Digital Painting Software News 2020


2020 has been a strange year to say the least so I thought it might be interesting to write about some of the digital painting software developments that occurred throughout the year.

I haven’t written as much this year because I’ve been working on a client project which I completed at the start of December. The last blog article I wrote was in July, but I had to focus my energies on completing the project and it was a useful distraction from the events of this year.

I Illustrated 20 scenes for a story based jigsaw puzzle computer game called “The Adventures of Wolf and Hood” by Stone Baked Games. I’ve written more about this project on my Illustration portfolio website if you would like to know more about it. You can buy the game from the developer on itch.io.


I did start a little Wiki on the site though in case you missed it to make up for the lack of articles this year.

Here are some of the things I noticed in the world of digital painting software this year. This isn’t a definitive list or anything and opinions are my own. I’m not sponsored or asked to write about these things.

Digital Painting and Editing

Rebelle 4

There was a new version of Rebelle released this year (version 4). It has improved oil painting and acrylic brushes as well as improvements to its watercolour engine. If you already have a version of the software the update is half of the full price.

I’ve hardly used this software but I’m keeping an eye on its development. The watercolour engine is fantastic. It is good that the new version has improved performance, I hope they continue in that direction.

PD Howler

PD Howler had many cool updates this year with their 2021 release and I really love the painting tools in this program. It has some really cool VFX art effects and filters.

The poisson image blending tools came in handy more than once, and I was able to create my own overlay effects for Illustrations using the tools within this software.

There are so many features in this program but it is fast and intuitive to paint with. The only thing I’d love them to work on is the layer system but in the mean time if you combine the features of this program with something like Krita you can overcome the limitations quite easily.

G’MIC (A Full-Featured Open-Source Framework for Image Processing)

I’m a newcomer to G’MIC but it is a fantastic tool I wish I had tried earlier. It has a massive range of very useful image editing and art filter tools and is completely free. It plugs into Krita and other art software. G’MIC had several updates this year.

Krita (free open source digital painting software)

I am so thankful to Krita for making such amazing digital painting software available for free (I’ve donated money to their development). They had an amazing update with the 4.4 release in October which introduced many really useful features and improved on the existing ones.

Also worth mentioning are Ramon Miranda’s wonderful charcoal brushes.

The Krita team is working on even more features and improvements for upcoming releases and have beta versions available for anyone who wants to test them out.


Expresii had some updates this year and continue to work on some new features for future versions such as a Suminagashi (form of marbling) engine and oil painting simulation which they talk about in their blog.

I’m particularly interested in the oil paint which will be an improved implementation of Project Gustav, Fresh Paint by Nelson Chu. I’ve not seen anything that comes near it for realistic digital oil paint “yet”.

Realistic Paint Studio

This new painting software called Realistic Paint Studio was released this year from the creators of PaintStorm studio. I’ve heard it is good for traditional artists who want to try digital art as its UI imitates real art tools. It also works on tablets.

Clip Studio Paint

Clip Studio Paint’s newest release supports the importation of Photoshop brushes (really well!).

Thanks for reading.

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