Here is a list of the most popular Graphic Dеsign Softwarе available in the field today, highly recommended by designers who have years of experience in designing and drawing. These tools are tested and proven and can help you optimize your work processes.
There are numerous graphics programs available to help you draw on your PC. They range from simple free graphics programs to professional software.
The following article provides an overview of drawing programs, but cannot be exhaustive. Anyone looking for drawing software should use this article as a basis for further research.
Overview of graphics programs:
1. Adobe photoshop
“Photoshop” is considered synonymous with professional image editing.
Adobe Photoshop is by far the most popular graphic design software. Photoshop is part of the graphic design zeitgeist.
Photoshop is known for its classic features like the Pencil tool, Layers and Masks, but the latest version brings some interesting new features, like the Frame tool for direct masking and a new workspace for content-based blending . With its potentially limitless possibilities, Photoshop is the perfect design program for beginners.
Even though “Adobe Photoshop” is getting older, it still beats most free graphics programs hands down. Among other things, thanks to automatic contrast and color optimization, layering technology, pixel-precise selection tools for cropping and numerous professional filters. Probably the most important feature is the ability to work in the CMYK color space, which allows for professional artwork. If you want to edit photos, create photo montages or retouch image errors – you will find all the right tools in “Photoshop”. Thanks to the additional modules “Camera Raw” and “Adobe ImageReady” you can also open high-contrast photos (HDR), optimize images for the web or edit videos.
It is the industry standard for digital image editing and photo-realistic computer art. It’s even become part of modern parlance: “This can’t possibly be true! This is definitely photoshopped!”
– 2D image editing.
– Manipulation of 3D images.
– Video editing.
– Image analysis.
2. Clip Studio Paint
Make the most of digital design when painting and drawing.
Thanks to the widespread use of iPads and other portable devices and graphics tablets, digital painting and drawing are gaining popularity.
Digital artists are attracted to Clip Studio Paint’s simple collection of illustration applications for its simplicity, mirror function, and accessibility.
Clip Studio Paint is a versatile digital drawing application that is ideal for rendering and redrawing with its many useful and unique features.
Illustrators, cartoonists and animation artists can choose from a variety of expressions and media, such as paper and canvas, while working more efficiently.
It’s easy to learn and has many tools, as well as customizable brushes, that allow you to draw or render any type of illustration. There are also 3D models of people, objects and backgrounds, whose poses and angles can be changed to suit your needs when drawing.
Clip Studio Paint was designed with the goal of making brush work as natural as possible, making it popular among beginners and professionals.
I love this software because it uses bitmaps/pixels. Therefore, Clip Studio is easier than vector software when we want to make a detailed drawing.
– A cheaper alternative to Adobe Suite.
– Available for Mac or PC.
– The low price makes the software affordable and accessible to everyone.
3. Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator is best for: Vector images.
Photoshop and Illustrator share some common tools and features, but Adobe Illustrator is all about vector design. Create beautiful logos, typography, icons and sketches using Illustrator’s grid tool, drawing pen tool, swatches and colors, or shape and path tool. While it takes a little time to learn, the nearly limitless possibilities for creating vector designs make it worth the effort.
I love how easy it is to customize the layers and art boards. And the results in Adobe Illustrator are beautiful.
From drawings to logos to actual photos, Illustrator creates all types of images.
– Helpful user interface.
– Wide range of tools.
– Supports precise editing.
– Harder to learn.
4. Affinity Designer
Affinity Designer is an impressive and affordable alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
Affinity Designer is a streamlined creative factory designed for professionals that handles any project with confidence. It’s simple enough for beginners to use as a learning tool, but powerful enough for freelance graphic designers on a budget.
Affinity is also praised for being easier and faster to use than Illustrator, especially when working with layers.
Affinity recently received a major update with new features and performance improvements. The software is a great option for those who don’t want to spend a lot on Adobe products, but need something that can perform at a high level.
– Gradients, effects and adjustments in real time.
– Real-time preview for blending modes.
– All curve transformations and changes can be previewed in real time.
