15 Best Paint Tool SAI Alternatives 2024

Paint Tool SAI is a lightweight, digital painting software that is very popular among artists due to its simplicity and the vast range of tools. It’s the perfect software for beginners to practice digital art and create concept art.

SAI can be used for both sketching and painting. However, there is a need for alternatives, and here’s why;

Paint Tool SAI cannot save files as JPEGs or PNGs, it doesn’t support animation, and there is no layer blend mode option.

Additionally, in SAI you can only add up to three layers at a time and it only lets you pick between a few different color options.

In any case, if you want more advanced features for your work, here are some of the best Paint Tool SAI alternatives you can use today.

Best Paint Tool SAI Alternatives

1. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems. It is the current market leader for commercial bitmap and image manipulation software and is the flagship product of Adobe Systems.

It has been described as “an industry standard for graphics professionals” and was one of the early “killer applications” on the Macintosh, later also for Microsoft Windows.

It has become the de facto industry standard in raster graphics editing, such that the word “photoshop” has become a verb as in “to Photoshop an image,” “photoshopping,” and “photoshopped.”

Images can be edited and composed in multiple layers. Alpha compositing, masks, and several color models, including RGB, CIELAB, spot color, CMYK, and duotone, are supported.

Photoshop has Image Correction features such as retouching tools to remove dust, scratches, or other defects (such as red-eye) from a photographic image.

It also contains an automatic correction feature that enables color correction of an image and gradient mapping tools.

SAI is free, but it’s not as powerful as Photoshop. It has a lot of limitations that Photoshop doesn’t have. For example, in Photoshop, you can edit text and images together in one window.

You have to open up two windows in SAI — one for text and one for graphics — and learn to use both simultaneously. It’s doable, but it takes time to learn how to use both programs.

If you’re just starting with graphics editing software, we would suggest downloading Adobe Photoshop instead of SAI because it has a much more user-friendly interface (for beginners).

Adobe Photoshop goes for $20.99 per month.

Explore the best open-source Photoshop alternatives here.

2. FireAlpaca

FireAlpaca is a great alternative to Paint Tool SAI because it’s free and easy to use, but also has many of the same features that make SAI popular in the first place. It was created as a drawing and painting tool for professional artists, so it has all the features pro illustrators need.

FireAlpaca is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems and it’s available in 10 different languages.

One of those features is FireAlpaca’s basic paint tools, which are just as powerful as those found in other software like Photoshop or Paint Tool SAI. The program includes brushes that can be used to draw or paint, as well as erasers and a pencil tool.

Unlike Paint Tool SAI, FireAlpaca comes with a full set of text editing tools that allow users to create text on their drawings. The program offers more than 40 different fonts, including some of the most popular ones like Helvetica, Arial, and Times New Roman.

The program also offers users the ability to upload their finished works onto social media sites like Facebook and Twitter so they can share with friends or post their work online for others to see.

3. MediBang

MediBang is a cloud-based app that allows you to edit digital artwork on any device. It is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices.

MediBang is also available online so you can edit your work without having to install anything.

It has an intuitive interface that makes it easy for beginners to learn the basics of digital art creation. In addition, MediBang offers many tutorials to get started.

While the application is simple to use, it offers advanced features such as various types of brushes (from watercolor to acrylic), rulers (such as perspective or perfect symmetry), and even special effects that can be used on images (from impressionist to tilt-shift).

MediBang also has many useful features like layers and blend modes that make editing photographs simple. Other tools include pencils, markers, and erasers that make it possible to create beautiful illustrations with just one click.

MediBang has a built-in comic creation tool where you can create an organized page layout with panels and gutters added automatically as well as lettering tools! This feature alone makes MediBang Paint a strong contender as one of the best Paint Tool SAI alternatives.

MediBang prices range from 2,480 JPY to 7,980 JPY per year depending on the cloud storage capacity.

Visit here for updated pricing.

4. Autodesk SketchBook

Autodesk SketchBook is a professional-grade painting app that is easy for every artist. Autodesk SketchBook has a fantastic set of tools to create digital art from scratch.

The app has a simple interface and is easy to use, even for beginners. You can start creating immediately without having to learn complex software or hardware.

It’s free! Autodesk SketchBook is available on Android, iOS, Windows 10, and macOS. Anyone with an internet connection can download it and start creating right away. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or if your device doesn’t have the latest version of Adobe Photoshop installed.

Autodesk SketchBook has many brushes that are unique and easy to use. One such brush is the “Synthetic Pressure” brush, which allows you to control how much pressure you want while drawing on your canvas. This allows your lines to be smoother and more natural-looking.

Contact support for pricing details since the information is not available on their website at the moment.

5. Clip Studio Paint

Clip Studio Paint (formerly Manga Studio) is a full-featured digital painting program ideal for rendering and inking with its many valuable and unique features. It’s easy to learn and has many tools and custom brushes that allow you to paint and render any type of illustrations you want.

Clip Studio Paint works with both Mac and Windows computers, unlike SAI which is only available for Windows operating systems.

