To help those artists and designers who are on a tight budget or who simply prefer open-source software to commercial software, I have written reviews for some of the freely-downloadable software out there. I spent the equivalent of eight hours, or roughly one working day in the United States, using each piece of software. It should be understood that eight hours is not nearly enough time for a complete review of a software product, but it should be enough time to perform a basic overview of the functionality and user-friendliness of the software. That said, these reviews should not be considered the final word on any piece of software, but merely a brief look at a potentially useful addition to an artist’s suite of tools.
Each piece of software is evaluated and given an overall rating based on five criteria: compatibility, cross-platform availability, extensibility, support quality, and user-friendliness.
- Compatibility refers to the compatibility of files created by the software to be opened and edited with other similar software programs
- Cross-platform availability refers to how many different operating systems the software can be installed on
- Extensibility refers to the various plug-ins and add-ons which have been created for the software
- Support quality refers to the quality of the software’s documentation and the amount of community support available for the software
- User-friendliness refers to the ability for a novice to download the software and dive right in without having to read extensive documentation
Click on a link below to read a review of the software:
- Blender – Overall Rating: 4.4/5 (Reviewed October 2010)
- GIMP – Overall Rating: 4.6/5 (Reviewed March 2011)
- HTML-Kit – Overall Rating: 4.2/5 (Reviewed November 2010)
- LEGO Digital Designer – Overall Rating: 4/5 (Reviewed April 2011)
- Paint.NET – Overall Rating: 4.2/5 (Reviewed January 2011)
- POV-Ray – Overall Rating: 4.4/5 (Reviewed February 2011)