For those who know me, I've tossed the term "open source software" around like it was confetti at a parade.
Open Source Software are programs that are developed generally through a collaborative effort by the internet community. It is also generally free and you can download the source code and modify as you like (depending on the licensing).
It's been a stigma that free and/or open source software can't be that professional since it doesn't have the stamp of industry standard on it. However, today, some of this software has become less bloated and even more professional than some of the mainstream software.
Here are five examples of awesome software you can adapt to your workflow that will blow your mind!
This is a great replacement for the high-end 3D software like Maya, 3D Studio Max and Cinema 4d. While has its limitations, Blender has come a MASSIVELY long way from its beginning. It was the main software behind the independent short-films "Elephant's Dream", "Big Buck Bunny" and the latest, "Sintel". Alternative to: 3D Studio Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, Lightwave, XSI, Messiah
This software has been around for a while, and while not in my current flow has really shown some strength that I didn't see before. It's real power is if you're a photographer. It has some amazing features in this arena that honestly propels it ahead of Photoshop, the main competition. While not as feature rich as other paid software (no 3D abilities hurts me), it really has a great place for any artist. Alternative to: Photoshop, Fireworks, Paint Shop Pro
There really isn't a lot going on in the realm of software to generate humans. But makeHuman really rockets itself into the fray like a sugar-high teen at a metal show. Endless possibilities, soon the ability to pose your model and the ability to export in nearly any useable format, makeHuman really sets itself to be one of the more useful softwares for any freelance artist. Alternative to: e-Frontier Poser
This is a software I've only found recently and I have to say I'm impressed by its ability. The brushes and power of this FREE software is amazing. One artist friend I introduced MyPaint too said "the brushes feel better than ArtRage" and that it was "inspiring". Alternative to: Photoshop, Corel Painter, ArtRage
The final offering is a weird software called "Alchemy". It's an amazing, inspiring and innovative piece of software. It's impossible for me to describe it so here is what they say on their website!
Alchemy is an open drawing project aimed at exploring how we can sketch, draw, and create on computers in new ways. Alchemy isn’t software for creating finished artwork, but rather a sketching environment that focuses on the absolute initial stage of the creation process. Experimental in nature, Alchemy lets you brainstorm visually to explore an expanded range of ideas and possibilities in a serendipitous way.
There is nothing like it ... it's really fun to use and easy to come up with crazy designs.