Top 12 alternatives to Photoshop for digital painters and illustrators
Yes, we haven’t done this in a while… but our inbox and chat are swamped with questions on the subject, so this article was very much needed.
it’s a simple list of art apps, but we know you love those :D
Enough with the intro, here it is, a list of twelve art apps you may want to check out.
<>ArtRage><>><>> is an art program for beginners and professionals. With its minimal interface, it’s easy to keep the essential tools at hand without stealing space from the canvas.<>Pros>: easy to use; friendly interface; essential tools from professional apps available; available for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac<>Cons>: it may get sluggish with big files and when using big brushes, but performances also depend on the running machine; limited selection of editing tools if compared to Photoshop - ArtRage is more of a painting program rather than an editing one.<>Paid>
Panels can be moved around and tools can be customised. We all know how important it is for digital artists to be able to modify brushes!
ArtRage Lite is a different version at a cheaper price, mostly for beginners, but also for professionals if they need the essential.
Now free, <>Sketchbook><>><>> is the famous app created by Autodesk for various platforms.<>Pros>: clean, friendly interface; easy to use; professional features; autosave feature<>Cons>: lack of official tutorials; doesn’t offer as many tools as other apps (it’s down to the essential); paid subscription in Adobe style for Enterprise License<>Free> and <>paid>
<>Black Ink><>><>> is a powerful little program few actually know, but there’s a reason: this isn’t your classing drawing app.<>Pros>: vast selection of customisable brushes; excellent performance<>Cons>: not very easy to use; non-intuitive interface<>Paid>
What’s cool about it is the vast selection of special brushes, completely non-realistic, and definitely able to boost your creativity.
This is probably the most complete software for painting, drawing and animation. It was originally known as Manga Studio, but with its updates and addition of features, it became <>Clip Studio Paint><>><>>.
This doesn’t say much about the quality of the features themselves considering the affordable price (if you haven’t used the app yet, that is), but among graphic apps, this one is the top seller.<>Pros>: professional features for illustrators; layout tools for comic/manga artists; 3D reference models; customisable tools; various sales with special prices<>Cons>: the interface may not appear intuitive at first; the program may lag (again, performance also depends on the running machine)<>Paid>
<>GIMP><>><>> is the famous open source image editor originally created for GNU/Linux and available for OS X and Windows.
Best known as Photoshop’s main competition, this is a manipulation program for both beginners and professionals who love design.
It offers many professional features, making the program a powerful tool.<>Pros>: professional editing tools; supports different formats; supported by different platforms; active community<>Cons>: in spite of the simple design, many options are hidden and it takes time to discover all the features; slow startup<>Free>
<>Krita><>><>> is an open source painting app created by artists for artists.<>Pros>: easy to use; intuitive interface; great brush workflow; brush stabilizer; customisable brushes; general good performance; very enthusiastic, although small, community<>Cons>: it may be slow or even crash depending on the running computer and the app’s version; very few editing tools compared to Photoshop<>Free>
<>MediBang Paint><>><>> is a free and light app for drawing and painting, perfect for manga and comic creation.<>Pros>: vast selection of brushes; cloud sharing; friendly, minimal interface (non-desktop app); also available for iPad, iPhone and Android<>Cons>: requires an account to use all features; non-intuitive interface (desktop version)<>Free>
<>Mischief><>><>> is a sketching app with essential tools, useful for brainstorming and ideation.<>Pros>: infinite drawing canvas; friendly interface; easy to use; cheap pro version<>Cons>: few updates; offers only the essential (but that’s the point); no editing/adjustment tools<>Free> and <>paid>
Corel’s jewel<>, Paint><>><>>er is the most famous software that offers digital tools able to give a traditional feel to brushes and canvas.<>Pros>: different selection of media; many professional features; PS-friendly<>Cons>: certain brushes may work slow; not easy to use at first; the software may crash (this is the most common report); pricey<>Paid>
<>Paintstorm Studio><>><>> is a professional software for digital painting. It’s focused on the use of brushes and blending, which makes the software a little gem in the digital painting field.<>Pros>: good brush workflow; brush stabilizer; “close gap” feature; customisable interface and tools; professional features; affordable price<>Cons>: non-intuitive interface (desktop version)<>Paid>
<>Procreate><>><>> is the powerful drawing app for iOS.
With the very sensitive Apple Pencil, Procreate is so easy to use that many artists chose the iPad over the most famous graphic tablets.<>Pros>: friendly interface; makes it easy to organise files; excellent brush workflow; customisable brushes; video recording; affordable price<>Cons>: hidden features; only available for iPad<>Paid>
<>SAI><>> is a simple app for artists who want to focus on painting and drawing.
It’s well known for its good pressure support and its essential tools for manga artists, but SAI can be used by any kind of artist who wants to paint.<>Pros>: easy to use; friendly interface; light software; customisable brushes; tons of (non-official) tutorials<>Cons>: limited selection of tools, even basic ones; limited canvas sizes and uses; it might crash from intensive work, especially with big canvases and brushes; supports only RGB colour mode; lack of support<>Paid>
<>Ma>ny call this app an advanced PaintTool SAI, and for a reason. <>FireAlpaca> offers almost everything PTS has and more.<>Pros>: friendly interface; brush stabilizer; lineart selection; customisable brushes<>Cons>: no colour slider; limited brush control; although more advanced compared to PTS, the features are quite basic.<>Free>
We hope you’ll find this list useful.
If you think there are other apps that should have made this list, don’t hesitate to let us know!
Thank you and peace out,
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