Working without access to the DLL’s physical space and computing resources can pose some challenges. One of those challenges is finding software to complete digital media projects in situations where using Adobe Creative Cloud or other commercial software packages is cost prohibitive. On this page you’ll find our currently recommended free or low-cost alternatives when various multimedia software is unavailable.
Alternatives to Adobe Premiere
DaVinci Resolve is a powerful video editor and color correction tool. It allows users to assemble video clips on a timeline, insert transitions and titles, apply a wide variety of effects, and layer audio tracks.
Download from https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve.
iMovie is a free video editor available for Mac and iOS. It features a comprehensive set of basic editing features including cutting tools, multi-track video and audio, titles, transitions, and effects. Unfortunately, iMovie is not available on Windows and Android platforms.
iMovie can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.
Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop
Pixlr is a free, in-browser image editing tool for quick image edits at any location. It features a full set of basic image editing tools, including layer-based editing, cropping and resizing, effects and filters, and text tools. However, Pixlr’s toolset is more limited than desktop applications like GIMP or Photoshop.
Pixlr can be accessed via a compatible web browser at https://pixlr.com/.
GIMP is a free and open-source graphic design tool. It is used for image manipulation, photo retouching, and digital painting. GIMP is available for free and is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems. GIMP’s feature set is more limited than Photoshop, and some of its tools less powerful.
GIMP can be downloaded from https://www.gimp.org/.
Affinity Photo is an advanced graphics editor with a feature set comparable to Adobe Photoshop. It is available as a one-time purchase as opposed to Adobe’s subscription-based model. Affinity is available for Windows, Mac, and iPad.
Affinity Photo is available for $49.99 from https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/.
Alternatives to Adobe Illustrator
Vecteezy Editor is a free, in-browser image graphic design tool that produces vector graphics. Vecteezy can be used to easily produce graphical elements like logos and illustrations,which can be exported in vector graphic formats. Vector graphics are scalable to suit any purpose, from small design elements in mobile applications to billboard-size graphics, without losing quality. While robust and easy to use, Vecteezy’s toolset is not as comprehensive as Adobe Illustrator’s.
Vecteezy Editor can be accessed via a compatible web browser at https://www.vecteezy.com/editor.
Inkscape is a free, cross-platform open source vector graphics editor. While it lacks more advanced features of Adobe Illustrator, it is capable of creating rich vector graphics using shapes, fills, gradients, a power text tool, and bezier curves.
Inkscape is available for download at https://inkscape.org/.
Affinity Designer is a powerful vector design tool with a feature set comparable to Adobe Illustrator. It is available as a one-time purchase as opposed to Adobe’s subscription-based model. Affinity is available for Windows, Mac, and iPad.
Affinity Designer is available for $49.99 from https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/.
Alternatives to Adobe Audition
Audacity is a free and open-source digital audio editor and audio recording application available for Windows, macOS, Linux. The software is easy to use and to install and provides advanced features such as multi-track recording, sound effects, and filters. It is available for free and is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems. Audacity supports multi-track editing, allowing the layering of audio tracks for sound effects, background music, and multiple speakers. Audio can be recorded directly into Audacity using microphones connected to a computer, or imported from other sources.
Audacity can be downloaded from www.audacityteam.org
Garageband is a free audio editor and music production tool included with the Macintosh operating system. It features multi-track editing capabilities, allowing users to cut, mix, fade, and apply effects to recordings. It also features a whole suite of virtual instruments, loops, and music arrangement tools, making it a good entry-level music production program as well. Garageband is also available on iOS, but is not available for Windows or Android operating systems.
Garageband can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.
3D Design and Animation
Alternative to Maya or Rhino
Blender is a free, open-source 3D creation suite. It can be used to create 3D models, and animations. Despite being free software, Blender is used by both hobbyists and in professional environments. Blender is available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux platforms.
Blender can be downloaded from https://www.blender.org/.