Small businesses and start-ups are always on the lookout for ways to save money on new and expensive services. Many budget-minded small businesses are returning to the days of hands-on and in-house to keep costs down, and the many open-source tools available today can help do just that.
Today we’re going to look at some of the free, open-source graphic apps available, and which can be a viable replacement for commercial graphic applications. These programs are free to download and cross-platform,
GIMP is free, open-source graphics (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) that can be replaced with Adobe Photoshop.
GIMP is a raster graphics application that is useful for image editing and retouching. You can also use it to create raster images from scratch, as well as simple animations.
It supports layers and channels, has an advanced gradients function, includes paths and quick masks. There are rotation and transformation tools, as well as tools for scaling, cropping, resizing, file format conversion, and more.
GIMP can also be used for both Web and print design. It even has a few tools that don’t have direct analogs in Photoshop — for instance, the Cage Transform tool that allows warping just parts of objects.
Adobe Illustrator is another leading commercial vector graphic application that has a viable free open source competitor in the form of Inkscape.
Inkscape uses the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format as its the default. As you might know, SVG is a format that is becoming more relevant to web developers with every passing day. It can also work with other popular vector formats, such as .ai, .eps, or .pdf, while most other vector graphics programs can handle its SVG files.
According to inkscape.org, the following Inkscape abilities are lacking in Illustrator:
- Edit SVG source directly
- Clones, tiled clones, edit clones on canvas
- Keys to move/rotate/scale by screen pixels
- Shapes as objects
- Edit gradients with handles on-canvas
- Edit nodes with keyboard
- One-click paint bucket fill
If you are into desktop publishing, then you might be interested in Scribus as an alternative to Quark Xpress, Adobe InDesign, or Microsoft Publisher. Scribus is an open-source publication software and is the most popular among graphic designers and production artists.
Scribus offers solid “CMYK color, separations, Spot Colors, ICC color management, and versatile PDF creation.” It also can work with the most common raster and vector image formats, as well as many text formats. Scribus’s PDF export facility covers most print situations.
The easiest way to deal with Scribus is to use templates, usually called something like Scribus templates in software managers.
- Author: K. Rajput