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"Ultimate Digital Artist's resource on a shoe string (or no string) budget.", 16th May 2011, 12:50 AM #1
salsathegeek!

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Posts: 303
Registration date: 14th May 2011
Location: United States
Hey-o!
I was looking around and noticed that there wasn't anything, forum or thread related, about the tools and techniques used in making art, and more specifically, comics. Since I started up something similar on the soon to be rehabilitated Duck, I thought I'd try it here. Before I get to the meaty goodness (or veggie if you swing that way) of the thread, I'd like to apologized in advanced if this is not where something like this goes.

Anyway...

Hello, if you're reading this then I assume that you're looking for some cheap programs or tools to help you become a digital artist, or at least something you can play around in with little upfront cost. The reason this is in the forum and not in the tutorial sections is because I don't know everything. I am likely to miss some very good programs and resources out there just because I don't know about them. That means if you know about a good program that isn't listed here, then speak up and be heard.

The Index of Awesomeness!

Okay with that said there are some rules.

-*`RULES`*-

1. It must be art related, preferably comics related. That means no spam, no plugging your own stuff (unless you coded something like Photoshop, or it's a tutorial), and no posting things off topic.

2. Please, please, PLEASE! use the form you see later on. I'm going to try and keep this up to date and index all of the post that contain additions, and just posting a link isn't very helpful to anyone looking through these.

3. All programs must be $100 or less. While this seems steep, you can use a program for the rest of eternity (theoretically anyway). and $100 is pretty good for something that compares to Photoshop or Painter.

4. Tutorials and other resources that are not programs must be free. If we listed the books that are helpful to vitally important to our craft I'd never be able to keep up and the list would get HUGE in a hurry.

5. No flaming other programs and/or resources. While I could explain this one, I think an example helps.

Good: Program X lacks some features such as tablet pressure sensitivity and layers.

Bad: Program X sucks. Program Y is what you need if you're a serious artist.

6. No links to pirated software. Be glad I'm not an Admin if I see this happen. I'm a Computer science major and I take software piracy VERY seriously.

7. No repeats. nuff said.

Okay now that those are out of the way, let's get down to business.

The Form:

[Name of the software or resource]

Price: [should be obvious]

Medium: [2d, 3d, or hyper-dimensional with a little 4d math for flavor, if it's a tutorial or something like that, what programs, if any, is it for.]

Description: [tell what it does and how it does it]

Pros: [why is it awesome (don't include free in here, it's annoying)]

Cons: [why might people not like it (again don't include price)]

Where to find: [links to e-shops and websites it can be bought, downloaded, or seen]

And there you go. Have fun and feel good knowing you've helped somebody.


P.S. Feel free to post reviews, just say what it is and what you liked/disliked about it.
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"Never mess in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup." -If I ever GM a game that has a dragon, he/she will say this.
"The LIST! (gasp!)", 16th May 2011, 12:54 AM #2
salsathegeek!

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Registration date: 14th May 2011
Location: United States
The Index of Awesomeness!

This is an index of all the software, tutorials, and other stuff that is posted here.

2-dimensional Programs:
-GIMP
-Paint Tool SAI
-MyPaint
-Inkscape
-NekoPaint
-Azdrawing and Azpainter2
-Pixia, Phierha
-Alchemy
-Synfig
-Creative.Docs
-[InsightPoint]
-Artweaver
-PaintShopPro
-Draw Plus Starter Edition
-Softpedia
-

3-dimensional Programs:
-Blender
-Wings 3D

2-dimensional tutorials and resources:
-


3-dimensional tutorials and resources:
-

Writing and Coding Programs:
-Google Docs

Writing and Coding tutorials and resources:
-
_______________________
"Never mess in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup." -If I ever GM a game that has a dragon, he/she will say this.
16th May 2011, 1:09 AM #3
AFStaff
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Fairly ambitious. I'll sticky this as it could prove pretty useful once it gets some additions.
"Guess I better get this rolling then.", 16th May 2011, 1:11 AM #4
salsathegeek!

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I think that's the fastest I've ever seen a thread stickied.

anyway...

GIMP

Price: FREE!

Medium: 2d images

Description: GIMP is a powerful image editor and authoring tool that handles several dozen formats, including those used by Adobe and Corel. It is currently being overhauled and promises to get even better. There is also a fairly active community that provides plugins and brushes for GIMP.

Pros: Powerful with a tool and feature set on par with several commercial programs, Numerous tutorials, an up-to-date-easy to read user manual.

Cons: Work space spread out over several windows, can be a little user unfriendly.

Where to find: [url]www.gimp.org[/url]
_______________________
"Never mess in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup." -If I ever GM a game that has a dragon, he/she will say this.
16th May 2011, 1:13 AM #5
salsathegeek!

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Registration date: 14th May 2011
Location: United States
Blender

Price: FREE!

