I heart Illustrator
My first experience with Inkscape
Ever since I started Art Academy in 2000 I use Adobe’s vector graphics software program Illustrator to create logo’s, cards, brochures, posters and other kinds of hard-copy. But although I find it a great piece of software, Illustrator is an expensive product. It alone costs €855,61. Because of this, and also because of the fact that I don’t know any other designer that uses different software, I always believed that Adobe software like Illustrator is the best there is. When a software program is so expensive, there must be hundreds of the most talented software engineers working somewhere in a mysterious Adobe building to build and improve it. So the idea that there exists an other software program, similar to Illustrator, but for free, is hard to imagine.
I got to learn working with Illustrator in a small classroom on old-school Apple computers with small screens, it was a few years before the first iMac came out. At the time I wasn’t quite interested in learning software programs. I was fully confiscated by the experience of so many creative people together in one building, the whole atmosphere of it and of course living in a big city (Rotterdam) for the first time on my own. Although Illustrator was not the only software we got introduced to that year, I can say that Illustrator soon became my favourite. And it still is. Now I work for my customers I still use illustrator as the main software program for vector graphics. I like it because it works intuitive for me and it is compatible with other programs I use, like Photoshop, Indesign and AfterEffects (all Adobe). And honestly, it never came up to me that there would exist any other good alternative for Illustrator. So when I heard our next assignement was to make something in Inkscape – an open source vector graphics application – I was rather sceptical.
Of course I had heard about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) before, but it never crossed my mind to use it myself. Above all I thought it was inferior to traditionally distributed software. My thought was: It is created by amateurs, so it can’t be good enough. Jay Pfaffman’s answer to that in his article It’s time to consider open source software (2007) is:
Two fallacies follow from this assumption. First, that open source applications are not developed by professional programmers. Second, that amateur programmers produce inferior work. Many F/OSS projects have teams of professional programmers. RedHat software distributes a version of GNU/Linux, an open source operating system that for many people obviates the need for Microsoft Windows (BECTA, 2005; Zetter, 2002). Other projects, like Firefox and OpenOffice.org, are based on commercially developed code (StarOffice and Netscape Navigator, respectively) that was subsequently released as open source (Raymond, 1997; Baker, 2004). Both of these projects have improved dramatically since becoming F/OSS.
So it was time to try out Inkscape. First I installed the software and then I searched for a tutorial on YouTube. I found this one: Create your own flourishes in Inkscape.
To follow the different steps in the tutorial wasn’t hard at all. And soon I created “a flourish”. After that I created the same artwork in Illustrator so I could compare both programs. The results are more or less the same, but I honestly believe the way I made it in Illustrator was more efficient. Of course, Illustrator is the software I know better, so maybe that’s the reason. But neverteless I’m impressed by the quality of Inkscape. Everything is a little bit different than with Illustrator, so I wouldn’t change easily, but I can imagine people use it who never used such a program before.
I already have fallen in love with Illustrator, but still, Adobe should be aware!