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Vector Graphics Software for Designers

Whether you're a designer, graphics artist, animator, multi-media web creator, or visual arts student, you'll find it to your advantage to make good friends with vector graphics software. Your professors and instructors should introduce you to vector concepts and the computer programs that bring them to life.

There are two major graphics display formats used in the industries: vector and raster. Raster objects are created in pixels, the tiny dots that assemble the image. The disadvantage in raster images is that they lose clarity and take up too much disc space when enlarged. Vector objects, on the other hand, are created of geometrical shapes and lines that are "scalable" -- easy to manipulate to any size without compromising quality.

Vector graphics software typically displays in an interface that allows you to create and manipulate shapes using proprietary mathematical formulas. The programs vary greatly by price, by the number and complexity of tools, and by the speed of operation.

Here are several popular vector graphics programs to consider, without endorsement:

Adobe Illustrator. Comes with pre-set templates and palates. Integrates with other software to create digital, print, and multimedia graphics.

AutoCAD. Employs dynamic blocks to create 2D and 3D images and illustrations for commercial use as well as for manufacturing and architectural projects.

CorelDraw & CorelTrace. Illustration software that is flexible enough for business or personal use.

Inkscape (Formerly Sodipodi). Freeware illustration software that creates, manipulates, and styles objects.

Macromedia Flash. Animation software for motion graphics, Web, and multimedia presentations.

Macromedia Freehand. Design tool for multiple image, multi-page projects and storyboards.

Serif DrawPlus. Fully featured program with easy-to-use effects for graphics and illustrations.

Xara X. Well regarded and considered as a fast and flexible illustration and drawing software for the Web, print, and animation.

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