Rochester, NY USA




We all have to pay monthly for utilities. Unless you live in a cabin in the woods, removed from society, you pay for the essentials. Water, power, maybe gas, and possibly internet. But when paying monthly for your tools, how does that make you feel? Some individuals see it as an opportunity to compensate the creators of said tools to continue making updates. But what about the rest of us?

Some of you have been alive longer than I. However, I remember transitioning from a more analog world to almost all digital. With that, Software development. Throughout the years, I have used all types of tools for audio production, video creation, and digital art. Most of these companies survived for a very long time. So, what did they do to last so long without a subscription model for so many years? My guess; is they used innovation. They created features and upgrades that made purchasing a new version so attractive. What happened?

Honestly, my opinion is moot. However, I feel innovation has been tossed aside for a lazy approach to business. Namely companies like Adobe, Avid, Autodesk, and so many others. It’s become a safety net for large conglomerates. I listed the three companies above because they’re the worst offenders of lackluster innovation. They have not fixed or updated any bugs and have become bloated heaps of trash. I know that is a pretty harsh comment. But it’s true. I have used free, open-source applications recently and have had better results. I have had minimal to no crashes compared to the giants above. So, you’re probably wondering… What are these amazingly innovative, free, or perpetual tools? See my list below…


Per Blender’s website: “Blender is licensed as GNU GPL, owned by its contributors. For that reason, Blender is free and Open Source software, forever.”
Note: I use this application almost every day. I have minimal issues compared to “superior software.” What better way to create in 2D/3D and keep your overhead extremely low!


Affinity products are not free. However, they are very inexpensive. Normally, they’re roughly $60 for each application. They offer sales on a regular basis that are around 40-50% off! They offer three applications that I personally love using. They are Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher. As one would guess, they are alternatives to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Publisher. Are they better? They have a light price point, they’re efficiant and extremely user friendly.
Check them out!


Apple has been pretty contraversial for years. They offer great stable hardware and, in my opinion, very stable applications. Is the hardware expensive and over hyped? Probably. However, if you have used Logic Pro, then you know it’s a contender with Avid. So much so, that I sold my Pro Tools HD system back when Avid switched to their subscription model. That’s probably around version 12. I purchased a Universal Audio Apollo quad-core interface and Logic Pro. I couldn’t be happier. It’s a stable system. My kids even use it to write their own music. Mixing and mastering in it is also a breeze. It’s just designed for music. It’s not free but pretty inexpensive for a pro application. It’s always been $299 and you always get updates for free.


A lot of you who use video editing software probably already know about DaVinci Resolve. It’s similar to Adobe Premier or other video editors. But here’s the best part… The main application and a big host of tools are all FREE! Yes, there’s a paid version. However, the editing and color panels alone are worth it. To pay $295 for the Studio version of the application is a steal! I could write an entire article just on DaVinci Resolve alone. It’s amazing! Go check it out!

These are just a handful of really great tools for creatives looking to save money. Don’t let the big guys scare you into thinking you HAVE to pay monthly for great tools. It’s just not true. Below, I will list all of the free, open-source, or affordable applications that I use daily.

  • ActorCore AccuRIG
  • Affinity Products (Photo, Designer, Publisher)
  • Apple Logic Pro X
  • Blender
  • BVHacker
  • Davinci Resolve Free/Paid
  • FSpy
  • Handbrake
  • LibraCAD
  • Quixel Mixer
  • Quixel Bridge
  • Quixel Megascans (need an unreal engine account to be free)
  • Storyboarder
  • TerreSculptor
  • Unreal Engine

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