Life After Adobe CS6: What software are you using?

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Life After Adobe CS6: What software are you using?

Postby DarthFurby » Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:46 am

I've been pretty happy with Adobe CS6, but it's definitely beginning to show it's age. It feels like the rest of the world has moved on to CC, but I never upgraded because I refuse to pay a subscription. However, my resolve is weakening. What software is everyone using these days?
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Re: Life After Adobe CS6: What software are you using?

Postby Tore » Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:56 am

Paintshop Pro X9 + Krita + Movie Studio Platinum (Vegas)
All of them very capable and usefull tools
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Re: Life After Adobe CS6: What software are you using?

Postby DarthFurby » Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:47 pm

I don't see many reviews on Paintshop Pro X9 yet, it looks like a new release. I remember older versions came with a GIF animator, but I think they removed it. I always thought of it as a cheaper photoshop, but still very good. I've never used Krita or Vegas, but I'll take a look. My main problem with CS6 is that it's not compatable with the pen technology used on most of the new tablets. Wacom EMR pens seem to be dying off, and since Adobe is no longer updating CS6, eventually it won't even work on the latest operating systems. Damn you Adobe!
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Re: Life After Adobe CS6: What software are you using?

Postby herbert123 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:03 pm

I was in the same boat: 6 months before Adobe decided to go subscription-only, I saw the signs on the wall, and decided to move away from Adobe for my work. Currently the only application I can't work around is InDesign. I still use that for complex layouts.

Otherwise, I am incredibly happy with PhotoLine for all my 2d layered image editing work. The brush engine is decent enough, but I do my digital painting in Krita and ClipStudio. Years and years ago I switched to Blender for my 3d work, and 2d animation I create in OpenTOonz, ClipStudio, Krita, and I've begun to use Blender for that type of work as well.

For video and effects I use a combo of DaVinci and Fusion (free versions) with Blender.

Anyway, if you are looking for a good alternative to Photoshop CS6, I heartily recommend PhotoLine.

Offers a mostly non-destructive workflow, and the layer system is arguably superior to Photoshop or any other layer-based image editor out there:

  • each layer can have its own custom dimensions, image mode, and bit depth. No need for an 'image mode'.
  • output intent is declared by the background layer. Switch the background layer to a different image mode, and everything adjusts to that. The other layers' data remains intact however: this means it is possible to 'switch image modes' from RGB to CMYK to grayscale to 1bit, and back again to Lab 16bpc, and the data in the layers remains untouched!
  • layer opacity offers an expanded range of -200(!) up to +200 for easy doubling-up and reversal of layer blend modes!
  • layers can be virtually cloned/instances. Updates to the source layer update the cloned instances in real-time.
  • a layer can have as many layer masks as you want. No longer the silly Photoshop limitation of only one bitmap and one vector layer mask. No awkward clipping mask arrangements anymore.
  • layer masks can consist of groups of combinations of bitmap, vector, text, cloned layers, and so forth. With virtual layer masks, a change to the original mask cascades throughout the layer stack
  • adjustment layers and effects can be applied to layer masks as well! Gasp! Invert a cloned layer mask with curves, for example - all non-destructive.
  • all transformations and distortions of layers are by default non-destructive. No need for silly smart object conversions!
  • Curves and other adjustment layers can work directly in various image modes. Add a curves adjustment, and switch to Lab, HSV, HIS mode on the fly!
  • liquify is implemented as a non-destructive layer. No need for a dedicated editor like the one in Photoshop - just work with as many liquify layers as you require in the regular interface. And yes: liquify layers can be stacked for a multi-layered liquify workflow as well!
  • each layer can be individually colour managed. 32bit per channel layers also work in linear.
  • 'smart objects' are supported in the latest beta v20 (called placeholder layers). These work with external linked files as well, and update automatically when the external file is edited.
  • in the latest beta ALL effects are now non-destructive: 'live smart filters' are introduced in this version, and even EXTERNAL Photoshop plugins such as Topaz and Google Nik can be applied non-destructively!

And so much more - the latest v20 beta is in its last stage: features have been fixed, and it is down to bug hunting. It ought to be out within a couple of weeks. It introduces a number of super-duper handy new features and improvements.

Also incredibly handy is the interoperability with external applications that PhotoLine offers: any external bitmap/vector compatible client can be called within PhotoLine, and the contents of a layer or the entire document can be sent to that external app. For example, the SVG support is excellent, and it is possible to connect to InkScape to send a vector layer (group), edit in Inkcape, and save the result. The layers in PhotoLine will then automatically update. Even better, this link between PhotoLine and Inkscape remains live: while you work and edit the vector layers, each save will update the original layers in PhotoLine.

Photoline outperforms Photoshop CS6 in terms of image editing in many areas. Affinity Photo cannot compare at this moment. And I found the developers to be ridiculously receptive for well-argued workflow suggestions. In the past three years at least 40~50 of my ideas and suggestions have been implemented.

