Adobe Illustrator is the standard for vector drawing programs. However, it is a bit pricey, and is more program than most people need. In the past two years several less expensive, but capable, vector drawing programs have entered the market. VectorDesigner is one of these programs.
When you first open VectorDesigner you notice the simple, unintimidating, interface. You have a few tools at the top and the Inspector on the side. Inspectors seem to be the “in thing” for software these days.
You can draw in VectorDesigner by creating a path point by point, or by drawing freehand. If you draw freehand there is a menu option to smooth out your path. Drawing is incredibly smooth, especially with the point by point method. Adobe should pay attention here. However, smoothing a path can be a little annoying. You have to select the path, choose to edit the path, then choose to smooth the path from the menu or using the key combination. To smooth again, you have to continually choose to the edit the path first. It seems like too many steps.
You can also draw standard shapes using the shapes tool. Resizing, squashing, and selecting shapes or anything you draw is easy. Just select the object, and the drag on of the points on the box surrounding the selection.
Filling an object, and controlling the size of the stroke is done through the Inspector. Gradients can be applied here also. The gradient tool is fantastic. Once again, Adobe should pay attention. Instead of controlling the gradient by dragging a line in the area you want shaded you control the gradient through a gradient box in the inspector. A great idea.
One of the coolest features in VectorDesigner is the ability to fill a shape with an image. You can choose an image from iPhoto or choose an image from a slew of pre-made categories/galleries from a Flickr browser. You can also import a file or choose to take a picture using your iSight (effects included).
Once the image is imported you can adjust the image with an iPhoto like window which gives you control over saturation, brightness, contrast, and more. You can also apply a ton of filters to your image from the filters menu.
The text tool in Vector Designer is fairly standard. You can draw on a path, but it did take me a little while to figure out how to do this. There is a nice text control window that opens when you select your text for controlling spacing and other aspects.
Another nice touch in VectorDesigner is that directions appear on the bottom of the screen for the tool you choose.
Overall, VectorDesigner is a great vector drawing program packed with features. It is a great alternative to Adobe Illustrator for those on a budget, for students, or for those who just want to try out vector drawing. A downloadable demo is available from TweakerSoft at http://tweakersoft.com/vectordesigner/index.html. I look forward to seeing VectorDesigner grow in future releases.