what do you think about inkscape


i tried a current build of inkscape to see how it compares to illustrator.

while i like few tools pretty good i somehow have the feeling it is not
as strong. somehow access to palettes seems to be strange because
they do not float and disappear.

anybody here who worked more with it?

It’s not a bad program, as it’s still under development I’m hoping it will improve in functionality sooner or later. Although I haven’t seen an update for a while.

If you’re under Linux or OS X you might want to try http://www.xaraxtreme.org/


Hi cekuhnen,

I’ve tried both Illustrator and Inkscape, and I can’t say that I like either of them.

My big problem with Illustrator is that I find the curve and line tools unintuitive. There doesn’t seem to be a distinction between selecting handles in the current curve vs. selecting anything on the page. Maybe I’m using it wrong, but it took forever for me to get things precisely lined up. I was trying to create a vector version of the logo at http://www.djtins.com/ for some clothing, and it took me forever and a day to get the eight-sided outline things done. Took about 20 seconds in Blender. Is this me or is this the program?

I’ll grant that Inkscape is under development, but it seemed really crappy when I tried it. I had to go in and manually edit the SVG XML it generated so that arrowheads on lines would be the right color.

Xara Xtreme looks pretty neat, so I’ll try it out.

I use Inkscape when I have to, but it seems to crash and freeze and “encounter a problem and need to close” every 5 seconds…:mad:
The tools are good though, especially the star one:D

Can’t afford Illustrator and I use Windows, so Xara’s out. I’ve managed to make good with Inkscape though and use it quite often for logos etc

Inkscape is coming along nicely, but there are still a number of areas where it lacks in comparison to Illustrator. Depending on what you need to do with it, you may or may not encounter these areas.

Typographic controls - this is one area where you can really see a difference. You get the basic controls (size, leading) but you can’t control type width or tighten or loosen the kerning on a ‘global’ basis to your text block. In Illustrator, all these settings are controlled by parameters. The ability to have ‘paragraph’ text is also limited in Inkscape. You can choose to ‘flow into frame’ but then you lose the ability to adjust individual kern pairs. In addition. If you forget to link the text to the frame, you’ll lose the ability to change the text flow without re-linking to a frame. In Illustrator, you’d simply drag the text tool to set the text as ‘paragraph’ text as opposed to ‘artistic’ text and you can always drag and resize the paragraph boundaries to change the flow box.

Color spaces. Inkscape lacks CMYK so using it for pre-press is limited. A bigger problem (for what I do) is the inability to use spot colors. I wouldn’t even care if the spot colors are defined in the RGB color space, but when I’m doing logo design I want the ability to use specifically designated spot colors so that I can limit my usage to just those colors, as well as use tones of those colors. In the end, I’d be able to get plate separations where the colors properly separate to their respective plates. There’s no way currently in Inkscape to do this. All colors you add become independent RGB colors in the document, so you can’t easily change the definition of a spot color and have it updated in the entire document. In addition, you’d have to manually manage separations by working on different layers (not an exciting process.)

Unless I’m missing it, Inkscape also seems to lack the ability to define things with precise numeric control. For example, in Illustrator, if I want an offset path exactly 0.4 inches from my original path it is easy to do. In Inkscape, the offset is visual so you’d have to lay down a ruler or spacer object and ‘eyeball’ it. On the flip side, the ‘linked offset’ in Inkscape is an amazing tool in that you can have an offset path that recalculates when you adjust the original path. For “print people” they’d often just use strokes and wouldn’t appreciate this difference, but I am often doing stuff that will eventually end up being knife cut on a plotter and you need to have discrete paths for the knife to follow.

The floating panels in Inkscape bother me, but that may be more of a window manager thing in that they sometimes go to the back but then all reappear on top when I use one of them. In this respect, I wish other applications would think about the whole non-blocking UI of blender. I’d like the ability to have fixed panels as long as I had the ability to quickly ‘solo’ the main workspace (like Blender’s ctrl-up).

They finally added a ‘wireframe’ view in Inkscape in one of the recent releases (which I’m very thankful for) but there is (that I’m aware of) no quick toggle to turn it on and off. You have to go to the menu and select it each time. The ability to link that to a hotkey would be appreciated when attempting to line things up with stroke fills where you want to see the real path as well as the printed output. Illustrator has the view toggle on Ctrl-Y which allows a quick back and forth view option.

Overall, I like Inkscape and think it is coming along nicely - but there are a few things that leave me going back to Illustrator for my work. I’m sure there’s a few more things I forgot to mention, but these are the ones that I remember from some of the recent work I’ve done in it.

