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2D Design Tools: Inkscape


Inkscape is a free and open source scallable vector graphics editor that is available for all platforms.

Vector vs Bitmap

Bitmap / Pixelmap / Raster Graphics

Loses Resolution When Resized
bitmap montage

Pixels (or "picture elements") are the smallest controllable unit of a digital image. Bitmap / pixelmap images are made up a retangular grid of pixels.

Bitmap images are comprised of mapped bits. This means that the image information is stored as a series of values that are either zeros or ones. This gives a computer a way to store a binary image made up of black and white pixels.

Pixelmaps can store more than one bit (color) per pixel. In computer graphics the two terms are often used interchangeably.

The term "raster" is used to describe both bitmaps and pixelmaps and indicates that these graphics are resoultion dependent. If you resize a raster graphic to a larger size, the square pixels will become apparent.

When discussing vector images vs. bitmap images, the terms pixemaps, bitmats, and raster graphics can be used interchangably.

Vector Graphics

Able to Resize Without Losing Resolution.

vector montage

Vector grapics are resolution independent. They are based on mathematical expressions and use points, lines, curves and polygons to represent images. Because they use mathmatical formulas, they can be resized, bent and stretched without losing resolution. Lines remain crisp and sharp when the size of the drawing is increased.

Download and Install Inkscape

Download Inkscape

Getting Aquainted with Inkscape



Grids / Resizing Units

Setting grids
If you would like a grid for visual layout purposes, you can turn it on by:
  1. Going to the "View" menu
  2. Selecting the "Grid" option
Setting Units/ Resizing - Canvas
Use the "Document Properties" (see the Page Sizing section above). Note that document properties controls the units for the canvas, but not the individual shapes drawn.
Setting Units/ Resizing - Items Drawn on the Canvas
To change the units / size for items that are drawn on the canvas:
    1. First select the selection tool (looks like a black arrow)
    2. Select the item or items you want to re-size / change the units
To change the units / re-size the object you can either:
    1. With the object or objects selected:
    2. From the Main (top) Toolbar > select

Additional Topics

Tracing Bitmaps

Paths / Pen Tool / Lines

Tips and Tricks


Other Tutorials
Inkscape Blog

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Cool Text Example