Feb. 26, 2009 – Today, most people under the age of 30 have been introduced to computer tools that let you paint, manipulate, and create images. For most grade schoolers this is part of art, as well as media literacy. There are plenty of free paint-style programs, even some that come with whatever computer operating system you work with. Photo manipulation is pretty commonplace as well, through iPhoto (Mac) or picasa.com (PC), or Flickr.com which is integrated with picnik.com.
Up to now, it has been difficult to find free vector-based drawing software. This is what designers use to create logos and advertising images. Aviary is rolling out a beta version of Raven, a free online vector design program. To be an artist, e.g. a painter, you probably need some artistic skill and training. Vector art is for those who have an eye for space, color, and shape, but can't draw on their own. There is lots of tracing involved, and use geometry (don't worry, it is performed by the computer) to shape, shadow and create an image design. Vector graphics don't degrade when you try and make them larger. You might have seen how a computer picture looks fuzzy when you blow it up. If you make it a vector graphic, you can scale it up or down without any loss of quality. This is very helpful if you have a logo you need to use on business cards, stationary, and posters.
"Huh?" you say, so what?
This kind of program is great for designing logos for your MySpace page, or your own Etsy logo. And what about T-shirts? While there are lots of places where you choose an image and get a shirt with the image imprinted on it. With Raven, you can try your hand at creating your own T-shirt art. Good for fashion uniqueness, as well as a possible income source, if you have a talent for this kind of design.
A word of warning. Vector programs are not as intuitive and easy to master out of the box, as painting and image manipulation programs are. However, you can achieve great precision and do awesome things with text if you master the basics. Whether you want to be an anime artists, fabric design artiste, or just fool around for an hour or two, Raven, might be an interesting diversion.
About vector drawing, including the basics:
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