It supports the Wacom Cintiq line of tablets, professional-grade drawing tablets with an integrated LCD screen that acts as a second monitor, allowing artists to draw directly onto the screen.

The software supports vector layers too, meaning you can resize images without losing quality, create multi-page documents, and create storyboards by adding panels or pages. You can also import 3D models into your artwork as reference objects.

The Pro version will cost you $49.99 while the EX version goes for $219.

Visit here for updated pricing.

6. Corel Painter

Corel Painter is a digital art software that has been created for professional artists. It contains many styles of brush and tools that allow you to create realistic paintings without needing an actual canvas. It’s a fantastic tool for those who like to paint but don’t have the time to do so.

There are over 700 brushes; from oils and watercolors to pastels and charcoals, there’s something for everyone. You also have the option to create your custom brushes that will work with all of your favorite media types.

The interface is user-friendly and easy to understand, even if you’re new at digital art. Painters can import photos or drawings into vector files, allowing you to transform them into paintings. This means that you can use any image to reference when creating your work of art!

Corel Painter is great if you want something more than just painting software but don’t want all the bells and whistles of Photoshop or Illustrator.

Corel Painter has all the features in SAI, plus more. But more importantly, the brush engine in Painter can create brushes that act just like traditional media (for example, oils or watercolors) without manually adjusting the settings each time you want to paint.

You can opt for Corel Painter Full price of $499 or the 1-year subscription of $199.

7. Canva

Canva is a graphic design platform used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents, and other visual content. The app already has a collection of templates that are customizable.

Canva’s drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts allow you to create stunning designs in minutes! You can also upload your logos and photos.

Canva is available on the web and on iOS, Android, and Windows mobile apps. Canva’s wide selection of options helps create beautiful designs that are sure to impress!

The license doesn’t cover multiple computers, so if you want to use the program on more than one computer, you need to purchase another license. This can be inconvenient when you’re traveling or using your friend’s computer and want to access your artwork files.

Paint Tool SAI only allows you to save your file in a .psd or .sai file format, unlike Canva. There are pre-designed templates for most social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), so you no longer have to worry about sizing your images. You can also create custom sizes for your designs.

Prices vary depending on the package you choose. There’s a free package, a Pro package at $119.99(billed annually), and $30.00 per month for the Enterprise package.

8. MyPaint

Digital painters can use MyPaint to create fast and easy graphics. It is a free, open source software available for Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.

MyPaint comes with a range of brushes for emulating real media. Its configurable brush engine allows you to experiment with your brushes and paint.

Unlike Paint Tool SAI, you can save an unlimited amount of images as they’re automatically saved in its native file format. Brushstrokes are immediately displayed on the screen at full resolution thanks to OpenGL acceleration, no wait times!

Paint on multiple layers that you can reorder, merge, or paint over. Your computer’s memory only limits the number of layers. You can lock alpha channels, too! The interface can be hidden to keep it from distracting you from your work.

MyPaint also allows you to lock parameters like size and opacity through modifiers (Shift, Ctrl), ensuring that the parameters don’t change when selecting new brushes or switching between foreground and background.

The main feature that stands out in MyPaint is its highly customizable brushes. You can make thousands upon thousands of different brushes from scratch or download brushes made by other people on the internet.

9. Krita

Krita is a free and open-source digital painting software. It allows you to create digital art in a traditional sense, meaning it is not photo-manipulation or editing software such as Photoshop. This program’s primary function is to create works of art from scratch with various brushes and drawing tools.

The concept behind Krita is very simple. The user can use their mouse or tablet stylus to draw on a blank canvas by choosing different brush types and changing the brush size, opacity, and other settings.

The user can also choose their color palette on the right side of the screen and import images or reference photos for use in their composition.

Krita has many features that make it superior to Paint Tool SAI, such as its brush engine; Krita’s brush engine allows for more complex brushes than Paint Tool SAI’s engine.

This means that you can have brushes that change shape over time or have different properties depending on how long the user is using them.

Additionally, Krita allows users to manipulate layers just like Photoshop, making blending colors much more accessible.

Explore the best alternatives to Krita here.

10. GIMP

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It’s a raster graphics editor that is free and open source, meaning any developer can contribute to its design since a community of programmers runs it.

The program is constantly being improved, with new features and bug fixes released every few months.

It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an image format converter, as well as a mass production image renderer, etc.

GIMP is more flexible compared to Paint Tool SAI and has tons of features that make it highly versatile.

You can use it to retouch images, create animations or complex digital artwork, design web pages, or anything else you can think of since there are many plugins available for this software program.

Check out the best GIMP alternatives in this post.

11. Procreate

Procreate is an excellent app that has been around for years. Procreate, available on the App Store, makes it easy to create beautiful digital paintings. It’s based on the same technology as Photoshop, and it has many tools for painting and drawing.

The app is just a clone of Photoshop, but with the addition of some extra tools to make things more fun. For example, you can draw shapes and textures, add text, and more.

Procreate is an excellent tool for creating professional-looking digital artwork. It has many features that make painting and sketching easier than ever before. You can even use it to create 3D models!

