Adobe software - centre of the universe?

Hi all,

I'm currently working as a freelance graphic designer and I'm aware that I'm really going to have to update my CS3 versions of Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator pretty soon if I'm going to keep up. When asked by my husband (who, quite understandably, doesn't want us to fork out a ton of money on software) why I don't use alternative software that's either cheaper or free, I didn't feel qualified to answer him as I don't know anything about anything that's not Adobe. I feel I got sucked into thinking that Adobe is the only way to approach graphic design when I was at uni (studying graphic design), and now I'm stuck orbiting Apple as it squeezes more and more money out of me.

If everyone here agrees that Adobe is actually the centre of the graphic design universe and I'd be mad to switch to anything else then I think I'll resume working towards an upgrade - alternatively, has anyone got any suggestions?

I agree that there aren't any viable alternatives.

More to the point, though, what will CS6 give you that CS3 doesn't?
I'm in the same boat as you, and my needs are probably different ( I'm an illustrator), but I'm yet to see any big reason for forking out that much money.
The only real concern with using older versions is compatibility problems. Illustrator and Photoshop files are backwards compatibile (so you can open a file created or saved in CS6 with your CS3 version), but InDesign is not.

There is a work around (export it to an IDML from CS6 and open it up in CS3) but this is incredibly annoying. If someone sends you a CS6 InDesign file, unless you can get them to send it inIDML format, or have a friend who can open convert the file for you, you're left with a document you can't open or do anything with.
Thanks Paul, yeah, I've come across this problem once or twice and discovered the export to IDML solution. I agree that it's very annoying but potentially less so than paying for an upgrade.

Wardy, it's kinda nice to hear I'm not the only one who's reluctant to fork out cash. However, I guess one of my concerns is that if everyone else in the design world is staying up to date I might find myself at a disadvantage... the list of things CS6 does that CS3 doesn't seems quite extensive to me, but perhaps that's just down to Apple's brilliant marketing skills.
Generally Adobe applications are the industry norm. However, depending on your needs there are other free or cheap applications. Scribus, GIMP and Inkscape are a few that come to mind. You should check them out. They're a steep learning curve if you're used to Adobe, but they might do what you need. :thumb: