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Adobe Creative Suite is a collection of applications for people who are, lets see….creative? Yes. Its a whole suite of applications that can be used to edit, enhance, beautify photos, create vector art, create vector animation, desktop publishing, website design, video editing, DVD menu designs and so on.

Sounds like tasks you can or want to do? Go ahead, the Adobe Creative Suite is for you.

Did I hear you asking about the cost? Well it can be a couple of thousand dollars or so depending upon the version you choose.

Fear not because here is a compiled list of software that will not only allow you to do all the above mentioned work but it also costs less. Uhmm….actually it happens that they are all free.

So here I present the open source alternatives to the popular Creative Suite applications:

Adobe Acrobat Reader ==> Sumatra PDF

Sumatra PDF aims to create a small, simple and fast PDF viewer. Its main features are showing PDFs and starting up really fast – and it does both just perfectly. Sumatra PDF is very portable since it has no external dependencies – it is just one file, so you can easily put on your USB stick and take it with you.
Download here


Adobe Acrobat ==> PDFCreator

No I didn’t write this twice by mistake. Pop Quiz – What’s the difference between Adobe Acrobat Reader and Adobe Acrobat? Is there one? Lets see who answers this first!

PDFCreator is an open source printer driver that creates PDF documents. “Printer Driver” means that it allows you to create PDF files from any Windows application. The PDF files can then be viewed with a standard PDF reader. You have options to add security and encryption also.
Download here

Adobe Photoshop ==> Paint.NET

Paint.NET is a bitmap drawing and editing application. It is created in C# and is a .NET application. Paint.NET is a simple and easy to use application with an intuitive user interface which in some cases is better than Photoshop even. In addition, it packs features like any commercial program such as: layers, bezier/spline curve drawing and unlimited undo history. On top of that is has many filters that handles everything from blurring/sharpening to color control. Paint.NET requires Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 (which is free but can never be open source!!).
Download here

Adobe Dreamweaver ==> Kompozer

Kompozer is an open source web development tool built on NVU (another editor but currently not under development). The project strives to fix bugs in the NVU project and add new features to it. Offers WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing mode, a CSS , HTML and all other regular features allowing you full control of layout as you work with your web design.
Download here

Adobe Flash ==> Synfig

Synfig is actually very powerful. You can do much more than you can do with flash. Synfig is an industrial-strength vector-based 2D animation software package, designed from the ground-up for producing “feature-film quality animation” with fewer people and resources – and its free. So now you can create all those animations that you always wanted to do.
Download Here

Adobe Illustrator ==> Inkscape

Inkscape is an open source 2d vector graphics editor and an excellent alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Supports all of the standard drawing features. Curves (bezier), lines, freehand drawing including calligraphy stroke together with geometric figures can be used to build your drawing. Advanced gradient fill tool, bitmap tracing – and will let you export your drawing as both png and postscript. All normal file handling is performed natively in scalable vector graphics (svg) file format.
Download here

Adobe InDesign ==> Scribus

Scribus is a popular open source desktop publishing tool. As a DTP tool it supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation. Scribus also has additional features not normally found in a DTP tool such as vector drawing tools with SVG support and it even has support for OpenType Fonts. Scribus is available in more than 25 languages.
Download here

Adobe After Effects ==> Jahshaka (I love the name and the logo)

Jahshaka brings the power of movie editing and effects to the open source environment. Whether is comes to painting video, create and edit effects in real-time or perform advanced composition – Jahshaka lets you do it. You can even handle HD with ease.
Download here

Adobe Premier Pro ==> VirtualDub

VirtualDub is an open source video processor/editor. Its not for non-linear video editing, but it has powerful features for processing your video clips. The features include real-time downsizing, noise reduction, support for AVI2 (OpenDML), de- and re-compression of video and audio and an advanced set of filters. These filters include blurring, rotating, image adjustments and more. VirtualDub is a great video toolbox.
Download here

Adobe Encore DVD ==> DVD Styler

DVDStyler is simple and easy to use – it provides a quick and simple interface for adding DVD menus to your own movies. Adding movie clips is as easy as drag and drop. Menu screens are created by first loading a background – and then adding buttons. Then actions are assigned to the buttons to indicate which movie clips should be played when pressed.
Download Here

Adobe Soundbooth ==> Audacity ?

Now I am no sound expert, I have installed and used both soundbooth and Audacity and for me Audacity is just fine, although I must say that Soundbooth looks way more complicated and (sssshhh.. does that mean it does more work also?), but frankly speaking for the general user’s needs Audacity is more than enough. I can’t say for Sound Experts here. May be you can enlighten us on this one?
Download Here

There you have it. A Creative Suite Replacement. As a signing off note I would also like to mention Ubuntu Studio here. Yes yes, I know its Linux but then it comes with many of the above preinstalled (and others not mentioned here) and you can add even more, plus it has beautiful theming to give the Studio Look. You could perhaps even run it inside Windows (through virtualization).

Do you agree with my choices? Or would you replace them with something else?

(By) – Varun Kashyap – A tech enthusiast, programmer and a blogger, who almost got mad testing all of the above for this post. Visit his Tech Crazy Blog

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