Software Question

I’m a little confused about using vector software and one like Inkscape. Do we have to use them?

I’m a quick learner so it shouldn’t be difficult to pick up.

Technically no. You can purchase files from all over including the glowforge catalog. If you want to create your own designs then you will need to have some type of software to do so.

If you’re creating your own you’ll need vector software in order to create cut/score lines.
Raster programs are fabulous for engraves, but you cannot cut/score a raster. If you’re only putting your own art on things that are already cut out, then you can get away with only using raster software for quite a while :slight_smile:


Inkscape is great. It’s pay you back to learn it, you won’t outgrow it. And it’s free!

Some people like illustrator, some like affinity, you can’t go wrong with the big players.


I have both Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape. I find Inkscape easier to use. I have not started designing my own projects yet, but it is very helpful to modify or personalize designs I purchased.

Inkscape is certainly not a narrow program such as you might find in many “apps” and yes the price you pay is the effort to learn it. but any software also has a learning curve no matter how much you pay, and no matter how much you pay, the company has its hooks in you, and you have to keep paying or walk away from having to learn it.

Also, Gimp is the perfect raster editor to go with the Inkscape vector editor.


Vector editing software was created for graphic artists to create artwork. We can use it for what we need, 2D cutting, because it can do that plus so much more. So if you’re looking at all of the options under all of the menus, don’t worry, you’ll only probably every use a small subset of them. You don’t need to learn Inkscape, you need to learn a little bit of Inkscape.

Do some of the free beginners tutorials to familiarize yourself with your program of choice and then search here for examples (there is a matrix of tutorials in the Tips and Tricks section of the forum) of any specific things you need. If you can’t find it here, it’ll be somewhere on the Internet.


I’ve downloaded Inkscape, which would be used for cut/score lines and a program like GIMP or Pixlr like I used to engrave the photo coaster I made the other day. Correct?


It’s all a bit overwhelming but I’m really excited to learn how to create my own ideas!

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GIMP or Photoshop or whatever program is only required if you are going to manipulate an image you want to engrave. If you don’t want to manipulate the image, then these programs are not necessary. You will want to manipulate most images, so yes.

Once the image is manipulated a common work flow would be to save it and then import it into Inkscape so you can place it where you want it relative to your cutting/scoring.

Gimp has the capability to do work with vectors especially outlines and stuff as all the power of masks can be translated to vectors and exported.
Obviously, it is extremely powerful in image manipulation as well.

Inkscape takes in vectors and rasters but is weak in manipulating raster files, but great in manipulating vectors. It is very detailed in doing outlines but creates more problems than it solves in excess detail. In the end, it is Inkscape that provides the file to the Glowforge.