View Full Version : Looking for vector software that can handle complex paths.

08-17-2012, 01:02 AM
I'm in the process of looking for vector software that is able to work with many large, complex paths without slowing right down.

Currently I'm using Inkscape (got to love free stuff). Whilst working on my latest map (Wanenjo) for the Jul/August Lite Challenge I started running into issues when I imported my contours. OMCC, did it slow down or what. Considering I needed to see the contours to lay the rivers I needed to find a work around. That involved exporting a png file of all the contours and then using the png file as a guide. Still chuggy, but better.

I've been considering purchasing Illustrator or Corel Draw but I would first need to know if they are any better than Inkscape at such a task. I've had a bit of a play on a friend's machine that has Corel Draw installed and it seems a little faster. Also there is the fact that I pretty much despise Photoshop's interface and I assume Illustartor's interface is very similar.

So if anyone has used all three for working with large, complex paths, which is better?

08-17-2012, 03:46 AM
I suggest you try out Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MX 2013 or Xara Designer Pro X (formerly known as just Xara or Xtreme, but they seem to like a ridiculous name now). It's really fast for a vector drawing program, and a lot cheaper than Illy or CD. I use it all the time. Gamerprinter uses an older version, I believe.

Free trials and more info on their website (http://www.xara.com/eu/products/). Extensive forum about it here (http://www.talkgraphics.com/).


08-17-2012, 09:14 AM
Not used Inkscape but I do use Fireworks, which you can get a 1-month trial of. That does both vector and bitmap work, and great text/labelling as well.

08-18-2012, 09:29 AM
Well, I've since tried trials of Illustrator, CorelDraw and Xara and so far I can't decide.

*Illustrator's interface will take some getting used to.
*CorelDraw seems okay but it does funny things in regards to dpi/ppi.
*Xara may be the way I go if I can figure it out properly. The interface is reminiscent of Cinema 4D (which is a good thing).

A few things I've found in Inkscape's favour;
*It seems to have much better node editing tools.
*It will trace large bitmaps without any issues. CorelDraw wants to downsample them.
*It lets me do lines that are fractions of a pixel wide. CorelDraw is limited to 1 pixel and hairline widths.

Either way I'm not really sure what I will go with yet. More testing is required.

08-18-2012, 10:03 AM
I know there are not a lot of Xara users here but Gamerprinter who has produced a lot of maps swears by it. If you can catch him, he's really busy publishing his Kaiden adventures, he would probably be able to hard sell you on it. :)

If you want to have more support from folks here you are probably better off using something more people have but if that doesn't matter so much...

08-18-2012, 11:00 AM
Once I learn a program's ins and outs I'll only be looking at tutorials for techniques which can usually be applied in other software.

08-18-2012, 04:06 PM
Yes, I'm the Xara guru here, and yes, I swear by it. I've dabbled with other vector apps and the extra things it can do, the amazing status of not being a memory hog, the ease of point node editing, the number of Photoshop plug-ins that work with it - the list goes on and on. Look at any of the maps from my contest win 'badges' under my name/avatar, to any map posted by "gamerprinter" - you'll see I've got well over a hundred maps here, all produced in Xara. It's not only not a memory hog, but very fast to use - I prefer to work very fast, ask anyone.

I have a map thread on TalkGraphics.com (http://www.talkgraphics.com/showthread.php?43872-Fantasy-maps-created-using-Xara-Xtreme) which is the fan discussion site for Xara software - it's the most viewed thread on that site, if you want to most of my finished maps in one place.

I have a couple of low end tutorials on this site in the Tutorial section, but as Jax said, I'm very busy creating published material and many maps for my own publishing project, Kaidan - Japanese horror dark fantasy setting for Pathfinder. We even have a Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/937759598/kaidan-campaign-setting-pfrpg) going on right now for the setting handbooks.

My primary mapping style, however, is a hybrid scanned hand-drawings, imported to Xara, and essentially finished in Xara with water color palatte, beveled shapes, drop shadows, use of transparency, photo image fills, object feathering, object slicing - all stacked to resemble terrain, enhanced with the hand-drawn lines to create a very unique style.

08-19-2012, 10:45 AM
There is also serif drawplus which is a vector/raster hybrid as well.

I believe there is a free demo for that.

-Rob A>

08-19-2012, 10:45 AM
There is also serif drawplus which is a vector/raster hybrid as well.

I believe there is a free demo for that.

-Rob A>