More unprepared than expected


#1

So. I received my glow forge a few days ago and I’ve come to the conclusion I know way too little about vector graphics and how to make them. I have photoshop but no drawing programs. I need a decent low cost drawing program that will allow me to do vector graphics, and any good info on using. Thanks


#2

Many people like to use the free to download Inkscape but since I am mainly a CorelDraw user I find it a bit counter intuitive but I guess if I spent time using it it could be learned.


#3

Inkscape is free, and we have a lot of tutorials on how to use it here:


#4

Affinity Designer is the 3rd most popular option it seems. Not free, but low cost. They have a free trial you can test drive to see if it’s intuitive / your style.


#5

Yeah, but it lacks some functionality. (Always an option but no Auto-Trace yet.)


#6

Just download and install Inkscape, then watch and follow along with a few of the many tutorials, including the ones Jules linked to.

The concepts are not difficult to understand, but for people who haven’t spent any of time drawing things on a computer, it takes a bit of practice to become comfortable with it. Trust me, it won’t take long before you have the “aha” moment - not that you’ll know everything, but that you start to understand the way these programs work and how to explore various options.


#7

You definitely need a plain old vector drawing program, and Inkscape is the obvious choice if you don’t want to spend a bunch of money. The downside is that its origins as a Unix program mean it can have a decidedly non-native feel and strange UI conventions.

If your brain works like mine, though, you might find CAD to be more natural than drawing. And we seem to be living in a time of bounty for inexpensive, yet incredibly powerful CAD software. There are some you can run in the browser, but I’m incredibly fond of Fusion 360, which is free for hobbyist use.

You still need something like Inkscape, not the least of which because F360 is overkill for many tasks, unable to do others, and you sometimes need to massage its output. But in a lot of ways, they’re complementary tools.


#8

If youre already really comfortable with Photoshop, another option is to just use Photoshop for designing, and then get a program to convert the raster image (I always use PNG, but whatever format your comfortable with should work. Just double check that its compatible) to a vector, like SVG. Most likely, you’ll be looking for a program with a “trace” feature. Off the top of my head, I know the business edition of silhouette studio works (I think it’s $100), a finicky little program called sure cuts a lot (around $50), as well as a bunch of free online converters. And probably a metric ton more. If I’m not mistaken, they all work by contrast, so I always design in black (with transparent or even just white background). The program will basically trace along the outline, so everything black would be a cut out shape, if that makes any sense.

This is a very round about way to work, but if you’re already very comfortable and quick with one program, the extra step might be worth saving the hassel of learning a new program to the same proficiency. So, for me, I design everything in Corel painter, and then throw it in the silhouette software and trace it, then save as an svg. Since I “hand draw” everything, it works out. Vector doesn’t really lend itself to that naturally. I’ve been working this way for years, and in that time I’ve definitely learned how the vector programs work (and sometimes I’ll just design from scratch in there or use it to add stuff - especially text), but the roundabout way might get you to printing a little faster. I know I keep getting over excited and trying to print before I even input settings :blush:

But, if you aren’t already confident in Photoshop and you’ll have to learn stuff regardless, I would definitely just jump straight into a vector program.


#9

I know that feeling. about 8 months ago they gave me a pre-release to use, and I stood where you are. Inkscape was the obvious choice because I spent all my $ on a laser!

Besides the tutorials which are golden to get you going, throw a “how do I” out here and watch users crawl out of the woodwork to help you. :sunglasses:


#10

I use Inkscape for almost everything, even the final tweaks for the files from OnShape.

There are loads of tutorials. The SVGs work just fine and there are lots of folks on the forum that can help.


#11

Thanks for all the quick responses everyone, sounds like a few different options here and I will digest this info and look up the programs and some tutorials on them and hopefully be posting some projects soon. Thanks again.