Open-source tools for beginners and professional designers

Published by Ivan Bozanic on March 2021.
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There is plenty of open-source software available that can support you remarkably as a graphic and web designer, photo editor, illustrator, or animator. Open source tools are valuable because they cost zero, and supportive community spreads across the world. In present economic circumstances, open-source tools are an excellent place to start looking.

It isn’t very easy in the world of design to maintain a professional career as a graphic designer only with open-source apps. But there are many enhanced open-source apps available to help you become an excellent graphic and web designer. The term open source means it is available free and accessible to everyone.

These are some of the most popular open-source tools that besides professionals can be used by beginners.


Inkscape is much like Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. It is one of the powerful tools available for free to everyone. It is also known as the counterpart of vector graphics creator Adobe Illustrator.

Inkscape basic and default file format is in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).

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open source

Island of Creativity by Bayu Rizaldhan Rayes designed with Inkscape


  • Styling objects.
  • Supports various types of file formats.
  • Operation depends on the path.
  • Manipulation in the object can be done effectively.
  • Ease of documentation.
  • Flexible user interface.

You can download Inkscape whether for Linux, Windows, or macOS.


Gimp is one of the most popular and open-source graphics design and photo editing tools. It is a featured-packed graphic design suite and image editor. This tool has a similar layout as Adobe Photoshop. A fantastic tool for any beginner or advanced designer who primarily works with photos.

It is a counterpart to Adobe Photoshop. If you are creating a digital painting or adjusting photos and compositing various elements, it is fantastic. Of Course, it doesn’t have all the features like Adobe Photoshop, but whoever created this software has an enormous number of volunteers from across the world.

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open source

Original artwork created with Gimp


  • Packed with filters, masks, layers, and brushes.
  • Extend the features with the extensions.
  • Advanced photo editing features.
  • Truly inspirational designs are created. It means to render the flexibility to transform images the way you like it.
  • An enormous number of graphical design elements, logos, interface components. It also contributes to top-notch color management features to ensure high fidelity color management.

Gimp is available for Linux, Windows, and macOS.


Pencil2D is a drawing software. It is enabled to design hand-drawn animations using bitmap and vector graphics. It is straightforward to use, and it is integrated with a clearer interface and equipped with high-end animation tools.

So the Pencil2D drawing tool might be the best way to know the fundamental principles of vector graphics and cartoon animation.

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open source

Singing Audition cartoon animated with Pencil2D


  • Lightweight and easy to use so you can focus on animating and not what button to hit next.
  • Seamlessly switch between raster and vector workflows, allowing you to sketch, ink & paint on the go.

Pencil2D is a free cross-platform and runs on Windows, macOS, Linux & FreeBSD.

Synfig Studio

Synfig Studio is a 2D animation software for all creative enthusiasts to bring their designs to life. Depending upon your drawing style, you’d be able to achieve just about any kind of vibe of animation you’re aiming for.

You can also create something light-hearted and simple if that’s your forte. It all boils down to what you’re looking to create, and consider it a nod from Synfig Studio.

Talking about the features, it gives you complete control over your vector artwork right from importing it to exporting the finished product.

Apart from that, you can totally take over the bone system to accurately structure your design so that their movements look the way you want them to look. This can be easily achieved by utilizing their Skeleton Distortion layer, which helps you to apply complex deformations to bitmap artwork.

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open source

Polar Detective cartoon animated with Synfig Studio


  • Transform any vector shape into another.
  • Provides 50+ layers to create artwork and animation of any complexity.
  • Full-featured bone system.
  • Allows you to create advanced character puppets and other dynamic structures.

Synfig Studio is free to download as this is open-source software for Linux, Windows, and macOS.


Blender is a 3D drawing creation software. The topmost famous animators use Blender to make short films, feature films, TV shows, etc.

Its interface is quite complex at first, but when you go forward to design, then it is easy. It has many customizable features. Of course, you can also create your extensions and features that the way you want to design.

Using Blender, you can handle photorealistic rendering, sculpting (different types of brushes), game creation, and fast rigging.

Also, Blender is good for 2D animation with amazing drawing tools and a typical stroke-based workflow. Its grease pencil tool can be used to create beautiful cut-out animations and motion graphics. Blender can also help you to combine 2D and 3D animations together.

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open source

Agent 327 Operation Barbershop by Blender Animation Studio


  • Realistic rendering.
  • Modeling
  • Digital sculpting
  • Animation & Rigging
  • Story art and 2D concept design.
  • Camera and object motion tracking, masking, compositing.
  • Video editing

Blender free download is available for Linux, Windows, and macOS.


As digitalization all over the world has been increasing over the years, it clearly shows that the demand for the graphic and web designing industry will be high. Choosing the right tool that suits your business needs will give you the best results.

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