Standard Lightroom 6 panels
A lot has been said about the compatibility and missing features of Adobe standalone applications like CS6. Past week Adobe released version 7 of Lightroom and with that put an end to standalone RAW editor for users. You will have to get on the hook and start paying while using. Lightroom 6 was released with two versions- standalone that you will buy and use for as long as it is supported by your operating system and CC version which was subscription based. Already with version 6 Adobe set a dual standard for which I wonder how it never got sued. CC version 6 got new features like de-hazing and additional cropping features (maybe more but I really did not bother to compare), while standalone version 6 never did.
Lets start with the bad news. You will have to pay to use them It is that simple. I do not think there is anything else bad about it. Adobe is caring more and more about the rising cost of labor in US and will do anything to satisfy the shareholders needs. You will have to pay 10$ a month and Adobe will throw Adobe Photoshop in the deal. The arising issue is that Apple soon will be removing all 32 bit application support so InDesign for example will stop working because it is 32 bit.
In reality the good news is more than the bad news. The application itself is 64 bit and your current camera is most likely already supported. Your computer will support the application for quite some more time also. The same applies to the most of CS6 suite.
System information about some of the Adobe CS6 applications.
After doing some research I found that you can add a lot more functionality to Lightroom 6 just by purchasing apps like SKYLUM's LUMINAR and AURORA HDR suites. Luminar will add de-haze, polarizing filter, much more detailed contrast, colors and sharpness adjustments, and a lot of other very useful features to the mix like AI adjustments that works pretty well. Luminar in 2018 will have a full catalog feature so it will be a good alternative but not yet as it lacks the speed of Lightroom and the accuracy of importing RAW images. When I imported the same image in it and in Lightroom 6 I can see quite some dramatic difference which I do not like but I have informed the developers. They are releasing a very big update in November 2017 so I look forward to the improvements. The other issue is while you do adjustments it looses clarity in the image and does not reflect the adjustment right a way. You will have to wait second or two to render the image which is not acceptable for me. Bellow are some of my favorite adjustments that I have created into a preset so I can recall with a click.
Aurora HDR is also probably the best HDR application you can get so as you can see features is not an issue at all.
Illustrator also have some heavy competition with Affinity Designer. It supports Pantone colors I saw and it is a much newer layout design so I like that. I will probably get it in the future but not yet as I do not use Illustrator a lot and for what I use it, it works fine so far but I will definitely watch Affinity Designer closely as it evolves.
Photoshop is an app that I would not say that has a quick alternative but I can tell you that keep an eye on Affinity Photo and Designer that has tons of good things. Also this designers have apps for the iPad which makes it even bigger competition for slowing down Adobe.
Overall Adobe is the best and most powerful suite right now but watch out as other companies are coming extremely fast and will fight for your bucks to fill the whole left by Adobe.