The Best painting Software For Digital Artists. Top 5 Programs For You.

In the previous article, we were talking about vector based software for graphic designs. But what if you don’t want to create logos? What if you want to paint landscapes, horrifying creatures, and monsters, mysterious people or snapshots from your fantasy book? Here comes raster based software on the scene. Unlike in vector art, you can really dive deeply into a huge palette of brushes, effects and texture feel. That’s why raster based painting apps are better for people who want to express themselves more freely and be closer to traditional art touch. I prefer my artwork to be done on iPad so many apps below will be more oriented on iOS users and I also do prefer just to use few apps so I do have very basic experience or none.

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Adobe Photoshop

Apart from photo editing and UI/UX design Adobe Photoshop is used by many digital painters all over the world. It is on the market for a very long time and can offer powerful tools. You can buy many assets and plugins on the internet not always very cheap though. Because Photoshop is coming so well packed you need to have good computer and it requires a long learning curve. Do you have a graphic tablet? Not a problem to connect it to Photoshop for much better drawing experience.

PROS

Well packed - highly functional, extremely versatile

Working with many layers

Many external features available online

Freehand coloring, precision

Full customization brushes and many more

CONS

Very pricey for students and hobbyists

Long learning curve

Good computer required to prevent crashes

Cloud-based system

Some tools and features are very hard to locate

Supported platforms

Windows

macOS

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Affinity Designer - Pixel Persona

We already do know that Affinity Designer has more personas. Draw persona for vector art, Pixel persona for raster and Export persona for all kind of exporting settings of your art. If you are enjoying doing digital design and painting as well, this is a very good combo in one app. The Designer is very friendly and fresh-looking and doesn’t need so deep and long learning curve as for example Adobe PS. There are some resources available on the internet to get or buy but still not as many as for PS. Affinity is kind of a newbie on the market.

PROS

A user-friendly and fresh look

Affordable price

Many free tutorials

Combo packed for your digital artwork

Precision, 1 million+ % zoom

CONS

Confusing interface for artists coming from different platforms

Lack of image organizing features

Sometimes printer issues compatibility

Occasionally crashing with high res artwork

Missing some features (compared to other programs)

Supported platforms

Windows

macOS

iOS (iPad)

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Procreate

Procreate is very famous within iOS users. It’s one of the best programs for iPad for sketching, painting, and illustration. It offers exceptional performance, powerful layers support, no painting-line lags, awesome precision, there are thousands of brushes available on the internet and its very easy to make custom ones. One big advantage is that you can capture the whole process of your artwork within the app itself and export it easily.

PROS

Work saved on the background automatically

Supports large canvases

Zero stroke lags

Many redo and undo

Recording videos in HD

CONS

No animation tools

No free version to test it out

iPad only (there is a less powerful Procreate Pocket for iPhone)

No rulers or stencils

Occasional it can crush and then you need to repeat the last step

Supported platforms

iOS iPad

iOS iPhone (Procreate Pocket)

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Clip Studio Paint

Clip Studio Paint is a professional graphics program for animation, illustration, and manga, comic art and storytelling.

There are two different versions, a Pro and an EX version, and has quickly become one of the most popular programs in the manga and comic art industry due to its impressive features, capabilities, and affordable pricing.

One of its main competitors in the field is Adobe’s Photoshop, but many artists are starting to turn to Clip Studio because of affordable price and all the features it does offer.

PROS

Extensive materials library

Multiple brush Options

Extensive coloring tools

Enhanced 3D capability

Comic book panel creation, word bubbles

CONS

Lack of options to edit text and fonts

Paid monthly subscription for iPad (even though you have a version in the PC)

No audio support (for animation)

Longer learning curve

For some the interface (that’s on the taste of the artist)

Supported platforms

Windows

MacOS

iOS (iPad)

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AutoDesk Sketchbook

Unlike other popular graphics software that claims to cover everything, SketchBook focuses on drawing and sketches and pays great attention to detail. Its user-friendly interface helps turn work into an enjoyable experience. The desktop version of the software contains all the advanced tools pros need to complete their projects faster and more intuitively. The Windows 10 app helps unlock the drawing power of tablets and is optimized for touch input, resulting in a more natural drawing experience. The Android and iOS apps offer a similar experience that travels with users wherever they go.

PROS

Now free for everyone

Cross-platform

Paper to digital in the snap

Very easy to learn

Simple interface

CONS

Sometimes too simple (lacking some features)

Not many official tutorials available

Some glitches may occur

Very limited in script tools

Word balloons need to be created hand drawn

Supported platforms

Windows

macOS

iOS (iPad, iPhone)

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Conclusion

My preferred programs are Procreate, Affinity designer and Clip Studio Paint, so these programs you will see here more often especially for painting. I do use Photoshop but more with photo related adjustments and edits. If you love to work with iPad as I do, you will probably drown to use Procreate and Affinity designer as in my opinion these are the best app available in the market for digital painting. But everyone has different needs so feel free to explore as there are many free or paid programs out there and sometimes they can just fit you much better.