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Software and Other Resources for Artistic Development
Forum Index - Donut Plains - Creation Corner - Software and Other Resources for Artistic Development
Pages: « 1 2 »
So... you would like to make some groovy artworks, but you are fed up with Microsoft Paint's lack of drawing features? You want to create music, but you have no idea what program to use? If so, you have come to the right topic!

This thread was basically created to list up a bunch of programs/tools/etc that should help you loads with the development of your various artistic pursuits. The resources you will find throughout the list below might even be just what you have been looking for for so long, so I highly recommend taking a look - you might find something really fascinating by doing so.

By the way, feel free to suggest additional resources so we can round out the list over time. Please keep in mind, though, that we are NOT interested in shareware - we would prefer if your suggestions were limited to Freeware, Open-source, or Low-cost (i.e. under $100) software.


Image Editing Software:

  • IrfanView (home page) - A lightweight image-viewer geared more toward basic processing and touching up, though it has features such as red eye reduction and color depth reduction. Can handle a wide variety of formats. Only free for non-commercial use.

  • Serif PhotoPlus Starter Edition (product page) - Contains some drawing features in addition to the standard image-editing tools, with an interface similar to Artweaver.



  • Hybrid Graphics Software:

  • GIMP (home page) - Primarily an image editor featuring lots of helpful tools, filters, and special effects, but can be expanded toward painting with Gimp Paint Studio (GPS). The paintbrushes GIMP features also have a decent level of opacity, which is great if you want to create cartoonish and/or cleaner artworks.

  • Paint.NET (home page) - Essentially a beefed-up version of MS Paint, with the same overall interface but more features. Also used to create pixel art (use the pixel grid button on the toolbar) and for drawing, so it's more of a hybrid program.



  • Painting Software:

  • Artweaver (home page) - Features a huge variety of paintbrushes and special effects for you to use in your artistic creations.

  • MyPaint (home page) - Notable for its minimalistic interface (easy to call and hide dialogs) and infinite canvas. Its brushes are very customizable, making the program expandable with user-created brush packs.

  • Paint Tool SAI (home page) - Geared toward drawing manga with a powerful vector linework tool, but can function as a general drawing program, too. You can find an alternate English translation here. Costs around $60.



  • Pixeling Software:

  • GraphicsGale Free Edition (home page) - Its onion skin makes it ideal for pixel and icon animation. The free edition doesn't support all formats, but upgrading only costs around $20.

  • mtpaint (home page) - Robust yet lightweight, with various brush options and effects.



  • Other Art Software and Resources:

  • Apophysis 7x (home page) - Fractal flame editor with a customizable template system, and extensible through scripts and plugins.

  • Blender (home page) - 3D graphics package covering everything from modeling to animation, with a very customizable interface and extensible with python scripts. Steep learning curve, but mature knowledge base and community support. Check out the Getting Started page of the official website for massive amounts of beginner tutorials, and there are plenty of other collections besides.

  • Inkscape (home page) - Vector graphics editor (similar to Adobe Illustrator) good for things like web graphics, icons, and logos, but certainly not limited to those alone.

  • Plastic Animation Paper (home page) - Traditional animation program with various features designed to make the process all-digital. Tutorials here. Windows only.


  • CG Cookie (link) - Video tutorials on 3D graphics and concept art. Actively updated.

  • Ctrl+Paint (link) - A collection of videos which takes a broad approach to teaching digital art, focusing more on craft and foundational principles (including the psychology behind the drawing process) than software-specific tutorials.

  • DeviantArt Hospital Library (link) - A wealth of information on the psychology of drawing and on improving specifics areas of technique / skill, not to mention tutorials for learning a multitude of different programs.

  • Larry's Toon Institute (link) - A collection of tutorials about basic animation principles.



  • MIDI Composing Software:

  • Anvil Studio (home page) - Supports both staff notation and piano roll, and can export WAV files. Supports recording MIDI and Audio equipment. Windows only.

