FireAlpaca: First Impression

FireAlpaca is a free graphics program and it’s available for both Windows and Mac.  I first heard of FireAlpaca  a few weeks ago and I decided to go ahead and download it and try it out. I spent around an hour toying around with the features and stuff and I thought I’d share my first impression of this program with you.

When I started the program I got this pop-up advertising another graphics program. I thought it was a bit strange but it turns out that this is the way FA makes money. This doesn’t really bother me though because FA is free after all. I really liked how the interface was simple and easy to understand at first glance- but of course, I have a few other graphics programs so I pretty much know my way around.

My tablet wasn’t configured to work with FA though so I had to look for some hotkey options. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any so I had to settle with using my keyboard instead of my tablet buttons. I hope they plan to add this feature soon though.

Drawing in FA was good though. I got smooth lines and there is a stabilizer for those with shaky hands haha…  The pen tool produces nice, crisp lines — just the way I like them! I didn’t really try shading with FA though. There aren’t as many options for blending (not that I know of) but it’s decent.

Another feature I really liked was the snap tool. It’s awesome! It’s basically like a ruler haha… it makes your brush snap to certain lines and it’s good for perspective, speedlines and other things. I love it!

Overall, I did enjoy how lightweight the program is. I also liked the tools available even though there aren’t a lot of brushes and stuff. I usually get by with a few brushes when I draw in a cartoon style but I definitely would have trouble using FA for painting. The pen tool, paired up with the “correction” setting (I like to call this stabilizer) makes this program really good for inking. I It might sound strange but I feel like inking in this program is somewhere in between inking in Photoshop and inking in Paint Tool Sai. It’s just a feeling that I get. It’s not my preferred tool for inking though… I didn’t like how I couldn’t configure hotkeys so it would actually take me longer to ink something. I’ll be waiting for the day they implement this (either that or it’s already in the program and I couldn’t find it)!

If you are looking for a simple and lightweight program for digital art, I do suggest to take a look at FireAlpaca. It’s a free program so why not try it out? I will be keeping this program on my laptop if I need to make quick sketches because I really do like the snap tool. It’ll come in handy when I work with perspective.

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