When comparing Photoshop vs Reaper, the Slant community recommends Reaper for most people. In the question“What are the best DAWs with session view?” Reaper is ranked 2nd while Photoshop is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose Reaper is:
You can easily customize a GUI.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Industry standard
Photoshop is used by professionals everywhere in a wide variety of fields including photography, graphic design and digital art. It is the de facto standard for image manipulation. If you've seen a magazine ad featuring a model, you've probably seen the effects of Photoshop. You won't be alone when using Photoshop.
Pro Trove of plugins that extend functionality are available
A wide variety of plugins that add new effects, improve existing functionality and simplify workflow are available.
Pro Lots of tutorials
There's a huge number of both free and paid tutorials available online. Websites like Lynda.com offer premium high-quality, in-depth tutorials, but there are plenty of free alternatives to be found on YouTube, blogs and specialized sites on the Internet.
Pro A cheaper, standalone version called Photoshop Elements is available
A stripped down version of Photoshop, called Photoshop Elements can be bought as a standalone application for $100.
Pro Includes powerful content-aware tools
Photoshop includes content-aware tools such as content-aware fill that can fill in a select area based on what surrounds it.
Pro Packs a staggering amount of functionality
Photoshop is the most fully featured image editing software available today allowing you to perform highly advanced image manipulation.
It has tools for RAW image adjustments, lens correction, retouching, image stitching, HDR, fixing framing. It supports most professional color modes and file formats. It includes extensive lists of filters, styles, effects, fonts as well as tools for painting, sketching and typography work. It understands both raster and vector graphics. It even includes tools for video editing, working with 3D objects and support for 3D printing.
Pro Integrates with Creative Cloud
You can save all projects directly to the Creative Cloud allowing you to access them from any device and with any relevant Adobe software.
Pro Creative Cloud Photography subscription includes Lightroom
Lightroom is another image editing software from Adobe that's specifically designed for photo editing and managing of large quantities of digital images.
Pro Highly customizable
You can easily customize a GUI.
Pro Extremely stable, rarely crashes
Reaper receives high praise for its stability. It's one of the many talking points of the software.
Pro Supports unlimited number of tracks with unlimited number of effects
There are no limits to the amount of tracks or effects that Reaper can run. Reaper is stable enough to handle comically dense projects with style.
Pro Constantly updated
Reaper's developers add features based on user request at lightspeed. This is what makes Reaper reliable and trustworthy. Fans of Reaper are so adamant about the software because of this.
Contrary to Music Radar's review of FL Studio, Reaper is the true "People's DAW".
Pro Very low cpu usage
Reaper's will tailor itself to fit your computer's processing power by automatically using the "anticipative FX processing" feature.
Pro Easy to install
No complex activation shenanigans. No dongle and such.
Pro Huge community support
Pro Multiple recording and playback formats
Records in WAV, AIFF, FLAC, WAVPACK, OGG and MP3.
Pro Auto-bridges 32-bit plugins in a 64-bit environment
When using a 64-bit installation of Reaper, all 32-bit plugins will still work alongside 64-bit plugins. On computers with an x86-64 CPU and an OS that supports multi-architecture, you can also run bridged 64-bit plugins on 32-bit Reaper.
Pro Comes with ~300 free plugins
In addition to its powerful inbuilt plugins, Reaper comes bundled with about 300 little plugins written in its own EEL2 (aka Jesusonic) scripting language. This is also open-source so the end user can create or edit preexisting ones to get exactly what they want.
Reaper is lightweight enough to be run off of a flash drive; the installer weights less than 20 MB and the portable installation option is included in it.
Pro Application is extendable
Reaper has no limitations. Once you understand it, Reaper becomes a mixing, mastering and editing mainstay. Reaper punches way above its price range in terms of sheer brevity.
Although it may seem otherwise, Reaper is shareware. After your 60-day free trial runs out, the program remains full-featured. Like WinRAR, the only person forcing you to get a license is you.
Pro Very full featured but basic recording and production can be learned and done in a few hours
Without prior experience with DAW, you can install Reaper, set up ASIO drivers, connect to your amp and mikes, get the hang of recording/re-recording tracks, and render an mp3 in just a few hours. You can accomplish the basics very fast.
