Illustrator Alternatives: Affinity Designer, Inkscape and Figma

July 25, 2019 posted by

Adobe Illustrator has been a leader in the vacuum Eric wolf quite some time but it's certainly not the only player I'm can spray CP Tut's Plus and in this video we'll be checking out three alternatives to Adobe Illustrator that you need to try we're gonna be taking a look at affinity designer figma and Inkscape all three of these tools have the essentials they all have the Bezier tool select tool a text tool and a bunch of shape tools but there's not a lot of point in talking about that run-of-the-mill sort of stuff that's not all that helpful and it's a bit boring instead we're gonna talk about what makes each of these applications stand out so let's take a look starting with affinity designer one of the greatest features of affinity designer isn't even to do with vectors it's the fact that you have a full suite of raster based tools built right in next to the vector tools so this means for example that you can jump into the pixel persona and knock out a quick sketch and then switch right back into the vector persona to put your vector artwork on top of that sketch then when you're done with that you can go back into the pixel persona and you can use the raster based brushes do things like adding in lighting and shadowing and texture even they have powerful raster based brushes available right inside designer that is not the only way that you can paint insight designer it also has these really incredible vector based paint brushes as well with the vector based paint brushes you can lay down your paint strokes with all kinds of different textures just as you would with a recipe ting tool but after you've put down your paint strokes you can go back and you can adjust them and you can do that as many times as you want so you get the benefits of that rest the based texture with the benefits of the adjustability of vectors if any designer gives really excellent support for pen pressure so if you're working with a drawing tablet or a pen display you can use it with the pencil tool which is the freehand drawing tool you can also use it with that vector brush tool that I just mentioned and in the pixel persona you can also use it with the regular painting tool with the pixel tool the eraser the smudge tool the burn tool the blur tool and a whole bunch of other things so pen pressure support infinity designer is really really great if anything designer also has two types of line stabilizing tools which are really fantastic for when you are doing line art just like with pen pressure support this works both in the vector persona and in a pixel persona the stabilizer has rope mode which as the name suggests is like you were dragging a pen along with a little rope so wherever you pull the rope that defines where the line is going to appear and it also has window mode which is more similar to types of stabilizers that you'll see in other software this one works basically just by adding a little delay between when you put your pen on the page and when the line that you're drawing appears after it clipping and masking in affinity designer is probably the smoothest processed out of any graphic design software that I've worked with I have another graphic design software that I love to use but whenever I do I'm missing designers clipping and masking process the whole time all you have to do is have two shapes and then in the layers panel you just drag and drop and that's it completely non-destructive very easy to edit your mask after you've created them just a perfect masking system with dishonest transparency tool there has really never been a more convenient way to fade out shapes the tool works pretty much the same way as a gradient tool in any other software you just click and drag and your shape is faded out what that's actually doing is automatically creating a transparent to opaque gradient and then applying that over your shape as a mask and that's all editable after you add it in really smooth and really convenient to use design is noise film capability is probably the easiest way to add texture into our artwork that I've experienced in any software in the color field section there is a noise slider so all you have to do is just drag that slider up until you get the amount of noise you want and that's it you've got texture added in it looks particularly great when you put the noise on its own layer and then you use blending modes to mix it in with the rest of your design this is an incredible technical feat from designer the ability to zoom all the way into 1 million percent zoom obviously you're never really going to need a million percent zoom so for actual practical purposes that means that there really is no limit on the degree to which you can zoom in onto your artwork and make sure everything is perfect if any designer is a one-time purchase of $49.99 on either Windows or Mac that's US dollars and there's also a sort of a lighter version for iOS that's $19.99 also US dollars and you can check out our free course named affinity designer QuickStart which is available right here on YouTube to get the ball rolling with learning if any designer fast next up let's take a look at inks game Inkscape is amazing for doing line art it has this dynamic smoothing function where while you're laying down your lines it automatically is smoothing out those lines for you so rather than being like a stabilizer well you have that enhancement but it's still up to you to decide exactly where the line goes this will actually smooth that line out for you automatically so that really helps if you're trying to work with a mouse or if you don't have a display tablet so that you can draw directly on the screen where you want it to be if you're just using a regular pen tablet it really really helps for the process along with this smoothing on the freehand tool there's also the ability to automatically add tapering to your lines so you can set the shape to an ellipse and that will taper out both ends of the line or you can change it to triangle in or out so that you have just one end tapered and then when you're done doing your line you can just drag this little circle and that's going to update the width of the line and the tapering makes it a really smooth process to get down really nice-looking lines Inkscape also provides pen pressure support and that comes back to how great it is for doing line art the calligraphy tool pen which even though it sounds like it's just a tool for lettering is actually really great for drawing and it has full pen pressure support and as of Inkscape 1.0 which is in alpha at the moment compressor is also supported in the freehand drawing tool so these things together make it really really great for doing free drawing so after I discovered all of the awesome functions that come along with inks capes pencil tool and it's calligraphy tool I had already picked it as my line art tool of choice but then I discovered that it gets even better from there with the tweak tool which I personally like to think of as the sculpting tool you can easily nudge your lines into the exact position that you want them this means that when you're putting down your