Depends on what you mean. You can make a living with almost anything provided you're willing to try hard enough.
That being said, Adobe is the industry standard and it is what everyone expects you to use.
File associations, compatibility, and for things like raster and vector applications you may be able to get by with Inkscape, Xara, or GIMPin' it.
But the second a client asks you to lay out a large publication, and you DON'T use Indesign, they are going to know. Especially if they intend to go to press with an actual packaged file and you show up with a .pdf.
You know I've tried and I'm gonna be honest, Scribus is not a viable alternative. I mean its not Publisher bad but Scribus is to Indesign as Pixlr is to Photoshop. Sure they both have similar features but one is VASTLY superior to the other.
Still, if all you intend to do is logotypes/grams/etc, branding, and website stuff I guess you could theoretically get away with it.
My only concern would be if you were trying to put together a branding manual or design style guide for your client. While you COULD do it in Scribus (or shit even Inkscape if you had the patience) it would be astronomically easier in Indesign.
I make a living just using FOSS tools, but it's not necessarily recommendable or generalizes to everyone. Some observations:
- startups, webdevs, academic institutions et al prefer open software/open document standards/etc, and will prefer if you can deliver things like .svg or others that they can themselves post-process in open-source tools or include in e.g. websites. This is where you can get your money with FOSS tools. Hang around universities, coworking spaces, startup incubators, maker spaces.
- For raster images, it really doesn't matter what you use. Krita does the job perfectly. The new krita beta version can handle even ridiculously big resolutions + animations. Imports & exports PSD files flawlessly. supports CMYK
- Vectors are complicated. Inkscape is largely garbage, Scribus is garbage, their PDF exports are very unreliable. I'm not using scribus. I've been using inkscape for so long now that I know all the flaws inside-out and can debug failing PDF exports extremely efficiently
- GIMP is garbage, use krita instead
- Xara is unusable, it has not been updated since 2007, you will not be able to even get it to run on a modern 64 bit system. I tried (because Xara is still better than inkscape, when it works) but it's just not feasible for a professional productive setup to use a dinosaur like that.
- In the practice of a productive environment, Inkscapes issues are largely with its terrible user-interface (including its tools) and poor export capabilities. A lot of things are infinitely more cumbersome to do than in illustrator, and good tools to do e.g. good-looking lineart, brushes etc are lacking. The UI interacts very poorly with graphical tablets (depending on inkscape version goes apeshit or crashes) and is buggy. If you are planning on making complex illustrations, expect a 2x-3x productivity hit with inkscape compared to illustrator, even after using it for two-three years. For stuff that is "geometrically simple" inkscape does the job fine.
>>251917 Some more words on exporting & file exchanges...
- SVG is generally a terrible format and it's a bad idea to deliver anything to clients in SVG, unless they insist on it. I've never gotten any two SVG renderers to render any moderately complex SVG the same. Inkscape also does not by default embed images and fonts into the SVG, so errors will creep up when others open the document that they won't even necessarily notice (because they didn't know what font was supposed to be used.) SVG also doesn't do CMYK. Only ship SVG when the client needs it (for web) and then make sure the SVG is very simple and renders the same everywhere. otherwise, PDF is the way to go.
- inkscape cannot export PDF with CMYK colors. The suggested workaround in the inkscape community for this is to use scribus, which can do it. This will fuck up your docs 99% of the time, so don't even bother. Use a 8-ink plotter that deals well with sRGB. Forget about pantone & spot colors.
- don't import .ai files, 90% of the time it does not work or produces something ridiculous. It has happened several times to me that importing something from a .ai file creates broken "mystery objects" in my svg documents that look fine on-screen but fuck up PDF export/printing. These issues are extremely hard to find and debug, so unless you enjoy hunting what object in the SVG tree is corrupting your PDF export, stay the fuck away from importing .ai files. Also, Inkscape also has bad performance compared to Ai, so many files generated in Ai are too complex for inkscape to handle. Redrawing is usually the way to go.
- inkscapes PDF export is broken in many mysterious ways. I've stuck with inkscape for so long now that I can usually find the issue quickly. Don't use layer blending modes, don't use exotic stroke styles, etc etc. Always mark your exported PDFs with a VISIBLE version and check them thoroughly. Do test-prints. Things will fuck up here and you *will* spend a significant amount of time on this.
certain SVGs are not even compatible between different versions of inkscape, e.g. if you use pattern-along-path as a path effect in inkscape 0.49, it won't always render correctly in 0.91 (the next version after 0.49), so that's a bit sad. I don't have the feeling the inkscape developers do much testing for things like these...
>>251313 You totally can, but it's going to be hard as fuck.
Like, OP, look at me. Fucking look me in the eye. I'm not joking. I'm not shitposting. This is genuine advice from one designer to another. You can do this, but it will be really fucking difficult. If I were you, I'd find a way to switch to proper industry standard software as fast as you can. If you have to pirate it until you can afford it, so be it.
Example: GIMP's rendering algorithms are not as complex as they need to be for a lot of jobs. There are a lot of things Photoshop can do that you may need, that GIMP can't help you with. That's only one example. I just want you to take a good long time and think about this. I've been in the game a long time, and I don't like seeing young designers struggle.
>>251919 >>251917 Have you tried the sk1 project? The newest version can only be compiled for Linux unfortunately. https://github.com/sk1project/sk1-wx
I tried a very early version a few years ago and it seemed promissing as unlike Inkscape it's not held down by a specific standard. If you didn't know, Inkscape only implements features that the SVG standard supports.
>>252572 Don't compare photoshop with GIMP, compare photoshop with krita.
>>252583 I've tried it before, but it didn't seem very powerful/feature-complete. Gave it another try just now, and I still don't think it can beat out inkscape. Looks like it's not very rapidly developed either (just one guy, as far as I can tell.)
The things that really hurt me the most with inkscape are the lack of good brushes/tools to do lineart, bad tablet integration (e.g. every other stroke just fails to produce any geometry), lack of good lateral editing tools (e.g. make all colors withhin a selection darker/lighter, good deform tools etc) and the general bugginess. I don't think sk1 fixes most of these issues, so I don't see being switching as feasible.
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