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Adobe is one of the oldest and biggest names in computer software. The company is synonymous with web technologies and design programs. You usually have to pay a pretty penny for them, but Adobe has been feeling pretty generous lately.
The company has recently been releasing several apps and programs for free. And it has also turned some paid apps into free downloads, including the entire Creative Suite 2 (CS2) or Photoshop CS2 alone, and some of the best Android apps from 2015.
Adobe CS2 or Photoshop CS2 (Windows, Mac): The Famous Software for Free
Adobe has phased out the Creative Suite and turned it into the subscription-based Creative Cloud suite. But you don’t need to pay to get a taste of Photoshop. Adobe now lets you download the old CS2 or that suite’s Photoshop for free. You do need to sign up for a free Adobe account, though.
In a nutshell, Adobe no longer maintains servers to authenticate CS2, but you can download and use it if you want. Adobe also provides an activation key so that you aren’t locked to the trial version. The full Creative Suite includes Photoshop CS2, InDesign CS2, Illustrator CS2, Premier Pro 2, InCopy CS2, After Effects, GoLive, Audition 3, Acrobat 3D 1.0, and Acrobat Pro 7. You might want to check our guide to figure out the right Adobe product for you.
Even though this version is several years old, Photoshop CS2 is still a fantastic program. In fact, in the Photoshop vs. GIMP debate, it might just be right for you. Remember, there are lots of things Photoshop can do but GIMP can’t.
Download: Adobe Creative Suite for Mac or Windows (Free)
Photoshop Mix v2.0 (Android, iOS): Work With Layers on Touchscreens
Forget about Photoshop Touch and even the powerful Photoshop Express. Adobe is working hard on a new app that puts both of those to shame. In July, Photoshop Mix finally updated to v2.0 and brought a slew of fantastic new features.
Photoshop Mix concentrates more on being able to play around with layers, an essential element of image editing. With Photoshop Mix, you can combine up to five layers to make complex images, control opacity with Blend Modes, and apply multiple filters on several layers.
These are the kinds of image editing tools that were normally found on desktops, but with the powerful hardware of new smartphones, Photoshop Mix 2 is an absolute delight for anyone who loves taking photos.
Photoshop Fix (iOS): The Best of Photoshop Touch, for Free
The touchscreen-friendly version of Photoshop has been around for some time, but Photoshop Express burdens you with annoying in-app purchases. However, not many people know about Photoshop Fix, and it’s Adobe’s best-kept secret.
Photoshop Fix offers all the major photo editing tools you will want at no price and no in-app purchases. It has everything from Photoshop’s basic toolbar, including cropping, vignettes, exposure and contrast tweaks, and even the popular Healing brush to remove retouch photos and remove artifacts.
Plus, Photoshop Fix works with transparent backgrounds and handles high-resolution images, breaking you free from the 2000×2000 pixel barrier that most image editing apps restrict you to.
Download: Photoshop Fix for iPhone/iPad (Free)
Adobe Spark Suite (Web, iOS): Create Beautiful Posts, Articles, or Videos
Not everyone is born with great aesthetic sense. So even if you’re good with creating content, you might not have the style to be able to translate it into an incredible video or a photo with gorgeous graphics.
Adobe Spark bridges the gap between content and style by taking care of the “make it look good” part for you. There are three basic apps: Spark Post, Spark Page, and Spark Video. Post lets you work with images, adding filters and captions to make them look cool. Spark Page is one the best no-coding tools to build a personal site for free. And Spark Video, obviously, makes it easy to add effects to your video to jazz it up.
All the tools can be used through a web browser or through their respective iOS apps. Spark Post also works with iPhone’s Live Photos, giving you another depth to those moving images.
Adobe Color (Web): Find Matching Color Schemes in an Instant
Color theory can be difficult. Even if you understand basic complementary colors, figuring out triads, shades, and analogous colors isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Just offload all of that to Adobe Color instead.
Tim reviewed Adobe Color in detail back when it was called Kuler and promised to find the perfect color scheme every time. The web app has got a facelift since then, but the basic functionality remains the same. Either upload an image to figure out its main colors, or just pick a color yourself. Adobe Color will then find complementary, compound, analogous, monochromatic, or triad based schemes based on it.
Move the “hands” of the color wheel with your mouse (click-and-drag) and the entire color scheme updates on the fly. You have hex colors at the bottom, as well as RGB ratios. And if you’re stuck for inspiration, click “Explore” to check out some recent themes picked by other users.
Does Free Not Mean Quality?
Adobe has a long history of making products that professionals swear by, and are willing to pay a good amount for. So when a company like that makes free programs, what does that say to you?
Does it signify that the economics of apps have changed, or do you think these free apps are coming at the cost of the high quality that the company was once noted for?