GIMP is a good free alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop and comes with many professional editing features for images and photos.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is probably the best-known free open source graphics program for creating raster graphics and offers many features of paid programs. While it’s not as well-structured as, say, Photoshop, you still get the same advanced features like photo editing, drawing, and cropping that you find in more popular programs.
Whether you want to optimize photos or edit and retouch images, GIMP free photo editor offers you professional tools and retouching functions for your photos in almost any situation.
You can optimize images and adjust color depth or perform contrast correction and white balance. Selection, retouching and editing tools and numerous brush types and brush sizes ensure professional editing. Features such as viewing and unifying layers, editing Exif metadata, changing image formats and extending the range of functions of “GIMP” through plug-ins complete the freeware image editing program.
With the free software you can reduce, enlarge and crop images or rotate, flip and distort photos in perspective. Color, brightness and contrast correction, exposure and white balance adjustment are also possible with the open source program without complications. In addition to such standards, “GIMP” offers the ability to conveniently replace colors, selectively color images, touch up spots, straighten the horizon and clone or blur image areas.
The free image editor “GIMP” is a free alternative to expensive graphics software like Adobe Photoshop if you want to edit and retouch photos. Overall, the “GIMP” graphical editing toolbox leaves little to be desired.
– Best suited for raster images.
– Numerous filters and tools included.
– Large format support.
– Good community.
– Includes a lot of tools for a free program.
– The GIMP image editing program, previously only for Linux, is now available for download in an updated version for Windows.
– Using numerous functions and filters such as cartoon or oil painting, you can effectively stage your shots.
– It is not updated as frequently as other programs.
– Less intuitive operation.
– However, a batch processing (batch mode) is not included in the range of functions of “GIMP”.
Darktable is an open source program for Windows, MacOS, and Unix, which is heavily based on Adobe Lightroom, but is offered for free download. It certainly holds its own against Lightroom in this regard: From brightness and color correction in the LAB color space to lens corrections for the old darlings among lenses.
The central feature of Darktable RAW Converter is non-destructive work. This means that during all operations and categorizations, as well as when merging into rolls or collections, the original photos are not modified. Comparable to Adobe Lightroom, Darktable saves all editing steps externally in a text file with the XMP extension, which is located in the folder of the respective RAW file. So you always have access to the originals and can revoke the steps at any time.
With Free RAW Converter Darktable is considered a highly functional alternative to Adobe Lightroom photography software for both professionals and beginners.
The software is divided into two main modules “Lightroom” and “Darkroom” and allows an effective workflow for importing and editing RAW images from popular camera manufacturers as well as other image formats such as PNG, TIFF, BMP, GIF or JPEG .
Once you’ve imported your photos with Darktable and categorized, labeled, and rated them, you can start optimizing and retouching them in the “darkroom.” When editing individual images, you have more than 60 modules at your disposal that cover the entire range of image editing functions: from white balance or denoising to contrast, brightness or color corrections, rotation, cropping and flipping up to professional functions such as the removal of chromatic aberrations and lens and perspective corrections. Effects such as liquefaction, vignetting, watermarking, framing or blurring are also included in the range of functions.
You can rate your images directly via stars, change metadata, assign keywords, add geo-tags via GPX file, publish to Facebook, Google Photos or Flickr, and optimize photos in batch mode via presets with filters and effects. For effects and filters, choose from more than 60 professional, adjustable modules in the darkroom.
Free painting and drawing program with professional features.
Krita is primarily designed as a painting program, but also contains functions for image editing. The free Krita painting program is aimed at cartoonists, illustrators, and concept artists, among others. On the PC you can create comics, manga, storyboards, illustrations, textures, matte paintings and any other type of digital artwork with it.
Krita (formerly KImageshop and Krayon) is a free painting program from KDE. It has been part of the KOffice office suite for some time and has been part of the Calligra suite since version 2.4.
The OpenGL digital canvas can also be easily rotated or mirrored. If you drag an image into Krita, you can select the desired color profile, because Krita also supports color management. Additionally, Krita has several brush engines and opening modes that allow you to customize your digital brushes to your liking.
But Krita is also highly customizable: You decide which palettes and tools are displayed, which theme you want to use and which shortcuts and functions are called.
