Creating graphics on a computer affordably can prove a difficult task, especially for images besides rasters. Some people need to create images which can be expanded on massive scales; they need a vector editing application. Adobe Illustrator CS4, the leading vector editor for Mac and Windows, costs £567… a pretty high price tag, you must agree!
Expensive software like Illustrator appears to make editing vectors simply unaffordable. Fortunately, this is untrue! Inkscape is a free, open-source and cross-platform vector editor. Whilst it will no doubt lack behind Illustrator in certain aspects, in my opinion it suffices the requirements of any non-professional graphic designer. Inkscape, for example, cannot utilise gradient meshes or have multiple strokes, or fills, for one object. Yet, it has much better support for the SVG format (utilised by Wikipedia) and beats Illustrator on several minor usability issues (Inkscape, for example, allows anchor points to be edited with a keyboard). Key features, such as the ability to trace bitmaps, are also included.
Inkscape's interface, like that of most graphics programs, is quite complex but I find myself being able to adopt to its much quicker than I adapted from PSP to Photoshop.
There are a few issues with Inkscape. The version for OS X requires X11 to be upgraded and several work-arounds to be implemented prior to it functioning and the upgrade to OS X 10.5.2 prevented Inkscape from working without further updates to X11. It appears to function much better under Linux and Windows.
Inkscape serves the needs of any home user and is such a substantial saving, of both disk space (being about 100MB big) and money, it can make Illustrator nearly useless for such customers. Its support for SVGs is also useful, as Firefox can open some SVGs meaning the recipient of a file Inkscape produces often does not need Inkscape to view the file as a vector.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.