A carpenter can’t build a house without a hammer just like GTAist couldn’t be built without a handful of different tools. Creativity is a great start, but it can only get you so far. Quite often I’m asked which tools I use to design some of the work featured on this very website. Rather than answer individually, I composed this list to help aspiring members of the Grand Theft Auto community be able to bring their own creations to life. In addition to this list, I’ve included my thoughts on the products, why I recommend them and an affiliate link so you can buy the product if you’re so inclined. Affiliate links are links in which I get a small commission for referring you to the product. You are not required to buy the product through my link, but it is always very much appreciated regardless. If you have any questions regarding that, please review our terms & conditions page. Now for the tools.

Graphic Design and Content Design

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is a household name now in the graphic design world and because of its continuous use in the creative industry among professionals, it remains one of the most popular programs on the market. Photoshop features a great series of tools, like the clone-stamp tool as well as a series of plugins and brushes you can download to improve your work experience. I like Photoshop because of all the features it offers in addition to maintaining a smooth interface. It also helps that I’ve become very familiar with it over the years. I highly recommend adding Photoshop to your arsenal.

A word of caution though-

Having said all that, I think it’s important to mention that Adobe recently switched it’s software suite to be a subscription-based model. Rather than being able to buy the software outright, you no longer get to keep the software when your subscription is expired or is cancelled. Because of this, Adobe ruffled a lot of feathers, as you can see in the comments section and 1-star rating on Amazon. At $10 a month for Photoshop and Lightroom, I think the price is well worth it personally, so I currently maintain a subscription.

Wacom Intuos Tablet

Next to Photoshop, one of my most used tools is my entry-level Wacom Intuos tablet. (It’s how I did my now famous Grand Theft Auto V San Andreas fan map). For those that don’t know what a Wacom tablet is, it’s a tablet with a bunch of sensors inside that detect a separate pen with a specialized tip. Similar to drawing on paper, you draw on the pad with the pen and it is reflected [in realtime] in whatever photo-editing software you use. The beauty of this device is that it also responds to pressure, so depending on which brush you’re using, you can have lighter thinner stroke and make them gradually get bigger and thicker. I’ve attached a video below to show you how this works.

While it may feel a little awkward learning to use this thing at first (especially if you have poor hand/eye coordination), because of the quick learning curve, you can quickly get used to the different movements and pressures needed to make art. You can also assign different tools to the buttons on the pen. There are also many great tutorials online that teach you how to draw using this great tool.

The tablet comes in different sizes, but I’ve found that I personally prefer a larger surface area. The smaller tablet, although it’s more affordable, can become frustrating when you’re in the middle of a big artwork and you have to pause your rhythm to recenter the canvas. If you can afford the bigger one, that is the one I recommend. Otherwise, the small one is still fun to draw on.

Smaller Tablet: Bigger Tablet:

Website

X-Theme

I’ve always been a fan of the WordPress Content Management System because of the ability to customize settings quickly. Although I’m considered by peers as advanced in web design (I design all my own websites), the speed at which WordPress allows you to do stuff is my main selling point on sticking with it. Throw in the customization features and you’re solid. In comes my recommendation of X-Theme, by Themeco. X-theme is self-proclaimed as THE THEME OF 2015, but they actually have the abilities to back up that statement. WordPress used to be complex in general, but because of how user-friend and versatile this theme is, those days are over.

Customizing your website is easy, and while certain things many come off as complex at first, Themeco provides great support for those who are not technically inclined. Your website will not only look great, it will also function great.

Get your copy of X-Theme.

Remember…

If you have any questions, you can always contact GTAist.