Page name: CG Programs [Logged in view] [RSS]
2006-05-28 20:18:49
Last author: Sheepy
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Computer Graphics Programs

One of the most commonly asked questions in the Computer Graphics forum -- as well as many of the other art-oriented forums-- is "What program should I use to color my art?"

I got sick of answering it, so I made this page. Please feel free to contribute your own additions, as this is by no means a comprehensive list.

FYI, the password for the sub-pages is "zongo". I'm just too lazy to go through and unpassword protect them.

I'm working on revamping this list and giving each program it's own Wiki. If you use these programs, please go to their individual Wiki and write reviews and post example images! Especially if it's blank -- that means I haven't gotten to it yet =) Please send me a message if you'd like the password to the undeveloped wiki-pages.

Basic Information
This is a great resource. Go here for tutorials and information about a slew of graphics programs.
No, I'm not kidding. Google is your friend. Whatever you need a tutorial for, type it in here and I guarantee you will get some good hits.
This is an online encyclopedia, and an excellent resource to learn more about the types of CG programs out there. Try looking up "raster graphics," for instance.

The Big Guys

Corel ( ) and Adobe ( ) are the leaders of the 2d graphic arts industry. They make Photopaint and Photoshop for bitmap editing, and Draw and Illustrator for vector. Both are aimed at professionals, but Corel's newly released (as of February 2004) Draw Suite 12(which comes with both programs and then some) will put less of a dent in your pocket book at $349 retail. Both companies have free trials available on their websites. Corel also makes Bryce, a 3d program, and Painter, a program which tries to simulate the effects of physical media. I don't know if Adobe makes anything similar.

3d Renderers

Truespace 3 is free:

And Maya3d recently released a free personal edition, too:

Blender is totally free, but awkward to learn:

Bryce is a relatively cheap alternative to the big 3D programs out there.

Poser is a 3D modeler for figures. Comes with a set of human figures and various positions and clothing.

Soft Image has now a cheap home-edition of their 3D program

Ulead Cool3D at $49.95, Cool3D has loads of customizable samples, and ability to render to vector.

Swift 3D a 3D modelling/animation software designed specifically to output to Flash.

Bitmap(Raster) Editors

Corel Photopaint

Painter (CG) a professional grade, natural media simulating graphics program.

Adobe Photoshop

The Gimp takes some getting used to, but it is an excellent, free program.

Jasc Paint Shop Pro is a cheaper alternative to the big boys:

Adobe Elements is a cheaper and partially simplified version of photoshop.

ArtRage a sweet, free, natural media simulator.


IrfanView is a multipurpose media viewer. With the plugin pack, this program will open nearly any raster, vector, video, sound, or text file for viewing. Also very easy to batch-convert/rename large quantities of images.

Vector Editors

Macromedia Flash, Fireworks and Freehand
Adobe Illustrator
Quark Express
SWiSH - This is a great little program for creating .SWF flash files. You can even output to AVI movie format. Its fairly easy to learn. I paid $49 for version 2.01 a few years ago and have loved it ever since. You can download a limited time preview of the full version program from their website.

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2004-07-15 [Sheepy]: *l* yep, I just went through and made the links, intending to one day get around to editting the pages. at least they got some free advertisement? :P

2004-07-15 [65tyjvw45b]: LOL True. You should stake you claim for those wiki names. That is what I do when I know I'll be needing a certain name. I just edit the page and put something like, "Page in construction for CG Programs." Or, something like that. Password protect it if needed.

2004-07-15 [Sheepy]: Good plan. Thanks.

2004-07-15 [65tyjvw45b]: No problem. <-(^_^)->

2004-08-14 [Sheepy]: Thanks, Yncke!

2004-08-14 [Yncke]: No prob. :) I can start with a small page for The Gimp if you like, but I don't have as much experience with it as with PSP.

2004-08-17 [Sheepy]: IrfanView is quite awesome. I hadn't even thought of adding it, thanks Tupile!

2004-08-17 [Tupile]: another recommendation, though i dont know where to put it: akfontviewer  a great little font viewer, very flexible, and totally free!

2004-08-18 [Sheepy]: Maybe we should add a "utilities" section, and put it there with IrfanView.. though I would be more likely to add a font -management- tool, like BitStream FontNavigator.

2004-08-18 [Tupile]: yeah the question is where to draw the line... cause if you really wanted to, you could add a huge section on web design tools, another on authoring programs, and FTP programs, etc...

2004-08-18 [65tyjvw45b]: If it has to do with images and/or creating any sort of visual images using the computer then it can go here. Font stuff included since it is an art. Everything else is not needed and falls far outside the lines.

2004-08-18 [Sheepy]: Agreed, Deis. Web design stuff is totally different -- and there are SO many good websites out there, I would definitely not bother with a Wiki, unless it were to list some of them. but a web designer ought to know hwo to use google ;)

2004-08-18 [65tyjvw45b]: Yup, and web designing has nothing to do with art and a lot more to do with interior design-like things. Like taking other's arts and setting it where they think it looks good. There's a few exceptions of course.

2004-08-18 [Sheepy]: well.. I would consider those arts. Just not "studio fine arts." A lot from each discipline can be applied to the other, though.

2004-10-22 [FiSHr.]: the gimp is the best

2004-11-23 [LustForLike]: Sodipodi ( ) is one I have recently discovered, a vector art program. Does for Illustrator what the gimp does for photoshop.

2005-05-22 [Yncke]: I was wondering, do programs like Povray and Terragen deserve being mentioned here as well?

2005-05-23 [Tupile]: yeah sure, they're considered 3D Renderers

2005-07-12 [nunt]: There's lightwave

2006-05-23 [iippo]: Gosh I wish I had found this page before I made gps. >.<; Ah well.

2006-05-24 [Yncke]: I think these two are complementary.

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