Have you ever needed to record a podcast, edit or mix some sound effects, or edit some music for a video slideshow? Many pros use Adobe Soundtrack, but Audacity is a great alternative. It seem to have more features than Garageband, and it runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download it for free @ http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/. You can also use it for amplitude enveloping and fade effects.
Have you ever needed a desktop publishing software to create an attractive flyer, poster, or other published media, but don’t have Microsoft Publisher or InDesign? Scribus can probably solve this problem for most users. Scribus is a free open source project available at scribus.net.
Have you ever wanted to do more than what iMovie can do? HyperEngine is a great free alternative to Adobe Premiere. You can add overlayed text and images using its timeline feature, which is especially nice since Apple took away the timeline feature on iMovie (what’s up with that?) You can add several layers of audio, and image/video to the timeline.
It is free at http://sourceforge.net/projects/hyperengine/
Have you ever wanted to add a cool effect to a home video, or even a presentation for work? For the pros, Adobe After Effects is the app of choice, but for the rest of us there is CineFx (free, cinefx.org). CineFx is an open source video editor that helps you add special effects.
Note: CineFx was formerly known as Jahshaka, but it is a newer version.
For professional web designers, Adobe Dreamweaver is the app of choice. For most people, Kompozer will do just fine. Some say it is just as good as Dreamweaver.
You can download it at http://www.kompozer.net/download.php
Note: Kompozer is related to Nvu. As far as I know, Kompozer is just a more recent revision.
For most, Adobe Photoshop may be out of budget for occasional or personal use. GIMP can solve that problem. The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a very versatile image and graphic tool that has many image effects and many ways to edit images. The biggest problems I have with it are that it runs in x11 and uses the control key on the keyboard for shortcuts instead of the command key like all other apps do. I believe there are some native Aqua Gimps out there, but the one I tried wouldn’t load up. You can download one of the versions here.
For users that just want a little bit more than iPhoto but don’t need all the geeky features of GIMP, try Photoshop Express (free). It is a web-app that you sign up for in order to edit photos online. You can do some basic effects that iPhoto does not have. There is even a live demo you can try out before you sign up. Check this free web-app out @ Photoshop.com.
In the next few days, I will be profiling some of the best free alternatives to Adobe Creative Suite. For most casual users, $1800 is too much to shell out for a computer app suite- your computer itself probably did not cost that much- but there is an occasional need to do something that an Adobe app does. I will cover some of Adobe’s most known programs such as:
- Photoshop (alternative[GIMP])
- Dreamweaver (alternative[Kompozer])
- After Effects (alternative[CineFx])
- Premiere (alternative[Hyperengine])
- InDesign (alternative[Scribus])
- Soundtrack (alternative[Audacity/Garageband])
I will publish the first free Adobe alternative tomorrow. As I publish these, I will update this page to include links to these posts. Did I forget an Adobe app you’d like profiled? Tell me in the comments.
Note: I cannot find any good alternatives to Flash, but if you find one tell me in the comments and I’ll be sure to feature it.