Japanese publishing company Inforest has published an interesting yearbook that introduces 59 known and less known Japanese digital illustrators for the year 2010 who create art in manga/anime style. In the last few pages there is a short questionnaire where they asked professional artists which graphic programs they use, what operating system they have and which graphic tablets they use for painting.
What graphic programs do you mostly use to make artwork?
1. Adobe Photoshop (50 votes)
2. SAI (36 votes)
3. Corel Painter (7 votes)
4. Adobe Illustrator (5 votes)
5. ComicStudio (2 votes)
Do you use PC with Windows or a Mac?
1. Windows (54 votes)
2. Mac (4 votes)
3. Windows and Mac (1 vote)
Which graphic tablet do you use for painting?
1. Wacom Intuos (34 votes)
2. Other tablets by Wacom (24 votes)
3. Don’t use a tablet (1 vote)
Almost half of those who use Photoshop also use another graphic program in combination.
Among most common programs is SAI (PaintTool SAI) which is less known outside of Japanese market but is a very powerful tool, developed by Systemax (they offer a free 30-day trial version, the full version costs only 5250 yen or about $58). Don’t let their archaic web site fool you! A lot of artists swear that SAI from the illustrator’s point of view in many aspects beats Photoshop because it was made specifically for illustrating. They also say it’s very intuitive and lets them achieve desired results quicker. SAI has become so popular in Japan that there are even monthly magazines and books devoted to this program.
Here you can watch PaintTool SAI in action:
And here is yet another demonstration of PaintTool SAI from sketch to finished artwork.