Artwork and resources, past and present.

Offsite Resources – 2D Programs – Site List

What I’m mainly going to do here is start listing any freeware 2D programs.

I’ll also make a list of retail 2D programs here, yet my main goal is to list those programs that would help out the 2D artist that doesn’t have much or anything to spend.

Lets begin;

Gimp – This is the main piece of freeware that rivals Photoshop. It actually does pretty much whatever you need, for free. Photoshop obviously has more advanced
abilities but Gimp does all the basics and a lot more than you would think, especially for being freeware. If you can’t afford Photoshop, Gimp is an absolute must-have, period.

Inkscape – Imo, this is the main freeware that rivals Illustrator for vector creation/editing. Must-have if you want to work in vector’s and you don’t have Illustrator.

Irfanview – This is the one and only image viewer I have used on all my computers for the last 15 years!
I’ve tried other image viewers but Irfanview is light, quick, and does way, WAY more than just displaying images.

Context Free – This is a cool little program that will create various code-generated images. There are tons of code presets to download and use. It’s kinda hard to explain, better to go look for yourself.

Freeware programs that work with HDRI (High Dynamic Range Images)
*While HDRI’s have been for use inside of 3D programs for creating lighting schemes, they are worth mentioning in this post. Here are a few that I believe to be a must-have.

HDRShop – This program will perform a number of operations to HDRI’s, most importantly converting to a different layout.

HDRView – A quick and lightweight HDRI viewer. Allows you to bring up an HDRI with just a double-click in explorer.

XnView – One of the few programs that can make thumbnails of your HDRI’s for easier reference and management.
I would highly recommend this as a great freeware program not only for your HDRI’s but for cataloging any and all of your images.

Retail 2D Programs – Check individual sites for demo’s (at this time, they all do)

Adobe Photoshop – The standard in 2D image editing programs.
Adobe Illustrator – The standard in Vector creation and editing programs.

Corel Painter – Can imitate very realistic looking traditional media (paint, pencils) It has been the king of painting for years yet it does have a bit of a steep price at $430.00
Artrage – The rival to Corel Painter and its version 3.0 is a very worthy contender, especially priced at only $80.00 – They even have a version for your iPad.

Thumbsplus – This is the cataloging and management software I have used for absolutely all my images for the past 15 years, love it.
ACDSee – Another great image cataloging and management program, widely used.


As always, if I ever think of any more or find new programs I’ll update this list.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to email them to me at

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