In this edition of the Art Tools we look at the best budget digital art software for those starting out and those on a budget. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorites, taking a looked at some great options for affordable digital art software.
Since Adobe is the king of the digital art world, it makes sense to start with them. Adobe offers a basic version of its Photoshop Product called Photoshop Elements. This digital art software is designed with an easy to use interface for beginners, as well as more powerful tools for heavier use. It allows the user to organize, edit, synchronize photos with a mobile device and share directly from the program. The Elements version of Photoshop lacks the digital drawing and painting tools found in the full version. This program is great for quick, simple edits and photo collection management. The Adobe Photoshop Elements digital download sells for $49.99 on Amazon and works on Windows or Macintosh computers.
Manga Studio 5 digital art software offers an easy and inexpensive way to get into digital drawing and painting. It is recommended to use any digital drawing or painting program with a drawing tablet, but a mouse can be used to get started. Manga Studio 5 offers a fully customizable interface and natural drawing with pencil and ink options. It also includes powerful coloring and airbrushing tools to make illustrations come to life. 3D objects can also be imported to the canvas and posed or manipulated right on the canvas. Smart line straightening helps eliminate wiggles in the drawn line automatically. Manga Studio 5 sells for $38.28 on Amazon by itself or for $123.23 with Wacom drawing tablet. It is compatible with Windows and Macintosh computers.
Corel Paintshop Pro X7 is a photo editing program with an easy to use interface and a solid selection of features. This program allows the user to organize, professionally edit and composite images as well as digitally draw and paint. It features FaceFilter3 portrait editing tools to make everyone look their best with skin smoothing and blemish removal. The PerfectlyClear image corrector automatically corrects and enhances every photo. The creative collection feature houses numerous brushes, textures and backgrounds for every type of creative project. The magic fill tool makes it easy to remove unwanted objects from an image by automatically replacing it with content that matches the rest of the photograph. The smart edge tool allows for easy painting and drawing in or around objects by automatically masking the areas where the drawing is not desired. Corel Paintshop Pro X7 is a great option for digital art software for beginners – as it’s easy to use while having more advanced functionality than Adobe Photoshop Elements including the ability to edit camera RAW files. Sharing images directly from the program is not supported in Corel Paintshop Pro X7 while it is in Adobe Photoshop Elements. Corel Paintshop Pro X7 is available from Amazon for $57.89 and works on Windows bases computers only.
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 7 is a digital drawing program that offers a natural drawing experience and an easy to use interface. This program works for both technical drawing and artistic illustration. It features perspective guides, flip book, enhanced layer editor with blending modes and gradient flood fills. The perspective guide tool covers 1point, 2 point, 3 point and fisheye perspective drawings. New features for version 7 are improved polyline and magic wand selection tools as well as an improved distort and transform tool. The flip book animation feature allows for the expression of motion through a series of sketches. There are two types of licenses available for Sketchbook Pro. The first is the perpetual license which is available from Amazon for $65.00. The other license is the subscription license available through the Autodesk website. The subscription version costs $2.99 per month and includes the Ipad Sketchbook App. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 7 is compatible with Windows and Macintosh computers.
If you’re looking for a tablet to use with your digital art software, be sure to checkout our article on the best digital drawing tablets.