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Hello All!

I'd like to open this biennial meeting of "ef the Adobe Tax". :D

So what is everyone using these days for layout and PDF manipulation? I'm still chugging along with Mac CS 5.5 Design Standard, but I'm under no illusion that at some point that these programs will simply stop working after an OS X update. I'm especially interested in alternatives for Acrobat Pro and InDesign. 

For an InDesign replacement, I've been trying to wait for the Serif/Affinity folks to roll out Affinity Publisher. Now though it is unclear if they will be releasing a stand-alone product, or slowly rolling page layout features into Designer. I tried Scribus a couple of years ago, but simply could not get things to work right on the Mac (it looks like a new version came out in May, so I might give this another go), and hated their UI (made my eyes bleed). What's everyone out there using for layout, and why do you like it?

For Acrobat, there seem to be tons of alternatives out there, but its hard to parse which one is good, and why. Whats your favorite alternative, and can you point me to an in-depth review?

Thanks Much
SDLeary

 

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For PS, there's the GIMP; and a replacement "GIMPShop" UI, to make it closer to the PS "look&feel".  Free, for ideological/hactivist reasons.

edit:  The "GIMPShop" domain was hijacked, and the original author has abandoned the project; he says the current distributor is not only unauthorized, but has embedded malware.  Also note that the main fork of the GIMP has abandoned the Sourceforge repository, and THAT code-base (or at least the bundled installer) is now suspect, too...

But I'm afraid I don't really know the Acrobat/InDesign space... sorry...

 

Edited by g33k
see edit-note above

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Affinity Publisher or Scribus are my best recommendations, so I'm not much of a help here. Although you might want to check out any of the web based alternatives to InDesign that exist, but they come with a monthly subscription too. Much lower than Adobe's of course, but still.

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15 hours ago, SDLeary said:

So what is everyone using these days for layout and PDF manipulation? I'm still chugging along with Mac CS 5.5 Design Standard, but I'm under no illusion that at some point that these programs will simply stop working after an OS X update. I'm especially interested in alternatives for Acrobat Pro and InDesign.

This is my main area of work in my job, I support artists and designers in mac/windows environments. I'm also an independent adobe trainer. Since the introduction of the CC subscription service it's been a hot topic for most of my clients. I too am still on CS5.5 Design standard. For Photoshop alternatives I've focused mainly on GIMP on mac/windows, it's a bit unsatisfying but it does work. For a vector replacement I'm focusing on Inkscape, you need the X11 environment installed on a mac, but it does the job producing native SVGs.

15 hours ago, SDLeary said:

For an InDesign replacement, I've been trying to wait for the Serif/Affinity folks to roll out Affinity Publisher. Now though it is unclear if they will be releasing a stand-alone product, or slowly rolling page layout features into Designer. I tried Scribus a couple of years ago, but simply could not get things to work right on the Mac (it looks like a new version came out in May, so I might give this another go), and hated their UI (made my eyes bleed). What's everyone out there using for layout, and why do you like it?

I've not found anything remotely useful compared to InDesign. I only use it for mocking up things roughly, so I use Apple's Pages natively on a mac/ipad as it handles graphics very well. On windows I use the Web version.

15 hours ago, SDLeary said:

For Acrobat, there seem to be tons of alternatives out there, but its hard to parse which one is good, and why. Whats your favorite alternative, and can you point me to an in-depth review?

It depends on what you are using acrobat pro for. I use it for PDF assembly, but have discovered that Apple's Preview can do that just as well. For OCR I'm using an app on my iPad called scan pro by Readdle. It works really well. I've not found any particular package that does bookmarking or forms as well.

At a bare minimum I'd have to buy a single app CC license for Illustrator, use GIMP and muddle through with other stuff.

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13 hours ago, g33k said:

GIMPShop

This is really out of date - 2007. Much like Seashore an old Mac port of GIMP, the current release of GIMP is now much better that these products.

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

This is really out of date - 2007. Much like Seashore an old Mac port of GIMP, the current release of GIMP is now much better that these products.

TYVM!

I hadn't realized what had happened to the GIMPshop fork.  :angry:

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9 hours ago, clarence said:

Any chance it can open InDesign files? 

That is one of the first things I checked. Sadly not at this point; they quashed the possibility a few weeks ago in their forums. Though I have to imagine that they will try for it at some point. They DO have import options for Photoshop (PSD) and Illustrator (AI) files. 

I think they may try at some point, but my  guess is that there is a large corporation in the way trying to protect their almost-monopoly.

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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Affinity Publisher looks promising. I like the interface. Some things are a it fiddly. You have to set guides manually, so e.g. there doesn't seem to be a way to conveniently set up a multi-column layout. It has a few bugs. The slider in the grid manager for setting the grid size is now permanently displayed on it's own near the middle of the window and still works. The scrollbar for panning left and right over the document has gone and won't come back.

It's ok it's a beta. I've watched a couple of the tutorial videos, just the basics, but don't have much time to do anything more with it. Maybe at the weekend.

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9 hours ago, simonh said:

Affinity Publisher looks promising. I like the interface. Some things are a it fiddly. You have to set guides manually, so e.g. there doesn't seem to be a way to conveniently set up a multi-column layout. It has a few bugs. The slider in the grid manager for setting the grid size is now permanently displayed on it's own near the middle of the window and still works. The scrollbar for panning left and right over the document has gone and won't come back.

It's ok it's a beta. I've watched a couple of the tutorial videos, just the basics, but don't have much time to do anything more with it. Maybe at the weekend.

If you set a text frame, there is a column control there. Once exposed you can vary things for asymmetrical columns and differing gutters within the frame. Of course, I would prefer easier guide management so that I could visualize general column alignment within a grid better.

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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2 hours ago, Chaot said:

Since this has been resurrected, what about Pages. I use it for most of my pdf layouts.

I use Apple's Pages a lot, I used it for mocking up the character sheets for Pavis and HQG. However for cross compatibility, windows users can only use the web version. It's great for PDFs unless you want distributable source. It does lack the fine control of illustrator, but handles everything else.

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9 hours ago, Chaot said:

New%20BRP%20Ravenloft%20Character%20Shee

For short things sure. I just have not been able to get around the newer interface. Defining Paragraph Styles, for example, is just painful to me. Its very Apple, and I am an Apple Guy, but for a layout program it just falls short in the "providing the user information" department.

Oh, and by the way, I think this is the first time I have seen the completed Ravenloft sheet! At least in this form. Very well done Sir!

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary

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