A graphic example of time wasting

If you haven’t yet tried Inkscape, you are really missing a treat! The title I used about time wasting is because I am NOT a graphic designer but, playing around with Inkscape is a great way to pretend that you are 🙂

Red BallHere’s a red ball I just drew…

It took me about 2 minutes…

I know it isn’t perfect, but like I said, I’m not a graphic designer.

But Inkscape is REALLY easy to use. It is an Open Source vector graphics editor which basically means that you can re-size your drawings without losing any detail [Here’s a good description of vector graphics from the Wikipedia]. Some other big vector editors on the market are from Adobe (Illustrator) and CorelDraw; both cost a lot of money. Inkscape is FREE.

The standard SVG file format is quite interesting in itself – it is basically XML so you can edit it with any text editor and include things like hyperlinks within particular areas of the drawing. The file describes how to build the image, it doesn’t actually contain any bitmaps – just instructions.

Here is the SVG Red Ball #2 file which I just renamed to have a .txt extension. If you save this to your own computer and then rename it with .svg, my guess is you should be able to open it with Inkscape and see or even edit the image once again.

Did I mention, Inkscape is free! It’s an open source application that is available for Linux, Windows and Macs (In fact it is one of the most popular open source downloads for Mac OS/X).

The bit that has really amazed me with Inkscape is that it’s currently at revision 0.45.1. Yes, still a long way from being what the developers feel is a “finished” product, but it doesn’t crash, everything I have tried on it works, and the performance is terrific.

Red Ball #2Now I have added some text to the ball (took about a minute). You can get the text to follow a path (in this case the edge of the red circle) using just one command. Then you can bend and move the text around at will. And get this – the text is still a text object so you can edit it letter by letter, change font size, style etc etc. All after you’ve wound it round your object.

If you aren’t a graphic artist, have time to spare (or waste) and don’t “do” games; try Inkscape – I love it!

I would guess that “proper” graphic artists will love this as a tool and really get the most out of it. Just take a look at some of the things that have been contributed by skilled users.

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