This time I’m going to talk about a subject that will speak to less people, but I hope it will still be useful to some.
Today's subject is : Digital Art Programs
I have seen enough people who want to start Digital and don't know which program to get. I've also seen enough artists who do not like the program they have or want a change of pace but do not know any other programs to get, or at least none that won’t cost them a kidney (I’m looking at you Adobe ):< ). So today I’m going to list a bunch of programs you can use to create Digital art, with some correct information, pros/cons, and my personal experience.
So, let’s get to it~!
Paint Tool SAI
Paint Tool SAI or Easy Paint Tool SAI is probably the most well known Digital art software out there (along with Photoshop).
Where to get it: www.systemax.jp/en/sai/
Costs: Paint tool SAI comes with a free 31 day trial. After that you will need to buy the license for 5400 Japanese Yen or $43,50 to be able to use the entire version. (After the trial ends you wont be able to save/open documents). BUT there are FREE versions of Paint Tool SAI roaming the internet. This means it will run as a trial forever. NOTE: The trial version cannot do certain things like saving transparent files.
Interface: The interface is clean and both the brushes/colour column and the layer/effects column can be switched to either side of the canvas you're working on.
The drop down menus offer various customization options, canvas rotation, filters, and deform options.
Pros: 180 layers, stabilizers, effects, filters, custom brushes, swatches/sliders/scribblepad, clipping groups, and maps.
Cons: Not much effects, not all too strong deform options, textures work a little wonky.
My experience: Good, my favorite. Easy to understand/use for beginners. Not all THAT expensive compared to other programs.
Second up is Adobe Photoshop~! Probably the best and most complicated one of the bunch!
Where to get
Costs: Adobe always offers a 30 day free trial on all their products before you need a licence code to start the program. Photoshop costs $20 a month or $240 a year
(That’s Photoshop only, it offers other deals for multiple programs).
Interface: Photoshop's interface is really full when you compare it to SAI or other programs. Every tool has a drop down menu with multiple variations of the tool in them, and the drop down menus at the top offer endless possibilities when it comes to filters, deformation, and effects. The interface also allows you to either pick a light or a dark background whichever you prefer.
Pros: Seemingly endless layers, advanced colors and effects, clipping groups, custom brushes and patterns, huge amount of different tools and tricks, can animate.
Cons: Pretty expensive for students/beginners, essentially made for photomanipulations (not art), difficult to understand for beginners, wonky use of layer adjustments, heavy program so you'll need a good PC.
My experience: I actually like Photoshop. I can't say I understand it all because I don't, I think I do not even use 1/4th of what Photoshop has to offer. I really miss the stabilizer in Photoshop and as a result I cannot do much with it except painting some pre-made sketches (this is entirely my fault though, one shouldn't rely that much on stabilizer tools). Photoshop is also way too sensitive to my tablet imo and I have not found any correct setting yet. I cannot find a middle way where I can paint lightly AND get it 100% black if I choose to.
(Our Warchief, LokiDalton actually uses Photoshop CC 2015 daily to create their pieces, so if you have any questions about Photoshop, you can always shoot them a comment/Personal Note~)
Clip Studio Paint
Is not THAT well known but is an excellent tool to create Mangas/Comics!
Where to get it: www.clipstudio.net/en
Costs: Just like almost every program, Clip Studio Paint comes with a free trial. Afterwards you pay either $50 for Paint Pro or $220 for Paint EX. (Paint EX offers more tools/effects than Paint Pro, but Paint Pro is pretty good on its own).
Interface: Clip Paint Studio has an interface that is kind of a mash-up between Photoshop and SAI. It is pretty standard and easy to get yet Clip Studio offers so much that you can make your interface as cluttered and full as you want. Clip Paint Studio is also changeable from light to dark and back.
Pros: It offers 3D models for you to position/use for drawings, it has a huge amount of tools to help you with panels and perspective, stabilizer/flow settings, photo to Manga converter, speedlines, RGB -> CYMK settings for prints.
Cons: If you're serious about making Mangas/Comics you NEED the EX version (the expensive one), the 3D model rotation goes a bit wonky, it has a LOT of things/tricks that you need to learn, the program can
be really overwhelming, and it’s a seriously heavy program so you need a good PC to run it.
My experience: I have not used the program very often because the 3D modeling made it crash multiple times, but I can easily see the potential behind it all and it is a really good program for drawing Mangas/Comics. It needs a bit of effort to understand but the site offers various tutorials to get the hang of it.
The most complete FREE program around!
Where to get it: krita.org/
Costs: None at all, Krita is 100% FREE!
Interface: The interface is also a mash-up between SAI and Photoshop. The drop down menus offer effects/filters and the layer/color columns can be switched around to suit your style.
Pros: It's very user friendly, quick mirror view, RGB -> CYMK for prints, blending modes, great pop-up menu, good with filters/adjustments, it offers Comic/Manga templates.
Cons: Stability is lacking, layer management could be a bit better.
My experience: My experience with Krita is not much, I got it at a time where my PC wouldn't even load three tabs so it couldn't run the program well. The large brushes went really slow and buggy when I wanted to work on big high res files. Further than that I have nothing bad to say about Krita, it’s FREE and amazing at it. It lacks here and there but it’s the best choice for a beginner or professional who wants to stay at low costs.
A Free manipulation program!
Where to get it: www.gimp.org/
Costs: None, it’s free!
Interface: User friendly and pretty clean. You can drag the bars to wherever you want.
Pros: It’s free, you have your standard options, all in all it’s decent for warping and manipulating pictures.
Cons: GIMP is a bit dead, it’s hard to operate, and you don't get more than standard brushes and horrible patterns.
My experience: I can easily say that I hate GIMP, I've used it for quite some time because I had no alternative and it was free. GIMP can be okay if you take the time to figure out how it all works but the menus are strange and the layers do not work as well.
I can think of some more programs that I’m not familiar with. I will link them below and give you the pricetag but I cannot say any more about them because I have no personal experience.
Some people use Adobe Flash to draw in. It’s mostly used as an animation program.
Its a vector program with the ability to create smooth lines but it can't blend. So no painting!
- Where to get it: www.adobe.com/nl/products/flas…
- Costs: $20 a month or $240 a year.
Paint.net is a pretty decent program with good color options and it allows the use of layers.
- Where to get it: www.getpaint.net/index.html
- Costs: None, its totally free!
Corel Painter/ Painter 2016
Coral Painter is compatible with Photoshop and great for Mixed Media.
- Where to get it: www.painterartist.com/us/produ…
- Costs: $230 for everything.
Manga Studio 5
- Where to get it: my.smithmicro.com/manga-studio…
- Costs: $48
Well that's it for today~! Don't forget that not every program is meant for everyone. Maybe you'll need to switch between a few before you find one you work easily with. Choosing a good program to work with is really personal! And yes, the expensive programs offer more but they are NOT necessary to create beautiful art~! Just see how much YOU are willing to spend, and make the most of the free trials
As always, if you think this article was helpful: Share~! It means the world to me (: