Is Photoshop worth the cost over alternatives?


I'm trying to figure out if I should buy into the whole "Photoshop" and "Adobe way".

I understand how to use the program quite well, and my trial is coming to an end fairly soon, I don't really know if I should invest in a year of Photoshop, or if I should try to find something else. Personally I like Photoshop, but I hate the idea of a subscription that will never end. I use currently use Photoshop for Graphic Design (i.e. logos and such) but I also do web design, and coding.

Is there a different program I should try / or look into, or just take Photoshop at face value, and leave it there?

5/26/2016 8:12:00 PM

Accepted Answer

There are several things to consider when making the jump into the CC subscription model. I've been a user of Photoshop and many other Adobe programs since 1995, so I've been "subscribing" to Adobe products for a very long time.

  • Regarding Web Design, Coding, and Graphic Design. Given the range of things you will be doing, you need to consider what the end product will require of you. A subscription to Adobe CC will also give you access to Brackets (their code editor), Dreamweaver (not the greatest web design software, but workable if you're starting out), the Edge tools (for animation, responsive, testing), and Fireworks. However, there are free and non-subscription products out there and further research can give you a good idea of what people are using. If you're already building websites and web applications, then you may not need these, but they could fill some gaps for you.
  • Photoshop and Illustrator. These are the Big Two when it comes to creating graphics for both print and screen. There are, of course, cheaper and non-subscription products you can use, but I'm not familiar with those and I'm sure someone else can chime in with alternatives. That being said, if you're looking for a full-time job, knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator is a necessary line-item on a resume/cv. All of the big agencies and design houses use them and expect their designers to know them as well. On the flip-side, clients are familiar with the word "Photoshop" in the same way that they are familiar with the word Kleenex. You don't need to tell them what you use, but you will need to be able to produce high-quality assets/artwork. The end result is what matters to them.
  • Photoshop. This is one hell of a powerful program. It is so deep that most users barely scratch the surface of what it can do. The more advanced your needs, the more likely Photoshop will be of value to you. If you use it only occasionally to combine two photos or just add text to a photo, there are other programs out there. Again, it's all about what you need.
  • Subscription value. As a professional graphic designer all of your software is a business expense, so you're not necessarily losing out by paying for them. If you're just starting out, your software is an investment in learning. Photoshop (and its competitors) aren't programs to be taken lightly. You'll want to play with the software as much as possible, and a subscription will at the very least let you play around without worry. If you come upon a dry spell, you can let your CC subscription lapse and start it back up when you're ready.
  • Money money money. I get it. Fifty bucks a month is expensive, but when you balance it with the money you will make with your skills, your imagination, and your tools, it's a small price to pay. I still use expensive materials when hand-making original artwork because sometimes price is directly related to quality (think high-quality paper stocks, high-quality art markers, etc). Nearly all types of art are expensive to make because the quality of the materials matters. In the case of Adobe's software, they make quality stuff. I'm annoyed by $50/mo, too, but they're a business. If this is what they have to do to stay viable, so be it.
9/13/2015 2:16:00 PM