It’s no secret that Adobe products cost a plenty of money. It’s not that Photoshop and Company don’t produce good apps.
They’re often best of breed. And it’s an expensive, complex, difficult-to-master for-mere-mortals breed. Or spawn, depending on how you feel about Photoshop’s price tag. Here’s a way to think different about Mac image editors.
Small Is Beautiful
What caught my hair on fire about the latest of Adobe’s Creative Suite spawn is that one-two punch of price tag and complexity. Version 5 didn’t bother to jump to version 6. It stopped off at version 5.5 and tacked on a full upgrade price.
Many Mac users buy Creative Suite for the suite of apps because you get half a dozen or more apps for the price of five overpriced apps.
See how that works? Looking at all the apps you can get for about $550 or so in upgrade fees somehow makes the whole suite look cheap. Except for that $550 part.
Here’s the deal. I use Photoshop and Fireworks and every couple of years, right around the time I upgrade, I promise that I’ll use Dreamweaver and Flash Professional and Adobe Acrobat and Insight and Contribute and Bridge and Illustrator et al.
I dabble but I don’t immerse so my humongous upgrade price is applied to Photoshop and Fireworks and that seems like overkill. So, this year, I’m trying a different approach.
From Little Acorns Grow
As they say, from mighty oaks, little acorns grow. I’m looking for alternatives that will help match my desire to hold on to more of the money that Adobe would rather hold on for me.
Acorn is a solid, dependable, feature-laden Mac image editor that actually works well for mere humans (as opposed to doctoral candidates in Photoshop University).
The basics are everywhere at 1/10th the cost of an upgrade to Creative Suite 5.5. Layers? Check. Gradients? Check. Rotating text and shapes? Check. Filters, masks, and vectors? Check. Import and export Photoshop’s PSD files. Check and check.
Look at the tools. Utterly familiar, no?
If you’ve ever used Photoshop in the past but balk at the Adobe Tax every couple of years, Acorn will look familiar and work similarly.
Beyond the cost savings, there are other reasons to consider Acorn over Photoshop. Familiarity is merely one. Floating palettes features familiar tools, precise slider controls, plenty of presets, and nearly everything you’ll need for advanced image editing, without Photoshop’s complexity or mortgage requirements.
Add non-destructive effects and filters and tweaks to any layer. Flip text and shapes in any direction or angle. Use the Quickmask function to zoom in for superb masks.
Acorn is definitely aimed at mere mortal, merely human graphic image requirements. And not aimed at the crowd that goes to school to learn the complexities and intricacies piled on to Photoshop over the decades.
You won’t need an advanced degree in digital design to use Acorn, and you won’t need to take out a second mortgage or sell your first-born male son. You can even try before you buy, buy from the Mac App Store when you’re convinced the value is worthy.
After all, mighty values from little Acorns grow.