Digital Art: Program Buying Guide 5/18

Last month we featured some digital software for design that creatives should purchase to enhance their projects and take them to the next level. Here is another list of software that will heighten any design project. Take a look at them below:




Cinema 4D is a 3D modeling, animation, motion graphic and rendering application developed by MAXON Computer GmbH in Germany. With Cinema 4D you can create a range of stunning graphics and realistic renderings as seen above. The polygonal modeling, animation, lighting, texturing and rendering is incomparable to most programs. It employs the use of four variants; Prime (Core App), Broadcast (Motion-Graphics), Visualize (Architectural Design) and Studio (All Modules). In addition, a fifth variant was produced in 2014 called Lite which comes packaged with Adobe After Effects.

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AutoDesk 3DS Max is a 3D computer graphics program for compiling 3D animations, models, games and images developed and produced by Autodesk Media and Entertainment. 3DS Max features an impressive range of materials and texture elements for efficient rendering of any kind, from scenery to people.

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Adobe Illustrator CC is a vector graphics editor developed and marketed by Adobe Systems. It usually comes prepackaged with the entire Adobe Creative Suite (now Creative Cloud) which includes Illustrator, PhotoShop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, AfterEffects and other notable Adobe applications. Illustrator. Illustrator is built for vector artists and other artists who crave clean cut produced graphics. It employs a myriad of tools such as the paintbrush, the pen, and the pencil

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Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor which can be used to create or edit vector graphics such as illustrations, diagrams, line arts, charts, logos and complex paintings. It is also compatible with other programs such as Adobe Illustrator. Its primary format is SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). It can render primitive vector shapes and text and is also capable of embedding, tracing and customizing shapes and gradients. The inner working is similar to Illustrator.

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ArtRage is a bitmap graphics editor for digital painting created by Ambient Design Ltd. The program supports both the Windows and macOS as well as both Apple and Android devices. It is not considered a “professional” program as many other digital applications are as it caters to those of all ages and all different skill levels. Originally it was designed for use with tablets, but has expanded since then. Mediums include oil paint, spray paint, pencil, acrylic and others. Other tools tracing, smearing, blurring, mixing and several others.

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Digital Art: Program Buying Guide 4/18


Corel Painter 2018 (Windows/Mac – $98.99) – Corel has for years impressed designers with their awesome graphics and digital art and painting capabilities. Developers of Corel have successfully been able to create a software that allows designers to paint on a digital platform and to do so naturally. Some of the latest features in the 2018 version of Corel are thick paint in which a designer can pile up, push around, carve into, scrape and blend their way into painted perfection. There are cloning capabilities where designers can clone sources in the program, or import and adjust the size and shape of the clone source on the fly. In addition, there is texture synthesis where you can select an area on your canvas or favorite texture and allow the program to use its DNA to automatically generate a larger image for you. There is also 2.5D texture brushes, drip and liquid technologies, random grain rotation and new texture fills. Composition tools, signature brushes and natural media selection are also amongst the unique attributes to Corel 2018.


Adobe Photoshop CC (Windows/Mac – $29.99) – A new approach is being undertaken to many design programs which is placing them on a Cloud based platform. The entire Adobe Creative Suite is now available on-demand and as needed. Labeled the best imaging and design app, designers can create and enhance photographs, illustrations, and 3D artwork. There are also capabilities for designing websites and mobile apps as well as editing videos, simulating real-life paintings and more. Users can design various branding items like logos, posters, banners and packaging. They can transform photos with manipulation techniques, effects and retouching tools. Original illustrations can also be created in which 3D artwork can be animated and printed. Photoshop CC is a clear evolution from the previous versions allowing designers to do more than just edit simple photos.


Xara (Windows Software – $49.99) – Features an extensive collection of illustration tools and vector quality similar to that of Adobe Illustrator. It offers a variety of different brushes and the opportunity to create your own custom brushes as well as adjusting weight, stroke and color. It also offers 522 different font styles and unique 3-D effects. Rulers, grids and snapping capabilities helps the user to ensure they create the most accurate designs. Tools are available to edit photos with 55 different filters and manipulation techniques. There are also many templates a designer can utilize with the ability to mask, distort and resize their photos. Although features may seem complex, Xara still maintains its user-friendly nature by providing responsive tools and processes for design, tips for guidance and the addition of resources to view for tutorials and manuals. Purchase Xara Here.


Serif DrawPlus X8 (Windows Software – $119.99) – Serif DrawPlus is a program that is unique as it wields tools that are required for both online and print designs. Although it does not have the high quality photo editing features of other similar programs, Serif is easy to learn and navigate through which is perfect for beginner and experienced designers. Serif has simple to use tools tat can be used to develop animations, to logos and posters. It also features strong support and sharing options, a customizable workspace, a wide assortment of illustration tools and editing and alteration features for photos.


Sketch (Mac – $99/year) – There are many digital design programs for Mac-based computers, but Sketch offers a design toolkit to help users create their best work from start to finish.

Eccentricity in Art: The Work of Takashi Murakami


We all remember the cover to one of Kanye West’s most popular albums, Graduation. But, do you know who the creative mind was behind that compiled artwork within?  His name is Takashi Murakami.


Fostering a palpable and inimitable style of creativity, Murakami in his younger years was a fan of anime and manga and attended the Tokyo University of the Arts to enhance his skills and fulfill his desire to become an Animator. However, he became a major in Nihonja (traditional Japanese painting) and earned a Ph.D. in the artform. Having been dissatisfied with the state of contemporary art in his country, he slowly developed his own form of art, developing signature figures and icons representing both his style and personality.

Murakami’s dissatisfaction also led him to build a new type of art market which he would take from Western influence and import to Japan, showcasing Japanese culture and history, but still remaining rooted to his origins. His focus therefore reverted to both elements from Japanese high art and low culture, respectively, with influences from anime and otaku cultures. Murakami would later coin the term “superflat” to describe the legacy of flat, 2-dimensional imagery from Japanese art history in manga and anime. It also describes a post-war class differentiation of high and low cultures by melding the two and creating something fresh and original.


Murakami has also worked with several notable figures such as designer Marc Jacobs and has had a long-lasting collaboration with the fashion brand Louis Vuitton. He has also been active in producing sculptures, directing music, producing feature films, and displaying high class exhibits.

Some more examples of Murakami’s work are below.


Check out more of Murakami’s work on his personal website by clicking Here.