In my search for another professional-grade design software, (not free, but more advanced than simple photo editing and cropping) to research and write about for my friends, I came across this software a couple of weeks ago, and thought it might be cool to look into as an option for a designer-in-training, a blogger-taking-it-seriously, or a creative wanting to not throw down a monthly sum for graphics tools they may struggle to understand right away. So I compiled a resource for some alternatives to Photoshop.
Serif Draw Plus
Microsoft Windows only. Does not appear to be Windows 10 compatible, but then again, what these days really is? *knee slap*
(Compatible with XP and Vista, however.)
Comparable to Adobe Illustrator, containing most of the features Illustrator provides.
•Create vector art
•Supports animation and .MOV files/stopframe & keyframe animation
•Allows import of .AI files, as well as SVG, saves in a Serif exclusive SMF format
•Line & shape tool, brushes and ability to create custom brushes
•Limited but available photo editing tools
There does seem to be a Photoshop comparable option, though not as grand as the Adobe product, their photo editing software seems quite complete and professional, offering a program called PhotoPlus X8.
Its features include the ability to use layers, edit animated GIFs, edit .PSD files, create vector elements, HDR merge, 16-bit plugin, action recording, and a few other of Photoshop’s basics.
What it does compare to Adobe in a features comparison list, is some minor exclusive features and almost nothing-to-brag about options like Before/After Split Screen Editing, PhotoFix Presets, an Info Tab *eyeroll* and the ability to purchase outright… which considering how much I hate subscriptions, and it is the only thing I hate about CC, is almost desirable to someone like me. I mean it, that is a marketable feature, they should push that.
A cool feature that Photoshop has that is indispensable to designers or photographers is the refine mask tool for isolating fine objects, such as hair, and PhotoPlus appears to have a comparable feature, called the De-fringe Tool.
A time-saving yet money-adding-up option relating to this program seems to be their large selection of add-on editing and design software. They have an option to get all of the extra software in one purchase, called the Complete Bundle, which will run you $940.0. When I tried to get more information to see what the add-ons were, it would not take me to the features, so I am assuming it is similar to another Photo Bundle they offer with extras such as lighting, textures, overlays, templates, etc. but I could be wrong, as the package they show is the one for another photo editing program they offer, competing with Adobe Lightroom called Photo Stack.
The last feature I will cover regarding Serif software is their free download options. I have downloaded the Draw program, to see if it is a trial of the full version, or a limited feature version to keep, and I can not tell at this time, so if you know anything about the free downloads, do tell!
An edit will appear shortly after I have figured out the program enough to review it.
Serif does offer an array of other software, so if yo are interested in desktop publishing, movie making, or other design related tools, you may want to check them out further.
Now, about Mac users. I know, you guys get the shaft from time to time, but Serif DOES have a Mac software specifically for you. They are called Affinity. They offer a vector program similar to Illustrator called Affinity Designer, as well as a photo editing program called Affinity Photo, and finally a desktop publishing service called Affinity Publisher.
Upon my going to purchase, it was shown that Affinity Designer was going for $24.99, but I could be mistaken, and that may not be the entire program or price. If you are a Mac user in need of some editing programs and do not want to mess with Adobe right now, or the Serif programs for PC, it might be worth it to check out Affinity at affinity.serif.com and see for yourself what the options are for your needs.
If you have other suggestions for alternative software, please let us know by commenting!
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