Best Free, Deep Discounted tools for artists and designers 2020

Image: Getty

We've been breaking news about Adobe and Affinity deals in recent days, providing some respite for cash-strapped creatives looking for a bit of relief in their current day-to-day.

As more and more offers aimed at the international creativity community are piling on, we've compiled the best below for professionals and students covering areas such as virtual classes, creative software, networking tools, stock photography and creative student discounts.

Before diving in, check out our other guides to other best freebies already out there:

Free stuff for all creatives

Best Free and Discounted tools for professionals 2020

Apple

US and UK users can now take up 90 day free trials of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro X.

As our sister site TechAdvisor reports, Final Cut’s trial is therefore boosted from 30 days, while Logic has never had a free trial.

The Final Cut Pro deal is live, with Logic Pro X to try here.

Procreate

Fancy two full months of free access to Skillshare? A free limited edition Procreate brushset?

Then download the Procreate Care Pack now to enjoy these benefits. There'll also be daily art prompts.

Boris FX

Boris FX’s popular real-time GPU-based particle generator is now available as a free Particle Illusion Standalone application. The plugin version, which supports Adobe, Avid, and OFX hosts, remains part of the Boris FX Continuum package. 

Download here to use for your motion graphics, VFX, and editorial work.

CorelDRAW 

Corel is giving individual users and corporate accounts the flexibility they need to stay productive during this time with a number of new, limited-time initiatives in place from now until at least June 30, 2020. Customers with a license can now install their software again on a second at-home machine, so there's no need to purchase another license or subscription to support their new setup.

Corel’s also offering all CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2019 and 2020 users access to the new web-based collaboration features recently introduced in CorelDRAW.app, relieving much of the stress designers face in remaining connected to co-workers and clients when current events are keeping us all apart.

If you’re not already a CorelDRAW 2019 or 2020 customer and you’d like to access the new collaboration capabilities, they’re also available as part of the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2020 15-day free trial for either Mac or Windows. 

Find out more here.

iStock

The Getty subsidiary is offering 69 free images as a response to current turmoil; yes, 69, stop laughing at the back!

It's a nicely varied selection, with a few photos related to health and hygiene. There's no deadline yet for downloading these, either.

Download iStock's Campaign Support Board here.

Adobe and Affinity

CC users will find unlimited access to the Adobe XD collaboration tool, having premium sharing and collaboration features until October 2020.

This means you can share links with your team and invite to documents easily, with such features on the Starter plan previously having been set to expire in April.

Additionally, Adobe will continue to support both local and cloud documents on all plans going forward, even after October 2020, so that creatives can use XD remotely, online or offline.

Also, customers worldwide can get 60 days free of a paid individual Adobe Spark plan by signing up for a special one-time trial. Customers who are already subscribed to the Spark Single App plan will automatically receive 60 days of deferred billing. 

Spark allows users to create social graphics, web pages, and short videos. With a Spark Individual plan, customers have access to premium and personalised branded templates, the complete library of Adobe Fonts, collaboration tools, multiple brand support, and more.

Finally, iPad artists will like to know about the Photoshop on iPad and Fresco bundle announced recently.

Previously offered for £9.99/mo each through the App Store, both apps are now available together for only £9.99/mo (inc.VAT).

The offer is available to customers who buy Photoshop on iPad or upgrade to Adobe Fresco premium through the App Store, as well as to Creative Cloud customers who buy the Photoshop Single App or All Apps plan on Adobe.com. Early adopters who already have a Creative Cloud membership are eligible too.

Serif

iPad art kings Serif meanwhile are offering Affinity Photo, Designer & Publisher free for three months. This is an extension of their one month trial, and there's also a 50% discount for users who would rather buy and keep the apps on desktop or tablet.

Find out more in our Affinity news story.

Boris FX

If your company purchased floating licenses, Boris is offering free 60-day “at home” licenses to all qualifying customers. Read this FAQ for full details.


Discounted online courses

AnimDojo

AnimDojo is a training program for animators who wish to learn Autodesk Maya. Its premium membership is usually £15 per month but is now free until July 2020 to help those in lockdown.

Pearson

Pearson College London is launching a range of new mini courses, to be delivered live online to students, teachers, parents and the wider public, providing participants the opportunity to learn a new skill, free of charge.

