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PE: Free + Open Source Art Programs

Wed Mar 11, 2015, 1:00 PM by Astrikos:iconastrikos:


Community Week

There are plently of art programs out there, but many cost money to buy. This article aims to help you find a free or open source altneratives to paid art programs.

Digital Painting

The following programs are alternatives to digital painting programs like Paint Tool SAI and Corel Paintshop Pro.

Krita is a great program that is actively developed and has a plethora of features. The brush engine in particular is really nice. Similar to GIMP & Photoshop, Krita does more than just digital painting. You can do things like photomanipulation, and it offers a variety of file formats and templates to experiment with. Because there are so many features, the learning curve is going to be higher than with something like SAI, but since it's well laid out and gorgeous, you should be able to paint gorgeous stuff in no time. 
Keep in mind, Krita uses a lot of RAM & CPU, and you might need a graphics card to keep the program running in a fast manner. 

MyPaint is one of my personal favorites for a variety of reasons. 1) MyPaint presents itself in a clean, uncluttered workspace while allowing you to customize panels the way you like them. With a click of the tab key, all menus can be hidden, which is really nice. 2) I love the variety of settings in MyPaint's brush engine. If you hunt around, you can find a lot of really cool brushes that behave pretty uniquely. 3) Infinite, raster canvas. This feature is really great. You don't need to worry about creating a bigger canvas because it goes on forever and gives you unparalleled freedom. Although primarily developed for Linux, Windows builds are currently in the process of being updated. (Mac builds are there too!) MyPaint is lightweight and runs fast, even on low powered machines like my Atom based tablet. 

Fire Alpaca is similar to Paint Tool SAI but offers a slightly different feature set. Since it's available for both Mac & Windows, it's a nice SAI alternative to more people. There's not a lot of brush customization in Fire Alpaca, but you do get line smoothing and a water brush tool that's really nice. I am also a fan of the way you can quickly set up perspective grids. Fire Alpaca is nice and is actively developed, meaning new features are implemented all the time. 

Alchemy is less of a program for painting and more of a program for sketching and design creation. There's a lot of neat things you can do with symmetry and randomness, which is great if you need to paint randomly in order to generate ideas. 

Autodesk Sketchbook is free in the Copic edition and in the Starter/Essentials edition. You get less features, but there's no free trial counters which is really nice. Sketchbook Copic stimulates the look of markers while Starter/ Essentials gives you a few, nicely designed tools to paint with. 

Photo Editors

These programs are for photo editing primarily, but some are used for digital painting is well. 

GIMP is a lot of things. It's almost like Photoshop in complexity, although some tasks require a few more clicks than they would in Photoshop. GIMP has come a long way since its earlier builds and can do a lot of different things. Since GIMP is so popular, you can find plenty of nice tutorials and plugins. 

Paint.NET is an image editor that is way lighter and faster than Photoshop, but still offers a good amount of features and flexibility. 
Lots of available plugins and is still actively developed. Keep in mind, it's only available for Windows, and not the RT version. 

RawTherapee is a digital darkroom developer/image processor like Lightroom, which means it's great for processing the RAW file format. It also supports Adobe Lens profiles, so you can do lens based adjustments.

darktable is similar to RawTherapee, but offers masks. RAW processors are nice because they are nondestructive. The two programs are similar but try both and see what your personal preference is. 

Picasa is a great piece of software designed to organize your photos and edit them as well. It offers ways to easily share your photos on Google+ and other social networks. In addition, Google is constantly adding new features and photo effects. Photo editing is also nondestructive.

Illustration & Graphic Design

Inkscape is a great vector and illustration program. It's got many plugins, features, and all kinds of resources/ tutorials written for it. You can do a lot with Inkscape and it's available for all platforms. 

Draw Plus by Serif, the creator of Afinity Designer, offers a lightweight graphic design program for Windows. I haven't tested it, but it seems pretty competent. 

3D Modelling & Animation

Blender offers an amazing set of features: animation, rendering, compositioning, rigging, sculpting; I highly recommend you hop over and take a look at the extensive feature set! This comes, however, with a steep learning curve. However, if you have a project that demands complexity and options, Blender might be the program for you. It also is available as a portable app, which is super great. 

Daz3D is not normally free, but if you register, it is! You can do many things, but its main highlights include animation, CG, 3D design, and storyboarding. 

Sculptris allows you to sculpt 3D models, and is made by the creators of ZBrush. In addition to sculpting, you can paint your 3D models and light them in very realistic ways. 

Hopefully this article has helped you in some way!

Have you ever used free or open source software in your work? If not, are you planning to now? If you've ran into any others, feel free to share links to them! 

Feel free to answer in the comments below!

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If you ever need somebody to talk to, promote your work, or give some constructive feedback, feel free to contact me!

Have a beautiful day!

Praising Life Project

Praising Life Project
Praising Life ProjectWelcome to the Praising Life Project

It's really hard for anyone to stay positive all the time. I definitely agree with that.
However, when things go wrong, it's so easy to forget how much you've been blessed. It's amazing that we have the internet, people who care, and hope...
Although there is a lot of bad in this world, there is also beautiful joy and countless things to appreciate. :love:
And that makes me praise life.
The memories, the laughter, the joy, the hugs through hard times.
In this life, we only have one chance! I think one of our life purposes is to spread love throughout this world and leave it in better shape than before we were here. 

It would be much appreciated if you help spread the word! (:+fav: & Comment!) 
<strong align="center">

Praising Life Project: Contributions 2The original project journal has so many contributions it can no longer be updated! :la:
Thank you guys!

Intro information can be found here: 

It would be much appreciated if you help spread the word! (+fav & Comment!) 
Contribute to the Project (Read On) or Donate

I am hoping to reach at least 300 inspiring messages from the community if I can. 
The goal of 15,00 points has been reached, I am now looking for prize donations to a contest!
Thank you so much for participating!
KaineKamui"I Will See:
The sun falls
Night it rises
But I will see sunlight again
The clouds darken
Rain begins to pour
But I wi

(1st Article is filled with so many contributions, it can't be updated anymore! Thank you so much everyone! )
This project is meant to inspire positivity throughout this community.
It would be much appreciated if you help spread the word! ( :+fav: + Comment and tell your friends! )

:pointr: Click here to participate!

Point Goal


As the goal has been reached, I will be soon creating a contest!

I'll be running a contest soon. 15,000 points worth of prizes! What prizes would you like the most? 

7 deviants said Premium memberships
4 deviants said Commissioned Artwork (Artists wanted!)
3 deviants said Prints
2 deviants said Anything else? Share in the comments!
1 deviant said Journal Features (Prizes needed! Note me if you'd like to offer a feature for someone!)
No deviants said Contest will be based off my project here:…


Add a Comment:
dpcdpc11 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2015  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks for the fave!
SavageFrog Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
u alive giraffe?
(1 Reply)
RhynWilliams Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015   Traditional Artist
:heart: hi
(1 Reply)
thedaydreaminggirl Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2015   Photographer
Thank you so much for the fav.
I'm glad you like my work. :heart:
Have a nice day. :sun:
Zanny-Marie Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for joiningTandemFeatures:happy: by J-Cartoons
We are a group designed to promote Journal Features, in order to bring more exposure to all artists around DA!
Get Together by Raishuu
Looking forward to seeing your favourite Features in our galleriesDaily Deviation by The-Block

Take Care,

Co-Founder of the LovelyTandemFeaturesHave-a-Beautiful-Day by KmyGraphic
Add a Comment: