17 August 2013

Shot in the foot.......

Ever since I started writing M&B, all of the image preparation has been handled in Photoshop Elements, one of the range of products published by Adobe. However, in June of this year Adobe announced a change to their charging model. Instead of the customer buying a piece of software on DVD or via a download, Adobe want users of their premium products (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver etc) to sign up to a subscription model.

Now this doesn't affect M&B because Photoshop Elements isn't included in this new pricing strategy but a piece on the BBC website caught my attention - BBC News - Picture this: Is there life after Photoshop? Having read this piece I decided to have a look at some of the alternative products that are mentioned and I was surprised, and impressed, by what I found.

Gimp, which started out as an application on the Linux platform, has now been ported to the Mac OS and it looks very competent. The interface isn't as obvious or intuitive as I might like but I'm sure that anyone who can use Elements or full Photoshop would soon get the hang of it. But it was Pixelmator that really got my attention.

The current version for the Mac is a great package. The interface looks good, better than the current version of Photoshop Elements (v11) and it seems to have the same range of controls available with Elements. When purchased via the Apple App Store, this package costs £10.49p and, as such, blows Elements completely out of the water.

Using Pixelmator, I created a copy of the Fort Augustus banner in about 10 minutes from downloading the package to saving the file. It handles text very well, something that I thought it might have problems with, and the adjusted Fort Augustus distance text embedded just as well as the same text handled in Photoshop Elements.

For those of you familiar with image or graphic design software, you may remember Quark Express which defined desktop publishing and was, for 15 years, top dog. But Quark made the mistake of cranking up the price of their software whilst Adobe offered their competitor product, InDesign, free of charge to colleges and at bargain prices to the public. The result is that, today, Quark retains only a fraction of the consumer base it once enjoyed and Adobe in the dominant publisher. But Adobe's move to a subscription model is causing people to look around and find that there are alternatives, certainly to Photoshop. How long will it be before there are also alternatives to Illustrator and InDesign?