The College has taken some of its popular modules and topics from Pearson Business School and Escape Studios and condensed them into mini online courses, which will be taught live online by its expert tutors. The courses commence in June and include:

Participants will have the opportunity to gain recognition for their newly acquired skills by purchasing a certificate at the end of the course.

To reserve a place, users are required to register their details on the dedicated course web page. Pearson Business School courses are available to view here, while courses for Escape Studios can be viewed on the E-hub here.


Remote collaboration tool deals

Needing to manage a remote design project? You can check out our new guide to doing that, whilst also choosing from these free and deep discount deals on remote collab software.

Loom has removed the recording limit on their free plan — what was 25 is now unlimited; cut the price of Loom Pro in half — what was $10/month is now $5/month, and extended all trials of Loom Pro from 14 to 30 days.

Sign up here.

Sigma has launched Workplace Express, a platform designed to help support internal communications while working remotely in order to help businesses continue to run during the global pandemic.

The package allows for a digital workplace hub where workers can collaborate and connect and access communication and digital tools as quick as possible. The package also allows for additional functionality to be added which meets the need of businesses to adapt to new ways of remote working, and select which tools are most suitable and secure for its individual type of work.

Note Sigma have decided to wave the licence fee for the first 3 months.

Taskade is offering a 6-month free upgrade to its Pro version to support businesses and individuals adopting remote work amidst the COVID-19 situation.

Taskade is a real-time workspace for remote teams to manage tasks, write notes, and video chat together, on the same page.


Best Free and Discounted student tools

Skillshare

UK and US students can get two months free on the Skillshare Premium Membership plan. Note you'll need an ac.uk, .edu or .k12 email address to take advantage of this offer.

Sign up here.

Wacom

Teachers, students, and visual thinkers working and collaborating from home can now enjoy the premium features of Bamboo Paper software for free.

From 1 May 2020 to 30 June 2020 users of Bamboo Paper can unlock all premium features as a free of charge in app purchase and keep them permanently. This so-called Pro Pack (or Creative Pack in iOS) includes 6 different pens and brushes, more colours as well as 4 premium notebooks with a total of 22 different paper styles. It is the most popular extension for Bamboo Paper and normally costs around 5 USD / EUR (prices vary slightly between platforms and currencies).

Notch

Notch, the real-time graphics and video effects tool, has launched a free training course to assist (would-be) creatives interested in developing their interactive motion graphic skills.

Notch Essentials: Online Edition is a condensed, video-based version of the popular in-person course of the same name. With over four hours of interactive workshops, where learners can follow along with a tutor, the e-learning programme allows users to examine and learn from provided Notch project files. Users will also have access to community streams where they can watch the Notch product specialist team share further tips and tricks as well as take part in Q&A sessions.

Those interested in the training course can sign-up here. Those who already have a subscription or user account can use their existing account and enrol in the course at same link.

Red Giant

Red Giant Complete - the full set of tools including Trapcode Suite, Magic Bullet Suite, Universe, VFX Suite and Shooter Suite - is now free for students or faculty members of a university, college, or high school.

Sign up here with school or organization ID or any proof of current employment or enrollment that can be used for verification.

Clip Studio Paint

Japan's Celsys is offering complimentary three-month Clip Studio Paint EX licenses for home use for companies and educational institutions using Clip Studio Paint volume licenses.

All companies and educational institutions with such volume license contracts will be contacted by Celsys shortly. New interested establishments can purchase here.

Greyscale Gorilla

When buying a student discount use the code “LEARN3D” during checkout and get $150 off your first year of Greyscalegorilla Plus.

Greyscalegorilla Plus includes over 677 videos to start learning about Cinema 4D, Redshift, Arnold, and X-Particles, with 1,200 HQ textures thrown in.

Buy here.

Udemy

Students can sign up now to get courses for as low as £11.99 each. First time users only.

Sign up to Udemy here.

G Suite for Education

Google has rolled out free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including: 

  • Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
  • Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain 
  • The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive

These features are typically available in the Enterprise edition of G Suite and in G Suite Enterprise for Education, and will be available at no additional cost to all customers until July 1, 2020. 

Related: The best free UX online development courses / Learn UX app Sketch: The best paid and free online courses

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