I have been using Microsoft paint but it doesn't have layers like Photoshop. I am a poor person so can't get photoshop, anything else I can use?

  • I was going to jokingly say paint... But you already did that :( Also if you are planning to buy photoshop, buy the creative cloud edition (from creativecloud.com ), costs like 10$ monthly, usually not a problem, even for students.
    – ave
    Mar 9, 2016 at 6:13
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    If you're used to Paint I would recommend Paint.Net which is easy-to-use and also free of charge Mar 9, 2016 at 7:49
  • Please check out the related question What's the best way to animate an illustration for the web? to see the types of animations you can create for the web and then find software to make those Mar 9, 2016 at 18:26
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    I'm voting to close this question as too broad because the software you should use is based on the type of comic/animation you want to create and the means by which you animate it. Neither of which you included, so the answers will be wide in range and highly opinionated Mar 9, 2016 at 18:30
  • This question should be migrated to Software Recommendations StackExchange site and adjusted accordingly (operating system, price limit, special needs etc.).
    – miroxlav
    Mar 9, 2016 at 22:43

9 Answers 9


If you are targeting free, possibly GIMP and Inkscape will do. Other free/open source wares like Synfig Studio, a 2D animation software and Blender, for 2and3D are worth a short. But since you are talking about working from MS Paint there may be a steep learning curve for you on the latter.

But if you really wish for serious animation, you have to put your money where your goal is and save for a software program. I use Smith Micro's Anime Studio Pro and recommend it for you if you wish to start serious animations.


Something to consider is traditional art tools. They are really cheap, and there are many high-quality ways to digitize your work later. You don’t have to create the art digitally to make digital art when we have really high-quality cameras and scanners today, which you can rent or borrow if on a tight budget, because you only need them when a whole notebook is done.

The organic textures you make can look really great when digitized also. For example if you do pastels on black pastel paper, that looks amazing when captured with a digital camera in good lighting conditions, because the texture of the pastels and paper provide a lot of color variation as the light hits them, and you don’t typically see that in digitally-created art. There are also animation-specific traditional art tools like onion skin notebooks.


I am going to concur with the, use traditional media eg. pen and paper. Sure its not software, but for drawing comics it is invaluable. You then move over and either ink in real life or ink digitally, and scan your work. If you do not have a scanner use a camera to capture the image but a scanner is super cheap these days.

But if you are after software for drawing I do suggest you look at:

  • Krita, is a free open source sketching and painting program. It was designed with your use case in mind. Not only is it responsive it also has a animation feature in the pipeline. The aniation is currently in beta. Krita is also available as tablet optimized.

  • Another cheap or free software would be Autodesk Sketchbook. Its also super responsive, especially useful if you have a wacom tablet.

If you look for vector drawing look for:

  • Inkscape
  • Synfig studio

GIMP is free and has a lot of features like photoshop:


I own photoshop and corel draw, and I still use GIMP for some features. I also keep GIMP on a thumb drive as a portable install, and I can use it wherever I plug in. Here's the portable install of GIMP that you can put on a thumb drive:



If you want a simple way to get you started with such animations look at Scratch. From the Scratch 2 beginners' guide "By the time we make our cat dance for the first time, we'll forget all about the academic research and theories behind Scratch. Instead, we'll focus on having fun and creating the next project."

  • Can you explain a bit more about Scratch? Do you use it? Are you affiliated with the company in any way? If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center. Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Luciano
    Mar 9, 2016 at 17:24

You have a wonderful Photoshop Alternative online called Pixlr.com. You also have a free animator at http://www.animaker.com/ Here is an article about free animation software you may also find helpful: https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/best-free-open-source-animation-software/

You will find that whether free or purchased, though, you will still need to know the basics of how animation works, and specifically how animation software works, with keyframes, and the different layers for audio and backgrounds, etc.


First I'd highly recommend to get a graphics tablet. Because drawing pictures with the mouse is like writing with your left hand IMHO. They also feature some buttons to let you access often used features like "Undo" or "Change Brush size" and the like.

Some time ago they all were expensive, but last year I discovered that quite a lot of them cost less than 100 euro/dollars.I bought one of them and I would buy it again.

Then you need software that is made for drawing. That offers a choice of useful brushes, layers and the like. Like the user joojaa, I like sketchbook a lot. It's not free, but not expensive and my personal favorite. Of course there is a lot of other software out there too.

I also find ArtRage interesting, but it is more like "oil painting".


One of the best cheap alternatives compared to Photoshop, is called Affinity. I did read about this software on Fstoppers.com 2 days ago. Mac users can allready use Affinity, Windows users can expect Affinity anytime soon.

Affinity Photo is professional image editing software that is very similar to Photoshop. However, it doesn’t cost as much and doesn’t require you to get a subscription. - Quentin Decaillet, on Fstoppers.com

You can check the article: here


If you want to work with layers get Paint.NET

If you want to create SVG vector graphics , which you can import into Adobe Illustrator get inkscape.

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