  • MidiSwing (home page) - Piano roll composer with support for external devices, karaoke-style lyrics, and soundfonts.



  • Tracker Composing Software:

  • FamiTracker (home page) - Specializes in producing music that is compatible with real NES / Famicom hardware. Windows only.

  • OpenMPT (home page) - Supports VST plugins and a wide variety of formats.

  • Psycle (download page) - Supports VST plugins and WAV exporting. Comes bundled with plenty of original sound generators that are all easily customizable.



  • Other Audio Software:

  • Audacity (home page) - Audio editor for popular formats such as WAV, MP3, and Ogg Vorbis, that can also record live audio. Can display MIDI files, but not edit them.

  • Finale Notepad (product page) - Staff notation composer with support for MIDI, external devices, and sheet music printing. Native instruments for playback. Site registration required.

  • FL Studio (product page) - An all-in-one music production package with a steep learning curve but loads of features. It's not cheap, and the price varies based on what version you buy and whether it's a digital or boxed copy. However, you might be able to find a discounted academic version (boxed) at online stores or local resellers, and from what I understand, they usually include a free upgrade to the full version. If you buy an academic version, you must upgrade in order to use it for commercial projects. More information here and here. Also notable for providing lifetime free updates; the developer chooses to profit from optional add-ons and plugins instead.



  • Soundfonts, VSTs, and Other Audio Resources:

  • Chipmusic Soundfont Collection (link) - Various video-game-themed sounds.

  • Darkesword's Soundfont Collection (link) - Some of these are included in the chipmusic and orchestral collections, but not all.

  • Orchestral Soundfont Collection (link) - Absolutely massive, and not limited to purely orchestral sounds. From what I understand, all are ok for commercial use, though don't quote me on that.


  • Tweakbench VSTs (link) - Various free generators and synthesizers in VST plugin format, some of which emulate NES-era sounds. Ok for commercial use.

  • VST Warehouse (link) - A massive collection of free-to-use instruments and effects, in VST plugin format. Most have been tested with FL Studio 10.


  • Ricci Adams' MusicTheory.net (link) - A nice collection of flash-animated tutorials and exercises to help you learn music theory.

  • Video Game Muisc Archive (link) - A massive collection of video game music in MIDI format. Load a song into a composition program to study what makes up commercial game music on the microscopic level.
  • I would suggest Audacity for music editing.
    Midiswing is a freeware, easy to use MIDI editor.
    Just added the both of your suggestions to the list. Thanks for the recommendations, guys - I reappy appreciate them.

    By the way, Pester, I should actually give that one program you suggested a go - it looks quite polished, as well as rather simple to use.
    Psycle

    Psycle is an open source music creator. Similar to Fruityloops. It supports many add-ons and can export WAV files. It also comes standard with plenty of original sound generators that are all easily customizable.

    --------------------
    I made a standalone game once, look for Seabug Stampede on Google Play.
    Originally posted by Cortez
    Audacity (download page) - Audacity is an opensource utility that not only allows you to edit MIDI files, but allows you to edit other music files as well, such as MP3's, and WAV's.

    Audacity does not let you edit MIDI files. It can only display them.

    If you don't believe me, it says so right in their FAQ.
    Originally posted by Pester
    Audacity does not let you edit MIDI files. It can only display them.

    If you don't believe me, it says so right in their FAQ.


    Oh, whoops, my bad. I should have actually read the program's F.A.Q. before assuming that it had the capatity of editing MIDI files. >_< Thanks for pointing that out, by the way.

    Also, thanks for your suggestion, Kerrek - just added the program you suggested to the list. I used your own words to describe the program itself, by the way - hope you don't mind. :P
    I've always been fond of Finale Notepad for simple sheet music work. Check it out if you don't mind registering on their site.

