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What free art program do you recommend?

Samandriel Morningstar

The Morningstar
I also use gimp for gifs. Occcasionally inkscape for vectors, but that one is way too complicated.

Inkscape is such a pain in the ass,just like SAI.
I use gimp too,but for photo editing and stuff,doesn't really work well with drawing.
 

Samandriel Morningstar

The Morningstar
I did use Fire Alpaca before and I was surprised that it can open a Photoshop PSD file. (Especially if you want to transition from Photoshop to Fire Alpaca)
Here's a list of free programs for you to try.
10 Free Drawing Software Worth a Try - EnkiVillage

Oh wow I wasn't aware that it could open a photoshop file,that's interesting.
Thanks for the list,much appreciated.
 

Samandriel Morningstar

The Morningstar
Oh god,I think I'm going to stick with Firealpaca.
Krita just has wayy too much and none of the other programs really interested me.
Thanks for the info though everyone,hopefully someone else who happens along this thread will find a program they like.
 

RailRide

The Real Wheels of Steel
Despite using Picture Publisher (mostly), and trying out Manga Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook, I do dink around with a few free applications...

Krita has already been mentioned. I have an interest in it because of its upcoming animation functionality (which can work in conjunction with the recently open-sourced Toonz)

Example images below are linked to their respective FA entries, because I also write about how I did the pic in the descriptions

There is MyPaint, which I used to do this pic:
1372921182.railride_nosketchbook.jpg

(Note that this is only the third time I've ever done a pic entirely digitally) FA link with description

I've also used SmoothDraw, which I used to ink and color the pencils of this pic: FA link with description
1375716942.railride_ultimatestuck.jpg

There's no special reason why I employed SmoothDraw for this, I just wanted to test it out. The pencils were retained in the image both for the gritty looking texture, and that there was no way I was going to paint in all the intricate details surrounding the character.


As for Inkscape, I usually use that for inking pencil scans, which I can then turn out bitmaps at any size to insert into a backdrop drawn in another application. The key to using Inkscape is not to directly draw the image like you'd do in Photoshop/Sai/Gimp etc. Understand that with vectors, everything is an object with an outline and fill. When doing lineart you're really just creating open-faced objects with transparent fills. As such there's no need to follow every pencil stroke directly--you are laying down straight lines which you'll grab and bend to match the pencil strokes beneath, adding control points as needed so each line can be bent in more than one direction (if needed).

Every segment of the resulting drawing, remains adjustable, re-size-able, re-position-able and stackable just like layers in any other application you may be used to. You don't even have to have a tablet, sometimes using a mouse makes things easier since a mouse doesn't slide as you click while drawing lines. (oh, and if you accidentally ink in the same layer as your pencils, you can cut/paste the lines to a new layer at any time, and remove them from the pencils with no damage done)

Inkscape was used to ink and color this character of mine. It's my first completely vector inked and colored pic. Only the signature/attribution text were added in another application:
1347851017.railride_illusionofheight.jpg

The lines and color are on different layers as you'd expect, but each block of color is its own independent object, as well as the highlights and shadows--their outlines were simply made transparent. The soft-shading on her hair is comprised of closed shapes cloned from the ones that established the flat colors, but with gradients applied to them. FA Link with description

And finally, some images even I couldn't imagine how they could be done as vectors when I first started experimenting with Inkscape--until I needed to draw some cars and had to be able to easily re-size them to insert in a pic I was working on. Since I wasn't able to freehand them well enough within time constraints, I elected to try vectoring some photographs:
1386458125.railride_vector_vehicles.jpg

Each one of these was a learning experience, but you'll have to go to the FA Link with description (since this post is long enough as it is)

Lastly, there is AZDrawing and AZPaint, A pair of Japanese applications with English translations added later by fans, the first intended for inking, the other for color (why they are separate applications, I don't know). Their 'still-being-supported' status is hazy at the moment but they do work.

---PCJ
 
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