View Full Version : Best software

03-19-2016, 10:10 AM
I just got a Surface Pro 4 with Windows 10 for work and it came with a pen. What software should I be using for drawing/painting? It came with a free drawing software app and I have photoshop/illustrator. Is there some software out there that I should have to do digital art?

03-19-2016, 01:03 PM
Photoshop is a good way to start. It's pretty versatile I think, and there are a whole lot of videos on YouTube where you can see how other people use it.

I'm not really sure if the Surface Pro is more like a tablet or a laptop, or both? Do you get apps or programs? Either way, you can try out the popular programs like Painter or Artrage, maybe TwistedBrush. Search around and see what's available. Everyone has their own favourites depending on how they like to work.

03-19-2016, 01:29 PM
Photoshop is a good way to start. It's pretty versatile I think, and there are a whole lot of videos on YouTube where you can see how other people use it.

I'm not really sure if the Surface Pro is more like a tablet or a laptop, or both? Do you get apps or programs? Either way, you can try out the popular programs like Painter or Artrage, maybe TwistedBrush. Search around and see what's available. Everyone has their own favourites depending on how they like to work.

The surface is in between. I can get MS apps but its regular windows 10 machine with a touch screen. I am trying to find something that will mimic real life drawing and acylic/oil painting.

03-20-2016, 11:04 AM
Artrage or Painter would probably be the best options. You can try them out for free.

03-20-2016, 11:12 AM
Thanks I will give it a go.

03-21-2016, 02:27 PM
:wave: Hi Adam,
Did you see the thread on "favorite software" (it should appear at the top of this forum) lots of opinions there.
It's all personal opinion, and for some, the fun is trying different one's out.

I've tried the Surface Pro version for Artrage, and it seemed to be pretty good. A friend of mine downloaded it, and was emailing me back and forth with questions. I finally drove up to her house, because I realized we weren't on the same page.
It's not exactly like the regular computer version, but much more complete than the iPad version. But I'm old school, and like to work on my computer with the BIG monitor.

03-21-2016, 03:51 PM
I also just got an Intuos pen and touch tablet. Is the surface better for art? I am a technology professor so I get all kinds of cool gadgets from work to figure out how to use them in my classes. This summer I am teaching an interface design class where I teach photoshop for web graphics but I am finally getting into the drawing aspect of digital art and its all new.

03-25-2016, 06:28 AM
See, you want to draw something into your photo, suggest you to use PicMonkey to make it:
Or GIMP can also make it.
Aslo don't forget to add logo to pictures (http://www.watermark-software.com/how-could-you-put-logo-on-pictures-at-once.html) of yours to make a clarification of your ownership.

07-04-2016, 06:36 AM
I'm trying Medibang (http://medibangpaint.com/en/), a free program which runs on my Windows 10 laptop and HP tablet. It is really a Manga and comic drawing program but can be used as a paint program. It is very comprehensive.


10-06-2016, 03:38 AM
I heartily recommend Mischief. It's available to try for free and to buy is only $25. You can create some fantastic work with it and export to a few formats including Photoshop's PSD.
I use it for conceptual work.
Concept art drawn with Mischief (http://blog.artbywilf.com/2016/10/06/kid-warrior-concept-art-drawn-with-mischief/)
Hope that helps!

10-06-2016, 03:57 AM
Krita always comes out top for features. Here's a comparison video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1WoOvbuc3U)on youtube.


12-24-2016, 07:54 PM
check out paintstorm studio- looks liek quite a program- also Rebelle is awesome- I saw videos of it on a surface pro- looked like it performed well- although watercolor calculations take more horsepower-- artrage is really nice program too- as others have said-

01-04-2017, 06:56 PM
I would say that depends on what you'd like to draw. For any simple drawing, and 2d I'd recommend TvPaint or Photoshop.

01-04-2017, 11:32 PM
I like Corel Paint. I haven't tried a lot of different digital painting software, but I definitely like Corel Paint. Corel paint gives you a lot of different types of brushes to paint and draw with. It's fairly easy to learn & use and the price is affordable. It has a pretty good amount of capabilities.

I also tried a cheap digital sketching program called sketchbook, but it's too limited and I don't like it. Also it's somewhat awkward and unintuitive to use.

I dislike Photoshop. It's a very awkward software for me. I hate how they made the controls. Everything is so unintuitive and awkward. Like for one thing, how come you can't use control Z multiple times like you can in Adobe Illustrator? How come you can only use control Z once, and then you have to use "step backward?" That's so stupid and wrong! And how come the default way the magifying glass works is to shrink the image?! That's another stupid and wrong thing. And how come every time you load a picture, its layer is locked and you cannot unlock it? Another stupid and wrong thing!!! Photoshop is full of stupid, awkward junk like that which makes no sense.

01-05-2017, 08:45 AM
ArtRage 5 is coming out later this month with an updated UI and a brush control manager similar to Procreate.

Rod Turner
01-28-2017, 01:03 PM
I have worked exclusively with Painter for years, now, starting with version 3 right up to Corel Painter 2016. It can be a wonky program, with lots of...personality...that takes some getting used to. It's still the best, by far, of the digital natural media programs.

02-20-2017, 02:28 PM
It depends on the type of drawing! Photoshop is generally used for 2D drawings, while for 3D drawings Rhino 3D, 3Ds Max are some famous titles.

02-24-2017, 11:08 PM
My preferred painting program is the new ArtRage version 5. Outstanding if you want to paint real paintings. They upgraded the pencils and pastels too. And now, they have custom brushes that work the same way as Procreate does.

It is so much easier to use than Painter, which I decided not to upgrade to the latest 2017 version this time. It is a great program too (2017) but it has let me down to many times in the past and the interface; while much better than 2016, still feels clunky to me. Plus it costs way to much. Even the upgrades are priced to high for my taste. Sorry for bashing Painter, that is not my intent. I just prefer ArtRage now!

05-28-2017, 03:06 AM

Anyone try this with their Surface Pro? I just ordered the surface pro 4
with 8gb and was wondering if this would be a good program to buy.
Thanks Firebugy.

05-28-2017, 05:39 AM
Looks good, there are several others which work in Windows 19 such as Krita, Mediabang and Clip Studio Paint.


05-28-2017, 06:16 PM
Thanks. Mediabang looks good.


05-31-2017, 04:08 PM
hi! I use Photoshop but I have to say that there is nothing that compares to Manga Studio's paint brushes, they are AMAZING and the lines come out crisp and better than your natural ones!

07-03-2017, 03:07 PM
I've recently over the past 6 weeks started to shift from conventional oil painting into digital. I downloaded Krita, Corel Painter, Artrage 5 and Rebelle 2. I had a hard time deciding which program to invest my time and money into. They are all good, but closely looking at finished paintings by enlarging them and printing them out, I could see a definite advantage with Rebelle. I've been just using the sketching and acrylic paint tools. The way Rebelle lays down paint is amazing. From impasto, washes, and glazing amazed me. And the cost is easy on the wallet.

Will post some of my work soon. Have to figure out how to size artwork to post first.

Rage of Reason
07-11-2017, 02:39 PM
There a cross platform (both Mac and Windows) new program called Affinity that has Photoshop or Corel PhotoPaint like functions and is very cheap - about 55 Euro and no subscription! Check out their website: https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/photo/ In the first year of entering the market this program won best program award for Macintosh.

07-20-2017, 10:55 AM
I've used Photoshop for 23 years, 12 of them professionally. When Adobe turned evil, I looked elsewhere: Clip Studio Paint was my choice (AKA Manga Studio). just after I bought it, I discovered by luck Paintstorm Studio (http://paintstormstudio.com), and THAT'S THE ONE. The brush behavior and settings are phenomenal. Eons ahead. 20 bucks. The UI can still be improved, but it already is much better than Painter's or Krita's (or Photoshop brush/tool presets organization & management, for that matter). And it's pretty much one guy: no greedy, totalitarian, society-destroying corporate ****s.

07-24-2017, 08:29 PM
Hello there.
So lucky to have one of those fancy surfaces.
Well... what you gotta do first it check if the software you want to use will be compatible with your Surface's Drivers, and if they accept Pressure Sensitivity or any kind of suff like that.
Secondly... think about what you want to use the Software for.
And then, seek for Software for your purposes.
Now, onto software:

The most popular one:
1.- Photoshop.
I wouldn't recommend a newbie to go for Photoshop, as it's way too complex to start with. Although capable to create Vector renderings, is a great alternative for High Quality artwork.
The only problem is: It's a paid software.
But you'll be paying for proffesional software. You'll receive what you'll be paying for.

2.- Adobe Painter/Illustrator.
Adobe has stated that they support both Windows Surface drivers and Wacom Tablet's Drivers. So there you have a great alternative. I haven't used Adobe's products, but they too have the capacity to produce Vector Quality artwork. They have less tools and options than Photoshop. But I'll recommend it for Intermediate-Advanced Users.

3.- Gimp.
This is the one I use the most. As it's compatible with my Touch Device.
Gimp works with BitMaps, and it's one of the most common free alternative to Photoshop.
As an experienced GIMP user, I will detail you what you will be able to do with it:
1.- It has a completely customizable User Interface. It even lets you choose "Themes" for the Interface.
2.- You'll be able to create High Quality Bitmap artwork. It lets you choose the resolution of importation and exportation. So, let's say that you want a small picture with a really good pixel density, let's say: 1000x1000px at 600dpi... GIMP CAN DO IT!
3.- It lets you use many fiilters for your artwork. For instance, simulate the texture of Real-Life Canvas, so you can paint "with Oils" or even choose paper-like textures for "Pastels" or "Colored Pencils". These textures are completely customizable, as you can choose the spacing of the texture, the density of the texture, the depth, the opacity, anything you like.
4.- It allows you to create Custom Brushes. SO YOU CAN RECREATE MANY REAL-LIFE-LIKE MATERIALS! But it takes a little effort and knowledge on the "how to" recreate such materials.
5.- You'll be able to create the so-called Dynamics. These Dynamics are literally, how your brush will behave.
Just to give you some sort of Idea of what these Dynamics are... you'll be able to choose between 10 or so options.
These options vary between:
- Oppacity
- Spacing
- Pressure
- Thickness
- Color
- Velocity
- Random
So for instance, if you want a Dynamic that emulates bigger lines based on the pressure of your surface, you'll be able to fully customize the thickness of the line.
Or if you want to emulate Color Oppacity based on the speed of your stroke, you can fully customize how opaque or light your colours will be.

So, in my experience, not having a Wacom of any Touch Sensitive surface/pen, is a huge advantage having the option to create a Dynamic that simulates Pressure Sensitivity based on the speed of my strokes.

I've created many Dynamics that use all the features of Dynamics Creation to simulate many materials, from Watercolor, to Oils and Pastels!
So, for instance, if I feel like painting in Oils, I just choose "Oils" Dynamic
and all my Custom Brushes will behave and simulate the Oil+Canvas texture.
Or I choose my "Pastels" Dynamic and it will behave Pastel-Like.

So... there you go my friend.
It's just a matter of playing with the software and deciding what will work for you.


09-14-2017, 07:36 AM
I think Photoshop is one among the best software available in the market. It is can quickly learn. Many tutorials are available on the interney

09-14-2017, 08:42 AM
But it is unaffordable for the ordinary Joe. I don't find it easy to use.


02-04-2018, 01:56 PM
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is the best as far as I am concerned, I have photoshop as well, but it lacks the awesome tools found in Sketchbook. It is also a cheap date at only $30 a year subscription.

Rage of Reason
02-04-2018, 09:51 PM
Anything you can do in Photoshop can be done in Affinity Photo of which you gain ownership for a one time fee of 50 USD (no wretched subscription) and no obligation to share your art in the Adobe cloud. It runs properly in Windows 10 and has been elected app of the year for the iPad (it runs on multiple platforms, allowing for easy exchange of files with ios users as well) It can import and export psd files while maintaining layer structure. Any function is shown in real time and it has an abundance of import and export extensions as well as using photoshop plugins.

02-05-2018, 04:27 AM
Affinity looks promising, I have a Windows 10 HP tablet with only 64MB
SSD memory and an SD card slot. How big is the Affinity download and installation file?


Rage of Reason
02-05-2018, 12:04 PM

Rage of Reason
02-05-2018, 12:05 PM
https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/designer/full-feature-list/ , towards the end of the list disk space requirements.

02-05-2018, 12:12 PM
Thanks! I may be able to squeeze that onto my tablet.


Jerry Peterson
12-28-2018, 06:04 AM
It depends upon the budget and maturity of an artist. Photoshop is a great software for the starters. You also can go with the Adobe Illustrator for instant vector images. Surface pro and HP Spectre are too great for Digital Artists.
I regularly write about digital arts and traditional arts on my blog if you need any assistance you can visit there. https://www.showflipper.com/blog

05-06-2019, 09:18 PM
I came to spread the gospel on Krita, a free digital painting software made specifically for artists. Really, I'm just a beginner and I don't know about all the features it has. But the UI is really good. I was completely lost in Photoshop, but Krita is very easy to understand and I find the interface easier to use.

09-29-2019, 11:45 AM
I have an IPad Pro gen2. 12. I use Procreate with an Adonit Pro 4 pen
The new Procreate 5. Is soon to be out.