Free Graphic Design and Drawing Software
Buying a drawing or graphic design program makes sense if you draw or design graphics for a living. But for most of us, the need for such software comes seldom, and paying hundreds for a dust-collecting program is not very smart. Fortunately, there are plenty of good and free drawing, graphic design and photo editing programs available to help you create a logo, make a brochure, or touch up a photo. Here are some of the best...
Free Graphic Design Software
Microsoft Paint has been included as a freebie drawing and graphics editor in Windows since Version 1.0 in 1985. That's the good news. The bad news is that the program hasn't changed much since then. You can make shapes, draw freehand with your mouse, add text, then crop, resize or rotate. Mac Paint for Apple computers was abandoned in 1988.
Fortunately, there are plenty of good, free alternatives to commercial graphics tools such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Here are some of the best that I've come across. You'll find options that can be installed on your Windows, Mac or Linux computer. Others run right in your web browser, and don't care which operating system you have.
Paint.NET is a full-featured free image editing program for Windows computers. It features many of the advanced features found in Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro, such as layers, unlimited undo, and special effects. It was originally intended as a free replacement for Microsoft Paint but has grown into a powerful image and photo editor tool that's easy to learn and use.
DrawPlus Starter Edition by Serif is not limited to SVG file formats and 2D drawing, but it runs only under Windows. It’s more novice-oriented than SVG-Edit, but a powerful graphics editor none the less. Most of Adobe Illustrator’s funtionalities are repeated in DrawPlus, and the user interface is quite intuitive. You can quickly convert an object to 3D via extrusion, apply a wide range of 3D styles, or draw your own bevel profile that's instantly applied to your object. If you don’t know what all that means, relax; you can “just draw” with ease in DrawPlus. Serif no longer sells or supports DrawPlus, but you can still download and use the free version.
Canva helps you create all sorts of images (charts, graphs, collages, social media graphics) using a drag and drop tool, and also functions as a photo editor. Want to add a quick "speech bubble" to a photo? Done!
Microsoft Expression Design is a vector drawing program (as opposed to bit-mapped painting). It used to be a paid product, but MS abandoned support in 2012 and made it free. Microsoft says it's suitable for professional illustrators, website designers or budding artists.
More Free Graphics Software
GIMP - the GNU Image Manipulation Program began as a Linux product and now also runs under Windows and Mac OS. GIMP closely imitates Adobe Photoshop, making it easier to transition from Photoshop to GIMP. All the advanced Photoshop features you’re looking for are in GIMP, including layers, painting tools, color correction, cloning, selection, and enhancement.
For 3D creation, try Daz 3D Following the built-in tutorials, you can learn how to buidl animated 3D figures easily and quickly. Who knows, you could be making money as a game designer a year from now!
Blender is the world’s most popular open-source 3D creation program. Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux, Blender enables self-taught students to create 3D figures, virtual environments, and more without buying expensive software. It comes with tutorials that help you get started quickly.
The art of digital sculpting involves taking bits away from a virtual object, leaving only the nose-twitching bunny you just knew was in there. Sculptris from Pixologic is a great starting point for rookies or a fast, handy tool for experienced artists. It runs under Mac and Windows.
Houdini Apprentice is the free-for-non-commercial-use version of the very popular Houdini 3D animation and visual effects tool. A product of Side Effects Software, commercial versions of Houdini range from $2,000 to $4,500. But the developers have made a full-featured “light” version available free of charge.
What's your go-to solution when you need to create or modify a graphic design? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 3 Jul 2019
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Graphic Design and Drawing Software (Posted: 3 Jul 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved