You may find it disheartening to learn how much Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom cost when you’re just starting out in digital creation.

If Adobe products are something you’d like to try, you can always sign up for a free trial.

Or you can browse here to look for some Adobe student savings.

The pricing of Adobe products can be prohibitive for beginners and students, who may not be able to continuously maintain an Adobe subscription.  

But you’re in luck because there are free alternatives. 

The tools I will present here are free and most can be used by both beginners and experts. A ton of them can be used on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

You can also keep up to date on this list of Adobe Alternatives here.

Acrobat Alternatives

Adobe Acrobat is an application software and web service developed by Adobe that allows you to view, create, manipulate, print, and manage Portable Document Format files.

Here’s some free alternatives:

I Love PDF​-Every tool you need to use PDFs.

Calibre– A powerful and easy to use e-book manager.

Photoshop Alternatives

Developed and published by Adobe Inc., Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editor for raster graphics. The software quickly became the industry standard for editing raster graphics as well as digital art in general. 

Photoshop is such a staple that people use the term Photoshop as a verb. It is truly an amazing product, but not everyone can afford it. So here’s some free alternatives:

Photopea – A web-based raster graphics editor used for image editing, making illustrations, and web design.

Sketchbook – Professional drawing tools with a beautiful interface.

Krita – A professional FREE painting program made by artists that want to see affordable art tools for everyone.

Illustrator Alternatives

Gimp –  A free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image manipulation and image editing.

Vectr – A free graphics software used to create vector graphics easily and intuitively.

Inkscape –  A free and open-source vector graphics editor used to create vector images, primarily in Scalable Vector Graphics format.

Pixlr – Lets you edit photos right in your browser for Free.

Lightroom Alternatives

Lightroom is Adobe’s image management and editing software. Among its main functions are importing/saving, viewing, organizing, tagging,  editing, and sharing large numbers of digital images. 

Lightroom uses a variety of editing commands including white balance correction, tone curve correction, color grading, detail enhancing, corrections for lenses, red eye removal, graduated filter enhancements, and radial filter enhancements.

Even though it’s a great program, beginners need more affordable options. Here are some free options:

Paint.NET  – Features an intuitive user interface with support for layers, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools.

Darktable – An open source photography workflow application and raw developer. A virtual light table and darkroom for photographers.

RawTherapee –  A powerful, cross-platform raw photo processing system.

Premiere Alternatives

In Adobe Premiere Pro, you can edit video in a timeline-style using tools such as keyframes and filters. Premiere Pro is included in Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscriptions. 

Not a lot of people are aware that Adobe Premiere Pro is the successor to Adobe Premiere which first launched in 1991. Premiere is aimed at professional video editors so a lot of them seek it out. 

If you’re a beginner and you aren’t ready for such an expensive commitment, here are some free options:

Davinci Resolve – A color correction and non-linear video editing application for macOS, Windows, and Linux.

OpenShot – An easy to use, quick to learn, and surprisingly powerful video editor.

HitFilm Express – A free video editing software with professional-grade VFX tools and everything you need to make awesome content.

Shotcut – A free, open source, cross-platform video editor.

VSDC Free Video Editor – Free video software to create and edit videos of any complexity from a family greeting card to a company presentation.

After Effects Alternatives

Adobe After Effects is a program developed for use in post-production for film and television projects. It provides visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing functions. Keying, tracking, compositing, and animation are all possible with After Effects. The program can also be used as a nonlinear editor, audio editor, and media transcoder. 

Adobe After Effects is so good that a scientific and technical achievement award was given to the program in 2019. 

Even though it’s so amazing. Not a lot of people can afford it. So here are some free options:

Davinci Resolve – A color correction and non-linear video editing application for macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Natron – Open Source Compositing Software For VFX and Motion Graphics.

Blender – A free and open source 3D creation suite.

Audition Alternatives

Adobe Audition is a digital audio workstation you can use for your audio recordings. Among its many features is a multitrack, non-destructive mix/edit environment and an editing view.

