If we are professionals in the illustration sector, designer or web designer, we must need a program with which we can make all kinds of graphics, drawings and designs. In this case, programs such as Illustrator or Corel Draw, two of the most reputable packages in the sector, will surely ring a bell. Instead, today we are going to talk about a free alternative to make all kinds of vector graphics with functions similar to these two giants for free, such as Inkscape .
Editing vector images with Inkscape
Inkscape is a free and open source professional vector graphics editor with which we can create and manipulate all kinds of SVG files with which we can create logos, diagrams, as well as other more complex images, as well as edit XML files. It will also allow us to export and import formats such as AI, EPS, PDF and PNG. In addition, we can create all kinds of drawing tools to be compatible with XML, SVG and CSS standards.
Main features of Inkscape
- Object creation : with different drawing tools (pencil, pen …), shape tools (rectangles, stars, spirals …), text tools, embedded images and cloning to link copies of objects.
- Object manipulation : it allows to transform (move, rotate …), perform depth operations, object groupings, layers (lock, sort …) and alignment and distribution commands.
- Rendering : allows visualization with antialiasing, includes support for transparent PNGs, both for import and export, as well as interactive rendering during the transformation of objects.
- Fill and Border – Features color selection, eyedropper tool, gradient editor, pattern fill, dotted borders, markers on the path, as well as the ability to copy and paste styles.
- Tracing operations : it has a node editor, bitmap tracing, possibility to convert to tracing. It also has boolean operations, simplification of variable magnitude paths and expansion or contraction of paths, dynamically or linked.
- Text support : to be able to use simple text or paragraph, as well as any system font that is not bitmap. It allows the possibility of making kerning and line spacing adjustments, thus introducing text by stroke and text in form.
- Others : it allows the visualization and edition of the document’s source code in the XML editor, export to PNG, DXF, sk1, PDF, EPS and PostScript among others. It also has conversion and export options from the command line, as well as the possibility of creating and modifying files under the SVG format standard.
Starting with Inkscape
Once we have run Inkscape, the menu will appear with an interface on a white background. It has a large number of tabs and tools that, although we are a little familiar with this type of program, it should not be a great learning curve.
Along with the canvas where we will work we will have other elements, such as a set of rules at the top and on the left. We will also have toolbars both on the top and on the left and right of the canvas. At the bottom we also have a color palette , and at the top there will also be a menu bar and command bar.
With Inkscape we will have tools to create figures , such as Rectangle, 3D Box, Polygons / stars, Spiral, Text and Eclipses. These figures are editable and we can modify their color, geometry, border and transparency, as well as combine it with other figures. From these basic and easy to manipulate figures we will be able to create more complex designs, giving the image greater detail.
Another important part is the possibility of controlling the coordinates of any element, being able to superimpose and hide the different figures that we add. We also have the use of layers in order to have a precise use of the elements of our design. Thus, we can add degrees of transparency per layer, merge layers, lock and hide layers as appropriate.
Each of the functions that Inkscape incorporates has its corresponding keyboard shortcut , so that we can use more comfortably all those with which we work more regularly. For example, to duplicate selected objects we must press Ctrl + D, to group the selected objects Ctrl + G, etc.
How to download InkScape
InkScape is a free and open source free application that we can download from its website . The application is cross-platform so it is available for both Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It is translated into more than 90 languages and has support for 32 and 64 bit architecture. The installation file is about 63 MB and requires a total of 276 MB from our team for installation.
The installation is done quickly, and at no time do you try to install additional programs. The latest version available for Windows is 1.0 , which dates from May 1, 2020.
Alternatives to InkScape
InkScape is a great free tool for making vector graphics, but if you are not convinced we offer you some equally free alternatives.
It is a software with which we can carry out vector graphic design work, which stands out for having many design features, as well as fill tools, effects and borders. It is cross-platform and completely free, and can be downloaded from the developer’s website .
This tool offers all the basic features to be able to make our own vector graphic designs from the browser. Directed for the most expert users, it has different options and utilities such as editing nodes, turning a figure, changing fills between others. SVG-Edit is a free open source application that can be run in any browser.