What art software should I download for my tablet?
June 21, 2009 9:46 AM   Subscribe

I just got a Wacom tablet for Father's Day. I can choose to download two of the following: Adobe Photoshop Elements, Autodesk Sketchbook Express, Corel Painter Sketch Pad. Which should I choose?

It seems like maybe I should get Photoshop and Sketchbook? I really don't know how to use any of these. I have noodled around with Photoshop before but never tried Painter or Sketchbook. I see that Sketchbook is big on how it was designed for use with tablets -- Painter was not? I want to get started on the best path. Can you help me?
posted by castironskillet to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Sketchbook only emulates certain kinds of media, particularly pencils, pens, markers, and I think you can do a decent airbrush. It won't do paint-type media like oil, pastels, acrylics, watercolors, etc. So depending on the kind of projects you want to do, Sketchbook may not be up to the task, whereas Painter Sketch Pad may be better suited.

Painter Sketch Pad was designed for tablet use, though perhaps not to the same from-the-ground-up extent as Sketchbook.

Personally, I would get one of Painter Sketch Pad and Sketchbook and then PS Elements.
posted by jedicus at 9:55 AM on June 21, 2009

Thanks, jedicus. You're saying you would take Sketch Pad and Sketchbook for free today, and then buy Elements later?
posted by castironskillet at 10:02 AM on June 21, 2009

Oh wait, no. You're saying Elements and one or the other sketch programs. gotcha.
posted by castironskillet at 10:04 AM on June 21, 2009

Yep, I'm saying definitely take Elements now plus one of Sketch Pad or Sketchbook.

Photoshop is a very different kind of program than the other two, whereas Sketch Pad and Sketchbook are mostly interchangeable, depending on the emulated media you want to work in.
posted by jedicus at 10:05 AM on June 21, 2009

I guess that was my original inclination, too. I just need to figure out which one. It seems like SketchBook's big pro's are that it works with .psd file and is simple, whereas Sketch Pad has a lot more media types. I get the feeling that you would take Corel, huh?
posted by castironskillet at 10:11 AM on June 21, 2009

Sketch Pad works with PSD files, too, apparently.

And actually, my experience is mainly with Sketchbook, albeit an older Pro version. Also, both programs have free trials, so you might consider giving those a whirl before choosing a full version to download.
posted by jedicus at 10:42 AM on June 21, 2009

Photoshop Elements is probably all you'll ever need for image editing. It's fantastic.

Painter is the superior natural media tool, compared with Sketchpad, IMO.

Get those two, and you're more than set.
posted by dbiedny at 11:02 AM on June 21, 2009

OK, I did that, dbiedny. Thanks!
posted by castironskillet at 11:46 AM on June 21, 2009

I'd suggest that you get on over to Gnomon and check out the many amazing DVDs they have from folks who use tablets to create art for a living; totally inspiring and eye-opening. btw, those I've seen seem to favor PS over Painter about 10 to 1, fwiw. They've got pretty good previews, clips, etc.

You can also rent many of these amazing discs; the link is also a handy way to zero in on the tablet-users at Gnomon. And of course, there are lots of DVDs from non-Gnomon artists there, too… In my experience, the service works well.
posted by dpcoffin at 1:44 PM on June 21, 2009

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