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Mon, Nov 12 2012 23:23:18 UTC

Top Windows 8 graphics software

Windows 8 is not only the latest release of Microsoft's operating system, but also brings in a brand new user interface, along with an app store providing new metro style apps. Already, thousands of apps are being added to this online marketplace, including graphics and design software. But what are some of the top apps out there for artists and content creators?

First, if you look around the listings in the Windows Store, you will see a lot of usual names. Even though Microsoft said only new apps will be listed in the store, the fact is that desktop software can be found there as well, such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, and so on. Basically, three types of apps can be seen: Desktop apps, free apps, and paid apps.

If we ignore the traditional products we know well and focus on new, Windows 8 metro apps, the selection becomes much smaller. The simple fact is that there isn't a whole lot of choice. The store doesn't even have a graphics or art section, with these apps being spread around the productivity, lifestyle and photo categories. Then, there's also a lot of fairly simple, uninteresting apps, like wallpaper daily and sexy celebrities.

There are however a couple of items of note. The first one is a name you may have seen before: Autodesk SketchBook Express. This is a port of their popular iOS and Android app, and it does seem like they produced a fairly well done app, allowing users to paint and draw on the screen. SketchBook works just as well with a mouse on a desktop, as with fingers on a Windows 8 tablet. All of the options are available in the lower left corner, and images can be shared online.

Another app worthy of mention is called Colors! It's also a drawing app, but features a lot less options. It's clearly meant for a younger audience, and would be a great starting tool for a young aspiring artist on a Windows 8 tablet. Finally, if you're into filters like what Instagram offers, you may want to check out PhotoFunia, an app allowing you to apply a series of filters to your images.

The bottom line however is that the selection of art or graphics apps in the Windows 8 store is nothing to write home about, at least not yet. Just like the iPad and Android tablets, it took some time before we started seeing some really interesting apps, like painting programs, VFX software or even 3D modelers. It's likely to be the same with Windows 8. Fortunately, unless you run on an ARM platform, you can always go back to the desktop and use all the desktop software you know and love.

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