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Is it time for me to ditch Photoshop?




This is something that I have mulled over for quite some time now. This isn't a snap judgment or a prisoner-of-the-moment situation. This is a very serious question that I have asked myself. Let's look at some Pros and Cons about Adobe Photoshop.



PRO #1: Familiarity



I've used Adobe Photoshop as the main software for my digital art since probably 2001. In 1998 when I got my first computer, I remember getting Corel Photo-Paint 8 with it. I still actually have those discs! Corel Draw was the first graphics software that I was introduced to in high school so I felt comfortable with it. However, when I stumbled across Adobe Photoshop, all that changed. I instantly fell in love with it and haven't looked back since. I can pretty much use Photoshop in my sleep. That is how comfortable I am with it now.

PRO #2: Versatility


When I think of all the things that I need to do and have wanted to do in the past with the program, Photoshop has always provided a means to get from point A to point B with minimal effort. One of the areas Photoshop has, does, and probably will always shine is it's versatility. The software is so robust that there are countless different ways that you can use to achieve "one" task. You are never stuck on having to do anything a certain way. That's it for the pros to be quite honest, at least for me. Now let's look at the cons


CON #1: Price


It used to be where someone could just purchase Adobe Photoshop and be done with it. It wasn't cheap mind you. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $600-700 dollars just for Photoshop. If you wanted the Adobe Creative Suite, not you were looking at a few thousand dollars. However, you OWNED the license to that software. You didn't need to buy another-version of the software if you didn't want to.


Now, you cannot buy Photoshop anymore. Adobe has basically turned it's Creative Suite into a streaming-service of sorts. You pay $50 dollars per month (plus tax) for the Creative Suite. That's $600 dollars per-year and you can pay it annually or monthly. When you think about how much the Creative Suite used to cost, that's an equivalent to 4 years of the current-price. Some might say that, "Well, after 4 years your copy of Adobe Creative Suite will probably start becoming obsolete anyway, so why not pay the $600 per-year to have the latest-version all the time?" Well, to that I would say this. Some people are still using Photoshop from 10 years ago and it works just fine. There isn't anything that the latest-version of Photoshop does that Adobe Photoshop CS3 for example doesn't do that is a necessity. Especially for a digital artist like myself. Not only that, there are so many other graphics software programs out there like Clip Studio Paint, Autodesk Sketchbook, Paint Tool Sai, Krita, Gimp, Procreate (for Mac users,) MediBang Paint Pro, and many others. Some of these programs are FREE, and the ones that you do have to pay for are pennies-on-the-dollar compared to Photoshop. Also, once you buy them you OWN the license. What Adobe has done was assure for themselves a consistent revenue-flow much to our inconvenience. Instead of having random purchases of their software, now they can count on money every month and the financial hit of piracy greatly diminished. A lot of what is in Adobe Photoshop is not needed for the average consumer. It's not "bloatware" per-se, but one would imagine that programs would run a lot faster and have a lot less stability-issues without so much jam-packed into the program which leads me into the next con.


CON #2: Stability Issues


To be fair, for the most part Adobe programs are stable, but when things go wrong, they REALLY go wrong. A few years ago I had an issue where I could not save files in a regular PSD format for some reason. It wouldn't even give me an option. I could only save files in a PSD BIG format. I toiled on the feedback forums and not only could not get a satisfactory answer from Adobe themselves, but no one else could come up with a good answer either outside of rolling back Photoshop to a previous-revision. I shouldn't have to do that for what I'm paying for this. The gross ineptitude of Adobe's help desk is legendary. You'd have more success talking to tree stump over some of these people. They either tell you self-explanatory things that a 5 year-old can understand and they already KNOW that you've done or, they try to blame your hardware rather than their software.


