I’ve been collecting a lot of art software over the years and have tried A LOT OF THEM. I want to list off the software I have tried, and even give some info on those that I have used. This is not a review for these products, I will try to do another post about that, but just to inform people that there are a lot more than you may expect. Also trying to keep the list in order of when I used them. So let’s begin~
All of the listed software are compatible with Wacom tablets, compatibility for other tablets may vary.
Adobe Photoshop 7, CS3, CS6, CC -ONE TIME PAYMENT (formally), SUBSCRIPTION (currently)-
This software is well known in the digital art industry. It has filters and different types of tools, compatibility with a lot of formats, and simple to advance settings for pretty much everyone’s needs. The brush engine hasn’t changed much over the years, except during the Creative Suite period, and is a powerhouse… which also means you need a pretty hefty computer to work on it efficiently. It likes to be the “one program for everything art” so even at standby it eats a lot of your computer’s resources. Also there is like a new edition each year. Can be used to create animations.
Corel Painter X, XII, 2016, 2017, 2018 -ONE TIME PAYMENT, UPGRADE DISCOUNT- [Windows and Mac only]
I first started to use this back in 2010 and it was pretty snazzy. This has some pretty neat guides, like the Rule of Thirds, and the Gold Ratio that you can set up. It also has a pretty in depth brush engine, which you can modify a lot of a strokes parameters, but at the cost of being extremely confusing to newcomers. The brush engine is well known for being able to simulate natural media. This is another software that has a new edition every year.
GIMP 2.8.22 -FREE-
Was pretty on par with Photoshop when I first started to use this program, and development felt abandoned for a few years. Now they are back and bringing in those much needed updates. It is free, so you should check it out. Also, it should be compatible with Photoshop ABR brushes, unless it has changed since the last time I used it. Can be used to create animations.
Alchemy -FREE- [Windows only]
Used to be my go to software for creating ideas, now the project is abandoned with little hope of ever continuing.
UPDATE: Sept. 8, 2017
The website appears to be offline, can download the software here.
Webchemy -FREE, WEB-
Sort of a website version of Alchemy. Compatible with all OS since it’s a web based software.
Artweaver 4, 5, 6 -FREE LITE VERSION, ONE TIME PAYMENT PLUS VERSION, UPGRADE DISCOUNT- [Windows only]
A lightweight, but powerful art software that isn’t well known. Honestly, the Color blend mode in this software works way better than in any other software I have tried.
ArtRage 4, 5 -REGULAR AND LITE VERSION, ONE TIME PAYMENT, UPGRADE DISCOUNT- [No Linux version]
Another software that can mimic natural media very well.
OpenCanvas 4.5, 4.5 Plus, 5, 5.5, 6 -FREEWARE (ver 1 only), ONE TIME PAYMENT (currently), UPGRADE DISCOUNT- [Windows only]
This one kinda goes under the radar for most digital artists nowadays. I used to use it a lot, and for a while it replaced Photoshop for modifying pictures and photos. Still a pretty good program, but is in need of some major bug squashing.
Paint Tool SAI 1, 2 -ONE TIME PAYMENT, FREE UPGRADE- [Windows only]
If someone isn’t using Photoshop as their go to program, then it is usually Paint Tool SAI. Paint Tool SAI, or SAI for short, is commonly pirated. It is because of this that software updates stopped for a while. Now there is an updated version, SAI 2. If you bought the original version, then you can use SAI 2. Please buy it instead of trying to pirate it, it’s only being made by one guy.
MyPaint -FREE- [Windows version buggy, No Mac version]
Used to be my favorite software to sketch, after a few buggy years, there are now somewhat stable versions for Windows. The fast and easy way to save scraps is a god send.
Manga Studio 4/Comic Studio 4 -ONE TIME PAYMENT- [Windows and Mac only]
Ok, so this software was my first introduction to multi-page management for art software, AND I LOVED IT!!! Kind of a shame that the English version got the short end of the stick (like CSP is enjoying now…) with fewer updates, and eventually abandoning updates after a few years. Comic Studio 4 is the name of the original Japanese version, and was kept up to date throughout its life cycle, which ended in 2015. This software is GREAT for line work, but it doesn’t do well with coloring (some people can make it work, but it lacked a lot of useful tools to do it effectively). Can create lines in vector layers.
IllustStudio 1.2.7 -ONE TIME PAYMENT- [Windows only]
This was launched shortly after Comic Studio 4 did, and served as a supplement for the software. While Comic Studio was good for line work, IllustStudio was great for coloring. Still stand by the fact that this brush engine is still better than CSP. The functions of this and Comic Studio 4 were essentially combined to create CLIP STUDIO PAINT. This NEVER officially came out in English.
Manga Studio 5/CLIP STUDIO PAINT -ONE TIME PAYMENT, PRO AND EX VERSION- [Windows and Mac only]
My go to software, and becoming very popular every year. When I was looking for software, I came upon Manga Studio 4, which lead me to Manga Studio 5. Then by some accident, I came across the original Japanese version of CLIP STUDIO PAINT. Like everyone else, didn’t know they were the same software until I got it, but I’ve been using custom translation of the Japanese version ever since. A lot of people compare it to Photoshop and SAI having a baby but in reality it’s like POSE STUDIO, Comic Studio 4, IllustStudio, and NOVEL STUDIO merging to become this monster. Also can be used to create animations.
For a while this program had issues with memory leaks, now it is probably one of the best art software you can get. It’s always in development and brings in a lot of new features. It can also create animations.
This software allows you to draw with other people, kinda like those websites where you draw with a group of people. You can host your own session, either public or private, and draw with friends. It also has pressure sensitivity, unlike most drawing websites.
Just a list, so you need to check them out for yourself. Will add more info about them when I have the time. If you know any other art software not on the list, comment below so I can add them.