Open-source designing software is a kind of program that can be modified by each particular user to serve his/her specific needs. Such software are being constantly changed, which implies fixing bugs and adding new features by a vast community of people and if you are good at programming, you can also contribute to the development of the product.
Another reason, why programs with open source are so popular nowadays is their zero price tag. This article covers 11 top best options currently available.
When you are just at the beginning of your career path, you can’t afford to buy professional programs to hone your skills and learn the ropes of the business. That’s when open source software design tools come to rescue.
The software listed below can help you level up your designing skills and find your place among the most successful graphic and web designers.
Verdict: Inkscape is advanced open source design software compatible with Win, Mac and Linux OS. This program is frequently featured on the lists of the best alternatives to CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator.
The UI is designed in a very intuitive manner, so even beginners can master it. Similar to other open source vector design tools, Inkscape uses SVG as its native file format.
The toolset is truly remarkable, containing all the necessary instruments for different stages of the design process. Besides, there is a huge variety of handy features, so you can effortlessly perform alpha blending, profound path manipulations, notes editing, bitmap tracing, and more.
Initially, Inkscape is oriented at more experienced users, who can take advantage of its numerous tools and features. Besides, you can connect a keyboard for designers and speed up the process by using shortcuts.
Verdict: This open source graphic software is the go-to tool for illustrators, digital artists, and texture painters. In addition to regular features, it boasts a huge variety of top-tier ones nicely combined with design templates, which can satisfy both beginner and professional requirements.
The biggest advantages of Krita are the built-in collection of brushes for comprehensive work with illustrations and painting, and efficient plug-ins.
Thanks to many brush customization options, you can easily adjust the tool for a specific task, e.g. smooth out uneven lines, create seamless graphic patterns & textures, etc. The wrap-around mode and instant color selection add flexibility to the entire process.
Thanks to a huge list of available tools, both rookie and seasoned artists can find something suitable for their work.
Verdict: GIMP is one of the best open source graphic design software, which also offers some tools for image editing, thus attracting a broader range of users.
All these instruments are conveniently arranged on the Ps-like interface, making switching from Adobe product a breeze, which is of great importance if you want to replace the latter with this open source program.
You can use GIMP on Mac, Windows, GNU and some of the latest Linux distros. Boasting an extensive set of tools and functions, GIMP can interest both professional and newbie users, who are bound to find something suitable for them here.
To make your experience using GIMP exclusively positive, the developers supplied it with many customization options and support for third-party plug-ins.
Verdict: This free graphic design software for Mac, Windows and Linux has quickly become popular among users because it was designed by the creators of CorelDRAW and is expected to deliver the same top-notch performance. In addition to the desktop use, you can leverage it in your browser.
The free graphic design software is powerful enough to assist you in your photo editing, graphic design, and other creative endeavors.
In fact, the tools and features available are ideal for generating high-end designs, editing text, creating non-destructive Boolean loops, working with path graphs, and more.
On top of that, you can easily adapt the interface to your current task in order to cope with it in a stress-free way, though the original layout is clear enough, so you may instantly get down to work.
Verdict: If you are looking for the program for graphic design that won’t clutter your disk space, FontForge is an ideal pick. It is optimized for Linux, Windows and Mac platforms and is translated into 12 languages.
This open source design software was developed by George Williams with the help of the C-programming code and uses free-type rendering for creating various fonts.
The most remarkable feature of this program is the variety of readable fonts, including such popular options as TrueType, CID-keyed and many more. So, if you are interested in creating original fonts, here is a great tool to use for this task.
In addition to the main toolset, there are many instruments for drawing, transformation, rounding, adding serifs, as well as copying individual elements or letter options.
Verdict: Dia operates on a single-doc interface (SDI) similar to GIMP and Inkscape. This open source designing software attracts attention with its numerous handy tools that allow drawing entity relationship diagrams, flowcharts, network schemes, etc.
You can also try your hand at programming and add support for new shapes, thus advancing the capabilities of this program. The diagrams created here can be exported with the XML extension and in a number of many other formats – EPS, SVG, XFIG, WMF and PNG. If needed, you can print the result of your work.
Verdict: SVG-Edit is first-rate graphic design software online, which is supported by most modern browsers. It is aimed at an average user, containing only basic instruments in the toolset, namely, shape tools, hand-drawing tools, text and path editing means.
The program is divided into 2 interfaces, which work in conjunction for a smoother and more productive workflow.
SVG-Edit may fully satisfy those graphic designers, who are looking for intuitive, simple-to-use software without bells and whistles. Still, there is a special module, enabling which, you can turn SVG files into an array of many other formats PNG, TIFF, GIF, BMP, JPEG, and WMP in several seconds.
Verdict: Skencil is a vector drawing software, which runs on Linux, Unix and GNU-like OS. You can use the program to create detailed diagrams, elaborate illustrations and drawings. It operates on interpreted languages, for instance, Python, and can ideally suit professional designers.
Looking through its wide-ranging features, you will find clipmasks, gradient fills, Bezier curves and many other handy options.
Each element is introduced as a mathematic description of its shape, e.g. a circle equals to coordinates of the center points and length of the radius. This is rather an interesting approach, which sets this open source design software apart from the analog programs.
Verdict: Pencil2D is an efficient animation software with a strong emphasis on drawing. It allows using bit-map and vector graphics as a basis for hand-drawn animations. Being very intuitive to use, this software impresses with a rich collection of high-end animation tools.
The first thing that catches an eye is a user-oriented interface, so mastering Pencil2D won’t take much time. What is more, Pencil2D supports layers, features a timeline, so you can tackle the pace of your animation. Considering all the benefits of Pencil2D, no wonder, I added it onto this graphic design software list.
Verdict: Pinta is a free, open source design software supported by Win, Mac, Linux and *BSD. In addition to the design tools, there are some meant for photo editing and drawing. The initial idea behind Pinta is to supply artists with a simple yet efficient program for creative work.
The available tools are robust enough for drawing any imaginable shape. Besides, there are 35 adjustments and effects that can give your images a professional look. Thanks to the multilingual support, designers from different countries can use this software.
Pinta is ideal for creative experiments, since it offers a complete editing history, enabling you to return to any necessary step.
Verdict: Blender has outperformed lots of similar programs for 3D drawing and software design and occupies high positions in many ratings.
The main advantage is that Blender is compatible with all OS and does a great job at creating seamless animated films, 3D apps, and visual effects. Besides, this open source design software is very lightweight, so you may not worry about cluttering your disk space.
A huge collection of tools can aid professionals in photorealistic rendering, sculpting, game creation, fast rigging and compositing. However, the biggest upsides of Blender are the path-racer engine, scripting and rendering features. This tool is extensively used by artists for creating short films, TV shows and animations.