I recently stumbled onto this article entitled Picture This: Is There Life After Photoshop by Ian Hardy, on BBC news and thought it was a great piece that touches upon an important segment of the production community. Over the past 23 years Photoshop has become a cornerstone of the graphic design world. Some estimate that nine out of ten images have been touched up by the software. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Adobe’s recent announcement of Photoshop becoming subscription only has ruffled more than few feathers. In June, all boxed versions were pulled from retail outlets and the online store became the only access for consumers.
Among those that protest such a move, people feel that Adobe is trying to squeeze their customers and get even more money out of dedicated users. Critics argue that Creative Cloud, the cloud based platform for Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere is an ultimately unfair program to the consumer. Their primary concern is that users don’t own the software, they are merely renting it while they subscribe to the service. Users lose all access, along with any work saved on the cloud, if they stop paying the subscription. Some skeptics have a more tempered outlook on the matter, saying there are some things you can’t really fight. If you want to keep using Photoshop, you simply have to suck it up and pay.
Finding Alternative Software
While larger studios will most likely continue to use Photoshop and the Cloud, the choice for small businesses and freelancers is not as clear cut. A monthly subscription can add up quickly, compared to paying once for a traditional boxed product. Fortunately, there has been a steady proliferation of new photo manipulation software, some of which costs less than one month of the Adobe subscription. Some of these include affordable and stable products like Fotor which can be downloaded for free, and Pixelmator which can downloaded for $14.99. While neither of these were much competition to Adobe in the past, the recent Photoshop announcement has spurred an increased interest in both, as well as other cheaper alternatives to Photoshop.
Filling A Niche
According to Patricia Tietgens, the spokesperson for Fotor, their goal is not to really challenge Photoshop’s place in the market, but to make things easier for small business. While both Fotor and Pixelmator are not the powerhouse that Photoshop has become, they offer a degree of simplicity that makes them viable alternatives. A prime example is a software called “Perfectly Clear” that promises to perform several auto correct’s on a photo with a single click. As the founder Brad Malcom explains, this software is very much meant to a better answer to Photoshop’s own auto correct feature which can actually damage photos. The goal of these new software solutions is to provide a way for digital graphics professionals that are simple to use and easy in the budget in the long run.