Art & Design

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An Alternative to Commercial Illustrating Software

One of the programs frequently used at the lab is Inkscape. It is an extremely useful vector graphics illustrator program, which we utilize in conjunction with our laser-cutting software. With it, you can create custom vector art, design and edit two dimensional drawings, and more. The program’s interface and tools are fairly easy to learn, so with a little practice, users can quickly begin creating custom designs.

One of our staff, Ariel, has had particular success with the Bitmap Trace tool, which allows the user to take a raster image, and create a vector image from it. This is useful when using the laser cutter, as vector images are much easier to manipulate, and easier to cut. Other useful features include the drawing and shape tools, the ability to utilize layers, fill and stroke, and a wide variety of available file formats (PNG, DXF, etc.)

The program’s most useful feature, though, is that it’s free. Downloadable for Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems, the program is easily accessed on your home computer. Their website also provides free basic tutorials, how to get started, and more information about what Inkscape can be used for. 

Here's an example of some work done by Ariel: