I’ve been using Sketchbook for my art since 2017 and it is a solid platform for digital painting. I honestly can’t recommend it enough for those wanting to get into this part of the hobby or just test the digital art world. It’s free, intuitive, and full of features for what it is. However, as I continue my quest to bring my projects into a professional quality market, I find it lacking in some key areas.
Foremost, Sketchbook is not Photoshop. I think the program is fantastic for digital art, but editing art for publications is a chore. It also has severe limitations for customizing art pieces. Don’t get me wrong, it works well for about 85%-95% of what I do art-wise, but it’s that last piece that makes me want to bite the bullet and get PS. However, PS is crazy expensive.
Enter Affinity. It’s one of the closest programs to being a true PS replacement out there, is cheap, a one-time purchase and more crazy, has an iPad app. Its low price point ($10 right now) allowed me to get it for testing if nothing else, and, well… you can see the difference in what I can do with it. Both pieces are in the Same stage of development, making them an ideal comparison.
Some major advantages of Affinity are the quality and additional tools it has over Sketchbook. It can also import PS files and brushes, something sketchbook can’t do. It has a massive brush library and full control on customizing brushes. Affinity Photo also works with both raster (what you see in both pics, basically digital painting) and vectors, which opens new worlds of possibilities. Affinity has unlimited undos and a cloud storage that keeps your entire history on all devices. However, for the moment there are some things Sketchbook does better.
Sketchbook is designed from the ground up with one purpose: digital painting and artwork. It has rulers, a pre-made copic color library, tons of tutorials on digital painting methods. It’s simpler. And it’s free.
Tl;dr, I prefer Affinity over Sketchbook for production quality art. Sketchbook will probably still see use for quick idea sketches. I think Affinity is well worth the price, given it’s capabilities.
So my question, if you’ve read this far, is what different programs do you use?