Inkscape

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Editing a graphic in Inkscape.

Inkscape is a free open-source vector graphic editor for Linux, Macintosh, and Windows. It was first released in 2003, and has seen constant upgrades since then. Inkscape primarily uses the Internet standard vector graphic format, SVG, although it supports importing from and exporting to a wide variety of formats including WMF, EMF, PDF, PS, EPS, ODG, and many others. It also supports rendering to PNG bitmaps.

I began using Inkscape after I became aware of the SVG format (around the mid to late-2000s). Although I still prefer Corel Draw to create and edit vector graphics, I frequently use Inkscape for various tasks like PNG rendering, Illustrator importing, and SVG compatibility since it is better at those tasks than Corel Draw.

Review

Good

  • The software implements the SVG format exceptionally well, better even than most expensive graphic editors like Illustrator and Corel Draw.
  • The program has a huge amount of built-in features and uses a plug-in system for ever-growing support.
  • Inkscape imports a huge variety of other vector formats including Illustrator, Corel, PDF, and various standards.
  • The bitmaps conversion to vector is comparable to professional converters.

Bad

  • The preview graphic is slow to update when changed. Rather than smoothly animate changes, they're displayed in clunky block updates with lots of tearing.
  • The UI doesn't remember its screen position and window state properly. It is especially bad when using a desktop with multiple monitors, as window always jumps to the upper left corner of the left-most monitor, and then jumps back after using certain features.
  • Even on a supped up computer, the program is slow to open.
  • The scroll wheel zoom has an annoying behavior which makes it difficult to remain centered on the objects in the image.

Ugly

  • The interface is awful. I have tried, multiple times, to switch over to the program as my default vector editor in order to stop paying for expensive graphic editors, but each time I'm thwarted by the terrible UI. My main gripe is how cluttered it is by default. At any given time, there are over 100 visible controls, a large portion of which are not helpful for what you're working on and could easily be hidden under a fold. Also, areas that you would want larger (like the list of layers) are too small and not easily made larger. Even some of the more simple procedures require a convoluted process to accomplish. I'm sure if I spent more time using it, I would discover simpler ways to do things and become acclimated to the UI, but I have little reason to do so.

Links

Link-Wikipedia.png  Link-Official.png