Software: opinions and experience
This information is offered to the community to keep us all from repeating the same mistakes.
Please contact me to add to or disagree with any of this. I'll also be glad to answer questions
but I prefer to do that by phone (206-525-1577 9am to 9pm Pacific time)
Thanks, Karen Seymour
The product names used here belong to their respective trademark owners and are used here for identification and educational purposes with no trademark infringement intended.
(last updated 6/21/10)
Vector based programs will give you much more flexibliity than rastor programs (like Adobe Photoshop). There are several programs to choose from. I use Corel Draw and have for many years. Corel Draw Essentials, the low-cost version is just fine if you are running Microsoft Windows (unavailable for the Mac OS unless you run it under Windows). Adobe Illustrator works as well if you already have it as part of Adobe's Creative Suite but don't go buy it just for this. Wikipedia gives a current review of the general drawing packages out there.
Dragon Fly Software's Glass Eye works very well for geometrics but for the naturalistic things I do, I find working in layers essential. Only the most expensive version of Glass Eye has this feature.
Features I look for:
- Prints pattern at full size and scaled down with easy tiling of image on multiple pages for full size print
- Easy to print pattern in both finished line weight and cutting line weight (for lead work)
- Files in common formats for:
- sending to client (PDF, JPG)
- posting on web (JPG, GIF)
- sending as editable file to others (EPS, WMF, DXF, EYE)
- publishing (EPS, CMYK, TIF)
- Easy to show client the design set into a photo of their garden, house etc.
- Ability to show design looking like real glass instead of just flat color
(with both transmitted vs. reflected light)
- Turn photos into a sandblasting or etching masks
- Ability to trace elements from a photo. I think "Auto-trace" from a scanned image is over-rated. You will almost always end up re-drawing the object by hand or spend as much time cleaning and simplifying the trace.
- Ability to import common file formats (keeping vector format whenever possible).
- Work area not limited in size
- Works in Windows (I also work in Mac but most folks don’t)
- Ability to number pieces and mark grain
- Easy to re-size and rearrange elements of design so you can use them over and
easy to select all of one group in preference to another (layers and grouping)
- Easy to manipulate shapes (Bezier curve editing)