Powerful Open Source Creative Suites

Ever wondering about free great open source software to start your idea? Here's a list for you to get started.

Also mentions several rarely known and newer software as well!

cel
cel List by cel , last updated 2024-06-12
  1. Graphics

  2. Krita icon

    Professional-ready sketch and painting software with animation capabilities.

    For user from PaintTool SAI, Adobe Photoshop, MediBang Paint, ibis Paint X, or SketchBook, this software have anything you need.

    If you're Clip Studio Paint user, it lacks a lot of unique feature that CSP have. (Especially if you come from professional Japanese manga/animation production pipeline). Though, Krita's next release will feature comic creation utilities (both book and webtoon layout) to match CSP. Krita also doesn't have sub-tools feature which really useful for fast tool-choosing. Krita also doesn't have flexible windowing system to work on multiple artwork.

    For Rebelle users, Krita doesn't have Rebelle core and advance features (as that software is heavily unique from existing industry standard), but there is ongoing discussion and initial attempt to implement several Rebelle features.

    For Expresii users, there's no realistic water paint emulation yet.

    For openCanvas user, go use Clip Studio Paint instead (for now)

    • Image Editor
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Android Tablet
    • Epic Games Store
    • PortableApps.com
    • Steam
    • ...
    Main Window
  3. Inochi Creator icon

    Alternative to Live2D Cubism software suite, for creating live animated character, the one that usually featured in Japanese visual novel (especially galge) and Virtual Youtuber.

    Still not as capable to match existing industry standard (still in early development stage). Only recommended if you're merely using it for indie games or Vtuber character.

    They also have active Japanese contributors, so it might not too far from what Japanese ACG industry needs.

    The dev recently changed their software from free to freemium, as they want to fund the development. It cost 20USD, but you can still "evaluate" it for free with 10 seconds reminder screen at startup.

    • ...
    Inochi Creator screenshot 1
  4. GIMP icon

    Image editor software. If you ever used GIMP five or ten years ago, it might be the best time to revisit GIMP, as it has tons of improvement.

    While the software itself is powerful, it requires a little bit of learning, especially if you're coming from Photoshop, Affinity Photo, or Pixelmator.

    The software might slow to add new features in the past 10 years, but that was because they rewrite the basic component to be more future-proof. Once we get 3.0 (should be this year, as in June 2024), we might get continuous of great feature. I suggest to check their presentation on Libre Graphics Meeting 2024: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkmWrhPYsos

    • Image Editor
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • BSD
    • Snapcraft
    • Flathub
    • PortableApps.com
    • Haiku
    • Flatpak
    • AmigaOS
    • ...
    yes
  5. Pixelorama icon

    Pixel art creation software. Also suitable to create sprite, game asset, or pixel animation. Good alternative to paid software like Aseprite.

    It's not 1-to-1 feature parity, but it has a lot of unique features.

    • ...
    Pixelorama screenshot 1
  6. OpenToonz icon

    Animation creation software. Specialized for Japanese 2D anime industry pipeline. Used by Studio Ghibli.

    It's not exactly software to use for puppet-like animation (the one that face expression is pre-configured). (I don't know actual animation jargon hehe)

    • ...
    GTS
  7. Blender icon

    Starterpack 3D creation software suites. Also capable to do video editor and 2D animation, though not as powerful as other specialized software.

    It might not be the software used in (several) already established animation, movie, or game development (looking at you, Autodesk Maya), but it become the new standard for newer studio as they are able to start a new production pipeline.

    • 3D Modeler
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • BSD
    • Flathub
    • PortableApps.com
    • Haiku
    • Steam
    • Flatpak
    • ...
    Cycles is Blender’s ray-trace based production render engine.
  8. Inkscape icon

    Vector-based document/image creation software with (sometimes) better feature implementation than existing proprietary alternative. Easy to pick up and learn.

    Choose this over Adobe Illustrator. To note: Affinity Designer has several unique feature that even any industry standard don't have (I think).

    • ...
    Inkscape screenshot 1
  9. DrawPile icon

    Collaborative drawing software.

    It's more suitable for friends and communities instead of professional work.

    • ...
    DrawPile screenshot 1
  10. AzPainter icon

    PaintTool SAI clone for Linux

    • ...
    AzPainter screenshot 1
  11. Game Dev

    This section will feature general and specialized engine.

  12. Wick Editor icon

    Adobe Flash-alike animation and game development software. It was inspired by Scratch, so they based on design as easy-to-use as possible. Even for the children.

    Unfortunately, the development is on hold as the latest commit was in 2021. (checked: May 2023)

    • ...
    A picture of the editor with a demo!
  13. ct.js icon

    Despite having .js on their name, you can totally can make games with visual scripting alone. Alternative to GameMaker.

    • ...
    Room editor
  14. Godot Engine icon

    Capable professional 2D and 3D game engine. Even Sonic Colors: Ultimate was developed using Godot.

    For beginner, this engine doesn't have visual scripting like Construct or GameMaker, but Godot's GDScript programming script is relatively easy to learn. They remove the visual scripting on previous release, as it needs a better implementation.

    As in May 2023, Godot regularly becomes the top used game engine on itch.io, surpassing Unity.

    • ...
    Godot Engine screenshot 1
  15. GB Studio icon

    Game engine specifically to create GameBoy games. Yes, actual GameBoy ROM files.

    • ...
    GB Studio screenshot 1
  16. Adventure Game Studio icon

    Specialized for point-and-click games.

    • ...
    Adventure Game Studio screenshot 1
  17. Ren'Py icon

    Phyton-based visual novel creator. Have relatively easy interface that beginner programmer can easily pick it up.

    • ...
    v8.1 & v7.6 release
  18. GDevelop icon

    No-code game engine.

    While it is free and open source software, the official software release require you to pay €4.99 or €9.99 per month for more feature.

    For complete comparison, visit: https://gdevelop.io/pricing

    Only use this if you're a complete beginner (learning Godot is a better long-term investment if you want to scale up your game design.)

    • ...
    The new editor interface, which now supports 3D editing.
  19. Multimedia

  20. OpenUTAU icon

    VOCALOID alternative, but don't expect the same voicebank, like Hatsune Miku or Po-uta.

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Arch Linux
    • ...
    OpenUTAU screenshot 1
  21. Kdenlive icon

    Powerful video editor with KDE principles: "Simple by Default, Powerful when Needed"

    Use this instead of pirating Filmora. I know some of you do. Yes, some my friends did this all the time and ended downloading trojan.

    • Video Editor
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • BSD
    • KDE
    • Flathub
    • Flatpak
    • ...
    Logging
  22. General Tools

  23. BeeRef icon

    Reference manager app. PureRef alternative.

    Krita has this feature built-in, but not as comprehensive as PureRef.

    • ...
    BeeRef screenshot 1
  24. qView icon

    Simple and distraction free image viewer. Great zooming approach, similar to good old Picasa Image Viewer.

    • ...
    qView screenshot 1
  25. Worth mentioning

    ...but I'm not sure regarding the quality, as the last time I used it was probably more than decade ago or testing random beta recently.

  26. FreeCAD icon

    FreeCAD is a general purpose parametric 3D CAD modeler. The development is completely Open Source (LGPL License). FreeCAD is aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but also fits in a wider range of uses around engineering, such as architecture or other...

    • CAD Software
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • BSD
    • PortableApps.com
    • ...
    FreeCAD screenshot 1
  27. MyPaint icon

    Alternative to SketchBook

    • ...
    MyPaint screenshot 1
  28. Graphite icon

    Node-based graphic design software.

    • ...
    Illustration made with the help of procedurally generating hundreds of circles in the node graph
  29. Goxel icon

    MagicaVoxel alternative.

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • BSD
    • ...
    Intuitive selection tool
  30. vengi icon

    Alternative of Avoyd and Qubicle Voxel Editor

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Online
    • ...
    minecraft greenfield
  31. SpookyGhost icon

    JuiceFX alternative. Also similar to Pixels Composer, but it's not node-based approach and it's not as powerful.

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Online
    • Android
    • ...
    SpookyGhost screenshot 1
  32. The Mirror icon

    Imagine a Roblox game creator but you actually own your game and publish the game everywhere you want. That's what the developer promise us.

    Based on Godot Engine.

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • itch.io
    • ...
    The Mirror screenshot 1
  33. Penpot icon

    Penpot is the open-source design tool that bridges the gap between designers and developers.

    • ...
    CSS Grid Layout and Code Inspect tab.
  34. Scribus icon

    Scribus is a desktop publishing (DTP) application. Scribus is designed for flexible layout and typesetting, and the ability to prepare files for professional quality image setting equipment. It can also create animated and interactive PDF presentations and forms.

    • ...
    Scribus screenshot 1
  35. EasyRPG icon

    RPG Maker-alike game engine.

    • ...
    EasyRPG Player for Android with custom on screen button mapping
  36. Tahoma2D icon

    Tahoma2D is a powerful program for 2D and stop motion animation. Tahoma 2D is based on OpenToonz.

    • ...
    Interface Overview
  37. Open 3D Engine icon

    Open 3D Engine (O3DE) is an Apache 2.0-licensed multi-platform 3D engine that enables developers and content creators to build AAA games, cinema-quality 3D worlds, and high-fidelity simulations without any fees or commercial obligations.

    • ...
    Open 3D Engine screenshot 1
  38. LMMS icon

    LMMS is a free cross-platform alternative to commercial programs like FL Studio , which allow you to produce music with your computer. This includes the creation of melodies and beats, the synthesis and mixing of sounds, and arranging of...

    • ...
    LMMS screenshot 1
  39. RPG Paper Maker icon

    Not exactly FOSS as it's only free for personal non-commercial use. But hey, the code is open source.

    • ...
    RPG Paper Maker screenshot 1
  40. TIC-80 icon

    Fantasy console with:

    • Lua
    • Moonscript
    • Javascript
    • Wren
    • Fennel
    • Squirrel
    • Ruby
    • Janet
    • Scheme
    • ...
    TIC-80 screenshot 1
  41. Tuesday JS icon

    JavaScript-based visual novel creator, also with visual relation hierarchy for dialogue.

    • ...
    Visualization script
  42. Pyxel icon

    Fantasy console with Phyton

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • ...
    Pyxel screenshot 1
  43. Pixel Vision 8 icon

    Fantasy console with Lua, also usable with external editor (both code and art asset)

    • ...
    Pixel Vision 8 screenshot 1
  44. MusE icon

    MusE is a MIDI/Audio sequencer with recording and editing capabilities, it aims to be a complete multitrack virtual studio for GNU/Linux. A port for FreeBSD is also available.

    • ...
    MusE screenshot 1
  45. Helio Workstation icon

    Helio is a cross-platform lightweight music speed-painting tool. It features linear-based sequencer with clean UI, integrated version control to sync the projects between devices, export to midi and more.

    • ...
    Helio Workstation screenshot 1
  46. Zrythm icon

    DAW software. Donationware.

    • ...
    Zrythm screenshot 1

This list was created by cel Apr 27, 2023 and was last updated Jun 12, 2024. The list has 41 apps.

You can create your own lists from our large database of apps either for your own sake or if you want to share some great apps with other people.


Comments

Shaz
CommentJun 10, 2024

Very cool list! So many apps I've not heard of before. Some suggestions to add to the list:

  • Shotcut is another good video editor.
  • 7zip - best compression utility I have ever used.
  • Would OBS Studio count as media? I use it extensively for screen recording
Show entire comment
0
Gu