Last year the most successful post on this blog was 45 Best Freeware Design Programs on PC – a hand-picked list of free design programs for the PC. Now the time has come for MAC fans. The funny thing is, before starting, I thought “Well, maybe the options won’t be as prolific, since Mac has a smaller piece of the market share cake.” But I was pleasantly surprised–the scene for free design applications for Macs is as interesting as the PCs. Maybe not as big, but just as varied and of good quality.
Indeed, you will find at least one excellent option for many designs fields. There’s Maya for 3D animation, Archicad for Building modeling, or GIMP and Inkspace for bitmap and vector editing. Definitely worth checking out. Sure, it’s not going to be the Adobe Creative Suite Killer but I am quite sure you will find some pearls out there.
Lego Digital Designer
With this free Digital Designer software you can build absolutely anything using virtual Lego bricks right on your computer. Then you can buy the real bricks to build your creation online in Lego Factory, or you can print out an inventory of bricks and take it to any Legoland theme park or Lego Store. The latest version of LDD is 1.5 This version has increased stability and fixes a number of small bugs from version 1.4.
New in Version 2: Improved building experience, quicker brick selection, easier to connect bricks when building, new brick palette tool, more bricks, partly built models for easy start, new backgrounds, new UI, and more.
Autodesk Maya Personal Learning Edition (OS X) 8.5
Maya Personal Learning Edition (PLE) is a special version of Autodesk® Maya® software, which provides free access to Maya for non-commercial use. It gives 3D graphics and animation students, industry professionals, and those interested in breaking into the world of computer graphics an opportunity to explore most aspects of the award-winning Autodesk® Maya® Complete software in a non-commercial capacity. The Maya Personal Learning Edition software is available for 32-bit Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional and Apple® Mac OS® X (for Macintosh Power PC or Intel-based Macintosh computers) operating systems.
Autodesk Maya PLE is based on Autodesk Maya 8.5.
Overview | Download
Graphisoft ArchiCAD 11
The ArchiCAD educational version is a fully-functional copy of the commercial version, with the only exception being that it prints a watermark-style logo onto all ArchiCAD project files created or opened with the ArchiCAD student version. You, as a student, will have at your fingertips the very same modeling solution – ArchiCAD – that you will encounter after graduation, used on the job, out there in the real, competitive market by great architects who have built their reputations with it. So, take a moment to read detailed description of ArchiCAD 11, to be clear just how this design tool can transform your approach to building modeling for a fun, satisfying and successful architectural career.
Overview | Download
Simple CSS 2
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are a way to specify the styles of fonts and other page elements on your site. It makes it easier for you to update styles too, because when done right, you only need to make a change to one file, the CSS file, to update the styles on multiple pages and elements. Another bonus is that your visitor’s browser needs to load less data per page, helping you reduce your data transfer usage while serving the same information. That means you’ll be able to accommodate more site visitors without having to spend more on data transfer. Your pages will also load faster. To help you work with CSS, we’ve found a tool called Simple CSS, which runs on Macs, Windows and Linux. Simple CSS allows you to create cascading style sheets from scratch, and/or modify existing ones, using a familiar point-and-click interface.
Version 2.0 includes faster WYSIWYG previews. Version 2.0 includes faster WYSIWYG preview
Blender (PowerPC) 2.46
Blender is the open-source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback. It is available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License. Version 2.44 offers numerous bug fixes. Version 2.46 includes cloth and fur simulation, physics caching and baking, shading, glossy reflection and refraction, raytraced soft shadows, improved rendering features, and more.
Scribus is an open-source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/Unix, MacOS X, OS/2 and Windows desktops with a combination of “press-ready” output and new approaches to page layout. Underneath the modern and user friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation.
Colorate is a utility for creation of harmonized color palettes and color schemes, aimed at everyone from hobbyists to professional designers.
Colorate fully automatizes the palette generation from a particular color swatch, selected from the standard Color Panel, dragged from other applications, or obtained from an image through the integrated Image Analyze feature.
Overview | Download
Front End Digital Media WorkShop 2.0
Front End Digital Media Workshop harnesses the power of QuickTime to bring you powerful batch-based conversion of sound, video, and image files. Resize, resample, join, split, trim, basic edits, and selective conversions via marked I/O points are some of the tools. All in an environment that provides powerful play back features including variable speed, slow motion, full screen playback and video to image frame capture. Batch lists can be saved and also used as playlists. Some of the dozens of supported formats include: MP4, MOV, AIFF, 3GP, 3GP2, WAV, AU, AVI (basic codecs), JPEG, PICT, PNG, PSD, BMP, and TIFF. QuickTime video filters and effects are also available.
Multimedia authoring software for capturing, editing, organizing, processing, and exporting video, audio, and text to create DVD quality movies and slide shows. Features a groundbreaking “trackless” workspace that allows the free manipulation of an unlimited number of video, audio, stills, and text tracks. Editable transitions are created automatically when video clips are dragged on top of each other. The full palette of QuickTime effects is available. HyperEngine-AV comes with twelve studio-quality effects from Arboretum’s Hyperprism suite of audio processors. More can be added by purchasing a license, including Ray Gun for cleaning up scratchy vinyl, tape hiss, and hum.
HyperEngine-AV also offers text features to display credits, section titles, or karaoke lyrics with fully editable font, size, type, color, style, alignment, and scroll direction. HyperEngine-AV is for both novice digital moviemakers and professionals alike.
DAZ Studio 126.96.36.199
DAZ Studio is a feature rich 3D figure posing and animation tool that enables users of any skill level to easily create stunning digital imagery. Whether you’re a 3D newbie or an avid 3D artist, you’ll find DAZ Studio is the perfect tool for designing unique digital art and animation with virtual people, animals, props, vehicles, backgrounds and more. Experience total creative freedom with DAZ Studio and express yourself in 3D like never before.
Overview | Download
Create breathtaking realistic 3D landscapes and animations with DAZ 3D Bryce 5.5. The easy user interface simplifies the design process for a novice or the seasoned professional. Start out building or importing a landscape as impressive as the Grand Canyon. Populate it with buildings, people or any other object you create or from the extensive DAZ 3D library. The Light Lab provides you robust control over your sunsets, moonlight nights or high-noon ambiance. Tree Lab allows you to plant your landscape like the gardens of Versailles. You’ll have to register your copy of Bryce 5.5 on the publishers web-site to gain access to your free Bryce serial number.
Google SketchUp 6
Google SketchUp is software that you can use to create, export and present 3D models. Whether you want to design a new deck for your house, build models for Google Earth, or teach geometry to your fifth-graders, you can use SketchUp to see your ideas in 3D. And when you’re done, you can export an image, make a movie or print out a view of what you made.
POV-Ray is a three-dimensional ray tracing engine. It takes information you supply and simulates the way light interacts with the objects you’ve defined, creating stunning 3D pictures.
Overview | Download
Gnuplot is a portable command-line driven interactive data and function plotting utility for UNIX, IBM OS/2, MS Windows, DOS, Macintosh, VMS, Atari and many other platforms. It was originally intended as to allow scientists and students to visualize mathematical functions and data. It does this job pretty well, but has grown to support many non-interactive uses, including web scripting and integration as a plotting engine for third-party applications like Octave. Gnuplot supports many different types of terminals: interactive screen terminals (with mouse and hotkey functionality), pen plotters (like hpgl), printers (including postscript and many color devices), and printings to output file as vectorial pseudo-devices like LaTeX, metafont, pdf, svg, or bitmap png. Gnuplot is easily extensible to include new devices.
Comipro Plus 4.0.2
Comipro Plus is a cartoon production software. You can produce the cartoon work with the kind of feeling which compiles the document with the word processor as the material using the picture and the photograph. Version 4.0.20 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes.
Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.
Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the process of design.
Whether you have twenty or twenty thousand digital photos, iPhoto 4 keeps track of them all, automatically organizing them so you can find them fast. Lightning fast. Easy to use, iPhoto puts you in charge of your photographs–helping you import them, organize them into albums, enhance their appearance, as well as, share them in print, via email, over the web and in stunning coffee-table books.
This update addresses several issues with using multiple text rules in Smart Albums and it also eliminates some problems with creating iPhoto books in the German and Dutch languages. Additionally, 4.0.3 keeps users informed about new version of iPhoto that have become available.
NIH Image 1.62
NIH Image can acquire, display, edit, enhance, analyze, and animate images. It reads and writes TIFF, PICT, PICS, and MacPaint files, providing compatibility with many applications, including programs for scanning, processing, editing, publishing, and analyzing images. NIH Image supports many standard image-processing functions, such as contrast enhancement, density profiling, smoothing, sharpening, edge detection, median filtering, and spatial convolution with user-defined kernels. NIH Image can be used to measure area, mean, centroid, and perimeter. It also performs automated particle analysis and provides tools for measuring path lengths and angles. Spatial calibration is supported to provide real-world area and length measurements. Version 1.62 fixes bugs and improves compatibility with PowerPC machines.
Goldberg is a freeware image and movie viewer with image-editing capabilities and support for applying QuickTime and other effects. It offers rotation capabilities, free zooming, and undo support. Version 2.3.2 fixes a problem with reading multilayer image files as Photoshop documents. It also fixes a problem with corrupted Preferences files, and the PDF item in the pop-up format in the export dialog box has been removed.
Image Tricks 2.3.3
Image Tricks is an image editing application that allows you to easily edit and apply various effects and filters to your photos and images. This program allows modification of around 50 core image effects and filters, import over 20 image formats (TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PDF, EPS among them), export to TIFF, JPEG, PNG, and GIF formats, resize images, and iPhoto integration.
Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, or Xara X using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Supported SVG features include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping. Inkscape also supports Creative Commons meta-data, node editing, layers, complex path operations, bitmap tracing, text-on-path, flowed text, direct XML editing, and more. It imports formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and others and exports PNG as well as multiple vector-based formats. Inkscape’s main goal is to create a powerful and convenient drawing tool fully compliant with XML, SVG, and CSS standards. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development process, and by making sure Inkcape is easy to learn, to use, and to extend.
GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.
It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.
GIMP is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.
GIMP is written and developed under X11 on UNIX platforms. But basically the same code also runs on MS Windows and Mac OS X.
There are various ways to obtain and install GIMP for your Macintosh. In addition to the source code distribution here on www.gimp.org, there are various alternative sources for packaged and even commercially distributed CDs, which aim to make installation and setup an easier task. These include:
- Wilber loves Apple
iFastViewer is an easy and fast viewer for your pictures with optimized interface. It allows to select photos “on-the-fly” and locate them in the Finder (with move, copy, and delete options). The program code is also available under General Public Licence.
JAlbum allows you to create nice-looking photo galleries for the Web. You simply select or drag and drop folders containing images or movie files onto JAlbum, and it creates thumbnails and HTML pages to publish your images as a gallery or as a picture slide show. The galleries are based on various templates, and their appearance can be further customized by advanced users. The application’s additional features include support for IPTC/EXIF data, style sheets, lossless image manipulation, pluggable image filters, and a built-in FTP/SFTP client.
Version 8 adds full drag and drop support, image-editing tools, faster image scaling, and many other new features and fixes.