Vector graphics and Clipart
Often I need icons for projects I am working on – graphics to go on buttons and controls. Being a photographer, I have sometimes used a photo, processed it with Gimp or Photoshop until it looks like vector graphics, and then used that. Although it does give the flexibility of being able to use an image of anything I can take a photo of, it’s lots of work and then results are not as good as when I get a designer to make a set of custom icons for me. Something though, the nature of the project doesn’t justify hiring someone to generate a set of graphics.
I was very pleased when I came across the Open Clip Art Library. This is a collection of public domain vector graphics. Most files are available in both as a preview PNG (bitmap) and SVG(vector) format. It is easily searchable with tags or by artist. There are presently 9500 images available. So far I have been able to find anything I needed there.
For times when the vector image needs a little editing, Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor, available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. This does everything I need it to, and then some. Opening an SVG file, removing some elements, resizing and recoloring others, then saving it as a bitmap is quick and easy to do. The Inkscape site has a number or tutorials if you are interrested in learning to draw your own images, or apply advanced effects.
The combination of Inkscape and the Open Clip Art Library has turned preparing icon graphics from a tedious chose to a pleasant experience. For someone like me who has always been less interested in the GUI part of an application, this is a very welcome change from other ways of doing it.
In: App development · Tagged with: clipart, graphics, gui, icon, inkscape, vector