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Author Topic: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives  (Read 12627 times)

tomos

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List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« on: June 12, 2007, 09:42:45 AM »
Inspired by Xara Xtreme and Xtreme Pro upgraded to 3.2 - Proceed with caution: Info-rant!

Here's a list of vector apps from a disillusioned Freehand lover - not me, although I qualify too.
(we all seem to be getting disillusioned at the moment  :o )

It's from a guy called Darrel Austin,
posted at MNteractive.

Unfortunately it does sound like Freehand is on the way out.

Recently Divorced Freehand users searching for romance with another Vector application…
Tue, May 29, 2007 2:27 pm
Darrel Austin


Now that Freehand is officially dead I figure it’s time I start playing the field again and look for a new love. Here’s the list of potential candidates I’m aware of. Has anyone had a fling with any of these options? If so, please share your thoughts. And please add any that I’ve missed.

  • Adobe Illustrator. Of course, this is the one Adobe is trying to hook us all up with. “AI has a great personality” they say. I’m not buying it*. It’s just the ugly, mean step-sister of Freehand, IMHO. (* And by that, I mean, yea, I probably will buy it at some point. Can’t live with out the CS suite, right?)
  • Inkscape. Open source! I want to love this one, and have been fooling around with it on the side even while I was committed to Freehand. It has a lot of potential. It’s no where near Freehand’s level at this point, but seems to have a lot of momentum–some great features on the horizon based on the Inkscape Roadmap include: PDF export, AI import, CorelDraw import, CMYK support (!!), multi-page (not sure what that means, but hope it’s like Freehands multi-page support), and some tech-drawing enhancements.
  • LineForm. LineForm is a new player on the field, and seems to have a lot of Buzz and a robust feature set (according to their handy chart). OSX only.
  • Stone Works’ Create. Stone Design was one of the first companies to offer OSX-native DTP applications. Alas, I’ve never heard much about their programs. They do suffer from some horrendous application icons, but the promise of ‘free upgrades for life’ seem to outweigh that minor issue.
  • Corel Draw. Corel Draw was always the 3rd place finisher behind AI and FH. That said, it seems to have a very loyal fan base. They no longer offer OSX versions (maybe the death of FH will get them to reconsider?) but it’s definitely a mature product. It also comes with a large font library, which is always nice. It also seems to have a little-mentioned ability to create fonts. Huh.
  • Xara Xtreme. I don’t know a lot about Xara, other than I hear it suggested often when the topic of alternatives to Freehand pop-up. Windows only.
  • Canvas. Another application I don’t know much about, but hear mentioned quite a bit. Comes in both OSX and Windows flavors. It also appears to have custom feature sets targetting cartographers and tech illustrators.
  • Cenon. Jesse mentioned this open source option in the comments below. It appears to be a bit more CAD/CAM centric moreso than DTP centric, but, that said, it does have a Desktop Publishing module, so it’s likely worth a look-see. Interestingly, it also has a dedicated Astrology tool. I imagine that’s fairly unique in the vector illustration world. ;o)
  • Microsoft Expression Design. I had completely forgotten about Microsoft new weapon in the Adobe vs. Microsoft wars. The Expression line of products is based on software MS aquired about 2 years ago. It comes in a couple of flavors (’Web’ being DreamWeaver’s opponent) and Design is the one focused on vector illustration (amongst other features).
http://mnteractive.c...y-divorced-freehand/

Personally I'm going to avoid Illustrator unless they speed things up a LOT -
I get the impression Illy evolved for use where people do a lot of work on one file,
close it,
then do a lot of work on the next file - e.g. a lot of graphic designers*,
& somehow Adobe got the impression people had incredible amount of patience - it might be okay if you grow up with it -so to speak- but if you're coming from a fast app like Freehand or Xara, it's heartbreaking! 
Me, somedays I might have to make minor variations to a hundred or more files -
I've tried that in Illy & it's bad for my health is all i can say..

 * mind you, the designers who have used Freehand seem to miss a lot of it's capabilities in Illustrator as well, judging by the Freehand section of Adobe Forums. Sample thread title: Illustrator CS3 - still 5 years behind FreeHand
Tom

tomos

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2007, 09:45:18 AM »
From the thread Open source vector graphics software?

Well, since you've already found Inkscape, half the battle is already over. Let me help you with a few more...


