This is a wonderful free app similar to Illustrator and Freehand. While unable to use my Windows software on my Mac, this made a great alternative!
An under-promoted open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator, lacking some of the power tools, but being open source, it's entirely free. Perfect for learning how to use vector graphics, and easily capable of producing professional work if you are, so don't overlook it just because you don't have to spend $400 on it.
All the basics are here, including bezier curve drawing, manipulating shapes and colors, freehand line drawing and painting and all the basic vector graphic tools. If you've done even the smallest amount of drawing with a vector art application, or even just toyed with the pen tool in Photoshop or similar bitmap art and photo apps, there's not much of a learning curve here and you can pretty much dive in and play with it straight away. So don't be put off by the masses of menus and buttons, start drawing basic shapes and just mess around for a while until you're hooked enough on the vector graphic style to want to learn more.
It's a constant amazement to see what spare-time coders and designers give away for free, and a privilege to be able to use apps like this without having to install bloatware and be charged over the top for it. Thanks, guys.
BTW this is a format which is now read natively by all the major web browsers except (of course) Internet Explorer, but there's a plug-in for that now, too. And it's not hard to convert vector graphics into bitmaps, though after that, they become just as inflexible as bitmap files too.
If you're curious about vector graphics, this is probably not the place for a long explanation but the short one goes like this: bitmap graphics such as JPG and BMP files are made up of numbers that represent a pattern of dots, or pixels. The size of this pattern is fixed, with a set number of dots, or pixels, occupying a set space and relationship to the rest. Blow it up, and the quality gets far worse, because the dots get bigger too. Shrink it down enough, and the fine details get lost. Blow it up again after shrinking it down, and it looks like a Lego toy, because once you've lost detail, you can't get it back.
A vector graphic, though, isn't graphical at all - it's mathematical, and it's not even in color. In fact, it's not even an image, it's a text file, written in a code called XML, which describes the relationships of all the objects in the design to each other.
When you draw your vector art on the computer screen, what's stored is the math behind the drawing, not the drawing itself. Everything needed to reproduce the design is there, but at no specific size. Think of it not as a photo or a painting, but as a set of instructions.
The design can be any size, as big or as small as you like, and the quality stays the same regardless. As you scale it up, the computer does the math and draws everything bigger, but not fuzzier, because there are no dots. Just math, telling the computer application how the bits all relate to each other. Darn clever stuff.
You've probably seen vector graphics without even realizing it: Adobe Flash, the most common way to show animations in a web browser, uses them. If you've played Flash games on a website, you've seen vector graphics in action, and you might have already discovered that you can make downloaded Flash games bigger.
Hopefully that's tempted you to download this application and play with it. The price is right, and it's fun. There's also a lot of help and a thriving community online, if you get hooked and want to know more.
An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.
Great application, I'm learning to use it!
Good source to learn more is - http://tavmjong.free.fr/INKSCAPE/MANUAL/html/
I even ended up ordering the book from Amazon, and have been going through it as a reference book at work. Useful.
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