Not everyone has the spare cash to spend kitting themselves out with the most expensive graphic design software. So here is a list of free or low cost graphic design software out there to get your creative juice flowing started.
Digital Painting and Drawing
- Autodesk SketchBook Copic Edition – This is the limited edition of SketchBook Pro with 72 Copic colours to choose from
- Krita – Krita offers CMYK support, HDR painting, perspective grids, dockers, filters, painting assistants, and many other great features
- GIMP – GIMP is a well known free alternative to Photoshop with similar features
- Mischief Free Version – With six essential brushes, a basic palette of colors and an infinite vector canvas, Mischief-Free is perfect for hashing out ideas, life drawing, and endless doodles
- MyPaint – MyPaint is a fast and easy open-source graphics application for digital painters, and comes with 39 different brushes
- Verve Painter – Verve is a small painting application that uses fluid dynamics and brushes to push the paint around, though it is still in development.
- Inkscape – Inkscape is an open-source professional quality vector graphics software with sophisticated drawing tools with capabilities comparable to Adobe Illustrator.
- FireAlpaca – A similar program to Paint Tool Sai that offers features such as a snap feature which creates a variety of perspective overlays.
- MediBang Paint – A free lightweight painting program for Windows, Mac Os and Android with cloud saving to allow users to easily switch between platforms.
- SpeedyPainter – Basic painting program with a simple layout and features such as perspective grids and reference view mode
- Google Sketchup – Drawing-based tool for architects, designers, builders, makers and engineers who design for the physical world. SketchUp Make is a free version and SketchUp Pro is a paid version with additional functionality.
- Sculptris – A free, introductory digital sculpting tool, a great stepping stone for digital sculptors, created by the makers of Zbrush.
- Blender – A powerful application with full-fledged professional tools, Blender has a wide community and resources to help you learn.
- SculptGL – This handy modelling program works online in your browser and is compatible with wacom tablets
- Synfig – Synfig Studio is a free and open-source 2D animation software, designed as powerful industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation using a vector and bitmap artwork.
- EmoFuri – EmoFuri is a new animation software that helps artists easily animate photoshop illustrations in a 2D-3D style.It uses PSD files of character illustrations to animate them.
- Pencil2D – Pencil2D is an open-source animation/drawing software that lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation using both bitmap and vector graphics.
- Live2D – This increasingly popular 2D-3D animation software is similar to Emofuri withsample models available to experiment with, and is also available in english.
- Piskel – An online pixel art app that lets you animate pixel art with a live preview of your work.
- Piq – While it doesn’t have the best looking layout, this online tool has lots of interesting features including a colour-drift tool that’s great for making colour palettes.
- Thisissand – An online fun and unique playground for creating colourful sandscapes, also comes in an app version
- Flame Painter – A free demo of the full program, it allows you to try out the flame generator and change different brush settings and paint your own flame paintings
- Silk – An online interactive generative art program that creates bright silk-like patterns, with options to change colours and rotational symmetry.
- Bomomo – This interesting program has a group of dots that move around the screen in the pattern you choose, then paint the canvas according to when you click the screen.
- Drawpile – Drawpile is a software collaborative drawing program that allows multiple users to sketch on the same canvas simultaneously.