Vector graphics in pseudo-3D

THE DEPTHS OF SPACE

Article from Issue 72/2006
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Vector graphics often look much like comics: although you can hint at shading and highlights, it is more or less impossible to achieve photorealism. But this could all change now that Xara LX has been released as an open source program.

If you compare the effort involved in drawing a 3D scene using a pencil and paper with the 3D modeling approach, you will soon discover that you are quicker doing things the old fashioned way. The closest you can get to the pen and paper feel on a computer is to use a drawing tablet with a bitmap editor such as the Gimp. But with vector graphics, which are freely scalable without affecting quality, artists typically find it hard to implement reflected light gradients or shading. Vector graphics applications such as Inkscape only offer linear, radial, or conical gradients that are not suited to the task of depicting the kind of highlighting and shading you see on objects with more complex shapes.

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