Thankfully, there are alternatives available for designers on a budget, and some of the best are available free. Unlike raster graphics, vector graphics use mathematical expressions to draw the lines, shapes and colours. Vector graphics are the best choice for a number of design and illustration tasks, such as creating icons, logos, diagrams, charts, posters and website graphics. Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard tool for vector graphics, but it's undeniably expensive.
8 Impressive Vector Drawing Applications on the Mac App Store
Programs like CorelDRAW, Sketch or Affinity Designer are popular alternatives, but if your needs are relatively simple, then you can save even more money by trying out alternatives to Illustrator that are totally free — and there are some brilliant options to choose from. Example vector files designed by Freepik. Open source vector graphics package Inkscape is staggeringly powerful, and is the best free alternative to Adobe Illustrator for pro and semi-pro illustrators, graphic designers and web designers.
As well as the standard drawing and shape tools, Inkscape boasts a special spirals tool, a tool to create patterns and arrangements of clones, advanced object manipulation options, multiple filters including bevels, textures, overlays and more , and some nifty fill settings. And new features are being added all the time; the latest version brings mesh gradients, improved SVG2 and CSS3 support and new path effects to the party. The best thing to do is just download it and give it a quick try; there's nothing to lose.
If you're looking to quickly output SVG or edit an existing SVG file, there are a few online editors that will do the job just as well as Adobe Illustrator. SVG scalable vector graphics is an open format that allows you to reproduce your Vector drawings programmatically, and one of the nicest projects is SVG-Edit. So not only can you use it to create and edit documents, but as it's open source you can also download and modify the code — making your own version if you want.
The standard — albeit basic — toolset of every vector-image editor is here, and although it's limited to the SVG format, it's surprisingly capable.
As with many of the free options available, Inkscape focuses on the SVG format as its primary file format. This highly capable editor has a very good SVG integration, supporting many of the more advanced features that aren't always available in other apps — such as alpha blending, cloned objects and markers. Full support for different colour modes means this is a viable alternative to Illustrator for both print and web design, and although the interface is somewhat simpler than Illustrator, it's still possible to achieve extremely sophisticated artwork.
Of particular note is the ability to trace bitmap images, support for variable width strokes and native import of Illustrator files. It seems harsh to place Canva under the 'Image Editing Software' heading because it does so much more.
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Canva is a photo editor, colour palette tool, font combination picker, learning resource, and photo collage maker , and it even features a dedicated infographic maker with hundreds of free design elements and fonts at your fingertips. It's really more of a full graphic design suite than a photo editor, and while it comes some way short of offering the breadth of abilities of Adobe Creative Cloud, its simplicity, variety of useful tools, and inspirational learning assets make Canva a hit.
You can use Canva in the browser for the full experience, but most tools are available for both Android and iOS.
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RawTherapee enables users to correct distortion, boost colours, recover details and much more, meaning users can make tweaks to their photos until they're looking exactly how they want. This free, open-source software also speeds up your workflow by allowing you to batch process images. You can also send images to other software, such as GIMP, if you wish to. Built with image enhancement and editing in mind, it's perfect for typical photo editing tasks such as fixing contrast, lighting and saturation, but it'll also stretch to more advanced techniques. It boasts an extremely user-friendly interface as well as an in-depth help system to get you started, and if you want to expand its tools to fit your needs, there are plenty of expansions and plugins available.
Designed with the VFX industry and concept artists, illustrators, matte and texture artists in mind, Krita is a free and open source painting tool that's been in development since It comes with a full set of brushes suitable for all manner of work, and there's a whole host of plugins available, from advanced filters to painting assistants for perspective work. Notable features include brush stabilisers to smooth out any shaky lines, a wrap-around mode for creating seamless textures and patterns, and a pop-up palette for quick colour-picking.
Free Vector Graphics Software
Free graphic design software Pixlr claims to be 'the most popular online photo editor in the world'. It boasts more than effects, overlays and borders, and lets you do all the main things you'd expect from a photo editor, from cropping and resizing to removing red-eye and whitening teeth. If you're used to using Photoshop, then you'll find Pixlr's user interface easy to pick up, as it's very similar. This free app is available in both iOS and Android varieties.
For photo editing, free graphic design software Paint. NET is an excellent alternative to Photoshop. Don't let that put you off, though, as it's surprisingly capable, useful and free graphic design software. The focus is on ease of use, and there's a definite tendency towards photo editing rather than artistic creation.
8 Impressive Vector Drawing Applications on the Mac App Store — Medialoot
That said, there are a range of special effects available, allowing you to easily create fake perspective, blend and push pixels around the canvas, tile and repeat selections, and so on. NET is a great alternative to Photoshop for photo editing, especially if you can do without some of the more recent additions to Photoshop's toolset.
Sumo Paint is a highly capable browser-based image editor. All the standard features you'd expect from a desktop tool are present and correct and by buying the Pro version you can install a desktop version of the app if you prefer. That said, it's lightweight and quick to load, and the free version is very usable.
The standard range of tools and adjustments you'd expect are all included. Brushes, pencils, shapes, text, cloning, gradients and so on are all quickly accessed from the Photoshop-esque floating toolbar. It can also open saved documents from your hard drive, making Sumo Paint a perfectly viable option for editing and re-editing. Today it's available in versions for Linux, Windows and Mac. We can always use help from more people.
If you can write code, you may be able to involve in development ; if you can't, there are still lots of things we can use help with. For more information, take a look at our Contribute section. If you've ever come across issues in Inkscape and wondered about how to report them to developers who can fix them, we have you covered!
Read more Inkscape has launched version 0. This update delivers some notable performance improvements for extensions, filter rendering, saving and moving paths, and the measure tool. A test version for the upcoming Inkscape 1.
With thanks to: Inkscape Draw Freely.
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