I officially broke up with Adobe’s Creative Cloud about a week ago. Long story short, I got a full-time job at a VFX house that starts soon, will not be freelancing any longer, and really don’t see the need (in reality can’t afford) to subscribe to software at home for personal projects. I’ve also quit Avid Media Composer for the same reason. Many of us are frustrated with this business model, and yet it is so hard to break away from Adobe. The good news is that I have found many free and cheap alternatives to nearly everything from video editing, audio mixing, and image manipulation. Everything seems to be in place for my escape from the subscription extortion.
The one thing that really kills me is that there is no real substitution for After Effects. The only thing that I think comes close to AE’s layer and timeline method of motion graphics and VFX is Apple’s Motion, and at $50 is reasonably cheap. However, it’s functionality as a replacement to AE seems laughable at this point. (Note: I haven’t explored the FCPX/Motion plug-in world yet). However, if you are willing to break away from the layers workspace and dive into the “big studio” method of VFX, there are so many options out there ranging from completely free and open-source software like Blender & Natron, non-commercial versions of software like Nuke & Houdini, and of course the massively popular Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve that pretty much can do everything from camera ingest, editing, VFX, color grading, audio mixing, to delivery – it really is the “Swiss Army Knife” of post-production!
It is incredible how accessible filmmaking has become! Technology rivalling that of Hollywood standards is available to anyone with the most modest of budgets. I hope that sharing my journey with you inspires you to explore the many avenues available to all of us in our quest to tell our stories and express our creativity. I’ll be creating a comprehensive list of software available to pursue your visions on the $0 Budget Software page. Cheers!