Possible caveats:
  • even these days, PhotoLine is hardly known. The developers do not really market their product. Surprisingly enough, PhotoLine has been on the market for almost as long as Photoshop (back in the nineties the first version was released on the Atari ST).
  • like Photoshop, it is an incredibly capable image editor. Which means it is complex, and the terminology and workflow is different. This takes some time to adjust to for most Photoshop users. (I adjusted to it within a week, being an advanced Photoshop user). Example: selections are called 'lassos', and PhotoLine makes the distinction between lassos and masks. This may confuse someone coming from Photoshop (I was initially), because Photoshop does not make that distinction (ps: lasso is the selection outline, while a mask is the grayscale bitmap that is generated based on that outline).
  • documentation is wanting. Hardly any tutorials out there. No books. Support on the forum is great, though. User support is excellent, and very positive. The developers are very active on the forums as well.
  • the default GUI settings are not that great, in my opinion. It is, however, very configurable, and can be adjusted to a Photoshop-like interface.
  • working with channels is very different in PhotoLine - this has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, it is not possible to edit the channels directly within the channel panel. But it is very easy to switch to different channels when working with the tools themselves. But sometimes I would love to be able to just select a channel, and work in it. For this to work in PhotoLine, the channel data must first be copied to a layer, edited, and pasted back in the channel. A bit awkward.
  • no spot channels. But spot colours, on the other hand, are supported.
  • while PhotoLine does offer a similar tool set as Photoshop's mask editor, it is not really up to par in this regard. I use Topaz ReMask for this purpose instead.
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Re: Life After Adobe CS6: What software are you using?

Postby Greenlaw » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:06 pm

I went from CS6 to CC because there really are a lot of post-CS features and tools I need and use frequently. I think if you use more than 1 major Adobe program fairly routinely, it's worth it. For me, that would primarily be Photoshop, Illustrator and After effects. I sometimes use Audition and I've even considered going back to Premiere for video editing but I still prefer Vegas too much. I also really like that they made it so easy to move the CC license around from computer to computer, which I tend to do a lot. This used to be such a pain, especially if you were not able to deactivate a license because of location--now you just tell their server to deactivate all computers and then activate on the machine you're currently using. Easy-peasy.

But I'm guessing what you're really asking about are alternatives, and I do use a few.

For drawing, especially comics, I love Clip Studio Paint EX. I've been using it for many years for the Brudders comics and it just keeps getting better with every release. I also think it's the best drawing/paint program to use on a Windows tablet or Cintiq--the multi-touch UI works exceptionally well. For painting, I've started using Rebelle. It's primarily known for it's incredibly realistic water color tools but it also does other natural media. The latest version finally adds multi-touch support for tablet computers like the Cintiq Companion. (On iPad, my favorite paint program is Procreate, mostly because of it's unique gesture based UI. I don't think I'd want to see every program go this route but for digital painting, Procreate feels very natural and elegant. BTW, I sometimes use Procreate for art to use in Moho.)

But for general image editing, it's hard to beat Photoshop, and if you're working in the industry, knowing and using Photoshop is pretty much a requirement. As such, I don't really have a recommendation but if you're not professionally bound to use PS, I would definitely check out some of the alternatives suggested by other users here and compare for yourself.

For compositing and vfx, I primarily use AE because that's what we use at work most of the time. We also use Nuke for some shows, but personally, I prefer Fusion for nodal compositing. I used Fusion exclusively for about 12 years when I was with Rhythm & Hues, and I still use it for many of my own projects. Fusion used to be very expensive but after Black Magic acquired the program, they released a free non-commercial version that has nearly all the features of the full version. In fact, the only features I would miss in the free version are the network renderer, the ability to use third party plugins, and the optical flow tools--that's not trivial but many users will probably never use those. So, free or paid version, Fusion is highly recommended. (That said, I do like AE quite a bit too, but I tend to use each program very different situations.)

For video editing, I already mentioned Vegas. I had switched over from Premiere many years ago for a number of reasons. But when Sony sold Vegas off to Magix, I considered going back to Premiere since it was included with CC. Eventually, I upgraded to the current Magix version...I just like it way more to bother with Premiere. I'm still open to switching back to Premiere but it really depends on how committed Magix is to supporting Vegas in the coming year. That said, Vegas is still an excellent video editor, very powerful but also easy to use.

I used to rely on Dreamweaver for designing and managing my website but after we switched over to, I just don't need it anymore. I do miss some of the flexibility I had with Dreamweaver but it got to where I was spending as much time managing and debugging the website as I did creating content...well, forget that. Setting up our site in WP the way I wanted it was a chore but once I got it online, the site practically runs itself. And best of all, is free!

Hope this helps.
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Re: Life After Adobe CS6: What software are you using?

Postby Ronbo » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:28 am

If you are considering a Photoshop alternative, you should take a look at Affinity Photo. It was originally created for Mac but they are about to release a pc version. It's a beautifully designed app at a very affordable price.

I still have the CS5 suite, but I pay $10/month for PS CC & Lightroom. I primarily do my painting in PS CC and Painter, animation in Moho & AE.
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