Pro Highly affordable
Reaper can be purchased in two different ways: A commercial license (225 USD) and a discounted license (60 USD).
You can use Reaper unhindered with either license. You can only get the discount if your salary does not exceed 20,000 USD.
Pro Lua scripting can be done in the DAW with a built-in IDE
Pro Many time-saving features
Thought has been given to many time-saving features and shortcuts which speed up workflow considerably.
Pro Universal tracks
In Reaper, you can record MIDI and Audio onto the same track. As well, there are no distinctions between any form of audio. Surround Sound, Mono, Stereo files, and anything else you can think of; all of this can be recorded onto the same track.
Pro Tabbing multiple projects
You can have multiple projects open via tabs at the top left. You can then drag and drop clips, instruments or ideas between projects with ease.
Pro The software advances with you
If you want to use it as a glorified tape machine and nothing else, you'll still be able to get work done. If you want to learn all the shortcuts, scripts, custom actions and macros and really unlock what Reaper can do, you can do that as well. Either way, you'll still be able to make music.
Pro Potential to be the most beautiful DAW
You can customize Reaper with hundreds of themes, or make them yourself.
Pro Multi-level freezing
A freeze can be applied to a group, and then picked apart track by track.
Pro Notation editing
Miraculously, composition-focused musicians can now find a home in Reaper.
Pro Native Linux support
No need to install Wine, Reaper supports Linux natively!
Pro Free Reaplugs VST/VSTi bundle
Allows usage of the basic bundled like EQ's and comp plugins in any DAW.
Pro Clean, easy-to-read GUI
While some may disagree, the GUI has been widely celebrated for its informative nature. Everything you need to see is there or reachable. For more analytical types, Reaper can be of use.
Pro Editing audio can be done on track
You don't have to go to a separate editor to edit audio files. You can work directly on the track, and drop/drag pieces to other tracks, sew them together. It's a fun sandbox and easy peasy.
Pro OSC support
You can control almost everything via OSC (and MIDI, too).
Pro Supports ReWire
Pro Tool-less interface
Set the cursor, press a key, done. Reaper's cursor is extremely intuitive. A monkey could understand it.
Unlike Cakewalk, Bitwig, etc., there is no need to switch cursor editing modes or work around "smart" cursors.
Running smoothly with 50 tracks on i5 gen3 RAM 4GB laptop (mixing and mastering work done separately).
Pro Lightweight and affordable price
These two things are the biggest advantage of Reaper. No other DAW can beat it based on CPU efficiency. Some people say Reaper isn't a professional DAW by look, but it's not true. Reaper is a full-featured professional DAW. You can do anything whatever you want for music production.
The price is also reasonable. They are even generous with the evaluation policy. If they offer the simple and intuitive version, I'll be back to Reaper.
Pro Runs well on Wine in Linux
While other DAWs drag their feet on Windows, Reaper hits a solid stride even on Linux.
Pro Excellent license model
You can have one version and the future version when its out .
Pro Can edit while you're recording
Reaper allows editing while you're recording for a performative and fluid workflow. This feature can also help save time when mixing.
Pro Script tools
Can run edited Script tools programmed by users.
Pro Good CPU multithreading support
Not like Ableton which forces all master/track plugins chain to 1-core
Pro Can mix on arranger view without console (mixer) or inspector
The standalone version of Photoshop costs $19.99/month, though it can be leased as part of the Creative Cloud Photography bundle that includes Lightroom for $9.99/month.
Con Latest versions of Photoshop are subscription-only
While you can still buy CS6 from 2012 without needing a subscription by contacting Adobe support or the cut-down Photoshop Elements, any full-version version of Photoshop past CS6 requires a subscription.
Con Learning it can take some time
While you can relatively quickly learn how to perform a few basic image editing tasks, understanding Photoshop's ins and outs can be difficult. It's partially due to the sheer amount of functionality that Photoshop packs (and understanding that some of the advanced functionality can take a while to understand on its own), and partially due to it being aimed at professionals with little hand-holding for novice users.
Con Very slow
It needs a very power CPU and GPU and many GBs of RAM and still it is so slow.
Con Stop paying, it vaporises
With Adobes adaptation of the "subscription world" PhotoShop too is available as subscription software only. This means it will never become yours. And if you stop paying, you won't have any PhotoShop any more. Whether you are OK with that or not, it also means that PhotoShop for a large part becomes software for those "who can afford it". Or "push cost to others". Like customers of professionals. Which is also a way to become an "industry standard".
