Affordable Software For Educational Content Creators
The hardest part about being a content creator or wanting to be a content creator is that there are "Industry Standards" in terms of software & apps to use. When I was finishing up my graduate degree I remember my classmates and Instructor constantly saying that we "should" be using Camtasia (a video editing and screen recording software) for all of our projects. The software's price tag is up there at around $250 for a license and let's be honest. Although this can be considered affordable for what it does, there are other more affordable options out there that no one talks about. So, as the title suggests, this is for you Educators and content creators. Let's break false industry standards like Camtasia and Adobe and create a list of affordable software that is just as good (if not better) than their predecessors.
Photo Editing
Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo is a the direct competitor to Adobe Photoshop and is available on Windows, Mac, and iPad. It supports working with RAW photo development, layer effects/blending, supports brushes, and includes many tools (and more) that made Photoshop a coveted tool by content creators. You can grab a LIFETIME LICENSE with free updates (again for life) for Desktop (Mac & PC) for $49.99 and on iPad for $19.99.
Luminar 4 by Skylum
Luminar 4 by Skylum is a photo editing software and plugin for Mac & PC. Luminar 4 is a direct competitor of Adobe Lightroom and supports working with RAW photo editing. The standalone software has its own photo editor and browser, but can also be used as a plugin within Apple Photos, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Lightroom. However, and this is my opinion, why pay monthly for Lightroom and Photoshop when Luminar 4 has its own standalone editor? With that being said, you can grab a lifetime license for $67 or two "seats" (for more than 1 computer) for $89. A unique thing to note about Luminar 4 is that it is getting its own photo editing AI that can auto edit photos for users.
For those that don't have time to edit photos or even for those that don't know how, Photolemur is a great AI powered tool that automatically touches up photos for you. It can edit one photo at a time or even multiple photos. Photolemur is available for Mac & Windows (no subscription) for $35.
Vector Graphics Programs
Affinity Designer
Affinity Designer is another non subscription software by Serif whose main competitor is Adobe Illustrator. Affinity Designer, like all Affinity software, supports importing of Adobe exports such as .psd and .ai. Affinity Designer comes with an array of tools, similar to Illustrator, that makes the switch really easy. You can grab a LIFETIME LICENSE with free updates (again for life) for Desktop (Mac & PC) for $49.99 and on iPad for $19.99.
Video Editing
Wondershare Filmora9 & Filmora Pro
Filmora9 is a video editing software by Wondershare. Filomra9 comes with all the necessary tools for video content creation. Cut & snip, add film effects, lower thirds, transitions, text, and even more. The recent update added some stock video options for your video needs as well as stock royalty free music for your videos. You can grab a lifetime license of Wondershare Filmora9 for $69.99 (normally 79.99). There is also a subscription version, but who needs more subscriptions? There is also a "Pro" version of Filmora that has a few extra features and that one will cost you $150 for a lifetime license. Filmora Pro is for experienced video creators and features a much different workflow than Filmora9. Filmora9 and Filmora Pro are available for both Windows and Mac. There is also a Android & iOS version of Filmora but is not as powerful and exports with a watermark.
Shotcut is definitely a noteworthy mention. Shotcut is a free opensource video editing software. I will say that it is not beginner friendly and it is definitely a resource hungry software. However, for those willing to learn, Shotcut is definitely a tool that can get you by in the beginning of your content creating adventure. Shotcut is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.
Having trouble with video formats? Your video outputted in the incorrect format? Uniconverter allows you to convert videos into different formats seamlessly. Uniconverter is another software by Wondershare and is a useful asset if you dabble in video creation. A lifetime license for Uniconverter will cost you around $55.95 (usually $69.95). Uniconverter is available for both Windows and Mac.
I mentioned Camtasia in the intro and all though it is the most expensive software on the list, it's expensive because of all of its integrations. Camtasia is not only a video editor, but also features a built in library of effects and assets, built in audio recorder, built in closed captioning integration, and built in screen recorder. Camtasia does a job that usually takes several different apps. So, this is more of a convenience software. A lifetime license for Camtasia will cost you around $250. Camtasia is available for both Windows and Mac.
PDF Editors
PDFElement is an office PDF creator and editor by the Wondershare team. This is a direct competitor to Adobe PDF. PDFElement hosts a variety of functions and comes in two different license structures. The standard version lacks things like data extraction, converting scanned documents to pdf's, and signature support but the lifetime license comes at a measly $69 ($109). The pro version, which supports more advanced functions, will cost $129 (normally $159) for a lifetime license. PDF Element is available for Windows, Mac, and Android/iOS devices.
Affinity Publisher
Affinity Publisher is more of a publishing app for creating things like books, posters, pamphlets, etc. It's direct competitor is Adobe InDesign, but I tend to lump these types of software's together with PDF editors as they have almost the same functions. One thing that is better about Affinity Publisher is that it works alongside the entire Affinity suite of tools which makes importing, exporting, and editing elements easier. You can grab a lifetime license of Affinity Publisher for $49.99. It is currently only available for Windows and Mac.
Screen Recording
OBS or Open Broadcast Software is possibly the most famous screen recording and live streaming software that is available for use. Funny enough, it's not famous enough to be known by Educational content creators. OBS allows users to screen record either their own screen or certain applications that are open. OBS is open source and free. It is currently available for Windows, Mac, and Linux PC's.
Wondershare DemoCreator
Wondershare DemoCreator is a fairly new software by the Wondershare team that is actually targeted at educational content creators(it can be used by all content creators as well). DemoCreator allows users to both screen record and edit their recordings. Adding thinsg like text and graphics (like arrows) are super easy and a part of the software. A Lifetime license will cost you $47.99 (usually $59.99). DemoCreator is available for Windows and Mac computers.
Screen Capture
Snagit is a screenshot tool by Techsmith (the creators of Camtasia). I know, why not just click print screen or using the Apple screenshot function? Well, Snagit adds even more functions that normal screenshot functions. The software allows users to annotate the screenshot after capturing it with an array of graphics such as text, arrows, and the ability to circle important information. A lifetime license of Snagit will cost you around $49.99. Snagit is available for both Windows and Mac.
Notable Mentions
Here are some other notable apps and software that are valuable tools for content creators and instructional designers.
EdrawMax - Mind mapping software for Windows and Mac. $245 for a lifetime license
MindMeister - Freemium mind mapping web app.
Canva - Graphic design web app (Freemium)
Piktochart - Web based design app for infographics, posters, presentations, flyers, and social media graphics. (Freemium)
Infogram - Web based infographic maker (Freemium) - Web based infographic maker (Freemium)
Venngage - Web based infographic maker (Freemium)
DesignCap - Graphic design web app (Freemium)

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LevelUp Time Studio
EdTech Coach, Instructional Designer, Digital Creator, Media Literacy Advocate, and Gamification expert.