    The best music program I have ever worked with though is Fruity Loops (FL) Studio. If you can get ahold of a copy, it is an extremely powerful tool which supports a ton of different musical formats.
    FL pro owns everything IF you have a latency free noise canceling sound card, cubase and reason own that if you have just a good soundcard and patience (because its confusing as heck) also samplitude which was free with computer music mag is great for millisecond cutting and streaching, and if somewhere between the two on complexity.

    still, you can't beat 8" tape and analouge recording, which is why all the famous rappers (money launderers imo, good rappers remain underground, apart from eminem(s old stuff), and styles of beyond for the win :D *remembers tony hawks 2 and its awesome soundtrack.*) use it.

    the problem is always the cost, unless you use something related to water and breaking things in that order >_> seriously though, £600+ to make noise that isn't the best, go enjoy the taste of brick dust software development.

    there is also pro tools but you cannot afford it. no really. you need their computer to go with their screen and their software, and their midi boxes etc. bit like apple.

    also with half of the above your gunna need the best update you can find for your internal soundcard (which is a mission if you have dell because their website is terrible) and ASIO 4 all (v newest) to link the program to it. this (should) also allow direct mini headphone line in, and you can play your guitar/bass/ipod/decks/electric banjo, WHILE you record (normally you can't hear anything because the soundcard fails at multitasking. it took me 3 months to figure it out on vista, I suggest XP.)

    --------------------
    I like to use Paint Tool Sai now because now I can make pictures from scratch very easily!

    --------------------
    There is nothing interesting here. Carry on.
    Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor, allowing you to edit and create SVG files.
    Concerning GIMP, it's more of an image editor, however I've come across GIMP Paint Studio, a collection of brushes and tool presets that enable GIMP to work for more artistic purposes. I've personally not used it yet, however.

    --------------------
    I've realized this was outdated.
    Can we post soundfonts? Here is a rather nice one featuring the instruments from everyone's favorite bullet hell series.

    I'd also like to recommend OpenMPT for creating music using a tracker (generally my preferred method).
    I should get a new layout.

    Probably won't, though.
    Surprised noone mentioned FamiTracker yet. Used to compose chiptunes (forgive me if I'm an idiot and this is wrong).

    --------------------
    REMOVED
    Originally posted by Kipernal
    Can we post soundfonts? Here is a rather nice one featuring the instruments from everyone's favorite bullet hell series.

    Before anyone gets excited, just note the trumpets in this soundfont sound somewhat different to ZUN's actual trumpets. It produces nice songs, but people who listen to his music regularly will instantly pick up on the difference in sound. It kind of ruined the soundfont for me personally when I found it last year.
    Originally posted by Blumiere
    Before anyone gets excited, just note the trumpets in this soundfont sound somewhat different to ZUN's actual trumpets. It produces nice songs, but people who listen to his music regularly will instantly pick up on the difference in sound. It kind of ruined the soundfont for me personally when I found it last year.


    Perhaps, but it's still a very nice soundfont in my opinion, and I've yet to find any that sound closer to ZUN's.
    I should get a new layout.

    Probably won't, though.
    Do trackers count as a way to create music?

    --------------------
    Kept you waiting, huh?
    Just thought I'd throw this out for anyone interested Adobe released photoshop CS2 for free Clicky.

    Beaware though this is from 2005 so it's a bit outdated but is still a pretty decent program set.
    I recomend ASEprite for pixel art, it's also very useful to draw sprites for SMW. It has many epic tools, like a blur tool that only uses the colors in the actual palette, you can also rotate and resize sprites freely without any unwanted ditering, and you can extract palettes from GIF and PNG images.

    The software is free and open source and can be found here: http://www.aseprite.org/



    Forgot this thread existed but Renoise is a low-cost and very full featured DAW with a tracker interface. It has pretty much all of the features of your standard DAW (plus a sampler that gets more and more ridiculously powerful with each release) but with the interface of a tracker and a very reasonable price of $90. It's cross-platform, and supports VST plugins and a bunch of other kinds, as well as lua scripting. Highly recommended.

    Pages: « 1 2 »
    Forum Index - Donut Plains - Creation Corner - Software and Other Resources for Artistic Development

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