Sunday, May 6, 2012

Inkscape, a free vector program

Inkscape is what I like to call the slightly more basic but happily free vector side of Photoshop CS5.

"Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as pointslinescurves, and shapes or polygon(s), which are all based on mathematical expressions, to represent images in computer graphics. "Vector", in this context, implies more than a straight line.
Vector graphics is based on images made up of vectors (also called paths, or strokes) which lead through locations called control points. Each of these points has a definite position on the x and y axes of the work plan. Each point, as well, is a variety of database, including the location of the point in the work space and the direction of the vector (which is what defines the direction of the track). Each track can be assigned a color, a shape, a thickness and also a fill. This does not affect the size of the files in a substantial way because all information resides in the structure; it describes how to draw the vector.
There are instances when working with vector tools and formats is the best practice, and instances when working with raster tools and formats is the best practice. There are times when both formats come together. An understanding of the advantages and limitations of each technology and the relationship between them is most likely to result in efficient and effective use of tools."

I love vector graphics because unlike JPEG, no matter how much you increase the size of the image details are not lost due to pixelation. Inkscape creates vectors and works well for stock photography except that you can only use solid colours, no blurs, grades etc.  

If you take a look to your right you will see some of my stockphotography, which includes my latest vectors.  Some drawings are not vectors due to the grading of colours e.g. the blue flower cake.  However the cupcakes are vectors.  All of which was done in Inkscape.

For more info:

There are books on Inkscape but they are a bit expensive.  I bought Tavmjong Bah's eBook on Inkscape.  It has plenty of info but I find he's a bit too technical and tends to forget that there are some beginners out there.  Still it did provide a few techniques that I have used in my drawings.

When submitting to stock using Inkscape vectors check whether or not the agency requires EPS format or SVG.  It should be saved in EPS format as SVG is, as far as I know, never used for stock.


  1. Hi there. I found your blog searching about Inkscape. I am a cake decorator and am interested in using Inkscape to design my cakes before I make them. I saw your pretty blue and purple cake and would like to know if you have any basic advice on how to make a cake. If so, my email is Thanks! Michele

    1. Hi Michele, as discussed in the email I used a tutorial from Tavmjong Bah's Book on Inkscape. Thanks for asking and here is the link for anyone else who is interested. I didn't use the labels or shadows etc, I only used the base of the can for the first cake base, decreased the size of the base and then copied and adjusted the size for every new tier of the cake.