The 18 Best Adobe Alternatives for 2024 Free and Paid

Avatar photo Marco Sebastiano Alessi | January 25, 2024

Adobe is one of the leading companies offering creative tools for artists, designers, video editors, content creators, web designers, and audio engineers. I'm sure you have used them before or know at least one person who uses them! However, many creators are not intrigued by the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription at its price or are just looking for alternatives to what Adobe offers. Many users prefer a perpetual license or make do with free options.

In today's article, I listed the best Adobe Creative Cloud alternatives, including paid applications with perpetual licenses, affordable subscriptions, and free options.

Let’s dive in!

Best Paid Adobe Alternatives to Use in 2024

Here's the list of the best paid Adobe alternatives. There are so many out there, so I compiled those that serve multiple purposes or excel at particular features that Adobe Creative Cloud cannot provide.

1. Optics: Best Alternative to Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom

If you're looking for the best Adobe Photoshop alternative, mainly for photo editing and compositing, Optics is the best alternative. Boris FX Optics is a plug-in and standalone application for photo manipulation available in an affordable subscription or perpetual license.

adobe alternatives

Optics features massive lighting and lens effects, cinematic looks, color correction tools, optical glass camera filter simulation, film stocks, easy masking and paint tools, and particle creation to add fire, explosions, sparks, smoke, and sci-fi elements.

It has a friendly user interface, over 180 filters organized by categories, and over a thousand presets for fast photo manipulation. Optics is perfect for photo editing, compositing, and animation. It supports RAW, TIFF, PNG, and JPEG formats.


  • Affordable subscription.

  • Perpetual license available

  • Multiple image format files.

  • Hundreds of customizable effects and presets.

  • Free trial.


  • Limited tools for drawing, painting, and graphic design.

2. Boris FX Suite: Best Alternative to Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects

Boris FX plug-ins can improve your toolkit for video editing, visual effects, rotoscoping, compositing, and more. You can find all their tools available inside the Boris FX Suite. All Boris FX products can work as plug-ins with compatible host video editing software, including DaVinci Resolve, Nuke, Adobe, VEGAS Pro, and more. Advanced tools like Particle Illusion, Mocha Pro, SynthEyes, and Silhouette have a standalone application which you can use as visual effects software.

Depending on what you need, you can choose between the Boris FX Suite, which includes all plug-ins and standalone applications, or buy each tool separately and even individual units and filters of Continuum, like Title Studio, Primatte Studio, Lens Flare filters, Key, and blend, among others.

All Boris FX tools can be purchased on a monthly or annual subscription with free updates or a one-time payment for a license with up to 12 months of free upgrades. The best film and video editing tools are Sapphire, Continuum, Mocha Pro, Silhouette, and Particle Illusion.

  • Continuum can be ideal if you look for alternatives for image restoration, color grading, keying, and cinematic looks. You can purchase individual Continuum filters for your video editing software if you don't want the complete suite.

  • Sapphire is your tool for VFX, motion graphics, and transition effects. Sapphire also features an effect and transitions builder to create custom VFX presets.

  • Mocha Pro is your alternative for tracking, rotoscoping, masking, object removal, and image stabilization. If you love working with Mocha AE, Mocha Pro offers the same plus more advanced modules in its standalone application or OFX plugin.

  • Silhouette is a node-based composition software. It's advertised mainly as a rotoscoping and paint tool, but it also features Mocha Pro, Particle Illusion, Sapphire, and Continuum effects in the standalone application. It allows basic video editing to create sequences.

  • Particle illusion is an excellent option for creating particle VFX, such as fire, clouds, rain, sparks, etc. The Particle Illusion standalone application is free and can export projects for other compositing and video editing software.


  • Seamless integration between Boris FX plug-ins.

  • All Continuum effects include Mocha tracking.

  • Particle Illusion is a free standalone application.

  • Free trials for all products.

  • Training is available on the website.


  • Subscriptions for some products are expensive, but there is the option of a perpetual license or buying individual units (Continuum).

3. CrumplePop: Best Audio Repair Alternative to Adobe Audition

One of the most used features in Audition is its audio repair tools. For this specific need, CrumplePop is the best Adobe alternative.

CrumplePop is a suite of audio plug-ins to restore and enhance audio quality with background noise, echo, traffic, pops, clipping, and wind with AI technology. These plug-ins can be used on most popular audio editing software and DAWs, including free options like GarageBand and Audacity. A standalone application, SoundApp, is available for Windows and Mac users who need to repair audio recorded from a recorder or mobile device.


  • AI noise removal.

  • User-friendly interface.

  • Standalone and plug-in options.

  • Free version with PopRemover, RustleRemover, and the standalone application SoundApp.


  • Does not offer recording tools.

4. Affinity: Best Alternative to Adobe Illustrator and InDesign

Affinity is a software suite for designing, photo editing, and page layouts. Affinity Designer is a vector graphic software for Windows, Mac, and iPad. It's an excellent alternative for Adobe Illustrator to create high-quality prints, logos, icons, concept art, UI designs, mockups, flexible and customizable typographies, and more.

