The V post for #26Tech A-Z Challenge lists some easy to use apps for creating vector drawings, diagrams or plans.
Because this post lands on a Friday it also forms Week 17 of the #52Tech series.
This is a longer post designed for browsing and comparing apps. Scroll down and select any tool of interest.
Vector Drawing and Diagramming
As a new writer I initially believed my world – and therefore planning activities – should be filled with words. Wrong!
Being a visual-orientated learner, pure text drives me crazy. I started sketching out plans, and looking for diagrammatic methods (such as mindmapping) to relieve the visual arctic of working with words all day long. My work grows much richer when I can work out and use timelines, moodboards, digital index cards for scene plotting, and even fictional floorplans.
Looking for ways to flow your scenes, plot your fictional floorplan, or workflow your ideas? How to design and mockup your platform website?
We used to have to resort to hand-drawing (not readily extendable or changeable over time) or the extremely expensive Vector drawing programs like Adobe Illustrator or flowchart program MS Visio for these tasks.
Nowadays, there are many web services and mobile apps that offer flow diagrams, vector drawing and chart functions perfect for us.
After recent upgrades of Adobe products to cloud service toolset Adobe CC (Creative Cloud), in January 2013 Adobe released old (Version 2) versions of Photoshop and Illustrator for free.
If you would like to try out this tool, you can download and install (without support) Adobe Illustrator CS2, for Windows or Mac OS.
The subscription rate for web-based CC Illustrator and the rest of the Adobe stables are also well worth looking into.
Inkscape is the free opensource vector graphics program closely matching Illustrator. For Windows, Mac OSx and Linux desktops. Inkscape has a lively community and a lot of learning resources supporting usage.
iDraw (Mac OS and iOS – iPad)
SmartDraw (Desktop with web view access)
SmartDraw is an expensive software package investment, but offers a growing collection of templates for various diagramming and flowchart drawing types. I’ve fortunately owned the software for a number of years now, although refuse to continuously upgrade it yearly.
SmartDraw diagrams can be shared publically via the SmartDraw website, and there is also a free viewer app for iPhone or iPAD users – although any browser will do.
I particularly enjoy using SmartDraw for floorplanning out my fiction settings, and timeline creation of plot events. However, as a direct competitor with Visio, and expensive as an option, you may look towards some cheaper options (below).
EDraw Max (Windows desktop)
As an Windows only app package Edraw Max offers a lifetime license with upgrades, or a one-year upgrade license for half the price of the above software. There are also student and educational packages.
Note: the EDraw Mind Map package is freeware to download.
OmniGraffle (Mac OS and iPAD)
OmniGraffle 6 is available as a single license or family license for the Mac. But the $50 pricing for the iPAD version may well put a lot of users off purchasing the mobile app, particularly as there are a lot of much cheaper but equally good options for iPad (below). For the desktop app there are Pro and Educational licenses also.
Creately (Desktop and/or Web Service)
Draw.io offers free drawing using simple drag and drops from shapes and flow templates. What is a little different is that you don’t need to register or login to the site – as soon as you go to the link below you can start drawing immediately – although the app may well also query you where to store the diagrams (I was offered a choice between Google Drive or my Dropbox account). Built as a Github project around Google Drive, there is also a Google Chrome Draw.io extension.
Gliffy offers a lot of templates. Diagrams created in Gliffy can be shared including embedded to your own sites. The free user account offers many features, but diagrams can not be saved onsite – they can be downloaded in various formats and saved in that way.
Adobe Ideas (IPAD)
For the iPhone or iPad, Adobe Ideas gives you freeform vector drawing on mobile devices with stylus support, sharing options, and multiple drawing tools.
Obviously designed for tablet usage and sync with Adobe Illustrator, the app is free, but requires in-app subscription purchases to the Creative Cloud for storage above the free 2GB the app comes with.
Appstore: Adobe Ideas
iMockups for iPAD
TouchDraw (iPad and Android)
You will find the other posts under tag: #26Tech or an index post will be provided on May 1st.
A to Z: in April you will find other bloggers providing A to Z posts on many topics, through the 2014 Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
#52Tech: This was also the Week 17 post in the #52tech goal – to investigate and share one technology post once a week for 2014. You can find all the posts indexed via the #52tech tag, or top menu option at hunterswritings.com