I’ve been on a quest for a year or two to rid my Mac of Adobe and Microsoft products. So far, it’s a mixed bag of success. Good, affordable alternatives exist, yes.
But are they apps you’ll value and use? For example, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks—premier bitmap and vector drawing apps—could set you back up to $1,500. What can you get for less than $50 that’s still Mac worthy?
Mix And Match Bitmap And Vector
Most of us don’t need all of Adobe’s horsepower. Yes, those apps are best of breed, but we’re not talking about Rocky Balboa or Apollo Creed or Mister T or Ivan Drago. Most of us just need to do a little drawing here and there.
DrawIt is an elegant, affordable Mac app that, well, draws.
It’s a combination of bitmap tools and vector drawing tools. That makes it a mini, mini, very mini, and highly affordable version of Photoshop and Illustrator.
Apps like DrawIt are instantly familiar. There’s a drawing area in the center with tools and adjustments left and right. Even the tools are familiar.
DrawIt’s interface thinks different, sans all the floating palettes that Adobe can’t seem to live without.
Instead, you get all the tools you need in a single window. Add layers, add objects to layers, trim and adjust accordingly, using what are arguably more clearly understood tools that can be tweaked quickly and easily.
DrawIt lets you focus on four basic functional areas.
The first is standard Vector Editing. Whatever shape you can think of you can probably draw, including text. It comes with bunches of standard shapes—rectangles, ovals, stars—but you can apply Boolean operations on each to create something completely unique.
Second, is Layers, Groups, and Masks. Whatever you plunk down on your screen is its own layer. Group them. Mask them. Group groups. Resize as needed.
Third, is Bitmap Pixels.
DrawIt is a vector drawing app with pixel perfect precision so you can zoom down to the pixel layer without rasterizing an image.
Finally, Effects can be stacked. Mac OS X comes with dozens of Core Image filters and effects (shadows, strokes, etc.) all of which can be dropped into your drawing elements in stacks—one on top of the other—to make entirely unique images.
It’s all non-destructive, easy to set up and use, and tweaks and adjustments and changes are rendered in real time as you make them.
If Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator combo make you nauseous over the expense and complexity, and you don’t want to sign up for a college course in either, DrawIt becomes an affordable, capable, flexible alternative for Mac users on a budget and under time constraints.