Choosing what software to work with is important: you will probably be using it every day, so you want to use a program that you like.
Normally there are a few options available, so when deciding what software to use I ask myself these questions:
- Can I learn this software on my own?
- If not, are there available tutorials, forums, or courses for learning?
- Can I afford it?
Take some time to consider these questions to make a decision for yourself. If you are a beginner or you are doing digital painting as a hobby, you might want to start with a free option.
If you already have some experience and your income allows you to purchase a more premium option, go for it. I'm going to tell you what programs I use, but remember that your decision will depend on your particular situation.
I mainly use Adobe Creative Cloud for all of my work:
- Photoshop for raster images, photo editing, character illustration and realistic medical or scientific illustrations.
- Illustrator for graphic design, logo design, icons and vector illustration. The images in this blog post are also made in Adobe Illustrator.
- After Effects for animation and video editing, including tutorials
I also use Blender for most of my 3D work. I love it because it's free and there are so many amazing resources and online courses out there to learn it.
The most frequent argument that I hear about Adobe is that it's expensive. True, it's not free, but it has some advantages in my opinion.
There are countless tutorials out there that you can use to improve your skills and make better work, and they also have applications to make many kinds of visuals, from drawings to animation.
If you are still not sure, there are some free alternatives that you can use.
InkScape is a great free alternative for Illustrator, if you want to make vector illustrations.
GIMP is great for photo editing and raster images as an alternative for Photoshop.
Clip Studio Paint is also a great alternative to Photoshop. It's not free, but instead of a subscription, it's a one-time payment, so it's much cheaper.
But it doesn't end here! Some people ask me what software I use, not because they are illustrators, but because they occasionally need to make an image.
If you are a PhD student, a teacher or a researcher and are looking for an even quicker way to get images without having to make them yourself, stay tuned for my next blog post where I will share the best places to get images that you can use in your work.
I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. I'll be happy to help you or answer your question in a future blog post or video.