My favorite paid apps for content creation

I mentioned in my last post that I really wanted to start to create things this year. As part of that I thought that I would share some of the tools that I use to create things for myself and my classroom. While I really like free tools, sometimes paid options are just better. I generally do not like subscription based models and I prefer to get a perpetual license for software where available.

Image Creation

The first tool that I find myself using more and more is Affinity Designer. As I said I really don’t like monthly subscription services and ever since Adobe switched to the model, I find myself needing a vector art program that doesn’t come with a monthly bill. Affinity Designer does this perfectly. It has all of the same tools that I use in Adobe Illustrator as an absolute fraction of the cost. The entire software costs $50, and goes on sale for $40 on a regular basis. That’s less than two months of an Adobe subscription.

I also has an iPad app that works wonderfully and allows me to create on the go or in the classroom where I cannot install personal software.

TechSmith Products (Image and Video)

While Affinity Designer gets a lot of my image-based content creation out of the way TechSmith is the software company that I find myself using on a daily basis.

They offer two different pieces of software that I use daily and each excels at something different.


Snagit is an image capture tool that allows you to markup your image when done. It is specifically designed to allow users to capture something quickly, add edits, and publish it. I use it to take screenshots of software that I am using and then add any additional notes, arrows, button presses, etc to allow my students to understand the text better. It also allows you to capture you screen and create videos or GIFs which I find extremely useful when I need to do something quickly.

The most popular post on my site, as of writing this, has about a dozen screenshot edits from Snagit in it.


The other TechSmith product that I use is Camtasia. It is a screen capture and editing tool that allows me to record my screen and then edit the footage. I have used Camtasia to edit every video that I have made in the past 7 years and it has yet to fail me. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of a true video editing program (like color correction and detailed sound editing) but it can be used to create some truly impressive video projects. You can look at my YouTube channel for examples of things you can do with it.

Final Notes

While paid software may not be for everyone, I find that these tools in particular suit me just fine. They do the job that no free software currently can and they are amazingly affordable. Over the past 9 years of teaching I have paid less than $300 to purchase all of these tools and they have allowed me to create content far in excess of that cost.

Please let me know if you have any questions on Snagit or Camtasia. I’m still learning Affinity Designer and I can create what I need, but I’m not at the point where I could teach someone how to properly use it.





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