8 Impressive Vector Drawing Applications on the Mac App Store
The Mac App Store is full of useful little gems for designers, and one area where the marketplace isn’t lacking is in pretty, lightweight alternatives to the Adobe Creative Suite. Of course none of these apps are as powerful as Adobe’s offerings, but they can be a lot friendlier sometimes, and some of them have surprising potential for their rock-bottom prices.
Pixelmator is a beautifully designed, easy-to-use, fast and powerful image editor. And it has been hugely successful, especially since the introduction of the Mac App Store. Pixelmator is one of very few apps today that can really compete with the power of Photoshop. Last year the Pixelmator Team also added vector drawing support to the app, and although it still has a long way to go (no gradients on vector shapes, or exporting to vector fomats yet) this is definitely one to keep your eye on in the future.
From the makers of the popular font organization tool Fontcase, Bohemian Coding brings you Sketch. A few quirky bugs aside, this is a very elegant and powerful vector drawing tool. Pieter Omvlee (the creator) is very attentive to his customers’ requests and comments, and I can see a lot of potential for this app.
For casual users of Illustrator, this could be a great lightweight alternative for you to consider, it also has good (but not perfect) support for the SVG vector format.
This is the Mac version of iDraw for iPad, and when you start using it on a desktop or laptop, it really highlights how powerful both versions of this app actually are. Notable features include SVG import and export, shape and styles libraries, multiple layers, and boolean path combinations.
Artboard is a simple and direct vector drawing app. From a professional designer’s point of view, this app may be lacking in some key areas, and it doesn’t have the same “Mac” feel that some of the other comparable apps in this roundup do. But at the end of the day if you want a simple, vector drawing app with lots of presets and editable vector clip art, this does the job.
In it’s own words, Intaglio retains the feel of MacDraw while harnessing the full capabilities of Quartz and CoreImage. Old timers soon feel right at home and those new to Mac drawing pick it up quickly.
It’s safe to say that this app operates differently to most modern vector drawing apps, but it provides incredible control of the vector elements, can potentially create complex, photorealistic images, and has good import and export support.
Keynote doesn’t need to be limited to creating snazzy slideshows and opening Power Point files. You may be surprised to find that Apple’s slideshow presentation software has a great set of vector drawing tools, and when you couple that with it’s ability to make clickable prototypes, Keynote becomes a very valuable tool.
From this roundup, Acorn has the highest overall rating on the Mac App Store, and it’s easy to see why. Upon first launching Acorn, it appears deceptively simple (only 12 tools), but then you start digging further into it, and it becomes apparent that this app has a lot going for it.
Acorn is similar to Adobe Fireworks in that it combines vector drawing with bitmap editing. It also has layer styles! Not just layer styles either, but the ability to stack multiple instances, save presets and an impressive list of effects to choose from too (although some seem less practical than others).