Living Without Adobe Creative Suite as a Product Developer
August 10, 2019    |    Design    |    Linux    |    Python

If you’re a digital product developer, you probably have Adobe software such as Photoshop and Illustrator. If you cannot live without Ubuntu as your OS, you probably don’t. Installing Adobe products on Ubuntu is a difficult process because Adobe doesn’t make Linux compatible software.

Without the Adobe software suite, I have found other ways to create/modify graphics and wireframes using open source software, freemium software, and code.

Here is a short collection of tools I have been using to replace the Adobe Suite. Some of these products are open source and some are paid subscriptions with free plans.

Whimsical.com

Flow charts, mind maps, wireframes.

Whimsical is an amazing tool for creating wireframes, flow charts, and mind maps. Whimsical has enough wireframe features to build your design without being too complicated. The best part of this app is how intuitive it is to use. Coming from using Adobe products, Whimsical is intuitive enough to get started right away without needing any tutorials.

In addition to wireframing, Whimsical allows you to create flow charts and mind maps with the same intuitive experience. This tool has been a great resource for me to design the initial prototypes of apps quickly.

Use cases:

  • Wireframes
  • Flow charts
  • Mind maps

Sketchpad.io

Simple graphic design.

Sketchpad.io is a decent web app for doing basic graphic design. Like Whimsical, it is very intuitive to use although there it can be buggy when using the zoom feature.

Overall, it has enough features to design quick graphics. Notable featured include: Ease of use, amazing font selection, drop in images to artboards, and easy gradient overlaying.

Use cases:

  • Logo/graphic design
  • Graphic experimentation

Gimp

Advanced graphic design.

For the seriously advanced graphic design that rivals photoshop, Gimp is the goto software for Linux (or if you are on a tight budget). Gimp is open source software that can do pretty much every you would expect from professional graphic software. The catch with Gimp is that there is a learning curve. Gimp is available for all platforms: Linux, Windows, and OSX.

Use cases:

  • Advanced graphic design
  • Logo design
  • Photo editing

PIL Python Image Library

Image Editing with code.

For simple image manipulation or image automation tasks, there is PIL (Python Image Library). PIL can be used to resize, filter, and crop images. Recently, I needed to make convert a white background into a transparent background. With PIL I did this with the following code:

Change a color to transparent:

from PIL import Image
def color_to_transparent():
	img = Image.open('image.png')
	img = img.convert('RGBA')
	datas = img.getdata()
	newData = []
	for item in datas:
	    if item[0] < 100 and item[1] < 100 and item[2] < 100:
	        newData.append((0, 0, 0, 0))
	    else:
	        newData.append(item)
	img.putdata(newData)
	img.save("NEW-image.png", "PNG")
	img.show()

Use cases:

  • Creating multiple icon versions
  • Color replacement
  • Resizing + Cropping
  • Automate image editing tasks

Inkscape

Vector Graphics

Finally, there is Inkscape. Inkscape is open-source software that replaces Adobe Illustrator. The interface is not as polished as Adobe Illustrator, but after studying the interface for a bit of time, it becomes easy to use, especially if you are experienced with Illustrator already.

Use cases:

  • Logo design
  • Print design
  • Illustrations

Conclusion

In this post, we quickly looked at some tools you can use instead of Adobe. Adobe has a great set of products, but they are not compatible with Linux. All hope is not lost though, there are many open source products that can help you accomplish your design goals.

Thanks for reading.

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