Adobe's Creative Cloud suite of applications is the industry leader without question. However, the days of paying a once-off price for it ended years ago. A monthly or yearly subscription is currently the only way to get access to Photoshop, Premiere Pro, InDesign etc.

Even though Adobe provide their apps on both Windows and Mac, the monthly price is prohibitive for many individuals. Bloggers like myself, content creators on Twitch, YouTube, Mixer etc all would love to have the power of Adobe's apps but cannot always afford the high cost of ownership.

Nick Saporito from Logos by Nick wrote an excellent article this week detailing free alternatives to Adobe's most popular creative apps. It shows us that there's excellent free apps that can do almost everything Adobe's apps can do. However, what if there's a middle ground?

Paid for apps that don't have a monthly/yearly payment that are just as good as Adobe's versions and maybe even better in certain areas?

Video Editing

Adobe Premiere Pro is available, like almost all of Adobe's apps, on macOS. Apple's Final Cut Pro X however is not only a native macOS app but is highly optomised for Apple hardware. Depending on the hardware and your specific workflow, it can even be faster than Premiere Pro.

Final Cut Pro X

It's not free but has a once-off price of $299 (R4999 in South Africa). This is only for Final Cut Pro X and not for the Motion and Compressor apps which must be purchased separately.

Logic Pro X

There's a cheaper option that's not advertised a lot by Apple where you pay $199 for their Pro Apps Bundle for Education and get Final Cut Pro X, Motion, Compressor, Logic Pro X and Mainstage. I bought this bundle a while back and recieved codes that I just redeeemed in the Mac App Store and now I have all the pro apps for a massive amount cheaper. They don't ask for anything besides your Apple ID and payment info when purchasing. I expected to be asked to provide my student email or some sort of proof that i'm a student or teacher but was asked for neither. What's even better, since it's from the App Store, I can use it on up to 5 different Macs.

This takes care of video editing and music creation in one go.

Photo and Vector graphics editing

Affinity Photo

Serif spent the past few years building their Affinity suite of apps that take care of photo editing, vector graphics and publishing. I beta tested the graphics app called Affinity Photo and when it was released, bought it outright. Each app i.e Afinity Photo, Affinty Designer and Affinity Publisher is sold for a once-off price (currently on special) of $25 (R400 in South Africa). That's a total of $75 (R1200) for all three apps. That takes care of photo editing, vector graphics design and publishing.


I haven't covered every single app that Adobe makes with equivalents but I've more or less covered the areas that most creatives would be interested in.

For comparison purposes, the total, once-off purchase cost of the Apple Pro Apps bundle plus the three Affinity apps works out to $375. That's a grand total of $400 for all three apps versus almost $700 for one year's worth of Adobe Creative Cloud.

Granted, $375 isn't exactly cheap but I genuinely think it's not only a good deal but a valid alternative to Adobe's Creative Cloud.

However, if this is still way out of reach for you, I suggest that you have a look at Nick Saporito's article that recommends free alternatives. His website has excellent info on Inkscape (vector design) and GIMP (image editing), paid-for video courses and free tutorial videos on his YouTube channel.

These are my suggestions for a middle ground between Adobe's high priced apps and the free alternatives Nick Saporito suggested. Do you have any other suggestions?