In today’s article we are going to check out the Best Free Graphics Design Software for you peasants who can’t afford Photoshop. Basically we’ll be looking at free apps for general graphics and photo editing, photoshopping, 3D modeling, vector graphics and more.
Most of the software listed in this article and video above is available for Windows and Mac. But there’s also a number of browser based editors which can be used on practically any computer.
#1 Daz Studio & Hexagon
First up we have Daz Studio which is a free 3D art program developed by Daz3D. They also have another free program called Hexagon which is for 3D modeling.
Basically with Daz Studio you can sculpt, texturize, animate and make many more adjustments to 3D models as well as create entire 3D scenes, even with animation.
Hexagon on the other hand allows you to make 3D models from scratch. These can then be imported into Daz Studio and other programs for styling, animating and rendering.
You can also buy pre-made 3D models from the Daz3D website or even inside the application itself. Daz Studio is available for Windows and Mac.
Blender is another professional free and open source 3D graphics program available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Blender was originally developed back in 1998, so it is more than 20 years old today, which makes me feel really old!
With Blender you can do many things such as 3D modeling, texturing, sculpting, rigging and skinning, soft body simulation, animating and even video editing.
In my opinion Blender has an interface that is somewhat difficult to use. But because it has been around for such a long time there’s a ton of free tutorials available on YouTube and other websites.
If you are looking for a program to edit photos and images on your PC, then I highly recommend trying out GIMP. Like Blender, GIMP has been around for over 20 years.
In my opinion it is the best general image and graphics editor. Basically it’s as close as you’re going to get to Adobe Photoshop with free software.
With GIMP you can do anything from photo retouching and website graphics to making posters and flyers, and much much more.
The GIMP interface is fairly easy to use even for beginners. There are also tons of tutorials for GIMP on YouTube, including some of my own. I have made GIMP tutorials for photo editing and creating YouTube channel art and thumbnails.
#4 Pixlr Editor
To edit images or photos without having to install any new software on your PC, you might want to try out the Pixlr Editor.
It’s a free browser based general image and graphics editor, similar to GIMP in many ways but still different.
You only need a graphical web browser with Adobe Flash support to use the Pixlr Editor. So it basically works on almost any computer.
The editor might look a bit pixely when using it, but after you export and save the image that you’ve been editing, the quality is normal.
Much like with GIMP, you can use Pixlr for many purposes from retouching photos to making website banners, social media graphics and the list goes on.
A lot of general graphics editors such as GIMP have limited support for vector graphics. Vector graphics can be used to more easily make art such as icons, logos, charts, diagrams and those types of graphics.
One of the best free vector graphics editors is definitely Inkscape.
Inkscape has tons of features such as multiple shape and drawing tools that can create anything from rectangles and ellipses to stars and polygons, as well as being able to draw Bezier curves or straight lines. These shapes and lines can then be resized and adjusted after they’ve been created, which is not always possible with raster graphics editors.
You can get Inkscape for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Another option for vector graphics editing is Vectr. Vectr is free and can be either downloaded or used online in your web browser, so it will work on most computers. However unlike the previous web app Pixlr Editor, Vectr is not based in Adobe Flash.
The online version of Vectr is very easy to use. You can use Vectr without an account, but if you sign up then you can save your projects and continue editing them later.
With Vectr you can also share links to your projects and even collaborate with friends or coworkers in real-time.
Continuing with web apps, next up we have Snappa. Snappa makes it easier to design a number of different online graphics. For example Twitter and Facebook headers, infographics, blog images, ebook covers and more.
They have many pre-made templates to choose from, even for free users. Snappa also has an archive of free icons, stock images and fonts that you can use to make your graphics. But you can upload your own material as well, including fonts.
The Snappa interface is quite user friendly, and works great even for beginners. Free users can however only download 5 projects per month and have limited access to templates.
Easel.ly is a web app that’s in many ways similar to Snappa, but it is more specialized for creating stylish infographics.
You can either create an infographic from scratch or choose one from dozens of free templates. Editing is simple and Easel.ly has a lot of free graphics and fonts that you can use when making your infographics. All your projects will be saved online as well, so you can edit or export them anytime you want.
Like Snappa and Vectr, Easel.ly works through your web browser without Adobe Flash, so you can use it on most computers with no problems.
There is also a pro account option, if you need more templates, icons and other graphics.
Next up we have Krita, which is an excellent free and open source graphics editor that is mainly meant for digital painting and drawing. But it can also be used for basic photo and image editing.
Krita is ideal to make illustrations and comics, texture patterns and concept art. It has many tools to help with that, such as an intuitive interface, brush stabilizers and engines, wrap-around mode for patterns and a bunch of other features.
Krita is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Finally our last graphics editing tool in this video, and that is Sumopaint.
Sumopaint is similar to Krita in that it has some decent drawing features, but it is also an online graphics editor much like the Pixlr Editor.
Sumopaint can also be downloaded to your computer, but only the online editor is 100% free. The software that you download called Sumopaint Air, has a 30 day trial.
However as with Pixlr, the online Sumopaint editor is based in Adobe Flash so it will also be a bit pixely when you use it but not when the edited image is exported. You can make some cool art with Sumopaint, which you can check out in their gallery on Sumopaint.com.