A Guide to Art Programs
|14 min read
Recommended Journals
Ways to use your art in a non-artistic career
Art In The Professions Ways to use your art in non-artistic careers What does this mean KovoWolf (https://www.deviantart.com/kovowolf)? Well let me indulge! Art can really be applied to any work force if you are in the position to be creative. Whether that's welding, photography, or a desk job. Applying your artistic skills in a non-artistic work environment can be crucial and at times, benefit you in making you become a valuable asset to any company. So the purpose of this PE article is to shed some light on ways your artistic insight can benefit your employer and yourself! A Good Eye It's safe to say that anyone who is artistic can bring a lot to the table in any career. Y
Selling Prints: Observations and Advice
Art in the Professions Week Introduction A lot of people think this is how print sales happen: 1. Join DeviantArt 2. Upload your first piece to DA with prints enabled 3. Log out 4. Come back an hour later 5. ???? 6. PROFIT But, sadly, it's not that easy - like most social media platforms, DA is a site where you tend to get back a return (in this case, CASH MONEY!) proportionate to effort you put into getting your content seen. In this article I'll be focusing on marketing your prints, which is easier than you'd expect but requires you to think about four major questions: What are you going to sell? Who are you selling it to? Where will you
Tuesday Tip: A guide to Pricing Art
Hi~! Its Goth-Kath (https://www.deviantart.com/goth-kath) here. Inspired by a question send to us at Rising-Artists (https://www.deviantart.com/rising-artists) for our advice column I wrote this , hopefully, helpful guide to  Pricing Your Art. I want to apologize up front for any and all spelling/ grammatical mistakes. English is not my first language and I normally get it checked but there wasn't any time now. Sorry. (Don't worry Kath, ya Warchief's got ya back~) So with that said. Lets jump into it~! Whether you have been doing commissions for years, work as a professional artist or are just starting out, it might be good to give this journal a read. We all know that pricing art is tricky and often difficult b
Goth-Kath's avatar
By Goth-Kath   |   Watch
181 77 24K (2 Today)
Published: August 18, 2015


Hey~! It's Goth-Kath here with another Tuesday Tip~! Last time I talked to you guys about Pricing your Art.

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.



Photoshop



Second up is Adobe Photoshop~! Probably the best and most complicated one of the bunch!

Where to get

it: www.adobe.com/products/photosh…

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.



Krita



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.


Gimp



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.


More Programs

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.


Adobe Flash

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

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 (:


Happy creating!

