Serif's vector editing tool DrawPlus (opens in new tab) isn't really aimed at professional designers; its natural audience is primarily to be found among design enthusiasts and amateurs. Yet this PC tool is suprisingly capable and definitely worth a look; the free version (opens in new tab) is an obvious stop-gap for the cash-strapped designer, while the full-priced tool is still a fraction of the cost of Adobe Illustrator (opens in new tab).
Designed to be intuitive in use, DrawPlus has a wide range of tools that mirror functionality in Illustrator, but in a more approachable manner. There are also some nice extra features that are actually implemented in a more user-friendly way than Adobe’s software - 3D being a prime example, where you can quickly make an object 3D via extrusion, apply a wide range of 3D styles or draw your own bevel profile that’s instantly applied to your object.
Today Serif releases the latest version of DrawPlus, 'X6 - The Complete Graphics Studio'. Retailing at $99.99/£81.69, it's available directly from Serif (opens in new tab). The new features include:
- 64-bit engine: DrawPlus is now fully optimised for 64-bit computers.
- Arc tool: This new, intuitive tool makes drawing intricate arcs easier. Simply drag out an arc to a desired length and customise properties like curvature.
- Spiral tool: A new tool for creating spirals. Simply drag out a spiral onto the page and customise the number of turns and spacing between line segments.
- Stencils: This new feature offers a wide selection of ready-made stencil templates which can be painted or sketched over. There is also the option to create bespoke stencils and save each as a template.
- Optical stacking: Intelligent optical stacking makes the ordering of objects on screen simpler. When adjusting the z-order of objects, users don’t have to scroll through all objects on the page; a time saver when working on large, complex designs.
- Text wrapping: Integrate text with objects by setting text to flow around objects and customise wrap settings.
- Improved colour and palette options: Auto-generate a palette of colours from an image and then add the colours to a document palette. DrawPlus’s colour palette also now supports the Pantone GOE colour system, which consists of over 2,000 colours.
We'd love to hear if any of you are using Serif's design software, and for what. Let us know in the comments below!