XFig (just call him "Grandpa")
http://www-epb.lbl.gov/xfig/

SodiPodi (Inkscape's very nice Czechoslovakian cousin, who hasn't updated since '04 )
http://www.sodipodi.com/index.php3

Karbon14 (if you're using KDE, that is...)
http://www.koffice.org/karbon/

XaraXtreme (Xara's open source offspring)
http://www.xaraxtreme.org/

that oughta do it.
Tom

Darwin

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2007, 09:48:43 AM »
Thanks Tom! Another good resource is this wiki.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tomos

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2007, 10:23:45 AM »
Thanks Tom! Another good resource is this wiki.

from there to
Comparison of vector graphics editors
a brief, helpful, but fairly neutral description of the applications

EDIT: with good tables showing import/export details, basic features, price etc.
So I shouldn't really have called it "brief" !

VEctor.png
Tom
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 11:40:04 AM by tomos »

Darwin

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2007, 10:30:35 AM »
Ha, ha - that's the one I thought I was linking to! Thanks again Tom!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tomos

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2007, 11:24:45 AM »
some references to Freehand tools here in this post from Adobe's Freehand forum,
but you'll get the gist ..

Quote from: http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/webforums/forum/messageview.cfm?forumid=17&catid=199&threadid=1222786&highlight_key=y&keyword1=canvas#4438509
I saw the future and it was cold. I turned to Illustrator CS, fooling myself, snuffing out the fire that still burned for that FH version of long ago. I tried to smile and tell myself I'd learn to love this awkward, ungainly beast as I tried to make a simple selection, or breeze through a multi-paged document on Illustrator's barren canvas. So many depravities later, on a stormy winter's night, a flash of lightning, a glimpse of something, someone, out there in the rain. It was Freehand. Cold and alone. But I hardened my heart and tried to focus on the hooting and clanking bells and whistles of Illustrator.

Then the apocolypse. Adobe, the bearer of my second love Photoshop and its beastly cousin, destroyed MM and absorbed the whithered corpse of Freehand. Millions of good designers and illustrators cried that day. Some, like I had, gave up on the past and looked towards the coming Nuclear Winter.

Not me. Not this time. I rose up and did a fresh install of [Freehand]MX. Wearing a torn leather driving suit and a feather earring, I burn across the backroads of digital design, souped up and spoiling for a fight. I ride the wastelands, looking for fuel and whatever loose palettes can be had. My name's not important, but my drawing program is. She's the last of the great Vector illustration programs and for all her faults she's mine. And if they try to handcuff me to a clipping mask, I will Paste Them Inside!
Tom

brotman

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2007, 04:09:48 PM »
Have you looked at Serif's DRAW PLUS 8? Not sure it's in the same league as the tools mentioned above, but I've enjoyed Serif software for many years. Url is http://www.serif.com.../drawplus8/index.asp   

I'll be interested to read your opinion of this product!  :)



Chuck
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« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 04:14:15 PM by brotman »

Nighted

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2007, 05:41:27 PM »
I was just trying something with Inkscape and I found out you can't even save a file as PNG!!!!

Very strange....especially considering I needed to convert to a transparent PNG image.

Later on...hahahah, then I tried The Gimp (because it's portable and I didn't feel like installing something else), which immediately upon opening the file asked me what dimensions I wanted to render the vector at. Perfect! Then I saved it to PNG.

A generic graphics program works better than a dedicated vector application! Plus I didn't have to dig around in menus once opening the file to resize it (I am not very familiar with either program and don't have PSP or PS installed at the moment).
I`m a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class, especially since I rule.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 05:59:07 PM by Nighted »

KenR

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2007, 08:29:37 PM »
Have you looked at Serif's DRAW PLUS 8? Not sure it's in the same league as the tools mentioned above, but I've enjoyed Serif software for many years. Url is http://www.serif.com.../drawplus8/index.asp   
Chuck

Hi Chuck. I went to look at the software, but I can't find a copy to try. How do you actually GET the software to test/try?

