Is there an alternative suite to Adobe CC that have "dynamic links" between apps, or single apps that can update files accordingly to its asset files?

Basically, what I'd like is alternative apps that are, ideally cheaper, but also can update itself accordingly to the changes on its dependencies, kind of like Adobe's Dynamic Link. That is to say, an InDesign-like app that updates its graphics accordingly to the change on its asset Photoshop-like files and Illustrator-like files; or an Premier Pro-like project that updates itself based on its After Effects-like compositions which also update based on its Photoshop-like and Illustrator-like graphics.

I feel like the best thing and also the competitive edge of Adobe CC is not the features of individual apps themselves, but how the apps can work so smoothly together. Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are fairly simple, so I could probably get away with something like Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer along with QuarkXpress (hopefully Affinity Publisher will come out soon enough) by exporting to Adobe's formats, or one of those obscure apps from Corel. But I'm not sure about something more complex like a compositor and a video editor. I'll only be doing light motion graphics, and probably very simple VFX, but it'd be nice to know if there are options that work well together without hassle like After Effects and Premiere Pro.

I'd go try every option I'm aware of when I have time, but I figure asking people around here to give me a pointer wouldn't hurt.

  • 1
    After effects isnt even particularily well integrated. Just about any compositing app out there can beat AE except for the type engine.
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 20:26
  • Does it have to be a suite. I mean adobe apps update things because they land on disk thats a pretty easy level to hit even without a suite.
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 15:00
  • Roll back time and we had Macromedia. Much better than Adobe in my opinion! If only Adobe was prevented from buying it, we would have better competition today. Freehand was so much better than Illustrator and Flash was actually OK before Adobe messed with it.
    – Electron
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 11:30

2 Answers 2


You mentioned Affinity. Both Designer & Photo can open each other's files. You can embed documents within each other and edit those live, so you could edit a file in Photo and have that update a part of a file in Designer. So that's pretty tight integration, which I would hope will continue in Publisher.

check out a demo of editing embedded documents in Affinity


Well, there is nothing obscure about Corel apps... They are not apps, they are applications, and yes they have a good amount of integration.

Some examples are that CorelDraw has adjustments and filters that can be applied directly inside CorelDraw without the need to even switch to PhotoPaint.

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If you simply have two embedded bitmaps grouped together they can be interpreted as layers on PhotoPaint. Click to "edit them as a bitmap", work on PhotoPait and when saved, they are saved inside directly into the original Draw Document.

Transparency, gradient transparency, blending modes... all inside CorelDraw.

Of course, this depends on your workflow, but I do not have to use PhotoPaint even for this type of compositings that normally you would think you need Photoshop.

enter image description here

(The original image was here http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=1267036 ages ago)

Corel is also a DPS with real multipage, this means that you can edit a magazine, with master pages, text flowing between pages, etc.

For big publications, I still would recommend Indesign. But for autonomous publications of let's say 48 pages, you can work fine in CorelDraw.


Almost any program that has linked assets, not embedded do that. Scribus, for example, can simply use the files linked. If you update them the result is also updated...

The new version of Davinci Resolve (15) has Fusion incorporated, which is a node's based compositing system. This makes Davinci not only a Video Editor, not only one of the best color gradient program for video but an awesome compositor... oh and with a great audio editor inside!

This comes even with the free version.

But if you talk about integration you could talk about integration to their own hardware...

I think integrating your software with this type of hardware is a great idea.

The paid version makes "integration" with a collaborative workflow.

Hit FilmExpress is a composite and an editing program in one... what more integration you want?

Blender awesome. 3D modeling, rendering, animation, compositing editing...

  • My scope wouldn't matter much. What I'd like to know is just whether the dynamic between apps is as good as Adobe's apps, for example, when you update a dependency, will the project update accordingly? Or will it crash? Or will it lose graphics, effects or keyframes? The safest bet is to use a single suite alone, but unfortunately I haven't found anything that matches Adobe CC. Maybe I've been living under a rock but the most notable apps from Corel I've heard around are just Painter and Draw. Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 21:01
  • Basically, no matter the scope or the need, I'd just like to know whether they work together and whether they work smoothly together. If there is a single major shortcoming regarding that aspect that hinders workflow and causes frustration in any capacity be it big or small, I might as well stick with Adobe. It's not that big of a deal, it's just me being insecure and fearing wasting time over things that end up not working as well. Like, maybe Adobe can allow themselves to charge that much for good reasons, you know. Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 21:07

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