That said, I have Inkscape installed on my work machine (since my Illustrator license is my personal copy) and needed to do some Illustrations for a document I was putting together for work and was able to do everything I needed, so it definitely can be used for some tasks without problems. In addition, Inkscape runs infinitely better in Linux than Illustrator CS2 - so the choice may be made for you depending on your OS (Are you listening Adobe?).

I’ve been using Inkscape for quite a while now and I really like it. I recently got a trial version of Illustrator, and it seemed to me to be a very unintuitive piece of software. I can’t remember exactly what bothered me about it, but I uninstalled it again very promptly. Eventually I’ll have to learn it though, along with Photoshop and all the other mainline graphics tools I’ve been avoiding.

For me, the guy who needs the occasional graphics tool to do some minor stuff, Inkscape is more than welcome. Just like GIMP and Blender are, though I’ve stopped trying to be a CG artist and have moved on to other arts.
So yeah, I like it :grin:

inkscape is my second favourite opensource program after blender…i started using it a month ago and i must say i’ve gotten fairly good at it.Check my thread in the traditional forum and look at the change i’ve made at the beggining and later on the thread…its really easy to make improvements if you observe someones work.One inkscape role-model for me has been drew A.K.A free_ality who helped me along the way.But i have not really used illustrator that much even though i have had chances to do so.

Flash is still king, when it comes to vector drawing and painting tools.

Inkscape is nowhere near intuative, and lacks “by pixel” selection. Someone who never tried flash would probably think the world of it, but otherwise it’s second rate software.


i agree with you. i noticed that all typo tools are missing and also color space for pre press.it is quitre sad to see that inkscape ahs better point tools than illustrator.

my old fav is still freehand.i never really liked illustrators path tools.

i am curious where inkscape will go to but for me it seems it will be more a graphic application fro web and i am more print.

Correct. I love flash. It’s all HEY SMOOTH or HEY FILL or HEY YOU WANNA MAKE A CUT IN THAT LINE? NO PROBLEM. When I tried Inkscape and Illustrator, I was upset they were no where near as awesome as flash.

well flash is nowhere close to freehand or illustrator when it comes to illustration, layout, color management :wink:

flash is for animation not print, so the tool set is different.

Well that’s your opinion, but in order to make a valid point you’ll need to cite an example for me. What exactly was it that flash couldn’t do for you?

I mean it comes with a nice gradient editor, supports a complete color range, alpha, and layers. If you really need something more, then you might as well post pro everything in GIMP or PS.

flash is for animation not print, so the tool set is different.
The tool set is better, because as FuzzMaster already said, it has a much more intutitive interface, and it allows you to manipulate vector shapes more efficiently.

Don’t you think that translates to “better”?

Speaking of Flash, does anyone know where I can buy Flash, at the student rate, all by itself? I really want it, but my university bookstore only sells it bundled with other things that I don’t want.


I agree that floating panels are annoying and the text facilities are a bit of a letdown, but for a free tool to throw together a logo or quick diagram it’s great. For more advanced stuff for printing, I use Scribus or OpenOffice.org
(or Blender of course)

Exactly how in Flash can I do color separations?
Do I have precice typographic control of long blocks of text, ie. can I adjust word spacing via a property of a paragraph of text?
Can I perform a union of two paths that doesn’t just visually merge the shapes, but actually creates a path of the union so that when I send the shape to a plotter, the knife only cuts the combined outline?
Can I work in color spaces other than RGB?
Can I work with precise dimensional accuracy with respect to real world units and work resolution independently within those unit boundaries.

I’m not saying Flash is bad. It just is a different animal than Illustrator. If what you need to do you can do in Flash, then great for you - but other people have different needs.

It’s also telling that both companies that have owned ‘Flash’ (not counting the original ‘FutureSplash’ version) have ALSO owned an Illustration package. There just are a lot of areas where the two classes of tools DO NOT overlap.

You’re talking about print media, right? Well yes, in that case I can definitelly see where color spaces other than RGB would make a difference.

I was under the assumption that we were talking about web media, where I doubt that would matter because everything would be RGB anyway. And considering that you can just mash shapes together in a simple matter it would be more productive with no loss in quality.

But, yes, I can see what you mean now.

Inkscape liberated me from the last reason to use Windows at all. For what I need, it is very good, although somewhat limited. It has never crashed on me.

My biggest wish is it already had scripting support. I can make Pyhton scripts for Gimp to do stuff with SVG files, but I would prefer to do things inside Inkscape.

…I wish they knew Blender screens, which nobody seems to realize how great they are…

Inkscape is a GTK program. GTK is bloated and catching up just to run the most recent version of a simple program forces me to update or install a lot of unrelated stuff. I hate that it now wants me to upgrade X-windows. In contrast, official Blender releases run happily on my not very up to date but perfectly good Linux.