Adobe Creative Cloud: free app alternatives to Photoshop, Spark and Illustrator for editing images, video and more

‘At this point, pirating adobe software is a moral imperative,’ said one users on Twitter – here are some free (and legal) alternatives

Social media has been awash with people recommending others pirate the wares of software company Adobe.

The reason? A screenshot of a web page showing one user the cost of cancelling their subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, which gives subscribers access to a collection of the company’s most popular software.

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The cost in question? 291.45 Australian Dollars (£163.27)...

The viral image has ignited a widespread discussion online about the ethics of a company that charges so much for its products when free – and often just as good – alternatives are widely available.

Some users even went so far as to actively encourage others to pirate the software of Adobe, downloading it from peer-to-peer sharing websites or torrenting the files.

"It’s basically your moral obligation,” said one user. “F*** Adobe.”

"Pirating Adobe is a moral obligation,” said another, while yet another user chimed in: “At this point, pirating adobe software is a moral imperative.”

Social media users have been sharing alternative software to Adobe Creative Cloud, after it emerged the company charges high prices for cancellation of the subscription service (Photo: Shutterstock)

OK, so the internet is in agreement that you should acquire Adobe’s products by nefarious and illegal means. But what if you’re not comfortable doing so?

Here are eight totally free (and totally legal) alternatives to Adobe’s often overpriced products.



It may not have quite the suite of features as Photoshop, but for the low low cost of free, GIMP makes a great, entry level alternative to Photoshop.

The free and open-source graphics editor can be used for image manipulation and editing, free-form drawing, transcoding between different image file formats, and some more specialised tasks.

You’ll find that the software is noticeably slower than paid-for softwares, but considering it’s entirely free, there’s not too much to complain about here!

Get it HERE

Apache OpenOffice Draw

Apache’s OpenOffice impressive suite of free productivity tools has enough features to rival those of Microsoft Office at no cost to the user.

Its Draw component is a free and open source alternative for digital illustrators working in both 2D and 3D (its advanced rendering, lighting and texture effects are surprisingly capable), and comes packed with stock images and clipart to really bring those visual projects alive.

Get it HERE


Inkscape’s free and intuitive suite of vector graphics editing tools can be used to create and edit vector images, and comes with all sorts of neat features like pattern fills, pencil, pen, and calligraphy tools, and a gradient editor.

It’s got noticeably fewer frills than its paid for competitors, but as we'll no doubt be saying a lot on this page: “It’s free.”

Get it HERE


Google Web Designer

Designed with online-based marketers in mind, Google’s free tool is a graphics and imaging editing software that allows you to design banner ads for your advertising campaigns.

The fruits of your labour are output straight to the company’s ad service DFP, where you can be sure they’ll work as good as they possibly can for potential viewers.

Better-designed and less-buggy ads means more revenue, so it pays (literally) to give this one a go if you’re in that sector.

Get it HERE

Spring Publisher

Spring Publisher makes a great entry point for anyone looking to get into designing layouts and styles for published products, and its simple interface is not likely to overwhelm newcomers.

There is a paid version to which you can upgrade for more features, but as a starting point, the base free iteration works wonders.

Get it HERE


Similarly simple is Scribus, another free desktop software that comes stacked with predesigned templates that cover everything from brochures to greeting cards, books to magazines and newspapers.

It is also a cross-platform application, meaning it will run on Windows, Mac OS X, and Gnu/Linux operating systems.

Get it HERE

Video editing and VFX

BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve

Those working with moving images ought to give DaVinci Resolve a look.

This free software comes with an advanced 64-bit video finishing tool, multitrack editor and colour correction software, and multiple people can work together on the same timeline at the same time for a collaborative workflow.

You can even share work you're doing through DaVinci Resolve with higher-market, paid for softwares like Final Cut Pro X, Media Composer and Premiere Pro CC.

Get it HERE

Blackmagic Fusion

Fusion has been used on over 1000s of major Hollywood blockbuster feature films and TV shows, yet is a free post-production image compositing software that allows VFX artists to create visual effects.

Its node-based interface ensures a smooth process, and with an infinite 3D workspace, you’re able to quickly build unlimited effects from scratch.

Get it HERE

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