Thanks, Ken
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Jacksonville, North Carolina  28546

Darwin

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2007, 01:37:04 AM »
I actually have DrawPlus 8 (got it for $19.95 during one of Serif's promotions and couldn't resist) though I've never used it and have uninstalled it for now. I leave for Belgium in about 36 hours so probably won't have time to play with it, but I'll install it and see if I can put it through its paces while I'm in Belgium (if the beer flows as freely as I have been told at the site, this might not happen!).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Edvard

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2007, 10:34:36 AM »
Nighted: Try the 'export' function.
It's in the command-line options to export png:
inkscape --export-png=file.png file.svg
and looky here:
http://linuxplanet.c...et/tutorials/5757/5/
and I know of fistfuls of Linux icon artists who use inkscape daily to make their png icons.
Don't give up on the 'scape, bro...

brotman

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2007, 03:35:32 PM »

Hi Chuck. I went to look at the software, but I can't find a copy to try. How do you actually GET the software to test/try?

Thanks, Ken

Ken,

Serif is not shareware, however, they have a liberal 30-60 day money back return policy (depends on product and what specials they are currently running.  Also they have a reasonable upgrade policy and run many customer loyalty specials. For example as a long time serif user I got my last serif program (a 2 release upgrade, for $29, a savings of $100! You can get older versions of their products for free or very cheap, but if you want to do a usefull evaluation I'd recommend taking advantage of the money back period. 

OBTW they have a superb user community at their site,  If you have specific questions before you go any further, I recommend asking them there. Many of those folks are Graphics professionals who have experience with a variety of different graphics and drawing tools.  They'll freely tell you if they think you're better off with something else. it's at  http://www.serif.com/forums.asp
 :Thmbsup:
Chuck


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« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 03:47:27 PM by brotman »

Grorgy

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2007, 04:30:38 PM »
Wow serif have all sorts of stuff for free, http://www.freeserif...ware.com/default.asp not the latest versions but the price is right  :)

Carol Haynes

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2007, 03:59:55 AM »
The biggest problem I had with Serif was the shear quantity of junk mail I received (not only by email but also via the postbox). Some weeks I would receive 2 or 3 items of post.

Their software is pretty good but be prepared to be inundated with "special offers" that often bear no relation to the normal Serif product range. (This isn't 3rd part companies sending junk it is Serif direct selling stuff you won't find on their website).

I haven't used their products for years but even though the flow has diminished I still receive junk mail having told them repeatedly to remove me from their lists. In the UK this is illegal behaviour under the data protection act.

Carol Haynes

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2007, 04:11:29 AM »
Anyone else tried to post a comment on the blog mentioned in tomos's first post in this thread?

I just get a permissions error from their Linux server but I can't find anyway to contact anyone. If I try to repost my comment it says it has already been posted - maybe there is some sort of moderation in operation.

Anyway my comment was a correction:

Quote
Note that Xara Xtreme is also available for Linux - where is it a free open source project. See XaraXtreme for Linux

Currently it is still beta.

Persoanlly I have both Illustrator CS2 (part of the suite) and Xara Xtreme Pro installed under Windows - it is Xara I keep coming back to for speed and ease of use.

tomos

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2007, 05:11:07 AM »
Carol

I just had a go - it said something about error & password "no"
I went back to copy my post & tried againto check the error message & was told it was posted already - so things are definitely a bit mixed up there but it could work if you want to try again
Tom

Carol Haynes

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2007, 05:49:50 AM »
Strange your post has appeared but I still get error messages

tomos

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2007, 07:21:49 AM »
tried again,
got error message but post showed up when I refreshed page
who knows ..
Tom

mikiem

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2007, 12:47:02 PM »
IF it helps...
Used Canvas years ago, seemed more oriented to engineering drawings though it was the 1st AFAIK to include bitmap support. Alas Deneba has been bought out by the ACDC folks. Haven't had it installed for ages, but there is a free trial.

If you remember MicroGrafx they were long ago bought by Corel, who have continued developing their vector products under the CorelDesigner name.

OTOH I've found that my Macromedia software works quite well in Vista, including some that Macromedia stopped selling years ago! Vista seems to have great compatibility [so far the apps that work best weren't designed for Vista] so I'm not so sure I'll have to abandon Freehand all that soon.  :P

cranioscopical

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2008, 07:04:59 PM »
I know this is an old topic but there's a recent and relevant article from Smashing Magazine (Dec 5, 2008)
HERE

Edvard

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Re: List of Vector Illustration Alternatives
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2008, 10:58:19 AM »
 :o

must... download... more...