These are mostly focused on computer based drawing, we also will be adding resources for smart tablets as well. As with the rest of our resources, this is never an end-all be-all list and will be updated periodically.  

Multiple Programs
  • Humble Bundle isn’t free, but you can find many bundled programs either at set price or on a pay-what-you-want basis. It’s not always guaranteed to have what you want but it’s worth looking at!
  • Affinity isn’t free either, but it is an affordable alternative to the Adobe Suite.
Raster Based Drawing:

These may also have some photo editing capabilities, but these programs focus more on digital drawing/painting.

Bitmap/Pixel Art:

As the title suggests, this focuses on pixel based art and sprite creation.

  • GraphicsGale: Freeware editor and sprite creator.
  • Piskel: Free and  browser based pixel  editor and sprite creator.
  • Pixie Engine: Free and browser based pixel editor.
  • Lospec Pixel Editor: Free, browser based pixel editor.
  • Pixilart: A free, browser based editor that frames itself also as creative social platform.
  • GrafX2: Free pixel editor based off Amiga Deluxe Paint.
  • iDraw Chara Maker: A free sprite editor. A staple of early web RPG Makers.
  • Tile Studio: Made for tile based game elements, but it has a bitmap/pixel editor.
  • PikoPixel: Open Source bitmap editor. Available only for Mac and Linux machines.
  • Pyxel Edit: Still in development. Free version doesn’t support animation but at $9 for the Beta, it is an affordable tool.
  • Asesprite: Free trial, very affordable full version ($20)
Raster Based Image Editing:

Free or Open source alternatives to Photoshop. Some have photo editing capabilities as well as digital painting ability. Unless stated, an install is needed.

  • GIMP: Has a lot more documentation and support than the others listed.
  • The “Classic” standalone is free, the Microsoft app is paid.
  • Photoscape: Free to use; hasn’t been updated since 2014
  • Photoscape X: The updated version of Photoscape. Has a free version and a paid Pro version.
  • darktable: Open Source with a good amount of resources and guides.
  • Raw Therapee: Open Source editor that touts being good with RAW files
  • Pixlr: Web based image editing.
  • Photopea: Another browser based editor. Supports PSDs!
  • PixiJS: 2D content creation engine/JavaScript library  for HTML5
Art Generators:

Computer or AI-assisted art programs.

Vector Based Image Creation/Editing:

Free or affordable alternatives to Adobe Illustrator.

  • Boxy SVG: Not as robust as Illustrator, but has many of the editing capabilities needed for prepping laser/vinyl cutter files. Install needed.
  • Inkscape: Like GIMP, is open-sourced and has a lot more documentation and support than some of the others listed. Install needed.
  • SVG Edit: Simple capabilities but also web based.
  • Vectr: Simple capabilities but is also web based.
  • Infinite Design: For android tablets only.

Apps and AIs that can help improve photo editing in a pinch.

  • Removes backgrounds from images.
  • waifu2x: Upscales images. Best for black and white art and drawings, but okay for photos.
  • Remini: Retouches photos, enhances artifact images.
  • Convert Town: Various conversion services.
Document Editors:

Whether it be Word documents or PDFs, these can be used for free or almost free!

Page Layout Design:

Scribus: An Open Source alternative to InDesign.

All these sites below are Freemium products– meaning they have a limited free version with pricing for more features. All of these are browser based and need no installation!

UI Mockup/Prototyping Software:
  • Figma is freemium software. You can purchase a Pro license, but their Free license works well for an individual. Plus they allow a free Pro license for students and educators!
  • Adobe XD is freemium, but you need to have an Adobe Account for it.
  • InVision is another freemium software, with a limited free license.
  • Pencil Project is an open source alternative.
  • quickMockup is a free, simple browser-based application that is similar to Basalmiq (a paid software) in appearance.
  • is also browser based, however the free version leaves your projects as a public URL and limited to 1 page (albeit you can just use it in multiple windows to create multiples– but that seems more like a last ditch thing.) They also have a paid Professional license.
Vinyl Cutters:
  • Cricut Design Studio: Is browser based, but an account is needed. Check Cricut in the Makerspace for the Makerspace login information.
  • Silhouette Studio: Needs to be installed to use, but also is available on the Makerspace machines.
2D Animation:
  • Procreate Dreams is animation software for $20, but for iPads only.
  • Opentoonz: An Open Source alternative of the Toonz software (used by Studio Ghibli for color and composition).
  • Pencil 2D: Open Source with some decent tutorial and guides, with a fairly active community.
  • Blender: While made for 3D, blender can support 2D animation, albeit working in the 3D environment.
  • Live2D: Japanese based software with English support.
  • Emofuri: Completely in Japanese, but there are some English based guides for it.
  • Do Ink: Has 2 Apps: One for drawing & animation, and another for greenscreen. Each cost $4.99. FOR iPads only.
  • PixiJS: JavaScript library for 2D animation using the WebGL renderer.
3D Modeling & Animation:
  • TinkerCAD : Browser based; needs no downloading. Our Go-to here in the Makerspace
  • BlenderOpen Source; needs to be installed. Has a bit of a learning curve with the UI, but has plenty of documentation and resources to help. Blender also isn’t just for modeling; you can render full 3D animation in this software.
  • Fusion 360Free for Personal Use; install needed. From Autodesk– who also made TinkerCAD.
  • SketchupFree for Personal Use; uses the web browser only.
  • Daz Studio:  Free with sign up.
  • Wings 3D: Open Source, polygon based 3D modeling.
  • Equinox 3D: Free 3D modeling and rendering. Avaiable only for Linux and Mac machines.
  • ZBrush Core Mini: A free, beginner friendly version of ZBrush. ZBrush Cor and ZBrush proper can be purchased on a monthly subscription model.
  • Fuse: Fuse provides a simple 3D character creation tool. This is older version of the program before Mixamo was bought out by Adobe, but is free. If for some reason you want a newer version, Adobe Fuse is part of the Creative Cloud.
  • Source Filmmaker: Creates 3D animation using Valve’s Source engine.
  • three.js: Browser based 3D modeling for web/HTML5.
  • ScluptGL: Free, browser based digital sculpting application.
  • Medium: VR 3D sculpting by Adobe.
  • Blocks: VR 3D modeling by Google.
Video Editing:
Video Effects:
  • Hitfilm Express: is a free versions of Hitfilm Pro.
  • Natron: Open Source composition, as of 2018 is no longer in active development.
  • Wax: Freeware. However only supports AVI and WAV files for import; but can export into many more video formats.
  • ButtleFX: Open Source composition and effects. Available only for Linux machines. Hasn’t updated since 2015, so support may not be as readily available.
Video Capture/Screen Capture:
  • OBS: Open source screen recording, very popular with game streaming.
  • Wink: Freeware screen capture from the creators of Wax.
  • Cam Studio: Free to use in both personal and commercial projects
  • Greenshot: Open Source capture software.
  • Share X: Open Source screen sharing and file transfer
  • EZvid: Free, but only available for Windows machines.
  • Fraps: Limited free trial, single price paid license.
  • Screencast-O-Matic: Limited free version.
  • Bandicam: Has somewhat affordable one time purchase
Video Streaming:
  • OBS: Open source screen recording, very popular with game streaming.
  • Cam Studio: Free to use in both personal and commercial projects
  • Open Streaming Platform: An Open source, self hosted alternative to other popular streaming sites (Twitch, YouTube, etc). This is a fairly new as of this writing (launching in January 2021).
  • Snowmix: Open Source Live Video Mixing
  • FFSplit: Freeware, however it looks like the project is no longer in development, and no real updates since 2019.
Audio Editing:
  • Audacity: Open source audio recording and editing software. Installed on the Makerspace laptops.
  • Ocenaudio: Free,
  • AudioMass: Free and browser-based audio editing software.
  • Ardour: Free audio recorder, editor, and Mixer. Under GNU Public License v2.
  • WavePad: Free for personal use only, must purchase license for commercial. Downloads for other platforms on on far right side (in very tiny text).
  • MixPad: Free for personal use only, must purchase license for commercial. Downloads for other platforms on on far right side (in very tiny text).
  • Reaper: Free full version for 60 days; $60 for Personal/Non-Profit license, $225 for a full commercial use license.
  • MusE Sequencer: Mixing, Sequencing, and Editing. Free under GNU Public Liscence V2.
  • Splitter: Splits vocals from music.
Game Engines:

These can be used for creation of video games, as well as AR and VR development. Many of them have free Educational or Personal accounts to explore the engine, but that is not guaranteed.  This is also not a comprehensive list– there are many more engines out there than listed!

  • Unity: The Makerspace laptops have Unity Educational license, but there is a free singular student and personal license.
  • Unreal: Free license for creating and publishing content.
  • CryEngine: Free license for development, but require royalties for published products.
  • Blend4Web: Free engine developed by the creators of Blender
  • Godot: Free MIT licensed Engine.
  • Armory: Free, open sourced 3D engine.
  • Babylon.js: Web based 3D using JavaScript libraries.
  • Defold: Completely free license for personal and commercial projects.
  • Lumberyard: Free game engine by Amazon.
  • PlayCanvas: Decent free account.
  • Buildbox: Very limited free edition, somewhat affordable pro license.
  • CraftStudio: Has pay-any-price payment for their software.
  • Monogame: Open Source 2D Engine
  • Gamemaker: is 2D game engine with a free trial, affordable developer pricing
  • Construct2: 2D Engine, free trial and a market for premade assets for the engine.
Augmented Reality:

Many of these have free basic or educational account, but will need to purchase a subscription plan for more features or other content. Great for just playing around, but if you plan on making a published app, the license is  something to consider.

  • Holokit: Open source AR development, Cardboard headset for purchase (if you are inclined to buy it)
  • Aero: Free AR development from Adobe. Need adobe Account to use.
  • ARCore: Free AR development from Google.
  • AR Reverie: Free open Source AR toolkit.
  • A-Frame: Open Source web based framework for 3D/AR/VR created by Mozilla.
  • AR Toolkit X: Open Source computer tracking library for AR.
  • Mixare:  Open Source AR  engine. No longer in development or supported, but the git archive is still accessible.
  • Argon.js: Javascript-based, Open Source framework for web based AR.
  • AR.js: Open Source Javascript based  framework.
  • Easy AR: Free personal/non-commercial account.
  • Overly: Free basic account, paid personal/professional subscriptions.
  • Vuforia: Is a free trial, but is not open about their pricing for a personal or professional license.
  • DeepAR: Mostly used for Snapchat filters. Limited Free account.
  • PlugXR: Free for 14 days.
  • CoSpaces:  Limited free license, but more geared toward educators as a teaching tool or to learn AR/VR.
  • Merge: Like CoSpaces, this is more geared as AR as a learning tool in a classroom setting, but also has a free trial. Also sells headset and Cube peripheral for AR/VR use.
Virtual Reality:

Like AR Apps many of these have limited free account, and you must pay to unlock more features or allow more users and the like.

  • Jahshaka: Open Source VR platform.
  • A-Frame: Free web-based VR framework made by Mozilla.
  • OpenSpace 3D: Open Source.
  • Apertus VR: Open Source.
  • GuriVR:  Simple VR editor, open source.
  • Lovr: Open Source Framework
  • OSVR: An Open Source collective dedicated to VR. Hasn’t updated since 2016. Use at your own discretion.
  • Tour Creator: Free from Google. Used to create 360 degree tours in VR using Google Maps.
  • ThingLink: Limited free account.
  • AppGameKit: Limited free trial.
  • Edorble: More for virtual learning and creating classrooms/gatherings in VR, but it is an Open Source project and therefore free to use.
  • Primrose: VR for web browsers. Doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2017, so your mileage may vary.
  • CoSpaces:  Limited free license, but more geared toward educators as a teaching tool or to learn AR/VR.
  • Merge: Like CoSpaces, this is more geared as AR as a learning tool in a classroom setting, but also has a free trial. Also sells headset and Cube peripheral for AR/VR use.
  • JanusVR: a VR Based Web Browser.
  • Vis3r: Build your own VR headset with this Open Source project!
Physical Computing:
  • Arduino IDE: Open source and free– but you can donate if you wish. There’s also a free Web Editor you can use so long as you create an Arduino account.
  • Fritzing:  Is a virtual simulated circuit builder. Use it tp prototype a circuit and create schematics. For a more up to date version of the software, you must pay (only about $9). The following links are for an older version of the Fritzing software.  (PC) (Mac)
  • Tinkercad has a virtual circuit simulator like Fritzing, but also allows you to test the code. They have two ways to code; one is based off Scratch blocks and not traditional Arduino code, so you might need some time to get used to it. But they now allow support traditional Arduino code as well.

Most of these are simply text editors, meaning they can be used for any type of coding project you need. Unless stated otherwise,  an install is needed.

  • Github: Free and Open Source, the most popular choice.
  • SourceForge: Also free and Open Source. While it is more centralized and allows developers more control over the software, its documentation and issue tracking system is not as efficient at Github.
  • Launchpad: Free and Open Source– Inkscape is hosted through this!
  • GitLab: Repo & DevOps platform. Free 30 Day Trial, or for small scale personal projects, with professional tiers at $19/mo ($99/mo for large scale projects).
  • BitBucket: Free for small scale projects, scaling price per user after 5.
Application Hosting/Framework:

Many of these are free for personal uses or for prototyping/Proof of Concept. If you plan on developing your app, you will need to pay.

  • Heroku: for Web and Mobile Apps
  • Back4App: For bot Mobile and Web Apps
  • Engine Yard: For Mobile and Web Apps.
  • Docker: For Mobile and Web Apps.
  • Vercel: For both Mobile and Web(?) Apps
  • Amplify:  Amazon service for developing Web and Mobile Apps. Amazon AWS has a various amount of service, so do you research.
  • Firebase: Google’s App development platform, works well with App Engine.
  • Azure: Microsoft’s App development platform.
  • Glitch: for Web Apps
  • For Web apps
  • Digital Ocean: For Web Apps
  • Netlify: For Web Apps
  • OpenShift: For Web Apps(?)
  • Dokku: App sever/data management.
  • CapRover: App server/data management.
  • Aiven: Cloud data infrastructure for a variety of frameworks.
  • Upcloud: Cloud hosting.
  • Vultr: Cloud hosting.
PCB Fabrication/Layout:
  • Eagle: Autodesk’s program for PCB fabrication. With this you can create circuitry for boards to be milled or etched, and schematics.