Software help, please!

I’m so out of the loop with software. I had planned to just purchase Illustrator. I haven’t done any 3d designing since college. I’ve just been using an old version of Elements for design work. What do you all recommend? Purchase a full license, monthly, etc? Start with basic free software? I know that’s a little general considering the number of programs & the infinite amount of things you can do. I was hoping you all could point me in the right direction to get started. Thanks!

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Hello @toriemarie

I personally use an old version CS5 of Illustrator and it works great with no monthly/annual subscription fees. You can find old versions on eBay for pretty cheap. Also a lot of people use Inkscape which is Free and there is a lot of support on here for it as well. Lastly is a program called Affinity Designer that is very good, that is a one time fee of $49 that while it does not have all of the features of illustrator it would support you very well as well. Affinity is also used by a bunch of users here so support is great for it too.

So there you go… 3 choices, none of which I think you can go wrong with . Affinity has a free 10 day trial if you want to give it a shot.

Hope that helps!


You might want to cruise through the training matrix, which has a lot of tutorials covering all the major software choices. There might be something in there that could help you.


Exactly what I needed! Thanks!

Awesome, thank you!

Gimp and Inkscape and Fusion 360 are free options that will let you get started. I’ve yet to hit an obstacle that I can’t overcome using those three (and occasionally sketchup).


For 3D design work I think it’s easier to learn a CAD program, flatten the parts and export as svg to a vector-graphics editing program like Inkscape, Illustrator, CorelDraw or Affinity Designer (AD may be Mac only.) While it may be technically possible to never use a vector-graphics editing program, it is not practicable. If you already know Illustrator, then paying for it to avoid the learning curve may be a good choice. As I did not know it, I went the free route and use Inkscape.


If you’re using Elements you can probably still just keep using it if it will allow you to draw with vectors. I haven’t touched Elements in forever.

Check to see if you can export SVG. If not, export to PDF and you’ll be fine with the GF.

You can download the 30 day trial of Illustrator to try it. I find it really great software and subscribe to the Adobe CC for $50/month. There are a couple of different plans.

Also as people have noted, there are some free software (Inkscape) or low cost (Affinity Designer) that people have had great success with. Check out the matrix (linked above).

Gravit Designer looks interesting and it’s free. I haven’t really tried it out yet though.


I love inkscape. I use it a lot, although not too good at it yet.


UPDATE: Affinity Designer is $37.49 ($12.50 savings) for 12 days remaining per the app in the Microsoft Store. I am planning on buying it.

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What does affinity designer offer over inkscape?

I don’t think AD has an auto trace yet. Without it, I’d tend to stick with Inkscape.


I have a separate auto trace program but I can’t recall ever using it. The few times I’ve had a need to trace something I’ve done it manually in AD. Not everyone has a lot of bitmaps they need to trace.

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Yep, just depends on if you need that function. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yeah, different people value different features. For me, auto trace wouldn’t even be on my list of the top five missing features in AD. Whereas for a lot of people it’s a glaring omission.

The real trick is convincing the developers of the software that their priority list should match mine… :smile:


Sounds familiar to somewhere else :smile: