Being a musician means being a jack-of-all-trades. You compose and arrange, edit your audio and video, and maybe even produce your own posters, album jackets, and press materials. If you’re lucky you may have the resources to use or purchase the professional software, such as the Adobe Creative Suite, Logic, Final Cut X, and Sibelius. What to do when you don’t? Below, I’ve listed some FREE alternatives to keep your projects looking professional AND affordable.
ALTERNATIVES TO PHOTOSHOP TO EDIT IMAGES
GIMP is an open-source, cross-platform image editor available for GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows. They offer sophisticated tools, customization options, and 3rd party plugins.
An online photo editing tool (no downloads required!) where you can add effects, filters, crop, retouch, add textures, and much more.
Versatile image editor where you can edit directly on their website, download the free software, or use on your mobile devices. Pixlr Editor is more like a simplified version of Photoshop and Pixlr Express offers quick image enhancements such as filters and borders.
ALTERNATIVES TO ILLUSTRATOR FOR VECTOR ART
An open-source vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Draw anything from logos and illustrations to backgrounds and art.
Create designs, logos, technical drawings, and Flash animations. Option to upgrade to their Pro version.
ALTERNATIVES TO INDESIGN FOR PRINT LAYOUT
Serif, the company that makes PagePlus has a variety of programs for all your design and editing needs (Like DrawPlus as mentioned above). PagePlus provides templates and drag and drop tools for all your print design needs such as flyers, brochures, posters, and stationary.
An open source downloadable application, Scribus offers all the tools for your print design needs.
FREE AUDIO EDITING SOFTWARE
Audacity has been around for a long time and is a great and simple audio recording and editing software. Has your basic library of effects and is compatible for Mac, PC, and Linux.
FREE VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE
If you have a Mac computer, you probably have already dabbled through iMovie. It’s a great video editing tool and is constantly getting better with new features and simplicity.
Fully functional and extensive features for your professional video editing needs. Windows, Mac OS X and Linux compatible.
Open-source, fully functional with extensive features. Windows, Mac OS X and Linux compatible.
FREE MUSIC NOTATION SOFTWARE
“Create, view, print, hear and share professional quality music notation right in your browser – on your computer, tablet or phone. You can keep your scores private, share them with other Noteflighters, or embed them on your own web pages.” No downloads necessary- just log in! The free version has all the basic notation tools you need to create a good score. You get up to 10 scores to compose.
Create, play and print sheet music with the free MuseScore notation software- download to your computer or get the app!
This music notation software emphasizes the ease and use of collaborative composing and sharing options with Google Drive. Gorgeous UI.
Many of the programs mentioned above have premium and subscription plans so you can receive the highest quality and tools for your needs. Enjoy!