Tools and software

Adobe Creative Suite

For 2021, NCSAD has a very good discount on the Adobe CC suite. Learn more here: Here’s the details of NSCAD discount on the Adobe CC Suite - it’s a very good deal, only $40/semester. 2021 Adobe NSCAD Student discount. (Brightspace link)


We will use the


Please sign up for a Slack account using the emailed link provided. Slack will be our main communication tool.


Make sure you can access Youtube videos.


Please download the Zoom app.

Text editors for HTML and CSS

Mac users can download BBEdit. Although it is labelled as a trial version, after 30 days it will work in a basic mode with all the features we need.


NotePad++ is a good, free Windows text editor.

Computational Art

Processing is a free download, for Mac OS, Windows or Linux.

Alternative tools

For this class, we will be using industry-standard tools, where-ever possible. However, there are alternatives that are cheaper or free, that you may want to investigate.

Low-cost commercial software

Affinity makes software similar to Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. They are far cheaper than Adobe's offerings and you pay a one-time licence fee, not a monthly subscription. However, don't expect all the features of the Adobe programs, and don't expect complete file compatibility with team members, clients or suppliers using Adobe software.

  1. Bitmap editing
  2. Affinity Photo has many of Photoshop's capabilities.

  3. Vector editing
  4. Affinity Designer is a modern alternative to Illustrator for basic work.

  5. Page layout
  6. Affinity Publisher is a reasonable substitute for InDesign.

Open source software

Open source software is free to share or modify. The source code - the computer code that is transformed into the program you use - is available to anyone with few restrictions, unlike closed-source commercial software.

In some disciplines, such as programming and web development, open source tools are the norm, or at least are on an equal footing with closed-source, commercial tools. In the graphics world, many open source tools are less refined that their closed source counterparts, but as they are free to use, are often practical alternatives to commercial software.

  1. Bitmap editing
  2. Vector editing
  3. Page layout