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Top 12 Free Computer Programs for Creatives

Creative software for computers can be so expensive, which excludes lots of creative people from the market – just check out how much Adobe suites will set you back.

For those desperate to create music, manipulate images and edit video on their computers without a huge price tag, there are so many great free programs out there to help you achieve similar effects as the leading paid competitors.

Computer Programs for Creatives

Try out the recommended programs in this list after you’ve protected your computer. Before you download anything, ensure you have a high-security antivirus program running, and remember to do regular ransomware removal online after using new applications!

Video Editing

  • OpenShot – this is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and is free and easy to use for beginners. It has an extensive list of useful features including image and audio support, unlimited layers and tracks, and 3D animated effects.
  • Lightworks – this software comes recommended by a variety of top video editing sites. It’s a great choice for putting a professional quality finish to your videos, so is perfect for YouTubers, video projects and anyone wanting to learn editing. The pro version was used to edit the multiple Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech – learn from the best and download the free version today!
  • Hitfilm Express – Hitfilm is a powerful editor that requires some high specs from your system – if you have a budget computer, this one may not work for you (although the software itself is free!). It offers pro-level features for free, but has paid add-ons should you want them.
  • ClipChamp – this one doesn’t even require downloading – it’s an online tool perfect for those who already have hard drives packed with programs! It has more than enough features for simple movie-making tasks, and is quite powerful with good usability. There are premium versions for a small monthly fee, though the free version allows you to edit 5 videos per month at no cost.

Image Editing

  • Photo Pos Pro – this software is packed with professional photo-editing tools to enhance your images. It contains beginner and advanced modes for starting at the bottom and working your way up, and has a very user-friendly interface for novices.
  • PhotoScape – at basic level, PhotoScape contains a great selection of filters for your pictures, but also provides much more advanced options like photo merging and the ability to create your own animated GIFs. It also has surprising features you won’t find on normal photo editors – it allows you to print off free templates for lined paper, graph paper and sheet music!
  • GIMP – the most highly recommended and popularly used free photo editor out there. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s hailed for its very user-friendly interface and array of professional features. It works with the big three operating systems, and supports add-ons.
  • Fotor – this site bills itself as the ‘online Photoshop’, with all the features you need to adjust color, light, filters and more. There’s an easy retouching feature, perfect for those who want to look Instagram-ready in all their photos.

Music Production

  • Magix Music Maker – this is a simple program for beginners, but contains large numbers of sounds and loops, Soundpools, software instruments, effects and more. Once you’ve mastered that, there’s inexpensive paid options available from Magix which offer many more features. 
  • AmpliTube Custom Shop – compatible with Mac and Windows, this software looks stylish and works as a fully-functional professional guitar rig application. The free version comes equipped with 24 models, and is a great beginner’s app for recording guitars directly onto your computer.
  • Apple GarageBand – the latest version of GarageBand from Apple has come a long way from the one you used to play around with on school computers when you were 12. It’s a perfect clear path to help you learn the foundations of music production before moving onto professional software if you wish, though this is more than enough for making basic beats.
  • Hydrogen – this is a powerful drum machine sequencer with additional mixing abilities and layering tools, allowing you to create beats at no cost.

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