lines you can be super quick and messy you can just get them down looking awful and it doesn't matter because then you can just come back with the tweak tool and just sculpt everything into the exact position that you want it to be then when this same tool you can switch its setting so that it modifies the width of the lines and then you can go through and you can sculpt the lines into the exact width that you want them to be at different portions of your line work this will is also really really great for creating shapes you can push and pull the boundaries of an object around to create whatever form that you want and this feels very much like a natural intuitive sculpting process and that creates a lot of flow in the illustration process and it's just a great feeling if you're a big user of gradient meshes in Illustrator Inkscape has them too these of course are not unique to Inkscape but they're actually pretty rare to find in other vector applications so if they're an important part of your workflow then it's worth knowing that Inkscape has them too the spray tool is one of my favorite features being escape and it can be so so helpful with any object on your canvas selected choose the spray tool and then you can use it to just spray all over the canvas creating clones of the original object all over the place if you change the original object all of those clones are going to be updated as well so this is great for quickly and easily creating things like star fields or grass textures or wood textures anything with a bunch of repeating elements where you want to have a bit of randomization in that pattern I find that I often want to create illustrations with symmetry you know I might be drawing a character or I might be drawing a spaceship or something along those lines and in most other applications the way that you go about this is by creating some type of live updated you placate like a symbol and then flipping it over so that it updates as you're drawing one half of the object then when you're done you have to combine these two objects however what I found is that even if you're using grid snapping the joining process of two separate shapes can be messy you can end up with extra nodes and just messy joins and then that can cause your strokes and fills to be a bit out of whack not so in Inkscape Inkscape has this great life path effect called mirror symmetry so you just create a path to start working with you add the mirror symmetry life path effect check the fuse paths setting and now as you draw out all of your nodes Inkscape is going to fuse both of your halves together and it's going to make sure that you have a perfectly unified single path when you're done the source file format for Inkscape is SVG so that's a very open format and that means that files that you create in Inkscape can be open in almost any other vector software this means two things one it just gives you options to access the features that are in other software because of the fact that you can open your scope work in those other applications and two it sort of future proofs your files with most software if for whatever reason you're not using that particular application in the future the file format that's unique to that one application is going to mean that you kind of locked to it and now it's going to be hard for you to work with your source files if you no longer using that same piece of software anymore with SVG you know that even if you decide to never use Inkscape again you're going to be able to easily access the work that you created via that SVG format Inkscape is completely free of charge it's open source and it's available on Windows and Linux and via Mac ports for Mac OS next up let's look at figma the team in collaboration tools in figma are pretty much unparalleled there's nothing else quite like figma in this regard at the moment and one of the strongest features that it has in this area is the fact that you can collaborate in real time with other people on a document so you might have half a dozen different people all signed in at once talking through the changes that a design needs with each people showing the changes that they suggest and adding their modifications in as everyone else can see the modifications happening and give their feedback so that's one of the things that makes it these software to use if you're a part of a team in the illustration space Figment has an incredible feature in the form of what they call vector networks the usual way that vector software works is you have a node and then from that node comes either one or two segments with figma instead of having just one or two segments coming from a node you can actually have as many as you like there are no limits so this allows you to do two main things one it allows you to make all kinds of complex shapes that would have been much more difficult with just two segments per node and the other is it allows you to make simple shapes but do them much more quickly this feature is something that's a little more difficult to convey in words and you kind of have to experience it to fully appreciate how good figma is with facilitating you to navigate your way through your layers and your objects on the canvas incredibly smoothly you can quickly show and hide a bunch of layers you can quickly lock and unlock a bunch of layers you can collapse and expand lots of layers at once you can use tab to move quickly through siblings you can use return or shift return to move up and down in and out of groups and frames there's a whole bunch of stuff that you can do that's just scratching the surface so it's something that you really should get into and try out for yourself figma allows you to select and simultaneously update all objects that have certain shared properties you can select all objects that share the same font share the same fill the same stroke the same effects and a whole bunch of other stuff and that really helps with efficiency when you're making modifications if you have some SVG code for an image and you want to edit that image you can just copy all that SVG code and paste it directly into figma you'll instantly get that entire graphic fully editable right there on the canvas conversely if you have a graphic that you're working on in figma and you want to quickly generate some SVG code that you can paste into a project somewhere else just right click on the graphic choose copy as copy as SVG and then you'll have all the code that you need figma is free for the basic tip which is great for you if you're working by yourself or if you're working in a team of two people paid tears are available for larger teams that really want to dig into those team oriented tools figma has it's browser-based meaning that you can use it anyway even on Chrome OS and there are also desktop wrapper apps that allow you to use it on the desktop in Windows and on Mac and by the way check out our figment tips playlist to learn more about figma that's three amazing alternatives through wls traitor no matter what other vector software you already use do yourself a favor and check out these three fantastic apps thank you very much for watching this video and I will see you in the next one you


