Artistic Resources: Freeware.
Since my forum article on freeware has proven popular, I've decided to include it here in the information section in Twin Seeds.
So, you want to jump on the digital art train... Looks pretty cool, right? Use less paper, don't have to worry about the paint running out, don't have to worry about that pencil breaking or the ink all over your hands. You may even have a tablet already.
You hear Photoshop is pretty cool, and Corel Painter looks downright dreamy. Right?
You might just be an artistic hobo, a peasant, a starving artist.
It's alright, most of us have been there (or are there) and we sympathize. Or, you may just be a penny pincher, but hey, most of us are that anyway.
Either way, TDR has your back. I've made a small list of freeware programs that you might want to try out.
http://www.gimp.org/ - GIMP. If Photoshop can do it, chances are GIMP can. 100% freeware, no nag screens, no strings attached. Plenty of third party plugins to be had for this. You can also get GAP, GIMP Animation Package, for all your dancing hamster needs!
http://plasticbugs.com/ - GIMPShop. Hasn't been updated to the latest version of GIMP, but still useful. For those that are more used to Photoshop or PaintShopPro, this may be the choice for you. It'll help ease you into the way GIMP works without too much "culture shock." No worries about animation, it comes with GAP bundled in.
http://www.geocities.com/lostychan/about - openCanvas1.1 - b68. Eventually I'll see about TDR hosting a download of this, as the official site no longer offers it. But for now you can get it from the above link. I personally have this program and I love it. If you're serious about wanting a traditional media feel and don't have the money for the big ones like Corel Painter X, OC is definitely one to try out. The newer versions of OC aren't freeware, but if you're going to use OC for a traditional media feel, you probably won't care about the lack of layer support or filters in the old freeware version anyway. Also fun if you want to get together with a friend and doodle together online.
http://www.artweaver.de/ - Artweaver. I have not tried this personally, but it looks like it has some options. It's supposed to offer a traditional media feel, sort of like Painter. It's freeware, no strings attached, worth a try I'd say. They also offer a plugin called "Dogweaver" that allows the sharing of images between Artweaver and Dogwaffle.
http://www.thebest3d.com/ - Project Dogwaffle. Like Artweaver this is supposed to give a traditional media sort of feel. They offer a lighter freeware version of this, and if you like it you can pay a fee for the full version. They don't save disable on the free one, so it is indeed freeware at least and not shareware.
http://www.ambientdesign.com/ - ArtRage. The Starter Edition is freeware. If you like it you can pay a fee for the full version. Again, for a traditional media feel.
http://www.pixarra.com/ - Twistedbrush. They offer a free version, though I don't know about nag screens or anything else. Yet another that's supposed to offer a traditional feel. Of course you can get the full version, for a fee.
http://greenfish.extra.hu/ - Greenfish Painter. This program forbids the use of typical digital tools such as lasso and gradient fill in order to provide a traditional media feel. This one may be limited on the tools, but it looks like a good one for begingers, as it will cut out some of the easy "cheats" like gradients. Greenfish Corporation also offers an icon editor and relief map generator. All freeware, but you may make a donation if you wish to.
http://park18.wakwak.com/~pixia/index.html - Pixia. I did actually try this, and I uninstalled it very quickly. Do. Not. Get. Pixia. Get OC or GIMP instead.
Stuff I personally use.
http://plasticbugs.com/ - GIMPShop. Though I may update to the normal GIMP later on. http://www.gimp.org/
http://www.geocities.com/lostychan/about - openCanvas1.1 - b68.
Even if you've had hacked copies of things like Photoshop in the past, give freeware a try, it might just surprise you.