Top 20 applications that let your kids be creative

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I’ve always been amazed by how much free software is available online that is very useful. It’s common to find free products with limited functionality to give the user a ‘taste’ of a small amount of features before you decide to purchase the product. It’s just as common to see excellent software online with full functionality totally for free.

Today we’re talking about creative software to download for free. We’ve found the Top 20 products and give you a brief description below.

Image Editing:

  1. Paint.net

Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins. 

2. GIMP

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages. I use this product extensively and find it an excellent product to use

3. Xara Xtreme

Xara Xtreme is quite simply the best value and fastest all-in-one graphics package you’ll find. For drawings or photo work, for print or the web, it’s the perfect choice.

4. Active Pixels

Great free app which is very similar to Photoshop.

5. PaintStar

PaintStar is a versatile digital image processing software suitable for such tasks as retouching of photographs, composing and authoring images, image morphing, screen capture, and displaying image thumbnail in Windows Explorer context menu.

6. Picasa

Picasa automatically finds and organizes all of your pictures including: jpeg, tiff, bmp, psd, and standard camera movie files. Sending pictures with e-mail used to mean five steps just to get it right. Picasa lets you pick the size and then automatically attaches your pictures. Browse through all your pictures and view slideshows of your albums with the click of a button. Enhance, fix red-eye, and even crop without losing data or permanently changing your original picture.

7. Art Weaver

Artweaver is a Windows Freeware program to simulate natural brush tools. It is therefore suitable to let your creativity free run. Artweaver offers you a clear program window, which can be used without training immediately.

8. VCW VicMan’s Photo Editor

 VCW VicMan’s Photo Editor is a versatile image editor with an intuitive interface and a wide variety of features. This powerful application is user friendly, offering simple image editing, high productivity and easy customization.

9. Photo Pos Lite

 Photo Pos Lite is a free lite version of the award-wining photo editor Photo Pos Pro. Photo Pose Lite contains many of Photo Pos Pro’s tools and features.

10. MAGIX Xtreme Photo Designer

MAGIX Xtreme Photo Designer is a powerful yet easy to use application that allows you to edit your photos quickly and precisely. This incredible program offers a comprehensive set of tools that enables you to edit your pictures and assists in transforming your photo ideas into reality.

Illustration Design Programs

11. Inkskape

I think Inkscape is one best of vector programs alongside Illustrator plus it’s very easy to learn. It’s an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.

12. Insight Point

Karbon is a vector drawing application with a user interface that is easy to use, highly customizable and extensible. That makes Karbon a great application for users starting to explore the world of vector graphics as well as for artists wanting to create breathtaking vector art.

13. Smooth Draw

The best free program I’ve come across if you’re looking to test out your skills using a tablet. SmoothDraw NX is an easy yet powerful freehand drawing tool. It’s a limited yet free version of SmoothDraw. It produces the most smooth and expressive stroke through your tablet. It also smoothes mouse input for those who don’t have a tablet.

14. Pencil

Pencil is an animation/drawing software for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. It lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation (cartoon) using both bitmap and vector graphics. Pencil is free and open source.

15. Spray

SPRAY vector generator is intended to produce helper objects for vector illustration software like Xara X, Corel Draw, Adobe Photoshop. You can easily generate huge number of circles with random position, fill, outline colour; random paths, grids, and rays. You can place generated objects through the clipboard of your favourite illustration app. Developed for Xara X but also works with Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator.

3D Modelling

16. Blender

This is the best 3D modelling program that I’ve come across. Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.

17. K-3D

K-3D is free-as-in-freedom 3D modelling and animation software. It features a plugin-oriented procedural engine for all of its content, making K-3D a very versatile and powerful package.K-3D excels at polygonal modelling, and includes basic tools for NURBS, patches, curves and animation.

18. Google Sketch Up

Google SketchUp Pro 7 is a suite of powerful features and applications for design and engineering professionals.

19. 3D Canvas

3D Canvas is a real-time 3D modelling and animation tool that incorporates an intuitive drag-and-drop approach to 3D modelling.

Animation Programs

20. Synfig

Synfig is a powerful, industrial-strength vector-based 2D animation software package, designed from the ground-up for producing feature-film quality animation with fewer people and resources.

There you have it! With so many products to chose from, your kids are sure to get creative!

 

Dean Stewart

Dean Stewart is the owner of WebSafety NZ and has over 27 years of experience in the IT industry. His career has taken him to Australia, UK and South Africa, before returning home after a 14 year overseas stint. Outside of work, Dean has two teenage children, is a keen tramper in the outdoors and enjoys growing his own produce.

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Please note that this article represents the views of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Kiwi Family Media Ltd.

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