Digital art is a subject that groups together all artwork that has been created by a digital medium, either using the computer or dedicated art software. There are various softwares for digital art creation; these provide new possibilities and scope for artistic expression. In this article, I will show you those that, in our opinion, are the best of 2021.
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Best overall digital art software:
Adobe Photoshop has been, almost from its inception, the standard for image editing programs. For this reason, it is known to all and considered the complete digital art software available. It allows you to create beautiful illustrations, 3D artwork, and much more. Also, it will enable you to design posters and banners for websites and mobile applications.
The program has a wide range of professional-level tools that allow you to unleash your creativity. It provides us with the brush tool, which has been specially designed for illustrators. Plus, you can create with numerous pencils, pens, markers, and brushes that feel as authentic as their real-life counterparts.
With the rise of digital photography in recent years, Photoshop has become increasingly popular outside of professional settings.
Ideal for Windows.
Corel Painter is a digital art application created to simulate, as accurately as possible, the appearance and behavior of traditional media associated with drawing, painting, and engraving. It is intended to be used in real-time by professional digital artists. With the right combination of performance and features it brings you, it is the perfect digital art software for Windows.
It has a vast collection of over 900 brushes and is organized into 36 categories and includes everything from templates and pattern templates to blenders and texture brushes.
Painter 2021 comes with an innovative AI, giving you 12 art styles to choose from. It also comes with controls for almost every element, including strength, detail, color scheme, and anti-aliasing. You can then add fine details with the brush of your choice or automatic paint to create a very fast and realistic hand-painted look.
The new version of Painter 2021
This year’s update gives you better performance, refines existing tools, and includes organizational system improvements. Plus, everything is designed to ensure that when you’re working on a project, very little gets in the way of your creativity.
Ideal for Mac
Affinity Designer is an excellent design application for creating concept art, print projects, logos, icons, user interface designs, mockups, and much more. Despite being relatively new, it has managed to position itself among the best in its field. The designer is the best digital art software that can be obtained for macOS, being the winner of the Apple Design Award (WWDC) in 2015.
It is a fast app that supports panning and zooming at up to 60fps. Plus, you can preview effects, blending modes, curve edits, and much more, all in real-time. It has an engine that can easily handle complex documents allowing you to organize objects with layer groups and color labels.
One highlight of the program is its ability to switch between raster and vector workspaces with a single click.
Affinity Designer on various devices
It also includes a number of other features such as unlimited artboards, full vector tools, live pixel preview, and custom typography styles. Affinity Designer works with all major image/vector file types such as EPS, SVG, and full-layered PSD.
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Ideal for beginners
Autodesk SketchBook is a simple design drawing and painting solution, making it ideal for beginners. It also has another great incentive, and that is now completely free. This digital art software gives you a sleek, minimalist user interface that stays hidden until you need to use a tool/option, allowing you to work without distraction.
Sketchbook brings various drawing tools, including pencils, inks, markers, and over 190 customizable brushes that can work with textures and shapes. Furthermore, you will also have access to the «Copic» color library, and it allows you to use your device’s camera as a scanner, using Scan Sketch.
Those just starting out as digital illustrators can benefit from the program’s built-in wizards.
Autodesk SketchBook overview
Autodesk SketchBook allows you to export your creations to various formats such as PNG and TIFF. It also supports layered PSD files that are fully preserved with a wealth of information, including layer names, groups, and blending modes. It is available for use on all major platforms.
Best open source digital art software – Krita
If you don’t want to pay for a professional program or can’t afford one, look no further, Krita is your best option. It is a free, open-source, digital painting program. It was created by artists who wanted to make these kinds of tools accessible to everyone. It has been in development for over ten years, experiencing quite rapid growth lately.
The fact that it is completely free does not detract from its power; this digital art software is loaded with several features. The user interface is made up of panels that can be moved around to set up a custom workspace, and you can also configure shortcuts for commonly used tools.
The program has several brush engines, exactly 9, and each of them has a large number of settings to customize your brush. All have been created to meet specific needs, such as the color dithering engine, shape engine, particle engine, and even a filter engine. Plus, it provides a pop-up color palette that lets you quickly pick colors and brushes.
It also has a “Wrap-around” mode that allows you to create seamless patterns and textures. Additionally, the “Multibrush” tool can be used to mirror artwork on multiple axes for a kaleidoscopic effect. Other notable features include full-color management support, PSD compatibility, and brush stabilizers.
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