-Kath

Skin by SimplySilent
Recommended Journals
Ways to use your art in a non-artistic career
Art In The Professions Ways to use your art in non-artistic careers What does this mean KovoWolf (https://www.deviantart.com/kovowolf)? Well let me indulge! Art can really be applied to any work force if you are in the position to be creative. Whether that's welding, photography, or a desk job. Applying your artistic skills in a non-artistic work environment can be crucial and at times, benefit you in making you become a valuable asset to any company. So the purpose of this PE article is to shed some light on ways your artistic insight can benefit your employer and yourself! A Good Eye It's safe to say that anyone who is artistic can bring a lot to the table in any career. Y
Selling Prints: Observations and Advice
Art in the Professions Week Introduction A lot of people think this is how print sales happen: 1. Join DeviantArt 2. Upload your first piece to DA with prints enabled 3. Log out 4. Come back an hour later 5. ???? 6. PROFIT But, sadly, it's not that easy - like most social media platforms, DA is a site where you tend to get back a return (in this case, CASH MONEY!) proportionate to effort you put into getting your content seen. In this article I'll be focusing on marketing your prints, which is easier than you'd expect but requires you to think about four major questions: What are you going to sell? Who are you selling it to? Where will you
Tuesday Tip: A guide to Pricing Art
Hi~! Its Goth-Kath (https://www.deviantart.com/goth-kath) here. Inspired by a question send to us at Rising-Artists (https://www.deviantart.com/rising-artists) for our advice column I wrote this , hopefully, helpful guide to  Pricing Your Art. I want to apologize up front for any and all spelling/ grammatical mistakes. English is not my first language and I normally get it checked but there wasn't any time now. Sorry. (Don't worry Kath, ya Warchief's got ya back~) So with that said. Lets jump into it~! Whether you have been doing commissions for years, work as a professional artist or are just starting out, it might be good to give this journal a read. We all know that pricing art is tricky and often difficult b
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Sign In
Comments (71)
CaptainKaspurr's avatar
CaptainKaspurr|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for writing this! This is what helped me find Krita. I've been in a huge art slump and replaced my tablet, but the newer one doesn't work with Sai.
I almost gave up trying to find some program that had just as much features and had almost the same feel. Especially the descriptions you've added, it really helped!
Reply  ·  
aj-eaves's avatar
aj-eaves|Hobbyist General Artist
I heard someone say that GIMP is bad.
Don't T R U S T at all.
Reply  ·  
NepNepNepNepNep's avatar
NepNepNepNepNep|Hobbyist General Artist
honestly though, GIMP is trash at about everything other than photo manipulation
Reply  ·  
Raizanagi's avatar
it's so helpful!
my favorite program is medibang paint pro, yet i don't really see any tips for that program
Reply  ·  
Quack1223's avatar
Thank you for taking the time to write this. Awesome guide. 
Reply  ·  
RaineKugami's avatar
RaineKugami|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Of the ones i've used imo Photoshop offers the most as far as editing
For drawing I actually migrated to Medibang Paint Pro just because of the Cloud Save feature and the android device compatibility alone. Just wish that Clip Studio Paint had that save feature :)
Reply  ·  
sozo-teki's avatar
sozo-teki|Student Digital Artist
As someone who uses Clip Studio Paint for a couple of years, it is an interesting program. Around this year, they added a community like hub where people can upload brushes and materials. It's interesting and it helps with doing specific things. As for the stability part, it has it's ups and downs. 

One thing I am not fond of is when you hit about 250 layers or have a large carnvas (4000 x 4000 and up) it will get a bit slow. Another thing I am not fond of is that when you save large files or save stuff, it will take 10-30 seconds to do so. It scares me when it freezes like that because I think it will crash but if you wait, it should work easily. Above all it is an interesting program.  
Reply  ·  
CorruptTurret's avatar
"Fools. RealWorld Paint is all you need." -me circa November 2016
"Dad, asking again, can you give me $50 for SAI ok thanks" -me now
Reply  ·  
TDENDYBiBiANA's avatar
TDENDYBiBiANA|Hobbyist Digital Artist
my have all in just e-mail phone free 2 x-force keygen manga studio ex5 and photoshop cs 6 OMG MOAR POEMS! Dance! 


me free!!!!
Reply  ·  
macpainttool's avatar
macpainttool|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Really thanks for your guide to summarize the art programs.

Does anyone know how to run sai on Mac? Currently, I followed the method of the article 3 alternative to Paint Tool sai Mac OS X EI Capital   with pen pressure support. I would like try to find out the most convenient method to use paint tool sai on Mac and the article seems to work.

Here is a suggestion from my friend: Another nice paint tool named Pro Paint for Mac which can paint, draw, edit image, vector graphic design, free-form transformation, add filters, crop, alpha channel edit.
Reply  ·  
objectinmotion's avatar
objectinmotion|Hobbyist Digital Artist
What would you suggest for someone who only has experience with Photoshop from a class and liked it but needs the program to be free? My tablet's a Huion H610PRO, if that helps any, and I've got a MacBook Pro.
Reply  ·  
danganronpa11037's avatar
danganronpa11037|Hobbyist General Artist
krita
krita
krita
krita
i might be biased but krita
you should have added firealpaca too, it's really easy to use and took me about an hour to get used to (also free)
Reply  ·  
mamasbabygirlz's avatar
mamasbabygirlz|Hobbyist Digital Artist
here's a question. 
Is there any FREE and NO DOWNLOAD programs like paint tool sai?
Reply  ·  
ChexTheDoggo's avatar
yes, Pixlr is a very simplified version of sai, firealpaca is also good and free, its lightweight but you must download it
Reply  ·  
LVUER's avatar
Great review, very helpful... You might want to try Medibang Paint. The truth is I haven't use other software at all. I have only used Flash to make... well, everything, from illustration to manga and obviously, animation... and since Flash is not really for making all of those, the result is not that satisfactory though not that bad either.

