They’ve got chutzpah, so you’ve got to hand it to Adobe. Put another way, Adobe is full of themselves and I’d like to stick it to them.
On the one hand Adobe bashes Apple repeatedly for not including Flash on the iPhone iPad Party™, and creates their own Pity Party. On the other hand Adobe is knocking Mac users’ doors with another in the seemingly endless annual upgrades for Creative Suite, now at version 5 and expensive.
Would anyone mind if I called it Adobe Creative Tax #5 instead of CS5?
The Suite Package Of CS5
With Microsoft fading into the twilight of Apple’s rear view mirror, Adobe has become the most recent kicking boy, the poster child for corporate greed and arrogance, the neighborhood software vendor disguised as a drug dealer.
The problem is, many Mac users think they need Adobe and pay the near annual CS tax.
I think it’s more of an addiction Mac users have to the apps that make up the CS packages.
What’s in the latest CS5 package that makes Adobe think it’s worth yet another upgrade (apparently they’ve abandoned plans to fix the bugs in previous versions)? It’s easier to answer the question, “What’s not in CS5?”
There are four different packages with a mind numbing array of choices—Design Premium, Web Premium, Production Premium, and Master Collection. Each is a mix and match of Adobe standards from Photoshop to Illustrator to InDesign to Flash to Dreamweaver to Fireworks to Premiere, After Effects, and others.
Individually, each member of the suite is expensive. Collectively, the whole package is expensive, but the cost of each app in the suite becomes less as the price tag is amortized over all the apps.
In other words, Creative Suite is addictive. And it’s Adobe, so you can’t live with it, and you can’t live with it. For example, individually, all the apps in the Master Collection are valued at almost $7,000 vs. the actual price tag of $2,599, or the upgrade price of $899.
That tax is bearing down on Mac users more frequently, too. CS4 hit the streets barely 18 months ago. Worse, Adobe shows contempt for Mac users by infusing the CS5 web site with more Flash than God used during the original Big Bang.
Affordable CS5 Alternatives, Pt. 1
The reality is this—there are not many alternatives to some of the apps which make up CS5. Fear not. Depending on your needs, and knowing that Adobe, like Microsoft, dumps every feature possible into each app, you may have some alternative choices to the CS tax.
For example, Fireworks and Illustrator are two very powerful vector-based graphic tools, sufficiently complex that you may need a class at a nearby community college just to get started. Adobe doesn’t want you to think so, could you use a quality app that’s not so feature-laden, yet much easier to use? Uh huh.
Enter EazyDraw, a comfortable, capable, Mac-like vector drawing app that’s lean and powerful and affordable.
Good Mac software does the job you want and makes you feel good about your accomplishment. EazyDraw’s interface is inviting and almost self explanatory. I’m not into scattered palettes all over the screen, but the tools in each palette are quickly identifiable and familiar (and the icons constructed by EazyDraw).
The Toolbar is context sensitive which means you get different functions depending on the tool and element selected. If drawing is what you’re after you get more than basics—grids, rulers, and measurement tools sufficient to create interior designs, scaled maps, and polished, colorful drawings.
In fact, EazyDraw comes with enough capable desktop publishing tools for you to create dozens or hundreds of pages—an instruction manual, for example; using an embedded auto page numbering system.
Drawing objects can be stacked in layers, one behind or in front of the other, with special tools for each layer. EazyDraw can be used for presentations, too, thanks to a large library of icons, symbols, and other illustrations. The grids and guides feature snap to and drawings can be scaled using auto-dimensioning.
Text columns can be linked one to another allowing text to flow around and within objects. Text can be made to flow along a curve. Lighting effects and drop shadows abound on various tools and objects. Important to me in my work are gradient fills for every shape. Got ‘em.
Though I don’t like palettes floating all over, the functions on each palette don’t require a college degree to understand. Effects and changes can be made with a slider bar or through text entry. There’s a layer inspector that also does nested groups.
The latest version of EazyDraw improves on file exports.
For vector-based apps, export in PDF, EPS, and SVG. For bitmap, it’s TIFF and JPG.
For the web use PNG, GIF, and JPG. Other options are included. Imported file formats include all the above plus DXF, MacDraw, ClarisDraw, and AppleWorks. As expected, there’s also full Mac OS X pasteboard capability.
Adobe Illustrator and Fireworks have built-in photo imaging tools (think of them as Photoshop Elements Lite Lite) and, thanks to Mac OS X’s Core technologies, so does EazyDraw—resize, scale, rotate, add text, highlight and enhance, crop, mask, distort, trace and more.
As a vector drawing app, EazyDraw is what Illustrator and Fireworks definitely are not—easy to use, affordable, and capable for those of us without a degree in Adobe. That makes EazyDraw an affordable alternative to some of what’s in CS5 at a fraction of the cost.
On my list for next week will be Part 2. Are there affordable alternatives to Photoshop CS5? There are.