OK, CS4 trial is running out...

lunafish's picture

I am an laid-off, all-but-licensed landscape architect. I am trying to pull together a mind blowing, hire-me-now kind of portfolio. And don't worry Ivan, I will probably never include a Wonderbra or condom project in said portfolio, unless they need a little bit of site planning or garden design - shudder to think what that may entail... anyone familiar with Martha Schwartz's Minneapolis Federal Courthouse Plaza and its sagging boobies? Don't even get me thinking about the condom garden; there are no plants that grow that quickly.

Can anyone recommend free to cheap alternatives (shareware, freeware, hobbled versions, more trial versions, etc.) that can handle Illustrator, InDesign & Photoshop files...

My needs are not staggering - I usually use Photoshop for resizing images, color curves, and mock-ups of presentation graphics. The filters are amusing, but rarely useful to me, however I can see applications. And I love using Index color to produce knitting and needlepoint patterns of photos for my mom and my sister (the needle crafts give me migraines, but I love the possibilities).

As for Illustrator & its comrades, things are a little trickier -I would love to hear about software that I have pdfs of AutoCAD drawings and access to the AutoCAD files, and I hate that layers are lost in CS3 & CS4 when you try to transfer them. I'd love a vector-based program that would allow me to tweak things fromAutoCAD.

I really don't use InDesign to its full potential... I've actually laid out presentable graphics in AutoCAD for report covers & presentation drawings. I remember using Quark in 1991, and that fills the bill for most of what I do That is what I need.

I've looked at Pixelmator as an alternative to Photoshop, and will be downloading it at 12 AM, May 9. Does it offer more than Photoshop Elements? And for what I do, do I need more than that?

As for vector graphics & layout, I am completely at a loss. I've been using AutoCAD since Release 12, so I get the nuts & bolts, and I use the command line with abandon... which means that I am not afraid of learning the technicalities, but, WOW, I am so entrenched in AutoDesk syntax & grammar, despite my 25-year Macintosh habit.

Thanks in advance for any advice. I am sure to be chiming in with more questions.


JimD's picture

Some alternatives

Pixelmator is an excellent replacement for Photoshop. $50

Adobe Fireworks is a cheaper alternative for Illustrator. $399. Or you could try DrawIt for $38.
There flat out is no alternative to Adobe InDesign - unless you count Quark XPress which costs more, or Apple's Pages app (part of the iWork suite).

Unfortunately, if you want to do serious design/publishing work, you're going to have to use the proper (and accepted tools) to do it. While you can make the argument that any app that can create a PDF file should do the trick, the reality is not so simple.

Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

lunafish's picture

Thanks! I've read some great

Thanks! I've read some great things about Pixelmator, and then I've read that Photoshop Elements is better... I like the fact that Pixelmator is basically two brothers who seem to be really diligent about constantly improving their product. My understanding is that each new version has many more features than the previous release, but without the bloat of current versions of Photoshop and its offspring.

At this point, I am not in a financial position to actually purchase much of anything, but I am also not in a professional position that requires lots of heavy design work. I never even thought of using Pages for layout.... intriguing idea, especially because I already have it on my computer!

natobasso's picture

Get Seashore. It's free! Has

Get Seashore. It's free! Has the top 20% of features you'd use in photoshop, but you don't have to load photoshop. :)

"Powerpoint is not a design application"

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