The standard tools for professional designers and illustrators come from Adobe in the form of Photoshop and Illustator, both of which will cost you plenty of coin, and guarantee a hefty learning curve to become useful apps.
Or, you can use Acorn on your Mac. It’s the inexpensive image editor that blends a little of Photoshop and a little of Illustrator into a package of tools that’s useful for designers, editors, photographers, and illustrators but at a fraction of the cost.
A fraction of Photoshop and Illustrator? You’ll pay more in a month to rent Adobe’s Create Cloud standard bearers than Acorn costs.
The first thing to remember about Acorn is that it’s not Photoshop or Illustrator. It’s not as complex, not as expensive, much easier to get up and running, and comes with a useful blend of familiar tools.
Acorn’s filters are non-destructive and easily managed through floating tool palettes. Drop in text or effects with impunity to the design up to that point. Text control tools are actually easier to use than in Photoshop or Illustrator.
The built-in brush designer gives you options to create customized brushes. All the basics are included. Vector shapes and tools, layer masks, text, curves and levels, and much more.
Acorn has been around a few years, but the latest Mac App Store version is faster than previous versions, adds a few more tools, but remains true to the original– Photoshop and Illustrator-like without the price.
If you’re new to Mac design apps getting started with Acorn is a good way to test your mettle without spending a fortune in the process. Acorn won’t dethrone Adobe’s flagship apps, but if you don’t need all those bells and whistles this becomes a serious substitute.