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PROTIP: What App For What Chart 2014

By fox-orian
UPDATE: Chart takes into consideration on some recent app updates and some altered opinions on previous apps. Most notably, the release of the absolutely fantastic new Manga Studio 5, which has changed my perception of both Photoshop and SAI compared to the old chart. Give it a look at!

NOTE: These star ratings are pit only against each other relatively, not every app on the market!
NOTE2: My opinions on COREL PAINTER are NOT based on the latest version, X3, which I have not used yet.

I keep seeing lots of debates about what program should be used for what. This is different than the Filetype tutorial I did, where this is dealing with the type of work being done, versus export purpose.

I’m not claiming this chart I made is gospel, but it should give a pretty good idea on what the strengths are of each particular program are based on some basic needs and parameters.

(Of course, your mileage may vary on these ratings.)

By the way, this chart is totally a rip on the old Speed/Accel. chart in the Super Mario Kart instruction manual. (See page 25.)

WHERE'S GIMP????????? (or --other program here--)
I've never ever used Gimp before. I have no professional experience or informed opinion on the program. Thus, I will not list it here since I have no history with it.
On the plus side, Gimp is free -- so why don't you go give it a try and see for yourself? You have nothing to lose!
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Purrloinedlove's avatar
FireAlpaca is great, especially for the price!
dsp2003's avatar
Jasc's Paint Shop Pro (don't confuse with Corel Painter! It was rebranded as Corel PhotoPainter) has extremely powerful type and design features, since unlike Photoshop it uses vector layers for text and allows to manipulate it just like any other vector object, including node editing, slicing, distortion and anything you can imagine with Beizer curves.

Also, I don't see InkScape in this chart, which is a direct OpenSource counterpart of Illustrator. Neither I see MyPaint, which has tons of brushes and options and can be compared with Photoshop in drawing features (yet still loses to SAI due to lack of stroke smoothing).

SAI's vectors: they are non-existent. The only "vectors" SAI is capable of are lines with nodes yet no shapes - that severely cuts out the range of their appliance.

After SAI's brushes, stroke smoothing, floodfill algorithms and transparent mode for ANY brush Photoshop's painting process is a pain in the arse.

Also, where's Krita (way better than GIMP, can be considered a direct replacement for SAI in Linux environment) and Mischief (vector drawing tool which beats the crap out of SAI's vectors)?
Hedisaurus's avatar
To be honest Sai would be the best painting tool due to the fact that there are better blending brushes. And you don't have to rely on the eyedropper tool that much to over paint
dana123girl's avatar
try out ClipStudio too^^
BOONJAGGA's avatar
MangaStudio is essentially the Western release of Clipstudio. I personally think anyone considering MangaStudio should get clipstudio as that would support the developers directly, as buying MangaStudio mostly supports SmithMicro instead of the Japanese developers of the program itself.
SpaceTurtleStudios's avatar
A very helpful chart. I have heard a lot of good things about SAI but hadn't heard of Manga Studio; I'll have to check that one out.
favmir's avatar
Clip studio would be pretty much the same with Manga studio I guess? :) And it has an awesome price too!
Ashwings's avatar
Hooo doggy!
Thanks so much for this. I was humming and hawing over if I should get Manga studio 5 or not but reading this simple guide really helped!
What are the differences between 5 and EX 5 for manga studio? I have played around with EX 5 but not just with 5.
FXMorph's avatar
Thank you for this
SSJ-Videl's avatar
Koogleblitz's avatar
i cant believe so many people use photoshop instead of MS5 given the the gap between their prices. it is simply an injustice.
favmir's avatar
Ikr? Photoshop's price was simply ridiculous, it's MS-tier ;)
Quite an informative piece. Thanks!
By the way, any suggestions about tutorials to start trying Manga Studio? I got really interested.
KahzZzZz's avatar
quite informative
oKaShira2's avatar
I love you! ^v^
Cetriya's avatar
seems no one is using Illuststudio?
Snapai's avatar
You're not including free programs on the chart, I suppose, but you should give :iconinkscape: (for vector work) and :iconmypaintplz: (for drawing/sketching/tabletpc) a shot if you haven't. :D

I am SOOOooo addicted to MyPaint's infinite canvas. :u
Dualmask's avatar
Yeah, Manga Studio is a dream program. It's my new artistic best friend. I still use Photoshop for some things, but 99% of the art I've made over the last 9 or so months was all done with MS5 on my Surface Pro.
IAmAir's avatar
Will check this out later. Thanks for the info.
Liz-DarkWarrior's avatar
I really want to upgrade to MS5 now but Christmas already passed and I'm broke
Koogleblitz's avatar
its like less than 30$ on amazon
Koogleblitz's avatar
for the basic version (which has like 85% of the features of the EX version), yes
Liz-DarkWarrior's avatar
I have the older version of the basic right now, but I've always wondered, what exactly is the difference between the EX and the basic?
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