$589.00. This is the price tag for Adobe Illustrator CS5 located on the cost competitive Amazon.com. And it only gets higher from there. Not only is Adobe Illustrator costly, it is also difficult to use, especially if you are a novice. If you are looking for similar programs online that are fast, user friendly and cheap read on. There are a large number of open source programs from only communities that allow you to use most of the illustrator program features for free.
Let’s take a quick look at seven of the most popular ones:
1. Corel Draw – Probably the best software in terms of performance and functionality. However, due the brand name attached to it, it is also the most comparable in price. Let’s be honest, if you’re going to spend the money for Corel Draw, just go ahead and by Adobe Illustrator. If you have a life-long vendetta against Adobe products, this is your choice.
2. Gimp – This software will work with the Linux, Mac, Windows, SunOpenSolaris and FreeBSD platforms. It is one of the best free programs that you can get if you want an illustrator. It has a large user community and a list of tutorials. The official site is where you can get help with its primary operations and functions.
3. Seashore – this is another zesty program that only runs on the MAC operating system. But it runs beautifully featuring textures, gradients anti-aliasing for brush strokes and text. It supports alpha channel and multi-layer editing. It uses technology similar to the Gimp software.
4. Xara Xtreme – Xara is a general purpose illustrator that works for most Unix platforms including Linux, FreeBSD. It was known before as Xara LX, and is based on the format that was made for windows.
5. Inkscape – This is a Vector graphics editor that is also an open source freebie. It is similar in style to Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, Corel Draw and Xara X. It uses of a scalable Vector graphic and open XML-based W3C standard
6. Serif DrawPlus – Serif is a free open source software that mimics the best mature commercial editing programs. It has just as many of the intuitive tools as the illustrator including , “curve editing”, “ curve Smoothing” and “Quick Shapes”. This software also offers you a variety of templates and other resources to make you experience even better.
7. Creative Docs.NET – This is a wonderful and relatively simple application for the Windows Platform only. It has a nice drag and drop interface (which Adove Illustrator does NOT) and a friendly interface for making curves and merging shapes.
You do not have to spend a small fortune to find a program that can give you quality tools. There are many open source communities online that offers up free software with great capabilities.