There are many free graphic design software on the net that helps you to create graphics and painting. Often people get confused by the different terms it is used to graphics software. However based on the graphics type we are going to use i.e. vector and bitmap, we can easily group graphics software into two. These are image and illustration programs.
Image editing program, also called paint program and photo editor, let you create bitmap images from scratch using the available painting tools. Image program also includes features that allow you to retouch and edit existing photos and scanned images. Most popular programs in this group include Adobe Photoshop (professional and industry standard image editing and graphics software), Paint Shop Pro, Corel Painter and GIMP (free graphic design software).
Unlike image editing software, Illustration software is vector based that allows you to create graphics using curves and lines. Particularly, it is ideal to create logos, icons, cartoons, maps, illustrations, decorative images, illustration and non-detailed designs. Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw and Serif Draw Plus are among the top illustration programs.
Here, I have listed popular and free graphic software that allow you create graphics designs like the professional programs.
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DrawPlus Starter Edition
DrawPlus Starter Edition is one of the top free graphic design software that allows you to create drawings and graphics designs. It is vector based illustration and design application comes with useful design tools.
Features of DrawPlus Starter Edition
- Accurate vector design program (logo, sketch, paint, graphics)
- Text on path features
- Has painting tools including bush, pen and pencil
- Includes advanced artistic effects
- Compatible with graphics tablets
- Great for designing web graphics and creative print objects
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8
Website: DrawPlus Starter Edition
GIMP is multi featured free graphic design software which can be used as painting, photo retouching, image composing, and graphics design creation program. It is similar with Adobe Photoshop. GIMP is also a multi-platform program that works on Windows, MAC OS X and UNIX.
Features of GIMP
- GIMP as many capabilities such as photo retouching, painting, image renderer, image convertor etc.
- Has advanced image manipulation tools
- Full suite of painting tools including Pencil, Brush, Airbrush, clone, etc
- Includes gradient editor and blend tool
- Can built custom brushes and patterns
- Support advanced image manipulation functions such as layering, channels, editable text layers, transformation tools, selection tools, extraction tool, quick mask and more
- Advanced scripting capability
- Support Plug-ins that allows you to add new file formats and effects
- Includes animation tools such as Load and save animations, MNG support, Frame Navigator, etc
- Support multi file formats, these include bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, ps, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, etc
- Load, display, convert and save to many file formats
- Allows to customize interface the way you like
- As you can see, GIMP is advanced free graphics software that does similar tasks like professional graphics software. Download and try it yourself.
Compatibility: Windows XP SP3, Windows 7/8, Mac OS X and UNIX
Inkscape is an open source free graphic design software that can does similar to Adobe Illustrator. It is vector graphics editor that use Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).
Features of Inkscape include
- provides basic vector graphics editing capability
- Supports many advanced SVG features including markers, clones, alpha blending etc
- Perform complex path operations
- Useful for creating web graphics, logos, icons, technical diagrams, creative art, maps etc
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Linux, Mac OS X
Website: Inkscape Graphics Editor
Mypaint is open-source and free graphic design software that lets you paint digitally. You can create any type of art using Mypaint, ,it is fast and easy.
Features of Maypaint
- Has large collection of painting brushes and full access to brush settings
- Extensive brush creation and configuration options
- Unlimited canvas size
- Support layering
- Advanced color selection tools
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 /8 (32 and 64 bits) Linux, Mac
Website: Mypaint free graphic software
Fatpaint is web’s best free graphic design software that lets you create pages, vector illustrations, logos, edit photos and design products online. Like the professional graphic design software, Fatpaint has many advanced tools that allow you to do more than image creation and editing.
Features of Fatpaint free graphic software
- Packed with painting tools such as pen, brush, airbrush, paint bucket, clone painting, earaser and smudging
- Supports work palettes
- Paint with dynamic brushes, effects and different blend modes
- Thousands of free clipart and brush gallery
- Support layering, multiple page layout and combine multiple paintings
- Display your graphics on custom printed products
- Support 2D and 3D transformation
- Can edit photos using crop, resize, skew, bend, distort, rotate commands
Compatibility: online design software
Website: Fatpaint graphic design software
Ultimate Paint is a full feature and windows compatible image creation, viewing and manipulation software. The Ultimate paint has two versions: trial version and freeware version. The only difference is that Adobe Photoshop plug-ins is not supported in the free version. Also the built-in image filers are limited, only 20.
Features of Ultimate Paint freeware edition
- Can create images, enhance photos
- Flexible brush handling method
- Can be used to retouch and edit photos
- Has tool bars similar to Adobe Photoshop
- Supports JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP,PCX, AVI, TGA, WMF/EMF, ICO, IFF/LBM and WAP, BMP image formats
Compatibility: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000 and Windows XP (32-bit only)
Website: Ultimate Paint Image Editor
ArtWeaver Free is also free graphic design software comes with lots of painting tools. Artweaver enables you to create sketches from photos or develop graphics from scratch. ArtWeaver is available in two versions: ArtWeaver Free and ArtWeaver Plus. ArtWeaver Free is only for non-commercial and academic purposes.
Features of ArtWeaver Free includes
- Several brushes with possibility of customization
- Basic image editing tools like gradient, fill, crop and selection tools
- Save and playback events
- Free arrangeable palettes
- Support Photoshop main file format, PSD
- Support image and effect filters
- Support may file formats including BMP, GIF, JPEG, PCX, TGA, TIFF, PNG, PSD
- Support for pentablets
- Support plug-ins that extend the functionality of the application
- Multi-language support
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8
Website: ArtWeaver Free graphics Software
Skencil is simple and vector drawing application that can be used for illustrations and diagrams creation. Skencil can be grouped into the graphic software though it has some limitation comparing to other free graphic design software.
Features of Skencil include
- Draw rectangles, ellipses, curves
- Support raster images, jpeg, png, EPS
- Text support
- Has fill and line properties
- Support import filters, export filters and Plugin objects
- Export EPS and unlimited undo hitstory
Compatibility: GNU, Linux, UNIX
Website: Skencil free vector drawing program
Free Web Image Studio
Free Web image Studio is simple, professional and free graphic design software that allows you to create icons, buttons and illustrations for a website. The software is also an image editor that can add special effects to your photos and change colors as you like.
Features of Free Web Image Studio
- Support masking, layering, gradients, filters and opacities
- Has pencil and shape tools
- Built-in drawn shapes
- Align objects in different orientations
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS 10.6 or higher
Website: Free Web Image Studio
Pixia and Phierha
Both Pixia and phierha are free graphic design software designed for full color graphics. Except that Phierha with more advanced graphics design tools. The applications are pretty similar with other painting programs. Layering, multiple undos and plug-ins are supported. Also accept Photoshop plug-ins.
Features of Pixia and Phierha
- Supports unlimited layers that consists three planes: image, mask, transparency
- Has Freehand drawing tools, pen, brush, geometric shapes, artistic dither tool, etc
- Image editing tools such as color adjustment, tone balance, resize, rotate, negative, etc
- Includes palettes window that offer additional editing tools
- Work with TWAIN devices such as scanner, digital camera and digitizer
- Support clones and tone filter
- Insert and edit text
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Website: Pixia and Phierha Painting programs