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Linux has matured into an excellent platform for artists, photographers, animators, and designers. With inexpensive hardware, free software, and a modicum of talent and inspiration, anyone can create professional-looking computer graphics.
There is a huge range of open source software available to create, modify and convert 2D and 3D computer graphics. To provide an insight into the software that is available, we have compiled a list of 42 high quality Linux graphics applications. Each software program is released under an open source license.
There is a fairly limited range of open source software that offers the ability of rendering images with Linux. Rendering is the process of taking a 3D model and displaying it as a two-dimensional image. Unfortunately, some of the applications have not seen any development in recent years, abandoned by their developers with no one coming forward to step into their shoes. Nevertheless, there are still some high quality, open source Linux modelers which are worth investigating.
Vector editors are ideal for technical illustrations, diagramming, flowcharting, artistic illustrations, promotional posters, banners, signage, logos, typography, vehicle wraps and layout. Bitmap editors are more suitable for retouching, photo processing, photorealistic illustrations, collage, and illustrations drawn by hand with a pen tablet.
Let’s explore the 42 graphics applications at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.
|Blender||Fully integrated 3D content creation suite|
|Art of Illusion||3D modelling and rendering studio|
|K-3D||3D modeling and animation software|
|Wings 3D||Powerful subdivision modeler|
|YafRay||Montecarlo raytracing engine|
|POV-Ray||Create stunning 3D graphics|
|VIPS||Image processing software package|
|LuxCoreRender||Physically based and unbiased rendering engine|
|GIMP||Award winning image editor|
|Krita||Superb sketching and painting software|
|Pinta||Simple yet powerful drawing and image editing tool|
|MyPaint||Nimble, distraction-free, and easy tool for digital painters|
|Inkscape||Professional vector graphics editor|
|LibreOffice - Draw||Produces anything from a quick sketch to a complex plan|
|Karbon||Part of the Calligra office suite|
|Pencil||GUI prototyping tool to create mockups|
|Tupi||Design and authoring tool for 2D Animation|
|Synfig||Industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation|
|Dia||Tool for making diagrams and schematic illustrations|
|Skencil||Interactive vector drawing application|
|Shotwell||Photo manager for GNOME|
|digiKam||Advanced digital photo management software|
|F-Spot||Image organizer, designed to provide personal photo management|
|gThumb||Advanced image viewer and browser|
|Gwenview||Simple image viewer for KDE 4|
|Eye of Gnome||Fast and functional image viewer|
|Darktable||Virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers|
|Webcamoid||Versatile webcam suite|
|Cheese||Take pictures and videos from your webcam|
|Hugin||Panorama photo stitching program|
|gphoto2||Digital camera command-line client|
|GTKRawGallery||Photo retouching software and camera raw image developer|
|RawTherapee||Post-production tool for photography|
|Tesseract||Optical Character Recognition Engine|
|XSane||Featureful graphical frontend for SANE|
|QCad||Professional CAD System|
|BRL-CAD||Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) solid modeling system|
|FreeCAD||3D-Solid and general purpose design CAD/CAE|
|LibreCAD||Fully comprehensive 2D CAD application|
|flameshot||Complete screen capture and snipping tool|
|Shutter||Feature-rich screenshot application|
|ImageMagick||Software suite to create, edit, and compose bitmap images|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.