Photos & Graphics

11 Adobe Illustrator CC Alternatives and Competitors

So, the photographic applications benefit from a decent number of new features; the rest of the core apps haven’t been so lucky, however. Headlines for Illustrator, for example, include a performance boost and a (currently) limited update to the charting tools.  The former comes thanks to improvements to the Mercury Playback Engine and support for GPU acceleration, allowing real-time click-and-drag is panning and zooming – just like Photoshop, in other words. The new Creative Cloud Charts feature is part of Adobe’s “Technology Previews,” and as such, will remain unfinished for the foreseeable future. As the names suggest, this isn’t a conventional upgrade to the application’s existing capabilities. Instead, Creative Cloud Charts is a hybrid, cloud-based service, which rather peculiarly requires chart values to be entered in a browser instead of a traditional dialog box. The graphs themselves appear in Illustrator as normal, but this isn’t a graphing tool in the usual sense. In fact, it’s aimed specifically at the creation of infographics, with the ability to scale graphics based on values rather than plain bars or columns.  Finally, for Illustrator at least, the application gains a crash-recovery feature, similar to that of InDesign. If you run out of battery mid-task or Illustrator crashes, you can now pick up where you left off when the app restarts.

1. Corel Draw X6

All the standard vector editing tools are here, as well as an intuitive colour palette system and a fun set of vector shaping tools that allow you to distort basic vectors into more organic shapes. There’s also support for object styles, which can be applied to any element on your canvas including text. Other interesting features include the ability to draw placeholder content for page layouts, built-in support for application…

2. SVG-Edit

If you’re looking to quickly output SVG, or edit an existing SVG file, there are a few online editors that will do the job just as well as Adobe Illustrator. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an open format that allows you to reproduce your Vector drawings programmatically, and one of the nicest projects is SVG-Edit. This is built entirely on HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript without requiring any server-side processing. So…

3. Affinity Designer

For new designers and old pros, Affinity Designer offers a modern, intuitive user interface that allows users to transition almost seamlessly between it and Illustrator. Budding designers will find all the necessary tools clearly organized and accessible and the default toolbars and keyboard shortcuts will feel familiar to Adobe users. The learning curve is more like a gentle slope for designers experienced in Illustrator or Photoshop. Affinity Designer comes with…

4. Macaw

Macaw is a professional web design tool aimed at both designers and developers, with the boast of being the first web design tool to blend the fluid and intuitive interface of an image editor with a powerful design-to-code engine. The development team, which funded Macaw via Kickstarter claims you can create responsive web designs using the web as your medium. It was developed to create wireframes, prototypes and mock-ups rapidly…

5. Tumult Hype 2.5

Responsive Web Design has become a top trend in web development, allowing for designers to craft a single page which will scale appropriately across a wide variety of devices and screen sizes. There have not been good solutions for responsive designs incorporating animated content, until now. Tumult Hype 2.5’s Flexible Layout options give users control over how animated elements are positioned and scaled when the document resizes. It uses a…

6. Pixelmator 3.3

While the software lacks some features, such as a photo organizer and some advanced tools, it serves as an easy-to-use photo editor and good option for beginning photographers. The Mac photo editing software Pixelmator is full-featured software offered at an affordable price. The software includes a wide selection of basic and advanced editing tools, sharing capabilities and file compatibility.  Pixelmator comes with a wide variety of editing tools, all available…

7. Corel AfterShot Pro 2

Corel’s AfterShot Pro 2 lets you enhance and manage your photos professionally. The application utilizes 64-Bit performance, which can be up to 4x faster than other RAW image manipulation applications. AfterShot Pro 2 is the best way to unlock the flexibility of shooting RAW images. With unparalleled speed and power, and a sleek new interface, AfterShot Pro 2 is a RAW converter, photo editor and complete high-speed photo management application.…

8. DxO OpticsPro 10

This is primarily a photographer’s correction tool with the power to instantly fix optical defects of your equipment, remove digital noise even at high sensitivities, recover fine details and textures in dark or burnt areas, and bring out all the nuances of color in your images. The Essentials edition includes automatic RAW and JPEG image-processing tools, with numerous presets that allow you to adapt the processing to suit your workflow.…

9. Ambient Design ArtRage 4.5

ArtRage offers a set of natural painting and drawing tools that simulates a familiar, real world paintbox, for a bargain price.  A rather unique interface minimizes the toolset to the essentials for the task at hand, while the rest of work area is given over to the paint simulation. You can dismiss the entire interface with a single mouse tap if you want even more room. Users paint with tools…

10. DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is an advanced 64-bit video finishing tool, multitrack editor and color correction software, offering a collaborative workflow. It offers 32-bit floating point image processing and uses a unique YRGB color space for grading. Resolve uses node based processing where each node can have color correction, power windows, and effects applied. Editing tools are context sensitive, and multiple people can work together on the same timeline at the same…

11. Blackmagic Fusion

Fusion 7 is a 64-bit visual effects and motion graphics suite that was recently released as a free product by new owner Blackmagic Design. Originally developed by Eyeon, the software has been a mainstay of VFX studios worldwide for many years. Fusion 7 features an infinite 3D workspace and node-based workflow for quickly building unlimited effects, as well as advanced 3D compositing, paint, rotoscope, retiming, stabilization and titling tool. It…

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