It is an excellent alternative to Paint Tool SAI because it has more features, better suited for people who are just starting digital art. Procreate also works better on tablets than Paint Tool SAI does because Procreate was explicitly designed for tablets.

For example, there are no buttons for undoing something you did wrong in SAI, but Procreate has an “Undo” button which makes it easy to go back in time where you made a mistake.

The user interface consists of a series of layers that can each be modified separately using an extensive array of drawing and painting tools. Each layer can be assigned to one of four blending modes (standard, multiply, screen, overlay), as well as have its opacity adjusted.

Each layer is created at 100% opacity and Normal blending mode by default. Layers can also be placed in groups, and their visibility toggled off or on. Other features include applying filters and adjustments to individual layers or groups of layers.

Procreate costs $9.99 (one-time purchase).

12. Adobe Creative Cloud Express

Adobe Creative Cloud Express (formerly Adobe Spark) is a powerful, easy-to-use software that allows anyone to create beautiful graphics, web pages, and videos in minutes.

It gives you access to thousands of free templates and images from Getty Images so that you can create stunning visuals for your website, blog, or social media posts.

With a simple drag and drop interface, Adobe Creative makes it easy to add text and images to your projects.

The platform comes with several themes, layouts, and fonts. You can add your photos, videos, text, and other elements to create unique visual content.

It also comes with Adobe Sensei AI technology that enables you to automatically crop your photos or add elements like text boxes, color palettes, etc.

Adobe Creative Cloud Express is available for desktop, iOS, and Android devices.

Adobe Creative Cloud Express is free.

13. Blender

Blender is an open-source 3D software developed by Blender Foundation. It’s free and easy-to-use software that you can download from their website, blender.org.

Blender has many features that make it easy for beginners to start, such as its Dynamic Topology, symmetry tools, and sculpting tools. In addition, it is compatible with other programs like Photoshop and GIMP, which allows you to easily transfer files without having to convert them.

Blender also has many ways of exporting your work into other formats, such as PNGs or JPGs so you can easily share them with friends on social media or upload them online.

The main feature that makes Blender stand out from Paint Tool SAI is its ability to create animations (or “rigs”) in real-time using keyframes and a timeline editor.

This means you don’t have to wait around for hours for something to render before seeing how well it came out.

Also Read: Zbrush vs Blender

14. Corel PaintShop Pro

Corel PaintShop Pro is a full-featured photo editing software that offers a complete set of features for both enthusiasts and professionals.

It provides everything you need to create stunning pictures, including filters for photos and videos, presets, effects, and other tools for professional photo editing.

You can also use this application to create animated GIFs, banners, buttons, and web page design elements.

One of the main reasons to choose Corel PaintShop Pro over Paint Tool SAI is its ease of use. It has all the same brushes, tools, and editing options as other programs, but it also has a cleaner and more intuitive interface than similar programs like Photoshop or GIMP.

Another reason is that it has a “learn as you go” feature. If you hover over different buttons on the toolbar, it will tell you what each tool does and how to use it. This makes it ideal for people who are new to digital art and don’t know much about different tools and techniques.

Corel PaintShop Pro costs $79.99 at this time of writing.

15. ArtRage

ArtRage, which is available for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices, is a feature-rich painting app that enables you to create amazing digital art.

ArtRage has all the tools of a typical desktop painting app like Photoshop or Corel Painter; it has an array of brushes, pencils, and markers that can be customized to suit your needs.

It lets you paint and draw with natural media such as pencils, pens, oil paints, and watercolors. The interface is super simple to use and easy to learn.

You can also customize your workspace to fit your own needs, so there is no need to uninstall ArtRage to try something new.

ArtRage also has a lot more features than SAI does. For instance, it has multiple options for canvas texture — you can make your canvas look like marble or wood or any other number of things. There’s also an option where you can wet your brush before painting with it, which is really cool!

You can export your images as layered PSDs, which comes in handy if you want to edit them later in Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. Overall, ArtRage is just a better program than SAI with more options and a cheaper price tag.

Unlike other paint programs that use complicated tricks to simulate real-life art tools, ArtRage gives you real-world art tools on a digital canvas. The interface is simple, with no hidden toolbars or cryptic menu symbols. Just launch the app and start painting!

With its full range of traditional art materials, ArtRage is perfect for both beginners and professional artists. Try out oils to paint thick textures, watercolors for delicate blends, or sketch with pencils and experiment with paper grain settings.

ArtRage includes special effects like Palette Knives, Gloop Pens, and Stickers, so fire up your imagination to create unique digital paintings.

Prices range from $2.99 for Android devices and $40.00 for Windows and Mac devices.

Bottom Line

Both Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk SketchBook do what they do very well, and they give you much more customization and flexibility over your artwork.

Just keep in mind that Adobe Photoshop tends to be geared towards professional artists, while SketchBook is suitable for amateurs and hobbyists.

Whether it’s vector graphics or image manipulation, there’s no better time than now to get started with Adobe Photoshop or Autodesk SketchBook.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.