Adobe is an innovative developer and its Creative Cloud applications are often the best tool for what professionals require, but the subscription-only model isn't for everyone.

For those who are holding out from joining Adobe’s Creative Cloud, the Digital Arts team have chosen a selection of art, design, photography, video and VFX tools for professional creatives.

There are a million free and cheap creative tools out there, and a small number provide a welcome alternative for students and hobbyists. However being Digital Arts, we focus on tools that are suitable for professional designers, artists and editors. That dramatically reduces the number of such tools we'd consider.

Some pro-level tools are also available for free, and we’re certainly not going to turn our noses up at them. Some are open source and developed for the love, but mostly they’re free because their developers are getting paid somewhere else, such as Google's banner ad design tool.

If you're making a living from digital content creation you’d probably rather pay for an up to date tool that lets you create amazing works in an efficient manner, offers good support terms and won't let you down on a critical job. It's these tools that form the main focus for our feature.

Some of these applications are by long-standing rivals to Adobe (such as Autodesk and Avid), some are by independent developers who created a tool for a specific purpose because offerings by Adobe were too broad (Sketch), and a few are by companies who you might have previously associated with parish newsletter preparation, but have actually created a top notch, professional-level app (we're looking at you Serif for Affinity Designer).

There really are a lot of alternative choices out there for professionals, so check out these great products.

Adobe Creative Cloud apps rivals

Next Page »