The Best Free Software for Digital Experimentalists

As a frugal artist, I don’t have much money to spend on software. Luckily, there’s plenty of free software that will enhance your digital creative process. In this post, I’ll be listing off some software that you can use to begin experimenting!

1. Blender (3D Work)

Blender is an incredibly versatile 3D software. You can create 3D models, animations, and image renderings. My favorite thing to do in Blender is physics simulations. These allow you to create realistic water graphics.

Blender fluid simulation
Colorful smoke simulation.

In Blender, your imagination is the limit.

2. Gimp (Image Editing)

Gimp is a powerful image editor. In Gimp you can adjust the colors of images such as by making them brighter or darker. This software allows you to do advanced, multi-layer compositing, masking, and so much more.

Need to do a simple image crop? Gimp can help you a huge variety of image editing related tasks.

3. Audacity (Audio Editing)

Audacity is a good entryway into the world of audio editing. It’s the perfect software for editing a podcast. Audacity allows you to refine & improve your sound by adding effects.

Whether you need to remove some errors or amplify your recording, Audacity can make it happen.

4. OBS (Screen Recording)

Open Broadcasting Software (also known as OBS) is commonly used by internet live streamers.
OBS allows you to broadcast video from any source that you configure. If you want to plug in a few webcams or record the contents of your screen, you can do it in OBS.

I use OBS to record my computer screen while making tutorial videos.

5. Unity (Game Design)

Unity is an accessible game design software. There’s a lot of documentation and tutorials that can help you make your own games.

Whether you want to create a 2D platformer, or a first-person exploration game, you can do it in Unity.

Unity isn’t just for games. Architects & Real Estate companies use the tool to create interactive home visualizations. This is also known as ArchVis.

6. Sculptris (3D Sculpting)

When I was 11 years old, I visited an exhibit at a local museum where some people from Blue Sky Studios spoke about their 3D work. That was when I was introduced to Sculptris.

Sculptris is pure fun! You’re given a little ball of virtual clay that you can use to create whatever you’d like. Feeling ambitious? Try to 3D print your creation!

Each of these software tools provides a unique experience. Find ways to integrate them into your workflow. Explore the possibilities and get experiental.

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