Open source Photoshop alternative, looking for any current valid substantive argument

  • I have really been loving the direction and progress svs classes have folded into my skillset, and so quickly. I could go on, but I'm posting in hopes of sharing intelligent and helpful info in support of krita (totally free honest and awesome highly evolved drawing painting bit map software) or an honest and first hand user argument in support of shelling out so much money for "industry standard" cs whatever.
    Have any of you used krita?

    I would hope that good unbiased intentions could be helped to include recommendations for struggling and ambitious artists, such as I, some very easy and all functions satisfying pointing toward Krita being part of our conversation.

  • SVS OG

    I know there are some people who use Krita on here. I have GIMP myself though I haven't used it too much. I've heard a lot fo good thingd about Krita! I tibnk ther is also something called inkscape that is good to use. Hopefully you'll get soem more responses!

  • @timpeer

    We have engaged in this discussion a bit with @Lee-White

    There is no unique answer to this issue "which is better, Free/Open-Source software or Commercial software? GIMP or Photoshop?"

    It depends on several factors and varies for each individual user, their personal experiences and their learning and professional usage.

    Here is what I think about it, based on personal experience and discussions with several friends and colleagues that are working professionally with digital art.

    1. Commercial software that is produced by successful companies (i.e. Adobe products) is stable, user friendly and (unless the company goes bankrupt) will continue it's development, so it is good for you.

    What to think about it:

    • because of this, most big companies working with digital art (an animation studio, game studio or a graphic design studio) will use these software in their workflow, so you need to learn to use these software if you want to work for some specific company. It may be worth checking what experience they require to see if your software skills fit in.

    • because of the above, most digital art courses/schools will teach with these software. One of the objectives of the school is that you get a job in the industry and if they use a different software, you may not get that job and this will reflect bad on the school. And that is the main reason any school will advocate the use of a certain software. Also, the fact that most industry professionals are working with these software, when they go to teach in a school, they will teach what they know how to use.

    • because they are over-used, the community is large and you can find several resources in books, blogs, forums youtube and online courses, a lot of them are free.

    • Also, they have money to spend on marketing! So they are better at convincing you that their product is wonderful and better than any indie/free/open-source development with low budget.

    1. There are free/open-source software that is as good as commercial ones. GIMP and Krita are good enough if you are good at doing art. They may lack some functions that photoshop has, but most of these are sort of shortcuts that exist because people paid for the software so they want easy ways to do things in the long term.

    What to think about it:

    • They are free and good enough! Nevertheless, for being free, whoever is developing these software need some sort of income to continue living. In some cases the software development dies. It may be worth checking for how long GIMP and Krita are active and what is going on in their development for you to decide if it is worth it.

    • If you go freelancing or open your own small studio, clients don't care about what software you use. They want the final image or video file. So, you save money on paying for software.

    • Also (for freelancing and similar), I've heard that some clients demand that you make your art in licensed software in case you use a commercial one - no pirated copies here because they also want to avoid legal issues with piracy. Using free software will save you and your client of these problems.

    • The communities and learning resources may not be as diverse as the ones for commercial but they exist and are equally good.

    1. Photoshop or GIMP or Krita are just tools. You may learn how to use the tool, but you need to also focus on learning art too. Light, colour, composition, storytelling, character and environment design and so on. You can do all of these with any tool, even colour pencils or pastels (I've seen concept artists doing acrylic paintings that are better than any photoshop based art).

    What to think of this:

    • don't learn how to draw a Super-Hero in photoshop. Learn how to draw a Super-Hero and that is it. Then you use photoshop or gimp or even Maya or 3DSMax to draw it.

    • Always have a cheap (very cheap) sketchbook and use it to learn your art! Don't buy expensive fancy ones. You will feel like they are too expensive and nice to try things that you will be afraid that won't look good. You may not even use it, and if you do fancy pieces on it, that won't be a sketchbook anymore.

    1. Read this article:

    2. Check this art:
      It was done in Krita! It is nice! It is good. The artist is good, that's why it's good!

    Check on DeviantArt or Instagram or ArtStation for bad photoshop art. It is bad because the artist is not good yet.

    Criticize or praise the software (or any other tool) by what they are, not by what your art is.

