How Inkscape can be an essential tool in your arsenal

Inkscape is a professional vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is open source software so that means that it is free, the only thing it will cost you is around 40MB of data which will be used to download the application here and beginner’s manual here..

I have found that when using software as a tool for productivity you can’t rely on only one tool for the job, there are times when your most trusted software tool just disappoints you, so it is important to have a backup plan.

And that is how Inkscape saved my bacon. There have been a number of times when I have been required to import an SVG element into my  Adobe Illustrator project and it imports distorted or just fails to import at all, (I have personally found Illustrator to not be so good at handling SVGs whether importing or exporting them) so what I do when that happens; I just import the problem file into Inkscape and “save as” an SVG again, with no editing to fix it in most cases, and voila, Illustrator excepts it.

Another thing I find Inkscape fast at is tracing images to vector. The tracing is done faster than when I use Illustrator and the settings aren’t as complicated, also it traces a new vector image above the original raster image which is a good and non-destructive way of editing in the case I want to keep both images on the project, or if I want to make multiple versions of the same raster without importing again.

elsa_frozen_2

By Tim Jones (Creative Commons attribution share-alike)

By Rizky Djati Munggaran (Creative Commons attribution share-alike)

Check out the  Inkscape gallery for  lots more stunning artwork.

Inkscape does not only work onSVG only, but it can import PDF vectors and .ai files too.  There have been projects that I have begun on Illustrator and finished off on Inkscape and vice versa.

It is important worth noting that Inkscape exports SVG and PNG only, but the good thing is most vector editors out there open SVG.

So this is a vector software worth picking up, whether as your main tool or as a secondary tool, the learning curve is easy, because I learnt that once you understand how vector graphics are handled, the software you use is not an issue.

This article isn’t a review or comparison of Inkscape but just my personal experiences with the software. For more information about this great open source software you can check out the Inkscape homepage.

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