When it comes to audio editors, Audition isn’t always in the top three. So it’s not that surprising there are a ton of other options to choose from. Here are some free ones:

Audacity – A free and open-source digital audio editor and recording application software.

LMMS – Let’s make music with a free, cross-platform tool for your computer.

Ocenaudio – Ocenaudio is a cross-platform, easy to use, fast and functional audio editor.

Ardour – For people who want to record, edit, mix and master audio and MIDI projects.

Waveform Free – A digital audio workstation for recording and editing audio and MIDI.

Cubase LE – A compact version of  Cubase Pro. It provides all the basic tools for recording, editing and mixing.

Animate Alternatives

With Adobe Animate, you can create vector graphics for television series, web animation, websites, web applications, rich internet applications, games, commercials, and more. 

Here are some programs that can perform similar tasks, but for free:

Blender – Free and open source 3D creation suite

Synfig – A free and open-source vector-based 2D animation software.

Open Toonz –  Open-source software for the production of 2D animation.

Pencil 2D – A simple 2D animation, drawing, and painting application that lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation.

Wick Editor – Make games, animations, and everything in-between.

InDesign Alternative

Adobe InDesign is a software application for typesetting and publishing. You can use it to create posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, books, and ebooks. 

Here’s a free alternative to help you with your publishing needs:

Scribus – Free and open-source desktop publishing software available for most desktop operating systems.

XD Alternative

Adobe XD, also called Adobe Experience Design, is a vector-based tool used to design mobile and web apps. It allows users to wireframe websites and create click-through prototypes.

Here’s a very popular free alternative for you:

Figma – Figma helps teams create, test, and ship better designs from start to finish.

Dreamweaver Alternative

Adobe Dreamweaver is a web design and Integrated Development Environment application that is used for developing and designing websites. 

It comes with a code editor that provides syntax highlighting, code completion, syntax checking in real-time, and code introspection to assist users in creating code.

Here’s an alternative to edit code for free:

Visual Studio Code – A code editor redefined and optimized for building and debugging modern web and cloud applications.

Substance Alternative

Substance by Adobe is a monthly 3D service suite. It provides you with tools such as: Substance Painter, Substance Designer, and Substance Alchemist so you can bring your ideas to life.

Not everyone is into their monthly model, so here’s a free alternative:

Mixer – 3D texturing For everyone.

Conclusion

As the number of free Adobe Alternatives grows, Dreams To Journeys will be here to keep this list updated. Hopefully these free options save beginners, students, and frugal creators from expensive subscriptions and limited free trials.

I hope these free resources are useful to you in your digital creative journey.

Frequently Asked Questions About Microsites

Adobe is used by creatives who, when they subscribe, are given access to a collection of graphic design software. The company offers a wide variety of software for video editing, web development, photography, and mobile apps and cloud  services.

A lot of people believe that since Adobe’s business model is based on licensing, it was never really intended for consumer use but rather for businesses.

They sell professional grade products, like Lightroom and Photoshop, that are so good, average and beginner designers want to use them too.

If you’re a beginner, I would say not just yet. Too many creatives fall into this trap of getting the best gear and will go into debt before they’ve even started their journey. I would recommend you use a free alternative, watch some Adobe tutorials every now and then, and when your finances can better afford it, then you try some Adobe products out.

If you cant’ wait, maybe perfuse a free trial for a couple days. Don’t forget to cancel it though.

The one that best matches your skills and needs. A lot of first-timers choose Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop (or their alternatives) because they’ll be useful in their content creation, and their social media marketing.

Adobe actually has a ton of competitors. Not just the one’s on this post’s list. They have a ton of competitors because their products span so many interests and industries.

If you’re looking for a paid competitor, a lot of designers choose Affinity software.

Affinity offers a few products such as Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher. Many believe their services are not only on par to Adobe’s but better because they are significantly cheaper than Abode’s services.

Adobe has a program called Creative Cloud which is a set of applications from Adobe Inc. It combines all of Adobe’s industry-leading programs into one service.

It is their way of offering a bundle deal for their subscribers. Other than getting a deal, you get access to consistent updates, access to new features, and even cloud services.