Medium: 3d images

Description: Blender is an extremely powerful 3-dimensional modelling and animation package that has several unique and intuitive features. Regarded as being on par with high-power 3-d modelling programs such as 3ds Max and Maya, Blender has been used in several notable productions such as Elephant's Dream and Big Buck Bunny.

Pros: Powerful tool set and internal renderer, compatible with many other free and cheap renderers, intuitive user interface, Non-overlapping GUI

Cons: Steep learning curve, reliant on Open GL so older versions (2.49 and earlier) don't always work with integrated graphics, Newer versions can be buggy (2.50 to 2.56 are currently alpha and beta versions)

Where to find: www.blender.org/
_______________________
"Never mess in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup." -If I ever GM a game that has a dragon, he/she will say this.
16th May 2011, 1:47 AM #6
Xenocartographer
formerly Biophysicist
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Location: [REDACTED]
Wings 3D

Price: Free. (Actually open-source.)

Medium: 3D images.

Description: 3D modeling program. It has a rather different approach to the interface than most modeling programs.

Pros: I've found it to be a lot easier to pick up than other programs. It's interface is a lot easier to use, imo, which matters a lot.

Cons: It doesn't do animation, and rotating around an arbitrary point is a bit wonky. This last isn't that big of a deal once you get used to it, though.

Where to find: Blam.
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image
16th May 2011, 2:10 AM #7
Cammiluna

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Posts: 793
Registration date: 2nd May 2011
Location: NY.
Paint Tool SAI

Price: 5250 JPY, Japanese tax included. Currency exchange changes, but it usually amounts to around $65 USD, and Paypal converts money sent over. The program is free to try for 31 days and it does come in English.

Medium: 2D drawing and painting

Description:
Has tons of features. Has tools to draw and adjust lines and curves somewhat like vector-based penwork, but it still resizes as raster. But the lines are so clean! Also, Crayon.


Pros:
Easy to learn and toy around with. You can make your own pens or use a nice assortment of defaults. Pens and colors are on one panel, layers and layer options are on the other, view options are on top. It's also not heavy on memory unless you're working on extra large canvases with lots of layers such as A5 comic page size at 600 DPI, memory permitting.

Can also save files in Photoshop format with layers retained.

Cons:
No text input
No printing
No circle selections or circle-making tools
To ability to make straight vertical or straight horizontal lines by holding the shift key
While .PSDs can be opened and saved in SAI, Photoshop's special features/effects may change or disappear when opened in SAI and vice versa.

Where to find: http://www.systemax.jp/en/sai/

Notes: Because of the cons, it's good to have a second program on your system that can do the things SAI can't. I use Photoshop 5.5 for text and formatting and it can be found sometimes on Amazon for less than $75. One time it was $30. For plain drawing, I think SAI does almost everything.
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16th May 2011, 2:15 AM #8
Aethix

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Posts: 184
Registration date: 20th Apr 2011
Location: United States
MyPaint

Price: FREE!

Medium: 2d images

Description: MyPaint is a digital art creation program with a simple, minimalistic user interface (something very rarely seen in free software). It is open-source, and therefore exists on many platforms, including computers, smartphones, tablets, and handheld minicomputers. It has many types of brushes for different visual effects, and even a system to allow users to create their own brushes.

Pros: Almost no learning curve, and easy to use. The interface is simple and can be called up or removed from the screen with short keystrokes.

Cons: No editing capabilities, it's pretty much like drawing on a canvas with an undo button. Pretty much pointless if you don't have a graphics tablet or a touch-screen device with which to draw. It's also kind of slow, I think it's coded in Python.

Where to find: mypaint.intilinux.com/

16th May 2011, 2:49 AM #9
Jrade

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Registration date: 12th Oct 2010
Location: Victoria, B.C., Canada
Drat, the GIMP, MyPaint...already snatched up! Still, the well's not yet run dry...

Inkscape

Price: Free

Medium: 2-dimensional

Description: Inkscape is a vector graphics program, meaning that rather than saving pixels, it works by rendering editable line paths, and other parameters. The end result is smoother lines, and fully scaleable art.

Pros: Vector graphics, so they're scalable without pixellation or much loss of detail. The biggest pro, though - to me at least - is the 'trace bitmap' function. This allows you to take a picture, painting, drawing, scan...or anything, really...and turn it into a vector design. It's the best auto-trace I've yet encountered, and I've tried at least half a dozen others.

Cons: The interface takes some getting used to, at least it did for me. Working with vectors also takes a while to get the hang of. No support, so far as I know, for animations. Exporting can be a bit of a pain, sometimes, with options, the functions of which aren't immediately apparent.

Where to get it: Right here.




In the end, I'd suggest it mainly for lineart, and then use the GIMP, or some such, for colouring, etcetera.
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Humans are people too!
Kimmy - "...the skill is in coming up with the best placement of the Penis"

REDACTED FOR LACK OF UPDATES

Avatar by Shipp.


