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I am looking for a vector image creation/editing tool for the Mac. My primary focus with be creating/editing images (mainly icons) for application development. I think I will be purchasing the full icon set from http://www.iconeden.com/ as a starting point and them go from there. I already have pixelmator for standard image creation/editing so diffidently looking for a tool that is geared specific for vector based images. A few basic things:

  • Support SVG format
  • Be able to export to png file format
  • Support Illustrator file format (nice to have)

I know there is Inkscape which is free but what other tools are out there that are just as nice or maybe better. I am also willing to spend money, it does not have to be only free tools.

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6 Answers 6

OmniGraffle from The Omni Group might be just what you're looking for. It's a commercial application but it's significantly cheaper than Illustrator. I've been using it for a good few years now as a better alternative to Visio, mainly to draw network diagrams, however I did use it a few times also to draw app icons, etc.

It supports exporting to PNG, SVG and a host of other formats (however I don't think Illustrator's format is supported).

They offer a 30-day demo version as well, so you can download it and try it out and see if you like it. Once you decide to go ahead with it, there are two versions: a standard and a pro - have a look at a feature comparison and decided which one you need.

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Intaglio is described as traditional Mac drawing with the power of Mac OSX

http://www.purgatorydesign.com/Intaglio/

Mapdiva produces two vector programs Artboard and Ortelius which are very commendable

http://www.mapdiva.com/

I have only ever used Drawberry, which is an easy to use powerful application:

http://raphaelbost.free.fr/DrawBerry.html

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Another one to check out is iDraw.

Also, if your need is short-term try a brief subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Might also be good for one-time file conversions so you can then get stuff into formats that work with less expensive applications. FWIW.

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Sketch boasts an impressive feature set, and I'm personally finding it very useful for the two tasks you described.

Paintcode caters to the same needs, but trades some power in the drawing tools for tight integration with Mac/iOS drawing code.

As of October 2012, both apps have recently received major upgrades, and are regularly updated.

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Vectormagic will help with the conversion to vector images.

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Adobe Illustrator.

You probably didn't want to hear this, because it's outrageously expensive, but it's the standard for a reason. Inkscape is free and has a good number of features, but the user experience is pretty terrible. Every other (cheaper) commercial offering I've used lacked even basic features that Illustrator had a decade ago.

I've tried using cheaper programs, but when they cost 1/10th what Illustrator does (or less), they invariably end up being 1/10th the program that Illustrator is, too. I've not actually been able to complete a full image without exporting to SVG, and loading it into Inkscape to finish the job.

Maybe there's something out there I've missed (and I'd love to hear about it), but in my mind, there's two options: suck up having to deal with a lousy UI and use Inkscape, or suck up having to pay $600 and buy Illustrator.

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