State of my FOSS 2015 – The Artistic

There’s an artist in all of us, and sometimes we can make money with that. Here are some of the FOSS programs I’ve found useful for 2D / Digital art.


2D Art and Photo Editing Software – Makes stuff pretty

The GIMP -> Replaces Adobe Photoshop

The GIMP is a pinnacle example of Open Source Software. One of the best communities out there, a cohesive concept of what they are making, and countless script additions to fill needs the community has for the program. The learning curve for this program is no more steep than for Photoshop, and there are any number of reputable places to learn about it online. If you’re transitioning from Photoshop, I recommend this setup tutorial to make GIMP comfortable for you. If you aren’t, I still recommend reading that article for the ‘set to single window’ step, because that’s going to make your life a lot easier. This program is a must for ‘higher end’ image editing without the cost of a subscription to Adobe.

Krita -> Replaces Adobe Fireworks / Illustrator (sorta)

Krita is a nifty, quick paint program. You can make of it what you will, it isn’t as powerful as GIMP at image editing, but allows you a lot of freedom to get art on the digital canvas. It doesn’t vector as well as Illustrator, so that’s why I don’t give it full marks for that component, but it more than holds its own in its field. If you are a digital artist, this is a program you should have in your arsenal.

Inkscape -> Replaces Adobe Illustrator

Inkscape is a vector graphics program which works, in a very basic way, like Illustrator. It is lacking in some of the functionality that I’d like to see in a vector art program, but is useful enough that I haven’t had any problems switching to it over Illustrator full time. If there were an open source community that I’d like to throw my hat in to programming for, this would be it. It has a decent following, but kinda falls through the cracks with programs like GIMP and Krita on the market. The biggest advantage is the vector images, but most people needing to make those are in a pipeline, and will have one of the commercial programs for it. Technically, this is a necessary addition to any serious digital artist’s 2D FOSS tool bag, though your mileage may vary based on your desire to profit from your art.

IrfanView -> Replaces {image viewer}

While IrfanView is technically only a media viewer, there are some powerful extras hidden in it that make it very worthwhile for artists. Primarily, it is very useful for metadata analysis. Always remember, as an artist, to save your work with metadata, and then check it against this program. You can also check your favorite images for their metadata here, and get some insight to the artists, hopefully.

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