Lately, I have been dealing with Photoshop being super-laggy. I have no idea what is causing this. I tried all of Adobe's suggestions to free up resources for the program to run faster, but this should not be an issue to start with. These are my PC specs. CPU - Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core 24-thread 3.7GHz per-core

GPU - nVidia RTX 2070 8GB of RAM

RAM - 64 GB of DDR4

HDD - Two NVMe 1TB SSDs

MB - TUF Gaming X570 Plus

This CPU was a monster back when I built it two years ago. It's still overkill today for what is needed in graphics software. My previous rig which was... CPU - Intel i7 2600K 4-core 8-thread 3.4GHz per-core

GPU - nVidia GTX 970 4GB of RAM

RAM - 16 GB of DDR3

HDD - (1) 1TB HDD (2) 2TB HDDs (1) 4TB HDD .....and that PC I bought in 2011. It ran Photoshop just fine. There is no reason why my Photoshop should lag now. There is no malware-issue either. After I did all of their recommendations, it did speed things up a bit showing that this is indeed software-related. However, one of the suggestions they made was to take the "Automatically Save Recovery Information" and push that up to 1 hour. That's all fine and dandy if you manage not to have any problems within that time, but as with that case that recently happened to me, Photoshop crashed for absolutely no reason whatsoever and because it was within that hour time-frame, I LOST several hours worth of work. So, my only options are to take the recovery-states back down to 5 minutes to make sure that if there is another crash I don't lose "much" and increase the risk of lag, or to leave it alone and manually save every 5 minutes or so. This is not optimal for any artist to have to constantly break your flow do ANYTHING. There are a lot of other things that I could tout as cons, but I would literally be here all day talking about that. The question is, is it time for me to ditch Photoshop? Right now I also have on my PC Autodesk Sketchbook Pro (which is only $20 dollars on the Microsoft store, and I have Clip Studio Paint EX which at the time of this post is about $220 dollars. However, they do sometimes have deals on the software where you can purchase it at a lower-price. I bought my copy of Clip Studio Piant EX two years ago for about half of that price on Black Friday. Adobe also had Black Friday deals to where you can get the Creative Suite for $29.99 per-month which is a little less than half off the regular price. So if you are looking to purchase either of those programs in the future, keep your eyes open around Black Friday time. Sketchbook Pro is a program that I only use for sketching. I've never been able to figure out how to use anything else on the software. The interface is kind of cumbersome and it just doesn't flow right for ME in terms of doing anything other than drawing. I suppose if that was all I had I would make it work, but that's NOT the case! :) Clip Studio Paint is a program that feels as close to Photoshop as it gets. There are definitely elements that feel like MediBang as well as Corel Draw too, but it is a very unique piece of software that seems like it was designed specifically for people that are trying to get away from Photoshop. It is very intuitive for the digital artist. All of the resources available are what a digital artist would want and need. Nothing there feels unnecessary. I think that they could probably do a better job in terms of delegating screen real estate. Granted, you can close at lot of the windows you don't need, but you never know when you might need them later so I think that's an area of improvement they can work on.

There are a few things that Clips Studio does that Photoshop doesn't which are kind off pulling me away. One is the ability to use 3D poseable models for reference. Technically, you can do this with Photoshop, but it is not as streamlined or intuitive are Clip Studio. You would have to find a rigged 3D model somewhere, and then open it in Photoshop's 3D mode. You also have to make sure that model is in a format Photoshop can read like 3DS or OBJ. Clip Studio Paint takes care of all of that for you. Much like Teriwell's DesignDoll, you can alter the size and shape of the 3D model and articulate all of the joints. The other thing is "time-lapse." Those whom own a iPad and use the Procreate software are familiar with a feature called "time-lapse" where the program records all of your commands in sequence and saves it into a video-format where you can watch a time-lapse of what you did without the cursor, windows, or anything else on the screen. Clip Studio Paint now also has this feature. Here is a quick example....

I can think of a lot of useful purposes for this. Enclosing, I would say that I'm not ready just yet to give up on Photoshop completely. I think that I need to get more comfortable with Clip Studio Paint and see how much of what I do in Photoshop can I do in Clip Studio Paint and the things I CAN'T do, am I willing to live without?

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