5 Awesome Free Open Source Tools for Graphic Design

Graphic design can be both times consuming and costly. Web design needn’t be so complex or cost hundreds of dollars. Many of the top software suites used by professionals have alternative open source projects freely available.

Check out these complete solutions that cover all the graphic design tools for web development you’ll ever need.

Inkscape

Inkscape is an advanced graphic editing suite that uses the SVG format, Scalable Vector Graphics. It has an intuitive interface that’s friendly and easy to use. Inkscape is very similar to CorelDraw and Illustrator, so it can perform practically all the rescaling, node tracing and alpha blending you need. If you dig deeper among the features you’ll find clone brushes and blur effects in addition to the standard crop and resizing image capabilities.

Gimp

This neat little image manipulation suite is quite advanced and available cross platform for Mac OS X, GNU, Sun and Windows. The interface can seem overloaded but is fully customizable to each users’ preference. It performs the much needed cloning and colour retouching for all your photos and even allows you to modify brushes and bind scripted actions to keys.

Phoenix

Phoenix from aviary.com is a free online image editor with advanced image manipulation features such as layer filtering and image blending filters. Phoenix allows you to create an image from scratch or edit an existing one. There are many tutorials and tips on offer to help you get to grips with the tool and improve your design skills. The interface is a little basic and while easy enough to use, it lacks advanced editing features like blending or gauss blur. It does offer brush filters and dithers but this is aimed at the intermediate photo editor and is good enough for some basic photo manipulation in a quick squeeze.

Pixlr

A very modern web 2.0 sleek Interface greets you when you fire up this online editor. There are several modes available including Pixlr-o-matic, grabber, express and Pixl Editor. The Pixlr-o-matic allows you to play around with motion blur, liquid effects and instant image layer effects in real time. The grabber feature allows you to capture direct from external sources such as webcam. The editor itself is very user friendly and amazingly easy to use for even the beginner graphic designer. With pre-set filters to choose from this is one of my favourite editors for quick on the fly editing and even has a night vision layer pre-set.

Blender.org

By far, the most advanced and capable open source 3D graphic design program to date. Blender is simply fantastic and rich in features. This is one tool you absolutely need for 3D animation, shading, reflection, fluid simulation, hair strand processing and skeletal kinematics. The interface is loaded with huge choices of manipulation and effects, its customizable and supports python scripts. For more features visit the website.