Free software for artists and facilitators

 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 very high standard and compare favourably with their commercial alternatives.

Graphics software


inkscapeInkscape 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® | Inkscape portable app


gimpThe 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® | Gimp portable app


irfanviewIrfanview 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® | Irfanview portable app


pixlrPIXLR 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.


scribusThis 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® | Scribus portable app

3D software


blenderBlender 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® | Blender portable app

Multimedia software


audacityAudacity 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® | Audacity portable app

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.