– Years in development, Krita is available for Windows, Linux and macOS operating systems.
– User interface similar to Adobe Photoshop.
– The tool is compatible with Photoshop.
– Rich set of tools.
– Krita supports RGB, CMYK, and Lab color spaces, among others.
“Fotor” is a free image editor with professional features, filters and effects.
The intensity of the filters can be changed continuously without having to fiddle with the parameters. Just as easily optimize the color of an image or add text. For a caption on your shots, you can not only choose the font, color or size, but also adjust the caption’s transparency, character leading or spacing, and add shadows.
Use one-click filters to optimize photos. The wide range of filters of “Fotor” is especially ideal for amateur photographers.
You can adjust the brightness, color saturation and contrast of photos, sharpen images or perform white balance, as well as having a dozen automatic filters to optimize portraits, landscape shots and other subjects.
More than a dozen so-called “scenes” such as “Sunset”, “Food” and “Portrait” allow you to put your photos in the right light with a click of the mouse. Additionally, you can find a number of lomo, retro and black and white effects.
– You can retouch portraits by removing skin blemishes, whitening teeth, or using a makeup brush.
– The photo software reads all common formats from JPEG to TIFF to GIF and processes RAW data from your Fuji, Olympus, Nikon or Canon cameras.
– With “Fotor” you can send images and collages directly to Twitter, Facebook or Flickr.
Paint.NET is an image editing freeware developed specifically for Windows, which was initially intended only as a free replacement for “MS Paint”, but offers significantly more functions and options than the standard Windows program. The German-language freeware convinces above all with its simple handling and advanced features, which otherwise only paid programs offer.
The free image editor “Paint.NET” offers a variety of functions for optimizing and retouching photos, for example, to “remove” red eyes or to “soften” portraits.
“Paint.NET” also supports working with different layers and allows you to “paint” in photos. Additional extensions and the ability to use Photoshop plugins add many interesting special features to the program.
Here, too, “Paint.NET” shows no weaknesses and offers, among other things, adjustment options for brightness, contrast and hue, as well as white balance and color saturation.
You can easily color image areas, copy sections, adjust image size, and rotate and flip your photos.
Use Photoshop plug-ins and work with layers
With the “Paint.NET PSD Plugin” you enable the editor to open Photoshop files, for example.
The popular Photoshop 8bf filters can also be integrated with the corresponding extension “Paint.NET 8bf Filter Plugin”. The recommended graphics program is perfected by its layers technology, which allows you to edit images as if they were on top of each other. Save your edited photos in the program’s PDN format, layers are preserved.
– Many effects and filters can be added.
– Numerous plugin options,
– If Paint.NET’s features aren’t enough for your purposes, access a variety of free plug-ins for Paint.NET.
– Undo individual steps.
– All important tools are directly accessible via the “Toolbar”.
– Additionally, the software comes with various filters and effects that crop an “old” image or make it look like an oil painting.
10. Ashampoo Photo Commander 15
The best image organizer – With geotagging and new slideshow mode, the new Ashampoo Photo Commander 15 has a new approach! Have your photos sorted by where they were taken or conveniently add dates to photos yourself.
A new type of presentation is waiting for you: control presentations conveniently on your computer while they are viewed on another monitor or beamer!
Ashampoo Photo Commander 15″ is a complete solution for editing, optimizing and managing digital photos. With the photo editor, which is available exclusively as a free full version from COMPUTER BILD, you can create photo calendars, greeting cards, collages , panoramic images, photo albums for the Internet or presentations and use a burning function for CDs and DVDs. Ashampoo Photo Commander reads all important formats from RAW to WebP to Photoshop PSD.
View, edit and organize – all in one program
The new Ashampoo Photo Commander 15 is your complete solution for viewing, editing and organizing photos. Geotagging included! Reorganize your collection, optimize as many images as you want, or create calendars, cards and entire slideshows in an instant.
– Manage and edit in one program.
– Also manages audio and video files.
– With slideshow, collage and calendar maker.
– Photos can be combined with background music and video files into slideshows.
You may be a good talented graphic designer or digital artist, but if you use the right tools, the power of your talent can grow exponentially.