Con Affinity Photo is just as good at a fraciton of the price
Switching from Photoshop to Affinity Photo and it's hard to notice the difference quality of a professional's work. They say that PS is the industry standard, but so very few pros that tried Affinity Photo ever look back.
Con Not good enough to be so expensive
Probably the only big advantage Photoshop has over the other free software is the adjustment layers. But still too expensive for just one feature.
Con Batch editing of images is not straightforward
Photoshop is designed to work extensively on one image at a time and while batch editing support exists, it's not that intuitive to use.
Con Asset management capabilities are lacking
In Photoshop asset management is done through a separate program called Bridge. As Bridge is supposed to be a file management tool for not just Photoshop's files, but for files generated by all of Adobe's applications it covers a breadth of capabilities, but not depth.
Con Long drop down menus
There are many features that you'll find nested deep in the menu system. This is fine, but can be a bit of a workflow-stopper. Everything is there but somethings are difficult to find. This can be remedied, somewhat, using the action list.
Con Overwhelming amount of features available
The programmable interface means that tweaking features is daunting for some.
Con Bad defaults, especially MIDI Editor
People dislike reaper because of the bad defaults. This is something the devs can work on but chose not to.
The privacy conscious may be unnerved to find that Reaper is closed-source. This means that what the software may or may not know about you is invisible. Try to protect your data when using closed-source software.
Con Feels like an unfinished product
There are lots of menu options and shortcuts, but then there's a ton of other stuff that's hidden away in options and "actions" screens, and absolutely none of it is intuitive. Also, many controls default to text boxes or basic sliders, when knobs would be more useful.
Con Midi latency is still an issue
Con The MIDI editor is not intuitive and feels very clumsy and inconsistent
It costs time and extra clicks to control the MIDI velocities. If you use the MIDI editor a lot, Reaper is just not for you.
Con Lacks VSTis
Doesn't come with a wealth of VSTis. Plugins for things like piano, cello, guitar have to be found elsewhere. But is highly compatible with other providers of those products.
Con Unreliable controller interface support
Reaper may or may not natively support your control surface. If it doesn't, you can add it manually, but it may often lose connection to it (and will constantly nag you about the lost connection).
Con Super complicated and unintuitive DAW
Although many users have asked to make it simple, the dev team hasn't listened to it at all. Plus, many things are opposite comparing to other DAWs and it's pretty annoying. They may have reverse psychology. They're trying to make musicians to coders. You'll waste your time for tweaking it. Reaper also gives you a challenge how your memory function sucks. You'll easily forget anything if you don't use it for several days. Even though Reaper offers many time-saving features, you'll waste time remembering all of them. It's non-sense.
Con No native groove quantize feature
Straight quantization is available, but the Reaper 4 DAW is still missing groove integration. This feature can be made available with the free SWS extension.
Con Midi dropout or inconsistent when render a track
When rendering a track with multiple vst, the midi note either having drop out issue, or not playing on time in render. Tried all render method such as offline full speed, offline 1x and online render, with both case of enabling or disabling the "allow anticipative FX processing", even tried to change the performance options on individual track, the problem still occurs. However, it is still nice to do mixing and recording with all these handful of tools.
Con Midi drum editing not so fast or easy
Cubase has more features for creating and editing midi drum tracks.
Con Some edge features come across as somewhat janky
The video editor acts as its own little IDE rather than a polished plugin with a frontend like other JS plugins. The MIDI export function is not integrated with the larger render window. It's a sort of death by a thousand paper cuts - although many of the features that are janky here simply don't exist in other DAWs.
Con Potentially unattractive GUI
For some, Reaper appears very dated or clunky. The GUI is nowhere near as fluid as its competitors. Ableton, Bitwig, Reason (and others) all provide smoother animations or skeuomorphic feedback.
Reaper's instruments and effects come in the form of sliders and very small knobs. It takes the user out of the fantasy of working with certain equipment. This makes Reaper very boring to watch from a distance for some.
However, this means nothing in terms of Reaper's raw power. By trading appearance and initial impression for functionality, Reaper stays ahead.