The strong plus Flash has that other doesn't have (at that time) is the line stabilizer. The brush line that Flash create is super crisp. Yeah, BRUSH, not the pencil/vector tool. That's why I use Flash for a very long time.

I also use photoshop for a bit... nothing too serious though... at first it's because I don't have strong enough PC... but by the time I can buy one, I'm already too familiar with flash. Also, at that time, Photoshop is not that good to make manga... it's good to make illustration, for sure... but not for manga... again, not photoshop is bad... perhaps it's just people hasn't really used to it... It's really hard to create crisp lineart with photoshop... Nowadays we can make custom brush for that matter... I don't know if we already can achieve that during that time or it is just I don't know how... but anyway, I don't really use photoshop since I want to concentrate on drawing rather than tinkering with photoshop.

Of course finally I reached the limit of what Flash can do. Obviously it has plenty limitation if it's used to make illustration and manga... starting from inability to create high dpi art (it can make BIG art but since it's vector based, it neglects the dpi), no smudge tool, no helping tool to create perspective or dialog box, often crashing when creating big illustration, maximum of 2880x2880 pixels... and the list just goes on.

By the time I want to back to photoshop, I heard about Clip Studio Paint... and I heard that it's seriously good... but too expensive for me to buy (I got my photoshop from where I work) so I put that on hold... and since I'm busy with RL, I don't have the time to try the trial version...

Again, by the time I'm going to buy Clip Studio Paint (yeah, too lazy to try the trial version and just about to gamble and buy it anyway) I heard about Medibang Paint. I can't believe when I heard that it's really good but it's completely FREE!!! So I immediately download it and try it... and instantly fell in love with it... It has so many features, it has crisp line art... and so many other things... the update also fast and the admin actually listen to us... The best part is... it supports multiple platform, from PC, android, and iOS... It has cloud storage system so you can draw on PC, save to cloud, open it on Android, continue working... save... and the open it again on PC... and so on...

I want to say that Medibang is so great... but since I have only tried Flash and just a bit of photoshop... and watching many YouTubes videos about Clip Paint Studio... I want to hold my further opinion about Medibang.

Dem... why now I'm ranting here... I hope you don't mind... Anyway, I've tried Medibang and it's great... so I just hope you can try and like it too. Thanks and sorry for the long post... I want to draw potatoes here... but no uploading picture here, so sorry...
Reply  ·  
quirkySketchman's avatar
Krita has grown really fast thanks to kickstarter, you should check it out.

Also medibang paint is missing.

Great job anyways
Reply  ·  
dragonnology's avatar
dragonnology|Hobbyist General Artist
thanks for this :D
Reply  ·  
rineclipses's avatar
rineclipses|Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm using Medibang Paint Pro now and I think it's as good as any free softwares out there as well. :D
Reply  ·  
Animangie's avatar
Animangie|Hobbyist Digital Artist
ditto
Reply  ·  
aauditor's avatar
aauditor|Student Digital Artist
The Paint Tool Sai i have is a free version, but it saves transparent images, so it's not really a trial...
Reply  ·  
Ursusmaior's avatar
Slight correction: Manga Studio and Clip Studio Paint is actually the same, they are marketed under two different names in the East and the West.
Reply  ·  
InkPawStudio777's avatar
InkPawStudio777|Hobbyist General Artist
Youz forgot Inkscape! XD It's also a good program, and free too! XD
Reply  ·  
Sol-Caninus's avatar
Sol-Caninus| General Artist
Well, Kath, maybe I read too fast, but it seems you didn't mention that Adobe Photoshop CS2 is free.  Anyone can download a full version absolutely free of charge.  Adobe will supply the activation code.  The only caveat is that they will not support it any longer, so it won't update and you don't get access to online help etc.  It's without doubt the best freebee deal around.  Photoshop - full version - FREE. 

Also, you might research Mischief, a great little program with an infinite canvas.  It's a fraction of the price of PS and has good line stabilization, so provides a realistic (delightful) drawing experience.  
Reply  ·  
View 1 reply
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Sign In
©2019 DeviantArt
All Rights reserved