  • Pro SVS OG

    I´ve never used Krita, and it looks like a very cool software! I am an Adobe user and I work professionally both as a freelance illustrator as well as for as AD for a PR agency. What I can add to the discussion which may shed some light on why the professional world is focused on Adobe:

    • The Adobe suite contains a dozen or so different software which is relevant for the industry, and they all interact with each other. I can link Illustrator files, etc... within PS, PS files, etc.. within InDesign, and (as of CC) every file or item within the Adobe Cloud (so it becomes available for a whole team to work on). When I update an item, it gets updated anywhere it´s linked, no matter in which software it´s used. This has an enormous impact on efficiency.
    • Adobe software is optimized for process. They can spend millions on user-experience studies and continuously optimize the workflow, so that working becomes simpler and faster with each iteration. Sometimes they have a setback, I admit (I hate the new mask-editing module), but overall, each new release bring some increase in efficiency or makes something possible that was tricky to do before.

    I´m not saying you should go for Photoshop. I´ve used other software for digital art (Corel, ArtRage, ClipStudioPaint and, as of lately, ProCreate) and you can do great work with any and all, just as you can do great work with a stub of charcoal if you want. Just trying to shed light on why Adobe is the industry standard (besides all the points that @Diego_BioSteam made) and why it´s going to remain the industry standard for the foreseeable future.
    I recently got interested in Affinity Designer for vector work and it looks like a great software with some interesting feature that Illustrator doesn´t have, for a fraction of the price. Well, none of my vector-focused colleagues is interested in trying it...”because it wouldn’t fit into the workflow”...That goes to show how long is the way for any contender to Adobe´s position in the industry....

  • Wow! Thanks for getting this going w such well thought out n explained points.

    Without getting the conversation too terribly off course, just tiny lil bit on me, particularly in regard to what I use n how n why; I've used krita since their post Kickstarter launch "version 3" version 4(which is remarkably stable beta out now) is exponentially evolved. Very powerful.
    I can appreciate the trend toward throwing gimp into the spot, because I did say open source, but I just wanted to veer any judgement, that I was sales pitching or affiliated, away into the personal and useful.
    I have never been able to appreciate gimp. It's mostly esoteric in it's entirety(too technical)
    And that makes way for an argument against this stuff, (but I'll try and be organized w my thoughts and get back to that later). I have been making art and appreciating art for decades now, in various media, and always been appreciative of ingenuity over refinement.
    That being said, I appreciate any advice that may well inspire better workflow, but my experience w tools, traditional and digital, is pretty sound, so keeping on the real meat of a difference between expensive vs free to function vs arbitrary status quo cementing, is what I'd like to work on here

    1. I can appreciate that adobe, like all successful commercial enterprises, are going to be working very hard to brand themselves, and have public sentiment be in their favor(I am tempted to make a case here for public manipulation being the primary area of interest vs what is possible/quite easy and more accessible)
      There for, keeping "what I'm using" be more valuable than why.

    2.96%+ of shortcuts on krita(not to mention interface) are IDENTICAL to Photoshop. And the remaining differences can be very easily changed to imitate hotkeys of yer preference.

    3.opening, accessing, sharing files thru all these platforms, is designed to work w all these file types, including group project sharing. From to and all around ps files. They all work w these files very fluidly(just like ps does to other varying file types).

    1. Using krita and/or ps, in my tried experience, are virtually the same, as far as know how and anything else that would be skillset oriented.

    I am really happy to be able to engage on this topic.

    So far, tho, I'm not hearing that folks know what a fantastic and versatile, well supported program (did I mention free) Krita is.

    I've tried adobe, and although, I have nothing to be critical over, I am still not really seeing why krita isn't highly recommended. The argument of "Industry standard" just drives me bonkers. Because I really believe that's little more than brand loyalty n doing what the "big company" wants.

    I think an argument can be made against all open source, and although I can understand where the developers are coming from, the difficulty curve to weed out the simple-minded, is just plain snotty. Not to mention, counterproductive.
    Until recently (2016+) these interfaces and just generally speaking(from my previous experience) software in general, were really awkward and discouraging for people who want smooth easy and simple fast.
    Ideally tho, shouldn't that be a part of anything made to empower the user?

