When you think of graphic design, you don’t usually think of Ubuntu, or any other kind of Linux. You think of Illustrator and Photoshop, running on Windows or one of an increasing number of Macs.
The creators of Ubuntu Studio beg to differ, though and so do artists like DanRabbit, who use the free apps available for Ubuntu to create art that’s awesome “like jet fighters and punching”!
What do they use? What can you use, if you’re on Ubuntu? Let’s find out.
Windows tools that work on Ubuntu
Since they’re browser-based, Flash drawing apps like the Aviary suite and DeviantArt’s Muro all work on Ubuntu. And while getting Windows apps to run in Ubuntu’s a tricky proposition, OpenCanvas reportedly works fine. Click here for a tutorial that will explain how to install it!
Inkscape and The GIMP
Inkscape’s a free, open-source vector graphics program, like CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator. It lags behind them in some areas, but it also has features that both of those programs lack, and a number of artists use it and love it. Click here to read an introduction to Inkscape that was written for users of Illustrator.
Most artists know about the GIMP already, and a lot of them seem to loathe it. If you can’t get Photoshop to work in Wine, though — or can’t afford it to begin with — there are plenty of tutorials online that will show you how to create art using the GIMP. Just search your favorite art archive for them!
You can install Inkscape and the GIMP through the Ubuntu Software Centre.
MyPaint and other options
A friend who likes drawing with tablets recommended MyPaint to me. It’s a free Ubuntu app that’s designed for digital painters, and “lets you focus on the art instead of the program.” That alone would set it apart from the GIMP and Inkscape, but it was also used by the Blender Foundation to create Sintel, their upcoming fantasy-adventure film.
Animators might enjoy using Pencil — the app, not the tool — to create animations. Blender and Wings3d are, of course, available for 3d graphics work. And if you just need to draw something quickly, GNU Paint might be the tool for the job. It’s basically MS Paint for Ubuntu.
All of these Ubuntu apps can be found in the Software Centre!
Is Ubuntu a good choice for graphic designers? I think the better question is, is it a good choice for you? Can you do what you need to and want to with Ubuntu, and do the apps that you need to use run on it?
Give Ubuntu a try — it’s a free download from ubuntu.com, and if you want they’ll mail you a free CD! But whether you decide to go the Ubuntu route or not, good luck and have fun with your graphic design.