A couple of days ago Adobe announced that its Creative Suite Software is to be rebranded as Creative Cloud, the development of its creative suit line will come to an end.

Whilst Adobe CS6 will still be supported and available for purchase, all future products will be provided through the subscription-only Creative Cloud service. However even with discounts, Adobe's software was out of the price range for many students and entry-level professionals.

However I see a problem in that alot of people don't always have guaranteed income. If income runs short one month and they can't make the subscription payment, their access to the software that provides their livelihood is cut off. Whilst other won't want to be tied to a subscription service or use the cloud.

So therefore my question is:

What are the best Mac App alternatives which are cheaper (or perhaps free), that provide the same or similar core functionality in each of Adobe's products to make your very own Creative Suite ?


Perhaps one app per answer with a link to the Mac App Store, and brief description.

  • 2
    That is a really wide question, and I personally cannot think of a suite of software that can replace Creative Suite. You may have to look for alternatives for each app, also the level of sophistication matters here, maybe you don't need the full power of Photoshop, for example, then Pixelmator could be an option. – Shane Hsu May 8 '13 at 10:37
  • @ShaneHsu Yes that what I meant, alternatives for each app – Simon May 8 '13 at 10:38
  • This is by definition almost the perfect example of why we don't prefer questions that are wiki and primarily opinion / discussion based. The suite of software is comprised of many pieces, and jumbling all of them in together makes this a hot mess. One person cares deeply about fireworks, another photoshop, another Fw+Ps but not Id. Software recommendations are fine, but let's split this up. As you face a practical problem - ask, what Programs work to do what I used to have with Photoshop CS 6 and have X, Y and Z. – bmike May 8 '13 at 12:05
  • @bmike Ah ok fine. I thought it was a good wiki based question to ask. But if you say they are not preferred, then fair enough. – Simon May 8 '13 at 12:07
  • 1
    Let's chat on Ask Different Meta - much of this is AWESOME, but the problem is the breadth of the scope. Also - we would welcome a blog post if someone wanted to assemble / tag the collected elements of an answer. The way that the site search works, people coming with specific problems are going to have a hard time finding specific answers. And - as we chat it over on meta - the group consensus might be to re-open it. Closing is just a temporary halt to new answers while we sort out the scope in this case. – bmike May 8 '13 at 12:13

For a Photoshop "equivalent", there is already Photoshop Element (80$) that is cheaper but has much less functionalities.

Of course there is also Gimp (Free), but IMHO it's horrible to use on OSX and not available on the Mac App Store.

If you're looking for a simple and quite powerful software for your money, there is Pixelmator (16$) or Acorn (currently on sale for 30$).


For an Illustrator "equivalent", there is Inskape, (Open Source, Free, Not on the MacAppStore)

On the MacApp Store you have iDraw (25$) or Sketch (50$)


Swift Publisher 3 ($19.99)

Page layout editor which is a suitable alternative to Adobe Indesign. Comes with plenty of pre-defined templates to choose from. It also has the ability to create additional templates. Allows the creation of professional-looking brochures, fliers and newsletters.


For a Premiere Pro "Equivalent", you have Premiere Element (80$).

For a real equivalent, there is still Apple's Final Cut Pro X (300$) or Avid Media Composer (1000$, Not on MAS)

  • Sony Vegas Pro is out on Mac? I thought it was cancelled at the last minute. – Shane Hsu May 8 '13 at 12:31
  • My bad, it isn't available for OSX – Matthieu Riegler May 8 '13 at 16:40

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