    So, krita, having spelled out their mission statement and demographic goals etc, has done a fantastic job of closing the gap on the intimidating factors at the surface.

    I'll quit for now, because I think I've spewed enough rant fodder. I am however, very sincerely, appreciative of this community, and unless SVS has corporate sponsorship from adobe(which I can respect if it is the case)
    I'd really like people to know that there really isn't any difference making reason to learn this pretty straightforward software thru the free and solid alternative. At least update people's understanding. To help those who, rightly, are hesitant or unable to pay a monthly bloated fee. When identical progress, networking and knowledge can be achieved w nothing more than the hardware and some excited curiosity.

    Thanks! I look forward to being convinced that money should be spent by any body other than a facilitating company or school who can provide for free, rather than get behind an honest and solid community based solution.

    (Sorry I'm all over the place, and amped up). I'm just excited to have a real case made. Thanks!!

  • @timpeer

    Nice that you are trying something else and it is working!

    Just curious... what country are you from? It seems that some countries in Europe and in Asia will also be more open to other alternatives, even in their own companies and schools. So, one of the other reasons that I didn't mention above is also related to cultural attitudes of certain societies.

    In France there are schools including free software in their curriculum, including Krita for digital painting and Blender for 3D art:

    Ghibli studio, besides making a lot of its animations by hand, used a software that was called Toonz to animate some of its feature movies, and it is now open-source development, Opentoonz:

    It is good to keep an open mind to the open-source development!

  • Thanks again for the info. I do appreciate the links. It's an oh so often mismanaged case of hoping for magical art making abilities. When it's, like u mentioned, really the fundamentals that should be the focus.

    So, always, nice that we'd hope for isolating the difference.

    I'm stateside(USA). Btw

    I have seen that cultural consideration plays a part in how excited and or forgiving these associations can be.

    David Revoy, is a great proponent of using krita(exclusively)
    Sorry if my link to his page(he's very much so European. And u can see how the thinking is a bit more open-pardon the pun) is not clickable. But copy n paste if u can. This guy is inspiring. Especially for cartoon/comic interested students.

    Thanks again!
    I'll keep exploring this into.

    Hope folks will not look at Krita (especially version 4 that is available in beta and remarkably solid. Having overhauled their vector and font language, under the hood, and implementation of some amazing brush engine evolutions) as inferior or iffy.

    And maybe consider, industry standard, to be an attempt of corporation agenda to influence. Not an accurate account of what's what.

  • SVS OG

    I've been using Adobe for 20 years probably so I'm very familiar with shortcuts and workflow. It's an extension of my hand. Its popularity means access to a large community of third-party tools and tutorials.

    As a freelance designer I budget the $600/yr for the Adobe suite because I get ALL their software - Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, AfterEffects, etc. Sometimes my clients need a new logo, custom graphic, layout for a report, or video editing. So using the suite for my illustration work just makes sense; I already have tools.

    Krita looks interesting. I have never heard of it. To make it more popular, they'd have to raise awareness of it somehow and address the Adobe customer pain points.

    • Most don't like the subscription model. Affinity does a good job of addressing this on their website - their program is $50 once. (Psychologically I also like that they aren't free, though I'm aware open source stuff isn't for-profit)
    • They don't want to change ("I've always done it this way!") They know Adobe and can just "go" on whatever project they need. Stopping to learn something new is an ordeal. The biggest hurdle is probably getting them to try it. Advertise how easy it is to switch. Getting Krita into schools is a great tactic - whatever students learn on they tend to keep using later. Then businesses would want to convert to whatever software the designers are using.
    • They have invested money and time into learning Adobe so attacking their decision would likely put them on the defensive. Using phrases like "shelling out money" and "industry standard whatever" doesn't move the conversation forward. The persuasive argument is focused on benefits. I would refrain from the "corporate agenda" angle. Show amazing art made with Krita (because we all want to make great art), ask "have you tried this?" oh, and it's FREE!

    Maybe convince some popular artists to try it and review. YouTube demos and word of mouth can get some traction. Get people excited about Krita, don't put them down for using Adobe. (I know you're just ranting here, I'm just saying people can be sensitive to negative language and might take it personally even if you didn't mean it that way.) Change starts small!

Log in to reply