Free Alternatives To Adobe Programs

As a dedicated indie creator, I highly value everyone having access to art and design programs, regardless of one’s economic circumstances. As such, I’m putting together a list of free programs you can use in lieu of more expensive ones.

I’ve already talked about some of these when discussing software for making print books and ebooks, but it’s worth mentioning them again. As I discover new alternatives to more programs, I’ll add them to the compilation. If any of these links break, or if any of these programs become unavailable, let me know and I’ll take the link down. Now go out there and create!

Alternatives To Illustrator

Fire Alpaca: If you have any experience with Paint Tool SAI, Fire Alpaca will be easy for you to pick up. The brushes are varied and easy to customize. My only complaint is my disappointment with the manipulation tool.

Krita: I can’t vouch for Krita, as I don’t personally use it, but my sibling has made excellent use of the program. Most users that I know of compare it favorably to Gimp. This seems accurate to me, as I find both Krita and Gimp’s interface challenging to navigate — but to a better artist than me, the interface is equipped with everything they need.

Medibang Paint: A lot like Krita, I’ve tried it in the past and found it feature-filled and confusing to my small brain. Like Krita, I’d recommend it to someone who already knows how to navigate an art program.

Sketchbook: Some computers come already equipped with Sketchbook, like mine once did. I’ve doodled with it in the past, back when the free version was more limited in its tools, so I don’t know what it has in store for it these days. I’ve heard that it’s good for digital art that mimics traditional art styles.

Alternatives to InDesign

Scribus: Oh, trusty old Scribus. While less elegant than InDesign, Scribus has just as much functionality and a more straightforward interface. There’s a few weird hitches in the set-up, such as a glitch that can create ghost textboxes outside the page boundaries, but nothing that will ruin your document or cost hours of time.

(If you aren’t a fan of Scribus, I’d love to offer you alternatives, but I haven’t yet found another program with InDesign-like capabilities!)

Alternatives to Photoshop

GIMP: You’ve probably already heard of GIMP, but I’ll put it on here anyway. Like several other programs on this list, the interface was confusing for me when I tried it out years ago, but you won’t find a more thorough Photoshop alternative. While looks (and draws) like MS Paint’s less meme-y cousin, it has an easily-navigated interface and a variety of blur, gradient, and effect options to explore. It’s a good program for applying quick final touches or unusual stylistic flourishes to a piece of artwork. Its forums also offer a variety of safe plugins that’ll enhance your experience with the program. I most recommend the PSD compatibility plugin if you want to use in tandem with one of the Illustrator alternatives above.

Alternatives to Adobe Reader

Foxit Reader: I have Foxit myself, and I can confirm that it has a pretty snazzy interface. Unfortunately, if you want the full abilities that come with Adobe Reader, you do have to pay, but it’s still a decent software for reading or error-checking PDFs.

Your Internet Browser: Most browsers actually offer you the ability to read PDFs on them. It’s no editing program (not at all), but if all you need is somewhere to read that assignment your teacher sent you, it functions.

A Variety Of Websites: There’s a lot of PDF-editor websites out there, but I haven’t found one that works well for me, unfortunately.

Did you find the kind of program that you were looking for? If this list was helpful to you, then you can support me as a creator by buying me a Ko-fi. Thank you, and have a lovely day!

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