There’s been a big change to my workflow recently and I feel that it merits a post. I’ve finally switched over to Adobe Creative Suite after years of using open-source projects like GIMP, Inkscape and Blender. The main reason I hadn’t yet gone Adobe (besides the cost) was that I felt I could do most of the things I needed to do with open-source programs. Plus, it feels good to show people how much you can do even if you don’t have high-dollar software. The skills you learn on free or low-cost open-source software are essentially the same, and you’re never paying for more program than you need. It’s also a great way to show potential employers that you know how to do a lot with limited resources.
But with the faculty discount on Adobe Creative Suite and an impending job search to consider, it finally made sense for me to make the switch. I also like that cross-compatibility is now a given with these creative programs. For example, Final Cut Pro docs import easily into Adobe Premiere Pro, and it’s easy to make a quick motion graphic by importing Photoshop layers into Motion 4. However, the biggest reason for my purchase has to do with my future employment opportunities. It seems employers are requiring more diverse software knowledge for multimedia jobs than ever before, so I need to buff up on many of these programs in order to be competitive.
I still ardently recommend open-source programs for communications students who don’t have the financial resources for software, or who don’t know yet which direction they’re headed in the field. The open-source route isn’t for everyone – installation and debugging are usually trickier, and there’s not always good documentation for how to use the program. But if you’re up to the challenge, I can promise that you’ll learn so much more about computers, and you’ll appreciate having the real version of Photoshop that much more.
Looking for an open-source version of a commercial software product? Here’s a link to a great resource.