Media Production on a Budget: Adobe Creative Suite Alternatives

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OS X has long been labeled the platform for “creatives,” though in recent years it’s finally becoming known for more than that. Adobe’s (s adbe) Creative Suite is generally regarded as the crown-jewel of digital design, and they’re priced to match.

So what if you’re a cash-strapped creative who wants to find some alternatives to Adobe’s popular suite of applications? Here’s a look at several great options that run at a mere fraction of the cost of a Creative Suite package.
Before we begin, we should identify the core applications of the Adobe Creative Suite.

  • InDesign – Page and print layout
  • Photoshop – Image retouching and alterations
  • Illustrator – Vector graphics
  • Dreamweaver – Web development editor
  • Fireworks – Graphics drawing and web optimization
  • Flash – Animated and programmable graphics
  • Premiere – Video editing and creation
  • After Effects – Motion graphics and modeling

First, the bad news. Adobe Flash is unique and proprietary enough in nature that in my hunt, no Mac alternatives were found. (Microsoft’s Silverlight may be an option, but then again, it’s an entirely different beast.) So I’m sorry to say, this post can’t help if you’ve been looking for a way to skirt the world of Adobe’s Flash editor. Also, for our purposes here, I’ve lumped Photoshop and Fireworks together, as the alternatives generally blur the lines between the two offerings. Read More about Media Production on a Budget: Adobe Creative Suite Alternatives

Vid-Biz: YouTube, Jaman, Kwiry

YouTube Mutes Infringing Music; instead of yanking the entire clip, just the infringing soundtrack is removed, resulting in a silent video. (Mashable)

Jaman Expands into Europe; online movie service also hires former MySpace Exec David Fisher to head up localized UK site. (emailed release)

Kwiry Lets You Program Your TiVo via TXTs; service works without a mobile browser; after setup, just text “TiVo” the name of the show and a code. (CNET)

MTVN Signs On With Panache; video ad company to serve video ads to the network’s sites. (MediaPost)

House Republicans Want to Keep DTV Transition Date; Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) along with 14 other House Republicans sent a letter to Obama, urging him to keep the date as is. (MediaWeek)

U.S. Patent Office to Reexamine TiVo’s “Time Warp” Patent; it’s the latest twist in the ongoing legal dispute between EchoStar and the DVR maker. (Broadcasting & Cable)

NBC Digital Entertainment Ups Emre Celik; Celik gets promoted to become the units’ vice president of technology. (emailed release)

DEMO: Meet Alcatel-Lucent’s Services Play

While DEMO is primarily a showcase platform for standalone startups, well-established companies launch products there too. This year Alcatel-Lucent has brought an internal startup pushing an RFID tag reading system called tikitag that aims to bridge the online and digital worlds. The Alcatel-Lucent employees pushing this hardware platform have used less than $10 million in corporate funds.

In the physical world, tikitag is a set of RFID- and Near Field Communication-enabled tags and a corresponding reader. The system is standards-based, so eventually it will work with most RFID tags and readers, while the NFC aspect is aimed at allowing NFC-enabled phones to read tags as well. The hardware is the entry point to a cloud-based database that uses both the ID of the tag and the location of the tag reader to pull up an appropriate application — a stored value payment system or a retailer’s loyalty program, for example — online or on a mobile device.

So far, there are 35 developers building applications for tikitag, a number the guys behind the startup expect to grow as the product leaves its controlled alpha. Tikitag officially launches today and the $50 hardware starter kit containing a reader and 10 tags will be for sale at Amazon.com on Oct. 1.

We’ve seen this effort to bridge the real and digital worlds before with CueCat or ad plays like Kwiry. I’m still skeptical, but with the ubiquity of RFID readers, the standards-based approach to the hardware is the best effort I’ve seen so far. If Alcatel-Lucent can entice devleopers to build compelling applications, they might drive the purchase of the hardware. Once the hardware platform takes off or developers get involved, Alcatel-Lucent plans to sell subscriptions for business users to link their applications with consumers, giving the company another foot in the services market as its equipment business gets more and more competitive.