently have. Here is a link to Keyshapes twitter page for the latest news…


This simply isn’t true for the rigging part, to be frank… rigging in Maya is a bit obfuscated but limitless, and the playback performance is just astounding, they cache deformations so that animation plays always smoothly. The graph editor works really well too, better than that of Blender. If you’re in the animation business it’s not all black and white

@Frozen_Death_Knight Maya has the marking menus… basically power users hide the toolbars, they never use it because everything is at a flick of the wrist

Yeah, character animation is one of Maya’s strong sides, I agree, although I’ve got no personal experience with those tools.

…And I don’t like it? I know those menus exist, I just don’t like that workflow compared to using the keyboard with modifiers for the instant tools. As for flicking menus, you can do that in Blender as well. I know, since I personally customised every single mouse click to do an action, including certain menus. I have at least 6 menus keyed to just R click. Without modifiers. Then I have several other menus keyed with modifiers, but those are for specific things and not the tools themselves which I use my keyboard keys for.

There is no menu that can replace having instant tool actions from a single button press; i.e. loop cut (Maya doesn’t even allow you to scroll to change the amount of loops like in Blender) or locking a tool in one axis in the middle of an action (which Blender can do with with the X, Y, and Z keys). Plus, the times that I have found inconvenient stuff in Blender I have been able to customise it so everything flows better through the Keymap (it has crazy amounts of customisation).

The Maya keymap is at first glance more beginner friendly with how easy it is to find your hotkeys, but it has far less depth as well as some really annoying restrictions. For instance, I can’t hotkey shift+4 on my Swedish keyboard because Maya thinks that key has a symbol it can’t handle (not the only one I found on my keyboard which Blender can handle with ease). I also can’t hotkey Tab with modifiers like I can with Blender or some other programs like Affinity, so I lose out on a lot of convenient stuff to improve workflow. Little problems like that exist all over Maya.

This is shift+4 btw.

Animation and rigging are great, I agree. Really enjoy animating with the Graph Editor. My only real gripe is some restrictions with they keymap, but overall it is really good. I also have always liked UV mapping and creating retopology in Maya. Blender is not that bad at those things with a couple of free addons, but Maya has all you need baseline, which is something I appreciate.

My short look:

I’m using a Mac / BigSur (Latest version)

  • Tenacity, I haven’t been able to figure out how to install from the Git Hub. Audacity meets my (minimal) needs for now

  • DaVinci Resolve is like Final-Cut-Pro, at some point there’s a $ 299 price tag. If whatever they’re offering for free works all well and good.

  • Agama Materials looks like it may be Windows

  • Haven’t looked at Ardour yet.

  • PhotoGimp seems to either require GIMP or require GIMP via Flatpak. Either way. Installing PhotoGimp seems to require Flatpak which seems to work exclusively for Linux - best I can tell or try (Brew, MacPort, Apple store - nada, zip, nothing)

  • Apple Motion, seems to be paired with Final-Cut-Pro every time I look for it, short of the Apple Store, which sells it for $ 49.99. But, if it requires or recommends Final-Cut-Pro for optimum use, Final-Cut-Pro is $ 299 including Apple Motion if that’s an essential rather than optional pairing means $ 350 (ballpark); Final-Cut-Pro comes up short against Adobe After Effects in just about every way that matters in at least one review. And most Final-Cut-Pro tutorials are “Beginner’s Tutorials” compared to Adobe After Effects specific step by step tutorials, leaves me thinking that, if Final-Cut-Pro (or even Motion) are acceptable alternatives, I would consider it really useful to be able to find comparable Apple to Apple comparatives of how to do (maybe not all, but some) After Effects Tutorials using Final-Cut-Pro or Motion rather than finding out the hard way that perhaps neither is a feature to feature comparable alternative to After Effects after the money is spent

So far Oceanside Audio looks like something that will work for Mac, but, I’m not sure (not having downloaded it or tried it) if it’s a better alternative or just an alternative, maybe Reaper too - haven’t looked at that yet.

  • Diffractor runs on Windows. I have a Mac.

