Vector graphics consist of shapes, called objects, which are simple geometric primitives: points, lines, curves, circles, and polygons. The shapes are all based on mathematical equations, to represent images in computer graphics. It is possible to edit each object separately, for example, by changing the shape, colour, size and position. By combining paths that are straight or curved and various colors and shading very detailed illustrations can be created.
As vector-based images are not made up of a specific number of dots, they can be precisely scaled without any reduction in the image quality. Unlike vector graphics, bitmap images are resolution dependent. This means that it is difficult to alter the size of a bitmap without sacrificing a degree of image quality. Vector graphics also have simpler storage, and the option to convert a vector graphic to a bitmap if needed.
This article identifies the finest open source vector graphics editors. Vector editors are ideal for technical illustrations, diagramming, flowcharting, artistic illustrations, promotional posters, banners, signage, logos, typography, vehicle wraps and layout. Bitmap editors are more suitable for retouching, photo processing, photorealistic illustrations, collage, and illustrations drawn by hand with a pen tablet.
Now, let’s explore the 7 vector graphics editors at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot, together with links to relevant resources.
|Vector Graphics Editors|
|Inkscape||Vector-based drawing program|
|sK1||High quality illustration program|
|LateXDraw||Vector drawing program for LaTeX using PSTricks|
|LibreOffice Draw||Vector graphics editor and diagramming tool|
|Ipe||Extensible drawing editor|
|Karbon||Vector drawing and editing application|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.