Vector drawing has some advantages over bitmap or raster images, the main one being the absence of jaggies you get when you increase the size of an image. Vector drawings are basically mathematical descriptions of objects in the drawing rather than dots or pixels on the screen, as you have in a bitmap. You can describe the shape, size and position of an object with vectors without know any of the maths, just by dragging the mouse to position the text, shapes or whatever object. Programs that do this vector style drawing include CorelDraw, Pixelmator, Illustrator, Fatpaint, and Google Docs has a vector drawing component.

Vector Designer for the Mac

Vector DesignerThe cost of buying Illustrator and the complexity of it led me to look for other options to make illustrations on my Mac. If I was a Windows user still I would definitely use CorelDraw for its ease of use combined with a huge number of tools that work great. CorelDraw almost would be enough to persuade me to go back to using a Windows computer. I tried a few Mac vector applications, but I like the clean interface of Pixelmator.

What can you do with Vector Designer then? In the tool box you have the shape tool for rectangles, rounded rectangles, ellipses, circles polygons and stars. There is no spiral tool in there though, though not something you would use very often. I am not happy with the way that you can’t take a normal rectangle and put rounded corners on it afterwards. It doesn’t make sense to have two tools to do basically the same job. Best option is to always choose the rounded corner rectangle tool and set the corner radii to zero. The you can round them off later if you want to. In fact it would be good to be able to set each corner radius independently, but you can’t. The way around that, is to go to Edit Path mode and move some node points and do it manually.

You can set the width of the edges and the colour for the fill and edges. There is a choice of ends, including arrows for the lines, which can also be dotted or dashed lines. Text is easy to deal with and can be made to follow a line, say if you want to have the text on a curve. You can also put text inside an object, such as a rectangle you have created. With one click in a check box you can add a shadow to an object. The shadow created that way of course is not a vector, it is a bitmap created by the core graphics of the Mac OS.

You can set up a grid on the drawing to help the placement of object and also guidelines, vertical, horizontal and at any angle for the guides. You can have object snapping to other objects and to the grid. Don’t seem to be able to have objects snap to guides though. The snapping feature is useful for precision work. Rotating an object is easy with holding the Cmd key with the mouse next to a corner of an object and then moving the mouse. Would be better if you could move the centre of rotation if it needed to be moved.

Overall view of Vector Designer

Simple vector graphics application for the Mac that is in need of an upgrade to give it some serious tools. Only good for the simplest of work although what it does do, it does well. It is largely underwhelming and I would recommend anyone other than the very new to design to look for better options. Saving up the cash to buy Illustrator would be the way to go.