Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics program that can produce professional quality designs as scaled vector graphics. Inkscape has been produced by a team of volunteer programmers, who are always contributing new ideas and improving the software. The program can be downloaded for free from the Inkscape website, and the new updates which become available will also be free.
Inkscape is an affordable alternative to the professional graphics programs that are available. It has much the same functionality as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Since Inkscape is free, it is a good learning tool for anyone who wants to begin to work with graphics. It is a big step up from one of the free graphics programs that are supplied with computers, such as Microsoft Paint. It can do much more, and produce far more detailed and delicate images.
Most work is done by creating and manipulating paths, but there are plenty of other ways to draw with Inkscape. The programmers have included a number of interesting tools and special features, such as the spiral and star shape tools, which are surprisingly versatile, as well as some more basic ones such as grouping tools, patterns, and transformations. The user has complete control over their drawing, and can manipulate any aspect that they choose, including the number of moveable points along a path, and the exact nature of color gradients.
Comprehensive tutorials are included with the program that can show the user how the Inkscape tools should be used, and how the best effects can be accomplished. These are very clear guides that allow you to interact with them, testing out the tools as you read, and can easily be returned to in order to check how something is done. Inkscape is very easy to use. Everything has been set out for the most practical effect, with all menus and tools being easy to navigate and use.
The program does have some problems, stemming from the fact that it is an open-source program rather than one created by a major corporation with money to spend on testing. These faults can occasionally cause the program to close down completely in the middle of a process, so it is vital to keep saving your work as you go. Inkscape does generally work well, however, and once you have become accustomed to the controls, it is fairly simple to use. There is also a great deal of help and advice available at the Inkscape website, from other users and the developers, who are willing to share their expertise.
Inkscape is always undergoing rapid development, so any problems are usually swiftly resolved, and the software is always being improved.
Inkscape can be used on both Windows and Mac operating systems, and it can produce images in a selection of formats, so that they are compatible with other graphics programs. Inkscape can import PNG, TIFF and JPEG files, for example, and can export pictures as PNG and other vector based formats.