Affinity Publisher provides the best Adobe InDesign alternative to designing posters, newsletters, and landing pages, and Affinity Photo offers photo editing tools like Photoshop. The best part is you can buy each tool separately or in a bundle for a one-time payment.


  • Clean and intuitive interface.

  • One-time payment with free updates.

  • Compatibility with JPEG, PDF, SVG, PSD, PNG, TIFF, GIF, and DWG/DXF formats.


  • No plugin support.

  • Learning curve.

5. Moho: Best Alternative to Adobe Animate

Moho is a 2D animation software for professional and digital artists. It features solid and user-friendly rigging and animation tools that are intuitive and fast. You can import art from another software or draw directly into MOHO.

Among the best features in the latest version of Moho are the possibility of adding 2D special effects, drawing line styles, entire 3D space and camera, and lip sync tools for voice acting.

You can purchase Moho with a one-time purchase in two options: a pro version and a debut version with limited features but at a more affordable price.


  • Affordable one-time purchase and free updates.

  • Best rigging tools.

  • Compatible with PSD files.

  • 30-day free trial.


  • Minimal tools for hand drawing.

  • Learning curve.

6. Foxit PDF Editor: Best Alternative to Adobe Acrobat

Foxit is a PDF file editor with a monthly and annual subscription, but it is more affordable than Adobe Acrobat. It allows you to create, edit, fill out, and sign PDF documents. Easy to use and edit text and paragraphs and change the document layout to suit your design.

Foxit features cloud integration, exports to widely used file formats, password protection, scan and AI technology, and excellent customer support.


  • Affordable subscription.

  • Intuitive and lightweight.

  • Password protection.

  • AI-based document redaction.

  • Export to text, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, RTF, and HTML.


  • It struggles to handle documents with a lot of images.

  • Not suited for PDF drawings.

  • Cannot export to ePub.

7. 3DCoat: Best Alternative to Adobe Substance 3D

If you're looking for an alternative to Adobe Substance 3D apps, 3DCoat offers the tools to bring your ideas to life in a 3D digital environment. Create 3D models from scratch, fully textured.

With 3DCoat, you can sculpt your assets, move, scale, rotate, and extrude. 3DCoat allows easy texturing, real-time PBR with HDRL, multiple paint Layers, creating and editing UV sets, and more.

It’s available for purchase as a permanent license, rent, monthly and annual subscriptions.


  • Supports Wacom, Surface Pen, 3Dconnexion navigator, and multitouch on Surface.

  • Timelapse recorder.

  • Fast and friendly UV Mapping.

  • Many instructional videos and tutorials.


  • The learning curve might be steep when switching from another software.

8. Canva Pro: Best Alternative to Adobe Express and Adobe Firefly

Canva is a user-friendly application and an Adobe Express alternative, even in its free version. Upgrading to Canva Pro also includes Magic Studio, the best Adobe Firefly alternative. Many digital artists and graphic designers are not crazy about Canva, but there’s no doubt many amateurs and professionals use it because of its easy and fast interface.

Canva Pro includes all the features from the free version: templates and designs for social media posts, presentations, documents, images, graphics, video and photo editor, cloud storage, plus access to premium templates stock photos, audio and graphics, Magic Studio with AI design tools and customer support.


  • Easy to use.

  • Available on desktop, mobile, and browser.

  • Free version.

  • Best for social media posts.


  • Lacks more advanced features for design.

  • Limited export settings and file format support.

  • It cannot be used offline.

Best Adobe Alternatives to Use in 2024 Free

Here, you'll find the best free alternative to Adobe software. Again, I pick those that offer the best features for free.

1. GIMP: Best Alternative to Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom

GIMP is an open-source photo editor. It offers tools for photo manipulation, compositing, retouching, graphic design tools for icons, graphics, mockups, and painting tools such as brushes, pencils, clone tools, gradient editors, and blend tools.

GIMP's user interface is customizable to fit any workflow. It supports JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, PSD, BMP and more. It provides flexible integration with other free software such as Inkscape and Scribus.


  • Customizable and friendly user interface.

  • Easy photo editing and retouching.

  • Third-party plugins support.

  • Advanced scripting capabilities.


  • No RAW support.

  • No vector graphic editing.

2. DaVinci Resolve: Best Alternative to Adobe Premiere Pro

The free version of DaVinci Resolve is incredibly versatile. It features color correction, VFX, motion graphics, and audio post-production in a single tool. It makes working with audio-visual projects faster and higher quality without exporting and compressing the video to use in different programs. DaVinci Resolve alone can be a great alternative for Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Audition!

Some of the most attractive DaVinci Resolve features are its advanced color correction tools, node-based system Fusion for effects and motion graphics, AI tools, Resolve FX, and Fairlight for audio mixing.


  • Non-linear editor.

  • Node-based composition tool.

  • Audio post-production.

  • Best color grading in the industry.

  • Third-party plugins support.

  • You can upgrade to DaVinci Resolve Studio with a one-time purchase.

  • Cloud integration for teams.


  • Steep learning curve.

  • Most audio features are only in the Studio version.

3. Blender: Best Alternative to Adobe After Effects

I had a tie here with Blender and HitFilm, but I picked Blender over HitFilm because it's free and open-source, whereas HitFilm's free version is more limited.

Blender started as a 3D sculpting, painting, and modeling software. Now, it features more VFX tools, camera match moving, motion tracking, animation and rigging, 2D and 3D animation, virtual reality, a customizable interface, and a sequence editor for basic video editing, including masking and color grading.


  • Free and open source.

  • Powerful rendering.

  • There are tons of tutorials online.

  • Updates regularly.


  • It is not industry standard.

  • Steep learning curve.

  • It's not beginner-friendly.

  • Performance issues.

  • The video editor could be better.

4. Audacity: Best Alternative to Adobe Audition

Whenever you look for a free audio editor, Audacity always pops up. It is not just a free and open-source audio editor but has some of the best noise reduction tools for free software available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

In a simple-to-use interface, you can import, record, and edit audio for podcasts, voice-overs, or music demos. It supports third-party plug-ins in VST3, LADSPA, LV2, Nyquist, VST, and Audio Units.


  • Lightweight.

  • Free and open source.

  • Supports third-party plug-ins and VST.


  • The interface needs to be updated.

  • Limited multitrack features.

  • Destructive editing.

5. Inkscape: Best Alternative to Adobe Illustrator

Inkscape is a free and open-source tool for designers, illustrators, and web designers searching for tools to create, edit, and manipulate vector graphics. It's compatible with SVG formats and exports to PNG, OpenDocument Drawing, DXF, PDF, EPS, and more.

Inkscape is cross-platform with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems for teams that work on multiple platforms and systems.


  • Free, lightweight, and fast.

  • Best free tool for vector graphics.

  • Wide format compatibility.


  • Not compatible with Adobe Illustrator format.

  • Some basic things are more complicated than other paid options.

  • Steep learning curve.

6. OpenToonz: Best Alternative to Adobe Animate

Continuing with free and open-source programs, OpenToonz is an animation software based on the software Toonz, which Studio Ghibli customized for their works. It features 2D drawing, 2D and 3D animation, and effects and is one of the best free alternatives to Adobe Animate.

One of the downsides of OpenToonz is its interface. It may look complex and overwhelming at first, and it may take a while to get used to it. Luckily, there's a good community online with many video tutorials to get you started.


  • Free and open source.

  • Powerful 2D animation.

  • Industry-level tool.


  • Overwhelming for beginners.

  • Expect a steep learning curve.

7. PDF24 Creator: Best Alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader

PDF24 Creator is an easy-to-use PDF tool for reading, creating, and modifying PDF files. It features a simple drag-and-drop interface to create your documents and allows you to export to Word, Excel, and more formats.

It’s available as an online tool and a desktop version that includes all PDF24 tools available offline.


  • Free and lightweight.

  • Easy to use.

  • Works offline.

  • Import and export to Word, Excel, and images.


  • It doesn’t allow creating and editing forms.

  • The desktop version is only available for Windows.

8. Mixer: Best Alternative to Adobe Substance 3D

Mixer offers a free alternative for Adobe Substance 3D with various tools for creating materials, 3D texturing, and 3D painting. It also directly integrates with Megascans library for your textures and 3D assets.

Mixer focus is texturing and painting, which keeps the user interface clean and straightforward. However, it lacks features like 3D modeling and rendering, something you can achieve with other programs like Blender.


  • Integration with Megascans library.

  • Intuitive user interface.

  • PBR workflow.


  • Cannot model or render 3D assets.

  • Megascans is free to use with Unreal Engine only. But you can use any open library.

9. Canva Free: Best Alternative to Adobe Express

Canva is a remarkable online and free tool accessible for anyone looking to design flyers, social media posts, reels, and TikToks without taking too much time to learn to use more advanced software.

With Canva, you can search for what you want to create and find templates ready to use or customize with images and other graphics available for free. It also includes a basic video editor to create and animate reels and TikToks and export them in JPG, GIF, or MP4 formats.


  • Straightforward and user-friendly.

  • Customizable templates.

  • Photo and video editing tools.


  • Templates can become limited once you use them a few times.

  • Limited tools for advanced designers.

  • Many templates and graphics are behind a paywall.

10. Scribus: Best Alternative to Adobe InDesign

I choose Scribus as the best alternative to Adobe InDesign for one main reason: its integration with Inkscape and GIMP. These three free and open-source tools work best together as a backup for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Scribus is a free desktop publishing program that allows you to lay out pages for magazines, flyers, and business cards from scratch or with templates. It has a user-friendly interface that can do more than what meets the eye.


  • Supports CMYK

  • PDF Creator.

  • Versatile drawing tools.

  • Available in more than 25 languages.


  • Stability issues.

  • Missing advanced features from InDesign, but for the price, it's expected.

Final Words

I hope this list highlighted the power and convenience of valuable tools outside of what Adobe tools offer, and provided those with a tight budget with a free alternative for Photoshop, Audition, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and other creative software from Adobe family.

Remember that many paid alternatives include a free trial to download and explore before leaving Adobe.

Good luck!