I'm probably overthinking this...
17th May 2011, 12:44 AM #10
Cyborg_572
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Neat. I'm going to move this over to webcomic discussion
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the whole "ComicFury" thing is just an acronym. It stands for Comics On My Interneting Computer For... Ummm.... Readers? Yeah....
Layout? I practically wrote the book on layouts. It's all probably being move to a wiki somewhere though. Still don't want to deal with the code? I'll do it for you.
"NekoPaint", 17th May 2011, 1:14 AM #11
Robotwin.com

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Posts: 2701
Registration date: 22nd Sep 2010
Location: USA, Milky Way
Price: 3150 yen (~ 30 euros / 40 dollars)

Medium: 2d

Description: natural media-ish drawing and painting

Pros: has a mirror / symmetry drawing feature, layers, tiny file size, saves .psd

Cons: strange foreign interface

Where to find: Japanese version
semi-English version
20th May 2011, 10:00 AM #12
Nikiten

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Registration date: 20th May 2011
Accidentally triple posted. D:
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I'm not good with names or titles. Also, panties.
20th May 2011, 10:00 AM #13
Nikiten

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Posts: 51
Registration date: 20th May 2011
But HOW?
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I'm not good with names or titles. Also, panties.
20th May 2011, 10:09 AM #14
Nikiten

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Posts: 51
Registration date: 20th May 2011
Azdrawing and Azpainter2 (Is it alright if I lump these two together?)

Price: Free

Medium: 2D images

Description: Azdrawing and Azpainter are two japanese freeware programs with a lot of features. Azdrawing is for lineart, while Azpainter is for coloring. Also, Azpainter2 is only available in japanese, but there is an english translation of an earlier version.

Pros: It's small and loads quickly; the lines are clean and crisp. There are a variety of tools to work with such as a text tool and line tool.

Cons: It is not as feature-loaded as other softwares out there.

Where to find:

Azpainter2Azdrawing
English translation can be found here.

*Please tell me about any changes I should make.
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I'm not good with names or titles. Also, panties.
20th May 2011, 3:42 PM #15
salsathegeek!

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Location: United States
Sure. It seems like their supposed to used in tandem.
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"Never mess in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup." -If I ever GM a game that has a dragon, he/she will say this.
"Pixia, Phierha", 20th May 2011, 4:04 PM #16
Robotwin.com

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Posts: 2701
Registration date: 22nd Sep 2010
Location: USA, Milky Way
Pixia, Phierha

Price: free

Medium: 2d

Description: drawing & painting, photo editing, compositing
Pros: effects & patterns, vectors, layers, opens/saves .psd .tif .png .jpg
<10MB download

Cons: slightly strange interface

Where to find: http://www.ne.jp/asahi/mighty/knight/download.html
20th May 2011, 5:07 PM #17
the.molco

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Posts: 158
Registration date: 24th Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Google Docs

Price: Free. requires gmail account.

Medium: Writing, scripting, planning, etc.

Description: You make a new document and write in it.

Pros: Permanent back up of your scripts, all the fancy tools of any text editor out there, plus never having to worry if your computer crashes. Auto saves, perfect if you tend to flake cmd+s while writing... sharing options, you can share your files with the world or just one person, you can even invite others to edit/co-author your files, or you can keep them all to yourself.

Cons: The organization is a bit wonky, though you can create individual folders, every file you've ever made is displayed by most recently edited. this is okay i suppose if you aren't going back into older files, but i found it a bit annoying.

Where to find: google docs
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21st May 2011, 2:51 AM #18
salsathegeek!

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Location: United States
Sweet keep them coming.


Don't forget that you can also submit tutorials for all these programs.
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"Never mess in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup." -If I ever GM a game that has a dragon, he/she will say this.
25th May 2011, 6:16 PM #19
salsathegeek!

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Posts: 303
Registration date: 14th May 2011
Location: United States
Alchemy

Price: free

Medium: 2d

Description:A different type of drawing program, instead of providing dozens of tools that allow you to bang out a complete drawing, the tool set is very limited. The main propose is to allow the artist to create unique shapes and explore those shapes, then take those shapes into another program and make it a finished drawing.

Pros: Clean interface, not just another PS clone.

Cons: Really different to use.

Where to find: al.chemy.org
_______________________
"Never mess in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup." -If I ever GM a game that has a dragon, he/she will say this.
27th Jun 2011, 7:18 AM #20
Alessandro

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Registration date: 18th Jun 2010
Location: Italy
Synfig is an OpenSource animation software, but it can be used also to have simple draw.

Also if you train well in this software you have the option to animate them. As any OpenSource software, differently from the commercial ones, you will always eligible to use the latest version free to charge: unlimited update so long this project remain alive (Synfig came out 09/2009 and latest update is from 5 jun of this year)


the best way to learn with Synfig (other than obvious tutorial you can find on the net) is to disassemble and work freely available here
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