Free graphics programs for drawing

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by styan5, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    #1
    My daughter has a Wacom Intuos5 graphics tablet and we just bought a MacBook Pro but can't find any suitable software so haven't been able to make it work at all. Was working on old laptop but was so glitchy and kept crashing, hence the new Mac.
    The CorelPainter Sketch pad that came with it states 'You can’t open the application “Corel Painter Sketch Pad” because PowerPC applications are no longer supported.'
    All advice really appreciated and sorry but I am a basic user.
     
  2. CrickettGrrrl, Jan 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    CrickettGrrrl

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    B'more or Less
    #2
    Quoting myself from the other thread :rolleyes::
    Here are some software suggestions for your daughter's tablet & Mac: Sketchbook Express & Sketchbook Copic Edition (both free from the Mac App Store); Pixelmator $30 also from MAS, --a pretty reasonable Adobe Photoshop alternative; and iDraw, about $30, a simpler & cheaper vector drawing alternative to Adobe Illustrator. All pretty decent ways to get started exploring your daughter's tablet.

    In addition, there are pretty good communities & tutorials web sites for most of these graphics programs. --Tutorials are a great way to learn new graphics software quickly. PXM-Tuts.com had a tut last week about drawing with a Wacom tablet and Pixelmator:
    http://www.pxm-tuts.com/tutorials/drawing-painting/recreate-the-ripper-skateboard-graphic-in-pixelmator/
     
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    #3
    Thanks heaps, will get her started on the Sketchbook Apps you suggested and check out the tutorials too. Much appreciated :)
     
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    #4
    @ CrickettGrrrl ....... Thanks again ..... The free Mac Apps are a great start and she can finally use her Intuos5 tablet. Greatly appreciated and will bear your other suggestions in mind for the future :)
     
  5. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #5
    You can try Gimp too. It's free. Pixelmator seems more popular on here. I don't know how much time your daughter has spent drawing. There are things that behave differently in graphics software when compared to traditional media. It's more time consuming to create faked texture, which you kind of get for free with stroke marks. Using a variety of brushes can help. The color palette can be a bit wild. It's easy to pick ultra saturated colors. I liked colored pencils, and it was a little difficult to adapt at first. I find for drawing, you need to ensure the ratio of tablet to screen area is comfortable. If the tablet is too small, you can always switch the pen to mouse mode with acceleration disabled and tune the mapping speed to taste. It's annoying if your hand moves and inch and the cursor moves 3 inches. Also make sure she keeps her hands clean around that tablet surface. those things wear down and their surfaces are no longer easily replaceable. Thanks wacom:mad:.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    CrickettGrrrl

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    B'more or Less
    #6
    Good information here (although Gimp & Adobe CS have a higher initial frustration quotient --although that may not be too big a problem for styan5's daughter). Thekev, you make me glad I slide my tablet under a low platform when not in use, I didn't realize the surface was so sensitive to wear --thought that was just the nibs. Turns out I'm not getting the tablet out the way, I'm protecting it. :)
     
  7. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #7
    Also be careful if you're using it on a keyboard tray. I stripped the cable on a 9x12 one that way when it rubbed against metal. The large versions are also not so cheap. In terms of surfaces, Wacom's service costs are rarely low, you pay for shipping, and their turnaround estimates are awful. Estimates can be 10-15 working days once they receive it. Add shipping back and forth, and it's basically a month without it. This means if you use it for work, you may have to buy a new one and just get the old one fixed as a backup.

    I don't think CS and Gimp are that frustrating to start with now. You have so many cheap resources that go over the ui. You can just use lynda.com or one of the others. Beyond that if you're looking for educational material, it's better to focus on things that go over drawing or painting rather than photoshop. You just learn more that way.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    CrickettGrrrl

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    B'more or Less
    #8
    No keyboard tray, I know, those can be lethal with corded keyboards too. I have a cheap IKEA Bräda laptop stand for my iPad which is below a monitor stand, the small Wacom tablet slides right under that.

    A very good tutorial site (free & premium tuts) is Matt Kohr's http://www.ctrlpaint.com/

    He emphasizes traditional art training--a solid foundation of sketching, perspective, color theory, line work, color blending ---with digital graphics. The way he paints with a Cintiq is very fluid and closest to traditional painting or drawing that I've seen so far.

    -------
    (And Prismacolors for the win!) :cool:
     
  9. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #9
    That's cool. I'm quite fluent with this stuff, albeit not very specialized. I set a large intuos tablet to 1:1. My other hand rests on the keyboard, which has a mouse beside it. If I need to grab something from the part of the display outside that tablet mapped area I grab it with the mouse. The rest of the time it navigates hotkeys. I have tons of them in each application. It works as I don't lose my place. I don't have a big problem changing pencils for a drawing, but things like toolbars and dropdown menus are annoying distractions. I think real pens or pencils and things like that are more flexible. With computer tools you have to fine tune frequently. With a colored pencil you can use more of the tip or change your grip to use more of the side for shading as opposed to toggling keys and brush menus. That is partly why I'm picky about minimizing any unnecessary interaction with them.
     

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