Inkscape – A Vector Graphics Editor
Being able to create detailed graphics, on a budget, on your computer is not always easy; whilst many graphics programs are available and many are easy to use, they can often lack functionality or other essential capabilities.
Some designers need to be able to create as freely on their computer screen as they could with a piece of paper and a pencil and that is where Inkscape comes in. It provides you with countless tools within a simple to use interface. And because it is open source, it has the capability to be enhanced and developed further by expert designers. You can find it at http://www.inkscape.org.
Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor aiming “…to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community oriented development.” and is designed primarily for producing static 2-D graphics.
Inkscape is free to download. All you need to do is click on the link in the top right hand corner of the home page. There is also a download page with more information on it in the general section of the menu. This is on the left hand side of the home page.
This editor differs from many others in that it uses vector graphics to create images and it supports the popular SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format for object creation and manipulation. Vector images are not stored as pixels, and as such they can be far more accurate and precise especially when making images larger and smaller. Inkscape allows you to create numerous different graphics, maps, equations, logos and much more. Similar applications include Xara, CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator.
Some of the key benefits with Inkscape include:
- The ability to use it on numerous platforms, including Windows XP and Linux
- Stock patterns are included to provide greater usability and versatility
- Familiar tools from other bitmap editors are included, such as the paint bucket tool
- Icons and text can also be easily used, manipulated and edited to your desires
You can import graphics from Illustrator and CorelDraw though there are some caveats which are best understood by reading the FAQ documents exported an SVG file from Adobe Illustrator, edited it in Inkscape, and imported back to AI, but there my changes are lost! and Can I open/import *.cdr (Corel Draw Vector drawing file) files in Inkscape?. You can read more about other import/export options in the FAQ document What formats can Inkscape import/export?
The open source nature of Inkscape makes it more versatile than many other image editors and it is constantly being enhanced and improved. Many features have been added since its inception back in 2003. Currently platforms include Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.