One of the biggest questions aspiring digital artists have is what type of software they should use. While the decision of which programs are best for you depends on what type of art you like to do digitally and what your style is, there are definitely a few suggestions I can make! Here are the top five art programs I suggest, along with the pros and cons of each:
openCanvas is a program that is perfect for sketching and for those who are familiar with the layout of Photoshop. You have the ability to customize brushes, ruler tools are available for use, the interface of the program is user-friendly, and you also have the ability to create ‘event’ files which allow others to watch you draw. The downside to this program is that there aren’t as many drawing/painting tools available in openCanvas as there are in other programs.
- Paint Tool SAI
Paint Tool SAI is a great program to use for drawing and coloring digitally. It’s a very lightweight and smooth program to use, and the program itself is very responsive. Paint Tool SAI allows its users to easily draw delicate things, and when it’s running there is little to no lag on the computer. Another very good thing about this program is the fact that it isn’t as ‘resource hungry’ as photoshop is. One of the only cons that I’ve seen for Paint Tool SAI is that there aren’t as many filters available as there are in other programs.
- Sketchbook Express/Pro
Sketchbook Express/Pro is a program that’s very simple to work with for sketching. It features a simple interface, it’s tablet-PC friendly, and the tools available are able to imitate pens, pencils, and brushes rather well. A difference between Sketchbook Express and Sketchbook Pro is that Express has limited tools and functions, whereas Pro has everything. Another big downside is the fact that this program is designed only for quick sketching, so there are a limited amount of layers to use.
GIMP is a free program that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. It has a wide assortment of tools and brushes to use, and it’s a simple program to learn. You can also customize the brushes which comes in handy. However, a drawback to this program is that it has been reported to be slow (depending on your computer) and a bit glitchy at times.
Photoshop is a program perfect for anything from drawing all the way to photo editing. There are plenty of design tools to choose from and this program is also useful for photo corrections and manipulation. The interface is user-friendly, and users can start editing photos and creating right away with ease. A downside to this program is the fact that the interface can be very overwhelming to people who are just beginning with these types of things. A final drawback is that not all the updates are completely bug free as soon as they’re released. There will usually be a couple bugs and glitches that need to be fixed and reported.
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