Four drawing programs

Excellent

All of these tools support exporting to PNG format and to lossless scalable SVG files. Those who want to embed drawings in HTML documents will benefit from the fact that the W3C standard for SVG [5] includes effect filters as well as basic shapes. You can, for example, create soft drop shadows in Inkscape or Karbon. When saving, Inkscape users should be sure to select the Plain SVG format, which cuts a better figure in the browser than the native Inkscape SVG.

Inkscape is without a doubt the most powerful drawing program in the test (Table 1). Over the years the developers have implemented many features. For example, it's possible to insert kinks into otherwise smooth Bezier curves in a quick and effortless way that not even professional programs like Adobe Illustrator achieve. However, the numerous functions extend the learning curve.

Table 1

Features at a Glance

 

Inkscape

Calligra Karbon

LibreOffice Draw

sK1

Learning curve

Steep, but good manual

Unconventional, documentation missing

Medium

Flat

Circles/ellipses/arcs

+

++

+

+

Edge rounding

++ (Asymmetrical too)

++ (Asymmetrical too)

+

+

Freehand curves

++ (Automatic and subsequent smoothing)

– (Smoothing factor not adjustable)

Bezier curves

++ (Pointy nodes directly when drawing)

+

+

+

Grid lock

+

+

+

+

Object snap

++ (But difficult to operate)

+

+

Aligning/distributing

++

– (Only aligning)

+

– (Only aligning)

Shape templates

+

++

Object connectors (flow diagrams)

+

++

Clip art

+ (Search for open clip art)

++ (Installed)

Multiple-page documents

+

+

CMYK colors (offset printing)

+

+

Export/Import

Read bitmaps

+

+

+

+

Write bitmaps

+

+

+

+

Read SVG

++ (Understands many SVG filter effects)

+

+

+

Write SVG

+

+

+

+

Read PDF

+

– (Artifacts when importing)

+

Write PDF

+

+

++ (Compression settings)

+

If you want to sketch something quickly, however, you should turn to one of the less bloated applications. Karbon, like LibreOffice Draw, provides prebuilt shape templates, but there are far fewer of them. Instead, the KDE program scores points with a powerful freehand tool. Exchanging data with other Calligra components works well. Some deductions in scoring were made because of the inadequate documentation.

Draw impresses with a wealth of ready-made templates that leave nothing to be desired. Additionally, users can customize most templates to suit their own needs. The software is better suited than other candidates for flowcharts and pie charts – optionally with a sophisticated 3D look. Drawings created with Draw can migrate to other LibreOffice modules without a detour and without exporting. Anyone using the free office package for documentation should take a look at the drawing components.

sK1 is the leanest program in the test and is suitable for anyone who just wants to sketch or draw something quickly. It is a shame that the clear and handy software does not provide a freehand drawing tool, because drawing is often more intuitive with such a tool than with Bezier curves.

Infos

  1. Inkscape: https://inkscape.org
  2. Calligra Karbon: https://www.calligra.org/karbon
  3. LibreOffice Draw: https://www.libreoffice.org/discover/draw
  4. sK1: http://sk1project.org
  5. W3C to scalable vector graphics: http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

SINGLE ISSUES
 
SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
TABLET & SMARTPHONE APPS
Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Inkscape Vector Graphics

    When it comes to drawing with the computer, professionals often opt for vector graphics. Inkscape brings the power of vector graphics to Linux users. Our workshop demonstrates how to use the program.

  • Inkscape 0.45.1

    Inkscape has always been good, but now version 0.45.1 of the vector drawing program shows a totally new creative aspect.

  • Inkscape

    The Inkscape vector graphics tool replaces expensive commercial solutions such as Adobe Illustrator. This article shows how to get started with Inkscape.

  • Blender 3D Modeling

    Although Walt Disney’s masterpieces are not forgotten, legacy cartoon techniques are a thing of the past. As long ago as 1995, the movie “Toy Story” proved that computers are more than up to the task of animating pictures. We’ll help you get started with building your own animations.

  • Xara LX

    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.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95

News