Inkscape 0.46 Released
I have talked about GIMP a lot, but I haven’t mentioned Inkscape as much. I’ve been using it a lot more lately, and since they just made a new release, I thought I’d bang on their drum a bit.
From the web site:
[Inkscape is] An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.
If you do graphics work, you really need two tools: a raster editor and a vector editor. Inkscape is a free, open source tool that should meet all of your needs for the latter.
Inkscape runs on Linux, MacOS, and Windows, and is a great, easy to use tool once you get the hang of it. One great thing about it is the native file format is the W3C standard SVG, making importing graphics into other packages a snap. Heck, if Microsoft would quit crying in its beer over VML and support SVG like Firefox, Safari, and Opera do, you could drop the SVG files right on your web site.
Don’t let the 0.46 version fool you - this is a mature and stable project. This release includes a lot of great features, including native PDF support, dockable dialogs, on-canvas gradient editing, 3D box tool for perspective, and lots more, including the usual round performance improvements and bug fixes.
I’ve been working with Inkscape a lot lately, and often on things I would normally use GIMP for. I had struggled to get proficient at Inkscape for quite a while, but I ran across Screencasters.Heathenx.org, “Inkscape tutorials for the novice artist”, and now I’m off and running. This is an ongoing series of podcasts (they’re at episode 58 as of this writing) showing you how to perform practical, every-day tasks as well as more esoteric projects with Inkscape. If you want to get started with Inkscape or take your skills up a few notches, I highly recommend checking out this great podcast.
*Editor’s note: In terms of raster editors, GIMP is great and is currently my default option, but I have to say I’ve taken a liking to Krita. In a lot of ways it isn’t as powerful as GIMP, but it also has a few tricks up its sleeve GIMP doesn’t have, and I find the interface easier to work with. Unfortunately Krita, which is part of the KOffice suite, is Linux only at the moment. If it KOffice 2 ends up going cross-platform with QT4 this year as planned, look out.