With the best digital painting software, you can create fun and appealing digital designs and images. While it might not look like an image created with pen and ink or paint and paper, you still end up with a beautiful image.

There is no need to deal with messy paint, lack of tools or permanent errors. With digital painting software, you can unleash your creativity. It allows you to use technology to create beautiful images and gives you the freedom to be innovative, experimental and unique in your artistic approach. You can choose the type of paint you wish to approximate, such as watercolor, oil, acrylic or airbrush. You can also choose the specific brushes you want to use, and many applications allow you to customize those brushes to fit the look and style of the paintings you create.

When you use this type of application, you never have to worry about a lack of tools. Painting software provides a wide assortment of canvases, paints, colors, brushes and more. You can even create and publish a picture in the same amount of time it would take to ready a palette of paints and prepare a canvas. And if you make a mistake, there is no need to fret or start all over. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can undo any errors you make.

On our site, you'll find articles on digital painting software and advice on how to make digital paintings that will make you proud. To choose the right application for you, take a look at all of our top digital painting programs. The products on our lineup range from beginner to professional-level tools.

Best Digital Painting Software for Image Creation

While you can edit images you've taken, you can also create a brand-new image from a blank canvas with a painting program. Digital painting software offers a multitude of tools to help you create images that look similar to works you would paint, as well as images that are clearly digital graphics.

For example, Clip Studio Paint is digital painting software that specializes in helping you draw cartoons on your computer. Produced by a Japanese company, CELSYS Inc., this software helps you draw and, in some cases, animate your creations.

Clip Studio Paint

Clip Studio Paint is a Japanese painting program. This software is best for manga, illustration and animation. While it does well in other areas, these categories are where this paint software performs the strongest.

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Best Digital Painting Software for Multiple Operating Systems

Digital paint programs work well for both Windows and Mac operating systems. Some are even compatible with iPad and other tablets. Though the tablet versions might not have the full functionality of their desktop counterparts, they are still useful and reliable tools for editing and creating on the go. Check out our graphic tablets site to learn more about using tablets for digital painting.

Most products on the lineup, like Adobe Photoshop and ArtRage, offer options to run on each operating platform. When you purchase your digital art software, you can select the program best for the operating system you use.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular names in the photo editing and digital painting industry. It is the standard tool for many students, graphic designers and illustrators. Photoshop is a powerful tool that gives you the resources to create or edit beautiful works of art.

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Best Digital Painting Software Brush Selection

Digital painting software should provide a large variety of tools and brushes that imitate both wet and dry techniques. We looked for wet paint tools such as watercolors, sponges, airbrushes and oils. Dry media tools should include pens, pencils, charcoal and chalk. Some of the best painting applications even allow you to combine and create brushes to achieve a desired effect.

Pixarra does a great job giving creations the look and feel of an oil painting. Sketchbook, on the other hand, is highly effective for creating sketches and drawings that look like they've been done with pen and paper.

Pixarra TwistedBrush

The Pixarra TwistedBrush series, including Pro Studio and Paint Studio, is digital painting software that is not shy on features. This application provides an outstanding selection of brushes and tools to help you create a variety of digital art projects. It stands out with its advanced selection of brushes, pencils and pens. Pixarra TwistedBrush also provides many customization tools and advanced features to give your art a personalized touch. However, it lacks a few key tools and is not the easiest painting software to use.

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Who Uses Digital Art Software?

Digital art software has a range of uses. It can be used by novice artists who are just beginning digital painting and want to learn more, or by professionals who use it to create ads for multimillion-dollar companies.

Digital painting software helps you create works of art for personal or professional reasons. Many jobs require you to use digital painting software. For example, this software is a good tool for art teachers to use with their students. It may also be used by animators and illustrators who create still and motion-based artwork, or even freelance artists who create images for a range of needs.

Painting software provides the tools and capabilities to help anyone create artwork and bring their images to life. Whether you are a landscape artist who wants to recreate an oil painting or a student just learning about your artistic drive, this software can help you achieve your goals. The programs on our lineup address all of these far-ranging needs and everything in between.

Capabilities of the Best Digital Art Software

Digital art programs have a range of uses and truly put the power to create and edit images at your fingertips or, more accurately, your mouse. The best digital art software gives you the capabilities to edit existing images taken with a camera or ones you have created yourself. You can also create images from a blank canvas and make them your own.

Photo Editing
When you use digital painting software to edit photos, there is no one way to approach it. The possibilities are endless. You might want to make simple edits and touch-ups to an existing photograph, or maybe you want to use a photograph as the starting point for a completely new work of art.

Digital painting software allows you to change small things in your images. For example, you can correct red eye or fix blemishes. While these small edits are useful, the real power in digital painting software is in its ability to transform your images. With this software, you can add light effects that enhance your paintings or photos to look cutting-edge or futuristic. You can add new colorful or fantastical backgrounds in just a few strokes, putting your image into an entirely different world. You can even make existing photographs look like paintings, sketches or cartoons.

Buying Digital Painting Software vs. Free Digital Painting Software

A simple Google search will tell you that there are a lot of free digital painting tools out there. So why would you buy a more expensive product when you can get it for free? The answer is simple: Not all digital painting software is created equal.

While free painting tools offer a lot of cool features to create images, they do not have the same level of sophistication and organization that professionally created products do. Many free paint programs for Mac and for Windows can help you create images similar to ones you see in Microsoft Paint, but do not offer the versatility of brushes, backgrounds, special effects and more that professional versions do.

Digital Painting Software: What to Look For

When you choose digital painting software, look for an application that will suit your needs as an artist and be a creative outlet. Maybe you are new to painting software and need a tool to help you learn the process, or maybe you are an advanced or intermediate user looking to advance to the next level of software. Even among the standard digital painting applications, there are vast differences in functionality, quality and simplicity. These products offer many advanced features and do much more than just splash a little paint on a white canvas, which is what you will find in many free paint applications.

Drawing & Painting Features
When you are considering a digital painting program, you should give the greatest attention to the breadth of drawing and painting features, as well as the quality of the software. The best painting software provides a variety of artistic features that include color palettes and composition tools.

Additionally, the best digital painting software provides outstanding customization tools. It can effectively mimic the appearance of brush strokes on a canvas and provide an assortment of surface texture options to make your digital canvas more lifelike and visually appealing. Many applications also allow you to trace images, mix colors, and add text and annotations to your paintings.

The best digital painting software should also let you create images that do not look like exact replica paintings. With the painting program you choose, you should be able to create lifelike paintings as well as graphic designs that look sleek and digital.

File Compatibility
The works of art you create won't be of any value if you can't view and use them in other media formats. You need software that allows you to import a wide variety of file types to your canvases to enhance your paintings. Additionally, applications that are compatible with industry-standard software such as Photoshop let you export images in a variety of file types to ensure that you can access your completed projects without any trouble.

Help & Support
Digital painting software, like other design-intensive software, is complex, with a broad range of tools whose operation can range from the familiar to the complex. Manufacturers should provide a variety of help resources such as a FAQs section, knowledgebase, tutorials, user forum and user manual. Contact information, such as email addresses and telephone numbers, should also be available for additional technical support.

Choosing the right painter software for your needs is essential. As an artist, it is important for you to have art software that meets your needs and helps you fulfill your creative visions. The right software will help you create images just like ones you would create with a brush and paint. If you know which features are most important to you and your artwork, you can find the best product for your needs on our site to take your artistic talent to the next level.