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.