We’ll be gathering a listing of some of the best free and, mostly, open source design software available on the internet. Though free, the software listed below are all of a high standard and comparable with their commercial alternatives.
Inkscape is an open source, vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
Similar to Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape can open native Illustrator files – AI, PDF, Corel Draw CDR files, EPS and SVG files – the default file format. Inkscape has a wealth of editing tools and a large library of addons to extend it’s capabilities. Perfect for artists who have limited resources, the software can be installed on most computers and can even be run off a usb memory stick. Available for Windows®, Mac®, GNU/Linux®
The GNU Image Manipulation Program, GIMP, is a free, open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
It has support for a variety of file formats, including limited support for Photoshop’s PSD files. Like Inkscape, GIMP has a large registry of plugins to extend the software’s capabilities. There is a portable version that can be run off a USB memory stick. Available for Windows®, Mac®, GNU/Linux®
Irfanview is the one best and oldest (first released in 1996) image viewers and editors for Windows.
No matter how obscure the file format, chances are Irfanview will open it. Irfanview’s small and fast interface contains powerful editing tools, including lossless jpeg transformations, and a powerful batch image processing function. Available for Windows®
PIXLR is free online image editor.
When away from your computer and you need to quicky make some edits to an image, then PIXLR is handy to have around. All editing is done in a web browser; so images are uploaded, edited and then downloaded. With large images, the speed of the internet access becomes an issue but it’s handy none the less.
This open source professional publishing software is very useful.
With the ability to handle spot colours, CMYK colour seperations, colour profiles, PDF export amongst others, Scribus is good resource for small organisations who want to produce professionally layed out web and print publications. Available for Windows®, Mac®, GNU/Linux®
Blender is a fully featured 3D animation suite.
From modelling to rigging your model, to rendering and output of the final animation or even video editing and game creation, Blender handles it all. The learning curve may be a bit steep but Blender also comes with plenty of documentation and a large helpful community to support your work.
Available for Windows®, Mac®, GNU/Linux®
Daz Studio is a 3D art creation software platform that enables you to make dynamic renders, animations and creations with the help of a huge library of content that’s always growing. Powerful, functional, and free, Daz Studio is used by beginners and professionals alike to create stunning, rich, and high-definition 3D art.
PLEASE NOTE: Daz Studio is free but the 3D models in the store are NOT, though there are a handful of free models, poses and presets and a weekly freebie (account required).
Audacity is a free, open source audio recorder and editor.
Free doesn’t mean cheap, that’s certainly true for Audacity. Powerful features and expandable with plugins, Audacity has been around for nearly 15 years and continues to add features with each new release. Available for Windows®, Mac®, GNU/Linux®