12 Replies to “Illustrator Alternatives: Affinity Designer, Inkscape and Figma”

  1. Hamish Maclean says:

    I think affinity is the only design app on iOS with artboards.

  2. Nathaly Wheller says:

    This was SO helpful! Thank you so much for sharing! Great take on a comparison

  3. Fahim al Islam says:

    Inkscape is a great piece of software. I just love it.

  4. Andrei Marchenko says:

    Hi. Folks, could someone tell me please is this programs has Blend Tool feature alternative for Adobe Illustrator?

  5. drutgat2 says:

    Many, many thanks for this. I think that you are the best teacher of anything that I have ever heard. Your explanations are beautiful in themselves, and it is a pleasure to experience you describing things, never mind the content (well, the content is important).

  6. daddy3d1972 says:

    Been using Affinity Designer for several months. Easy to learn. However many of my designs are for T Shirts and Affinity has HORRIBLE text tools. You can do basic text stuff but it has no special text effects like Bulge or Perspective warping. This is very limiting if you use it for Graphic design. These features have been requested for some time but it appears Affinity has no desire to add them.

  7. Tiffany Rock says:

    Damn I was so excited to get affinity only to realize it’s 50 whole dollars

  8. Ronniel Javier says:

    Affinity designer is my vote. Hands down

  9. Learning Simplified says:

    Useful information to share with…thanks sir!!

  10. johannes914 says:

    Corel Draw ?

  11. chandrasekar arunachalam says:

    Thanks for the wonderful Video, well presented.

  12. Alex G. says:

    Affinity Designer is awesome! Give it a try, you won't regret it!

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