I’ve been doing a lot of research this week on alternatives to Photoshop. We recently bought five new Mac Minis with OS 10.5 and were installing our applications and what do you know – Photoshop 7.0 is not compatable with 10.5!
I’ve known that we would have to update soon, but was putting it off to try to buy other software titles. Bought Final Cut Express 4 this year and was hoping to buy Dreamweaver next year, but can’t now.
I’ve also been in a discussion about using open source apps in place of commercial applications with another teacher (leebert).
So, I started doing some research on what I can do to replace my aging PS7 with next year. The choices are Adobe Photoshop CS4, Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, Gimp, and Adobe Photoshop Elements.
The pricing ranges from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 ($299), Adobe Lightroom ($89), Apple Aperture ($179), Gimp (free), and Adobe Photoshop Elements ($89).
So, my next project was to see which apps had free trial versions (nearly all of them did) and check out their capabilities. I needed them to do some specific things for our publications: tone photos, crop photos to specific dpi in picas and pixels, change image size, work in layers, create and handle TIF, JPG, PNG, GIF images, output in grayscale, RGB and CMYK formats and be able to do specific effects like cutouts.
Lightroom and Aperture were the first to fail. They are limited to organization and toning of photos, they do not do advanced image manipulation.
Gimp and Photoshop Elements were next to fail because they can not output as CMYK files. This is a must for color printing of yearbooks and newspapers.
Thus I am left with the only product that can meet our needs being Photoshop CS4. The only good news is that we will not need to buy any new machines to accomodate CS4. Someone needs to create a competitive product to Photoshop that can handle CMYK images.