Every time we think of an open-source and free graphic design software, we always consider it inferior in comparison to the more popular and paid one. But, the time has changed, it is not the same anymore. The open-source community has grown wider and so has grown the possibilities of an open-source tool that could at least match if not surpass the functionality of the more popular and paid tool. Inkscape is the result of one such development. It is a software for vector-graphics designing available for free. In this blog post I will compare Inkscape vs Illustrator (more popular and pricier tool) to prove its worth.

Certainly, Adobe Illustrator is there with its great set features but, Inkscape is nowhere lesser. It is a very flexible vector graphics editor that offers you almost all the functionality you expect from a more pricier version.

Inkscape vs Illustrator: Which Works Better for Vector Graphics?

Inkscape and Illustrator both are vector graphics software. Professional designers use both the software as per their needs and software capabilities. However, both serve the same purpose i.e. creating vector graphics, but, there still exist some differences that make them stand out from the crowd. Let’s discuss the functionality of these Inkspace vs Illustrator in detail.

What is Inkscape?

What is Inkscape

Inkscape is free and open-source vector graphics software that allows you to craft a range of graphic design such as logo, icon, illustrator, web graphics, and so on. You can use this software on multiple platforms i.e. Windows, Linux, Mac OS X. Inkscape include W3C and open standard scalable vector graphics SVG as its default format. However, it is loaded with features, but, if you wish you can extend its functionality with the help of add-ons.

What is Illustrator?

What is Illustrator

Illustrator is a prestigious member of the Adobe family. It is a professional vector graphics software that lets you create illustrations, icons, logos, graphics, charts, drawings, and so on. Well, almost anything you can think of. You can get crisp and sharp designs with Illustrator. From professional web designers to the newcomer everybody can use this graphic design software in order to create a beautiful design with ease.

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Inkscape vs Illustrator: Features

So, now we will discuss the main and noteworthy features of both Inkscape and Illustrator.

What are the main Inkscape Features?

These features of Inkscape web design software make your web designing journey smooth and flawless. So, let’s have a look at the main features of Inkscape.

  • Inkscape comes with node editing functionality.
  • Various object creation tools
    • Pen tools
    • Pencil tools
    • Text tools
    • Calligraphy tools
    • Shape tools
    • Clones
    • Embedded Bitmaps
  • Immense support for editing and creating SVG format files.
  • It supports various file formats such as PNG, DXF, EPS, PostScript, etc.
  • Inkscape can export its documents in the PDF (portable document format) format.
  • It has a complete anti-aliased display.
  • It can edit the SVG source directly.
  • Amazing one-click paint bucket fill option.

So, these were some of the prominent Inkscape features. However, you can explore the range of other features while using this amazing graphic design software yourself.

What are the main Illustrator Features?

The main features of Illustrator are as follows and these are undoubtedly the best to get you a perfect looking web graphic in minutes.

  • The ‘Path Simplify’ feature is there for easy path editing.
  • Illustrator has the Auto Spell-Check feature which is really helpful when you are creating brochures, posters, or any other art design that includes text.
  • The illustrator files are smoothly exported and saved in the background itself.
  • Rapid and flawless illustrator effects such as
    • Blur
    • Drop Shadow
    • Inner and Outer Glow, and more
  • You’ll get the super helpful in-app troubleshooting support.
  • Illustrator has dockable hidden tools.
  • Efficient control panel.
  • Highly customizable toolbar.
  • The ‘Trim View’ can help you preview the design without grids and guides.

So, these were a few noteworthy Illustrator features. However, there are various others that you will discover once you use Illustrator.

Inkscape vs Illustrator: When and why use each program?

Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape both are ‘feature-packed’. Illustrator offers a great set of features that lets you create logos, icons, sketches, typography, and complex illustrations. But, it is Inkscape that comes out as a complete ‘shocker’ with some out of the box features equivalent to Illustrator that too for free. Whether it is coloring, sketching or illustrating, Inkscape is very fit for everything.

Inkscape also provides a number of native features like,

  • Editing directly on the SVG source code.
  • Keys to move/rotate/scale by screen pixels.
  • Tiled clone, edit clones on the canvas.
  • Edit nodes using a keyboard.
  • Edit gradients with handles on-canvas (CS4 added this feature).
  • One-click paint bucket fill.
  • Color painting over objects (CS4 added this feature with the name Blob brush)

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is the format for rendering 2D graphics and applications in XML. It is very helpful in using these graphics on websites as well as print media. Thus, Inkscape not only is totally sufficient graphics software for designers, but it also goes head-on with almost all the features of Illustrator.

Inkscape vs Illustrator: Which is more flexible?

