Our recent “Blank Canvas” post asked the question: “Adobe Or Not?“. As a followup, here’s a quick web roundup of some alternative vector graphics software applications for Mac OS X. These applications vary in price from free to about $100, and each offer some nice features that may fill a gap in the feature set of your current vector graphics software.
If you’re using any of these apps, please sound off in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what you think of these, which features others should be aware of, and how you’re using the unique tools in your workflow.
Eazy Draw ($95): vector-based graphics editing for creating simple, non-photographic drawings, technical diagrams, and illustrations such as logos, icons, buttons, and stylized art.
Support for Classic Mac drawing formats including full import of ClarisDraw, MacDrawPro, and MacDrawII files.
VectorDesigner ($69.95) features a wide range of tools and smart shapes: easily create rectangles, ovals, polygons, stars, bezier curves – even convert bitmap images to vector-based drawings thanks to VectorDesigner’s automatic raster to vector conversion!
VectorDesigner even provides advanced tools for performing geometric operations, to achieve total control over your drawings (union, subtraction, intersection and exclusive-or operations)
Achieve unique effects by applying filters and Quartz compositions to your shapes and images non-destructively.
LineForm ($79.95) is the ideal tool for vector based diagrams and illustrations. Powerful features combine with a simple interface to create an intuitive artistic process:
- Launches in under a second
- Bezier editing tools
- Boolean operations
- Expert typesetting
- Artistic strokes
- SVG for full document import/export
- Core Image support for real-time, nondestructive filters and effects
Cenon (free): Besides the general design abilities of Cenon, the following list of features stick out in the field of desktop publishing:
- Color shading (gradual, radial, axial)
- Exposing of images
- Thumbnails of images
- Generous text functions
- Vectorization of images
- Color Separation
Images can be read in the formats JPG, GIF, TIFF etc. For image procession, Cenon offers a simple and suitable function to expose images. Memory hungry images can be replaced with thumbnail images during work. This makes working a breeze even with fat images.
Text, Lines, Poly-Lines, Arcs, Rectangle, Vezier Curves and complex paths are the basic elements for graphical work. All graphic objects can be created and handled fast and intuitively. A clean layer management, grouping function, and Undo/Redo allows for fluent working in a professional environment. The graphic elements can be rotated, scaled and aligned.
Cenon also offers some special functions to punch, build contours etc. What was created for the output on CNC machines serves very well in design and publishing applications, too.
There are three different kinds of color shading implemented in Cenon. Linear in all direction, concentric and axial.
DrawIt (about $43): DrawIt is a vector editing application with support for bitmap-like image filters. Vector editing as well as the filters are completely non-destructive which means that a vector layer can still be edited even after a stack of filters has been applied.
DrawIt includes ready-to-use shapes such as rectangles, ovals and stars. Boolean operations on these shapes can create even more more complex ones.
Built on top of the vector tools is support for 50+ CoreImage filters and other effects like (inner) shadow, stroke, bevel and many more. These filters are applied in a non-destructive way which means that you can change both the effects and the underlying vector even after you added the effects because the result is never rasterized. Filters can be stacked and this too is all non-destructive and live.
Inkscape (free): 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.
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.
DrawBerry (free): with layers, powerful tools, inspectors and workspace, DrawBerry is a complete and easy-to-use drawing solution featuring CoreImage filters. Some great exclusive features, like the magnifying glass or the undo history, will help you to draw more and more accurately.
Sketsa SVG Editor (free) is a cross platform vector drawing application based on SVG. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a graphics format and technology based on XML developed by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).