I decided to write a blog post to silence the rare but existing gossips saying I'm using 100% open-source workflow because I'm ... ... a poor artist (¬_¬)
It's wrong: I use open-source since 2009 as a personal choice. Let me tell you, how and why it did happen. (and sorry in advance for my english)
photo : I'm moving soon, and while I'm cleaning, I found in the bottom of my bookshelves my old software licenses. Probably more than 3000€ of software here. I took a quick photo on the ground to keep a souvenir.
Back in the day...
Before using open-source, I was strict on buying every licenses I needed for my freelance activities. I started with the Photoshop Element 2.0 boxed with my first Graphire Wacom tablet, but also Gimp 2.2, Artrage Free edition and Artweaver. I did a lot of artworks like that and was happy. I didn't wanted to install hacked/pirated full version, even if a whole part of internet is encouraging into this practice...
With the years, and commissions, I had to buy Photoshop CS2 for my publishers as a requirement to send CMYK illustrations. 799€ for a feature, that was hard, but at this time, no alternative or open-source software could do it (nowaday, there is 2 tools available: 'CMYKtools', 'Krita' ).
Then with the years, I purchased other Softwares; as Corel Painter, or Manga Studio, and won also many other ( not on the photo ) into contests.
Then happened the bad experience... I bought a new computer, delivered with the shiny new Windows Vista operating system, and discovered I couldn't reinstall Xp on it; the motherboard didn't had a driver made for it. I had to do a lot of horrible hack to make all my software running on it, but it wasn't stable as it was on Xp anymore. I had to reboot almost twice a day (╯︵╰,) .
So, I decided to sell this Vista computer, and bought back one of the last machine existing in shop delivered with XP to run smoothly my software.
Oh; a solution existed to make all the software running bug-free on Vista; update pack. It was expensive, and also not bringing any new relevant features other than just being Vista compatible.
So, I thought all of this circus couldn't work on long term, and wasn't happy. On the new computer, the Linux compatibility was near perfection and it was a luck back in 2008 for my early Linux dual boot test. So, I had a successful dual boot with Linux Mint and could pull my hair learning the hard way: compiling Wacom driver, modifying Xorg, doing Xsetwacom script (all a joy you don't have to normally do now on Nowaday Linux distribution). Yes, at this time, having a Wacom was really hard to manage, and I had a small Cintiq 12Wx...
Then came the Sintel open-movie project and my involvement in it as an art-director. Doing pre-productions artworks with open-source wasn't forced by the Blender Foundation (even if warmly encouraged, of course). But again, I made the personal choice to persevere with what existed about 2D. I started to test everything to find a workflow using Mypaint and Gimp-painter ; later documented into my first DVD Chaos&Evolution.
So, I switched my machine to a full open-source system around 2009, and decided to keep it at the end of the project when came back home with this thinking, "open-source could work on the long term". But let be honest: my change to open-source made a regression on my workflow about many topic ( features, performances, easiness ) and I kept Photoshop Cs2 running on Wine for a long period to deal with CMYK and files from publisher.
Time passed, as well as hundreds of bug reports, meetings, thousands of commits done by dedicated and passionate developers from all around the world. Mypaint, Krita, Gimp, G'mic and Linux system way to handle Wacom tablets changed a lot and are nowadays way easier, performant and featured than back 2008. And most of all : I really like the independence I get about it : I can install it on laptops, every machine, upgrade, downgrade, fine tuning it. This independence is gold. The con ; I'm now dependent of hardware 'linux' compatible. Witch is not easy to find, and not well documented...
Am I happy about this personal choice ? Yes :-) and I can without any remorse put my old software license in a box for long term storage, just to show to my (hypothetic and not yet existing) grant-children what were... the proprietary 2D software I started with. And you, why are you using mostly open-source ?