Free Art Design Programs

There are many computer programs that allow you to create stunning digital works.

Art was traditionally done with a hard surface and tools, such as a canvas and paintbrushes. When computers emerged, the face of art changed. Today, there are many artists whose canvas is a computer screen, and whose brushes are a keyboard and mouse. They achieve their work by using programs designed for the visual artist, and for the common good of society many of these programs are distributed as freeware, allowing anybody to develop their creativity.

Daz 3D

Daz/Studio is a free design software that allows you to do 3D modeling, 3D rendering and animations of human forms and their environments for noncommercial use. The programs involves a point-and-click system that allows you to find and load images from thumbnails including preloaded scenes that you can load and manipulate, or you can import your own objects and environments. Four free starter bundles are available to start your content library as well including Victoria Four Base (a human female), Anime Starter Bundle, Safari Starter Bundle (animals) and Clothing Bundle.

Make Human

Make Human is an open-source program (meaning anybody can modify the programming) for designing the human form. First, you choose a male or female mesh figure. Then you point and drag and drop to change the attributes of the figure, such as height or body thickness. When you change one attribute, MakeHuman changes all the other body attributes to match a realistic human form. After the mesh is developed, MakeHuman takes over and fills in the mesh with a human body. The body can be posed in any way that replicates a pose natural to the human body. Because it is open source, you can then load the model you created into other programs and add clothes or background environments. This is a good program for artists who use people extensively.

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Google SketchUp 7.1.6860

Google SketchUp 7.1.6860 allows an artist to draw a 3D sketch, then modify it with colors, light and shadow with a drag-and-drop motion. The program also has preloaded sketches that you can modify, again using drag and drop to make buildings, trees or any other object. You can build models from scratch, or download models (for free) such as objects. The program then fills in in textures, such as wood, concrete, or grass. A complete tutorial is included, along with Google support.

Serif Drawplus

Serif Drawplus is a program that allows you to make line drawings, after which it fills in textures and highlights. You can, for example, draw a cup, which the program will fill in with a wooden, concrete or glass (transparent) texture, the depiction reflecting light as would a real glass. With internal smoothing and shaping (such as curves), your initial drawing will be smoothed out. It also has an animation mode. With the animation tools provided, you can control frame management, or set up a a sequence of frames.