Inkscape vs Illustrator: flexibility

When it comes to flexibility, both the tools are very flexible. Inkscape and Illustrator provide a very sound sack of features for graphic editing. While Illustrator provides support for almost all the file types, Inkscape lacks support for the .eps file format. Also, you cannot export your artwork as a .jpeg file. This functionality, however, could be added to Inkscape by the use of an extension. Not only this, a lot more features could be added using different extensions. you may also read Illustrator vs Photoshop, GIMP vs Photoshop and best logo designing software. So, let’s now discuss a few extensions:

  • Ghostscript

It is a very useful extension to the Inkscape that helps it to read .eps files. It converts .eps files into .pdf files to make it compatible to work with Inkscape. All you need to do is download Ghostscript to C:/Program Files.

Now, once Ghostscript is installed, you need to specify the path of its bin and lib. folder to Inkscape. This could be done suggesting paths of these folders to the Path Environment Variable (you will need administrator access in order to make these changes).

The first thing you need to do is to ‘make sure Inkscape is not running’.

The following are the instructions on how to do this on the Windows platform,

You need to be very particular while adding paths. Make sure that you add the relevant paths of bin and lib. folders of Ghostscript. In case you are installing a different version of Ghostscript, use the appropriate version number in the path.

Ghostscript screenshot 1

  • Control Panel Settings

Go to Control Panel > System>Advanced System Settings, a system properties dialog box will be opened. Click on the Advanced tab and then on the Environment Variables button.

Ghostscript screenshot 2

In the Environment Variables dialog, go to the system variables section and scroll down to find the path. Select it and click on Edit. Here, in the Edit System Variable dialog, you can add the appropriate paths in the variable value field. These paths need to be separated by semicolons (;). So, to add the paths to the front, you need to end with a semicolon. Similarly, to add the paths to the back, start with a semicolon.

Ghostscript screenshot 3

Now, when you have changed the path, refresh your system and open Inkscape. For the very first time after making the changes, you’ll notice that Inkscape will take a little longer to respond. This might be due to the processing time that allows the importing of EPS files. Once Inkscape is set to work, choose File > Import (Ctrl+I) and select the folder that contains EPS files. Choose the file and click Open. The PDF Import Settings dialog will appear. Choose the desired settings and click the OK button. The EPS file data is now converted to vector data that could be tailored in Inkscape. You can now alter the drawing according to your needs and save it in SVG format.

  • JPEG-export-extension

This allows you to export a selection directly in the .jpeg format from Inkscape. It creates a .png file and then converts it to .jpeg using ImageMagick (another extension you need to download to work with JPEG-export-extension).

jpeg-export extension screenshot 3

Now for JPEG-export-extension, You just have to download the file and copy it to the C: > Program Files > Inkscape > share > extensions.

jpeg-export extension screenshot 1

Now, open Inkscape and go to Extensions(in the main menu) > Export > JPEG Export.

jpeg-export extension screenshot 2

You can now export your design to .jpeg file format.

Difference between Inkscape and Illustrator

Inkscape vs Illustrator: Which is Ease of Use and provide better Customer Support?

Inkscape and Illustrator are both very easy to use tools. They offer a very friendly interface. None of the two is going to make you feel unfamiliar using them. In my view, Inkscape offers a very perfect interface. It might not be as polished and oversimplified as Illustrator, but, it has a well managed and organized interface that offers more friendliness not only to beginners but, to the professionals as well. Another advantage of using Inkscape is that it automatically converts Bitmap into vector files.

Illustrator

Now, Illustrator is expensive software and hence, it is expected to provide extensive customer support. And, it does. It offers a number of tutorials and videos, a lot more chatting and calling options. But, you are getting all this at a price point most of you cannot even afford to pay.

Inkscape

Whereas Inkscape being an open-source software provides an open community forum to its users. In this forum, anybody could participate and answer the queries. It is a wide community so you might find the answers to your questions from already answered queries as well. Not only this, but the developers of the Inkscape also participate in the forum and helps the users to find out the desired solution to their problem.

Inkscape vs Illustrator: What are pricing options?

Inkscape vs Illustrator: Pricing differences

Pricing is one of the most important points in consideration while we think of buying a tool. Illustrator is a vector-graphic designing tool with a premium price tag. You need to pay a huge sum of money to own it. Although it offers a free trial it is for a limited time. Inkscape, on the other hand, is an open-source vector-graphics designing software available free of cost. It does not offer any premium pricing tag rather free. And, I don’t think I would recommend paying this huge amount of money when you could get almost all such functionality free of cost. Check out adobe Lightroom vs Photoshop.

Summary of Inkscape vs Illustrator

So, taking you through all these points of comparison between Inkscape vs Illustrator, I recommend Inkscape. Not just for the beginner but also for professionals. You do not require any proprietary license and you can design your vector graphics according to your wish. No matter how beautiful your vectors are if your website is non-appealing to visitors. Design stunning themes using TemplateToaster, a website builder software compatible with all major CMSs catering to all your web designing needs because your website is a great asset to make you stand tall in the crowd.