Adobe amateurs: build your DIY Creative Suite

What's in a name? Mimic Adobe programs with free software. Photo via Drimmit.

What’s in a name? Mimic Adobe programs with free software. Photo via Drimmit.

Adobe Creative Suite is expensive. Everyone knows this, even Adobe. Despite this, the package remains in high demand, and its services go practically unrivaled in the professional world. Luckily for us, we’re hardly professionals! This leaves us with very few hassle-free options, but unless we want to pay or sketchily torrent, it seems that the best option is to search for and install the finest, freest alternatives to every program in Creative Suite, which would be a huge pain…if someone hadn’t already done it for us.

A few weeks ago, Adobe appeared to be offering downloads of its decade-old CS2 for free. This, however, turned out to be a big ol’ glitch in the system that opened the doors to a solid few hours of Internet looting while the CS2 activation servers were terminated for good.

This, of course, was a great opportunity for those who caught the mishap, but the rest of us are still sitting here with no Photoshop and will likely continue on that way for an indefinite period of time. Lifehacker combed through all that the Internet for the best that imitation has to offer.

For Photoshop, they suggest GIMP 2.8, which newly boasts the same tabbed view as Photoshop, as well as a Photoshop-based port that looks and acts just like the original program. For those who aren’t pressed to put out a newspaper daily, Scribus may serve as a substitute for InDesign, and although it does operate differently from InDesign or Quark, it comes with a quick-start guide to acclimate users to its interface. Inkscape is a free program that can easily imitate the vector graphics of Illustrator for those looking to design graphics, clip art, and logos. Folks living without Premiere, one of the hardest programs to replace, can find mild solace in Lightworks or VideoLAN Movie Creator for simple editing fixes. Lifehacker also offers alternatives for Dreamweaver, After Effects, Flash (sort of), and Acrobat.

You get the idea. Adobe does something really well. Other software does similar things not as well, but for free. But you get what you pay for, right? And with these programs, it seems like you may even get a little more. So save your dollars, fire up your downloads, and pray you’re around the next time the Adobe website slips up.