5 Free Alternatives to Adobe Software

With all the hubub of Adobe going Creative Cloud only, a lot of users have expressed interest in getting off the Adobe train. The problem is it’s really tough when a lot of their software is the industry standard.

I’ve listed just the best free graphic design software here, but there are some great low-cost paid alternatives as well. If you’re a serious graphic designer though it’s going to be hard to ween yourself off of Photoshop as there is a reason it’s an industry standard. You can still purchase a perpetual CS6 license though and don’t have to move to the Creative Cloud. I think Adobe will end up offering some sort of perpetual license solution at some point as 90% of their customers are completely unhappy about this move. Listed below are some free design software alternatives you can use in the meantime.

1. Free Alternative to Adobe Photoshop – GiMP (www.gimp.org)
GiMP has been around for awhile – I know it  has a terrible name – but it’s about the most full featured alternative to Photoshop that I’ve come across. It has color correction, support for layers, cloning tools, painting tools and suppport for .psd files.

Another Free Alternative to Adobe Photoshop – PAINT.net (www.getpaint.net)
PAINT.net has been around for awhile as well, it started off as a more fully featured alternative to Paint, but grew into something bigger. They’ve recently started working on it again and are on track to update it to version 4.

2. Free Alternative to Adobe Illustrator – Inkscape (www.inkscape.org)
While not the sexiest looking website, Inkscape is a solid alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It supports Layers, Filters, Blend Modes and even has a “dark” interface option like the recent Adobe CS6 updates.

3. Free Alternative to Adobe Dreamweaver – BlueGriffon (www.bluegriffon.org)
BlueGriffon is a solid little WYSIWYG HTML editor and great free alternative to Adobe Dreamweaver. It supports HTML 5 and CSS 3 and has a good selection of extensible plugins for it. Again, not Earth shattering but if you need tools to do basic HTML editing BlueGriffon will work well.

4. Free Alternative to Adobe InDesign - Scribus (www.scribus.net)
Scribus is a great alternative to InDesign. It supports spot colors, can export to pdf, multiple page layouts and much more. I’ve used it a little bit and it’s a good alternatve if you need to layout basic pages.

5. Free Alternative to Adobe After Effects – Blender (www.blender.org)
While Blender is mainly a 3d design program, it has compositing features as well. While the tools and interface may be a little daunting, you can use it to edit video and composite effects like in After Effects.


All of these Adobe software alternatives are free and open source. Open source means a community of developers works on these projects so new features and options are added in regularly. While this may not exactly replace your Adobe workflow, it can very well compliment it. With that being said there are paid alternatives to Adobe Software, but that’s another article

If you have any questions or comments please let us know! It only takes a second to comment!


  1. Monty J
    Oct 11, 2013

    Pretty interested in trying out Blender, I wasn’t familiar with that and we sorely miss After Effects at work. We get by with GIMP and we’ve started using Lucidpress rather than Scribus for our light design needs.

  2. Brian Martin
    Dec 22, 2013

    What do you do at work?

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