  • Rebelle, in head to head comparisons comes up short compared to PhotoShop as do most of the other applications. I’m already using Pixelmator Pro, PhotoscapeX, Affinity Designer / Photo, Procreate IPad, Gimp, Krita (for G’Mic wihich Gimp hasn’t figured out yet and better than Natron which is node based and not nearly as simple or convenient as the interface for Gimp or Krita (and Krita v5.0 has G’Mic built in by default) and Pinta for simple edits. None of them is perfect.

On a Mac, I’m using Vector Styler, Affinity Designer, Inkscape and SuperVectorizer Pro for Vector edits and conversions.

  • Megascans? I’m using Blenderkit currently for my needs in comparable areas. It’s sufficient and affordable.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far. Adobe’s plan is a non-starter. And Apple’s “In-App Purchases” are the death of 1,000 cuts. Looks like everyone, even Public TV is going the same way with pay for play.

On apple store, if I have to spend money, I do some research first and go for the once and done purchases. The kind that don’t keep informing me that, for just a little more… every other day reminders.

Blender is “free” then there’s BlenderMarket, Gumroad, Patreon and other additional functionality sites and products.

Pretty soon it all starts to add up. Do you have to? No. But, at 66, I’m a little old to be learning it all and doing it all short of some help. And Blender being keyboard intensive leaves my memory a little strapped most days.

Not that there is or are any better “free” alternatives (OpenScad / FreeCad come in handy, if for no other reason than conversions and what Kit Wallace offers for OpenScad).

I did tech support for 20 years. So, it’s not all Greek to me, but, it’s still a LOT.

I don’t know that I want to keep up with the Jones’ for much longer. They may just have to carry on without me.


I think you’re right.

I also checked and found that email has just expired, so I’m lucky I got in with a new account beforehand since this was last years online study got me the address.

Student until October 22, Adobe Account is telling me.

Then it’s back to $30/month for every app, which will only wind-up being one app since Illustrator’s all I use now. :frowning:

God bless ten years ago when we could simply download the CS demos then find a keygen - the good old days :thinking:

Thanks for sharing your info, @unkerjay. Anticipating a return to macOS, I’m regaining interest in applications for that platform.

When I was still a Mac user, I bought Apple Motion in the App Store and have never used Final Cut Pro. Apple Motion can be used as a companion tool to FCP, but also as a stand-alone After Effects competitor, just like AE and Premiere can be used fully separately.

For bitmap to vector conversions I still haven’t found a better tool than Vector Magic, also available for macOS.

Fully seconded. Too bad Blenderkit is fully centered on native Blender renderers. I’d love it if they would also support LuxCoreRender, Octane, Renderman, Radeon ProRender, etc…

I hear you. Blender’s rapid development pace is both a blessing and a curse. For example, the frequency of keyboard shortcut changes drives me crazy sometimes, particularly in my main area of interest: Sculpt Mode.

In the light of this, it’s a delight to return to old school tools like MoI 3D and ZBrush, which don’t change nearly as much as Blender. A Blender user needs to frequently keep up with the latest changes or he/she will start lagging behind in Blender knowledge.

Luckily, approximately 436574 YouTubers have discovered that gaining a following by endlessly regurgitating Blender knowledge is lucrative, so there are more than enough tutorial videos available to keep your Blender skills up to date. :wink:

1 Like

Nice thread.
My 1.5 cents :slight_smile:
Very interesting software, with some unique features… mostly unknown.
Project Dogwaffle digital image paint and animation software, photo editing, painting, special FX, animation, post work, particle brushes, tutorials, 2D resources, textures and more (
Verve painter, another interesting piece of software. Love to see these features integrated in Krita, for example. Anyway you can try and have fun time. And Maybe make new image for your desktop :wink:
Verve Painter, a Tiny Fluid Dynamics Based Paint Application - Lesterbanks

1 Like

When I started BlenderKit, one of the reasons was to create an asset database for open source world. With the possibility of open source and free content, but with curated database and a sustainable business model. Thanks for mentioning us;)