I was talking to a colleague about painting software we like, we hate, problematic software, software that were so much better 10 years ago, software we need to use for certain features but we wish we couldn’t.
Anyway, this is extremely personal, it means that what works for me doesn’t necessary work for you. A lot of people uses Painter successfully, I just find it terrible for my needs.
Personal reasons for not liking certain software:
Photoshop - it keeps getting heavier and heavier and heavier and the painting tools are still roughly the same since 7.0. Every new version Adobe just adds some flashy feature that looks good in the press release, makes the software heavier but no one will EVER use. 70% of the software is completely useless for me as it tries to be a software for photographers, designers, painter, comic artist, pixel artists and a shitload of other professional figures without being exhaustive for any of these.
It also had code lines that were written in 1990.
Illustrator - extremely not user friendly, some things that are REALLY EASY in other software are DIFFICULT AS FUCK, roundabouts ways need to be found all the time.
WHY NO CROP TOOL FOR CLIPPING MASKS, WHY. Still the same hateful Adobe policy “I prefer flashy useless features to things one can actually USE”.
Painter - The least user friendly software I’ve ever seen, it makes illustrator look like a walk in the park. Buggy and slow. (but
cool brush engine Artrage is better)
the Gimp - It’s just not for painting. I mean, it’s for photo manipulation. Painting tools and brushes are just…. bad.
Software I think artists should know more:
Artrage - traditional painting look-alike (way better than painter IMHO), if you use the version studio pro 3.5 and later is really suitable for professional work. I made posters 3 mt tall with that software with no problems. The other, cheaper, versions are great for amateurs. Mac, iOSx and Windows
Manga studio 4 EX - THE professional software for comics. like THE MOST PROFESSIONAL SOFTWARE for comics I’ve ever used. it has EVERYTHING YOU NEED and nothing more. (except the 3d features… I don’t use those but some people do). it handles your stories, the baloons, the panels, perfect inking tools, the perspective, screentones, prepares files for printing. Doesn’t support colors (actually it does but it’s terrible), so it’s only for b/w comics. but you can easily export the inked page and color it in the software you need. I’m not entirely fond of the GUI tho. Mac and Windows
Clip studio paint - this japanese software from the same people who brought us Manga studio will be distributed internationally under the name “manga studio 5” (there’s already a pre-launch version available). This takes everything that makes Mangastudio 4 great and add everything an illustrator would need. So, great for comics AND illustrations AND colorists. I haven’t tried the EX version (the more expensive and professional one) that should have the support for multi-page stories and better handling of baloons. I will return to you with opinions on that when I’ll try it. Oh, and better GUI. Mac and Windows
Mac user who looks for alternatives to Paint tool SAI (or windows user who look for a more stable version of the same software) this is what you’re looking for.
Al.chemy - far from being a complete software this is something I use to create random shapes and find inspirations for designs. it’s designed to be not controllable so you can experiment without thinking about polished things. it’s funny as fuck. and free. Not to be used for work. Mac, Linux and Windows
Sketchbook pro - I stopped using this when I found clip studio paint but it has a great GUI and really nice brushes and is perfect for speedpainting. I have collagues who use this for sketches because the non-distracting GUI let them express themselves freely. Mac, iOSx and Windows (I think)
ColorSchemer Studio - Not a painting software but has all the tools you need to make palettes. I love it but it’s expensive for such a small color app. Mac and Windows
Software I tried quickly but never really used:
Inkscape - This is a really cool vector software. I’m not using it because it has a totally different approach from illustrator and I should radically change the way I work to start using this (I’m lazy). Anyway for those who want to approach vector drawing it’s great. and opensource. Mac, Linux and Windows
Mypaint - I know professionals who use this with no problem and brushes look good indeed but I had problems because the user interface was REALLY buggy. it might be the mac version or it might be problems of my computer (I never tried it again so…). It’s probably the best linux software for painting out there tho. Mac, Linux and Windows
Firealpaca - smallish and not professional. but it’s extremely easy to use and has nice brushes so if you are just doing fanarts and drawing for fun this is a really good software. And the icon is an alpaca. on fire. Mac and Windows
and of course the best of them all
and I won’t let anyone say otherwise
Disney’s magic artist studio - Because whipped cream spray can.