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Inkscape 0.46

I do most of my artwork with CorelDRAW version 11, and today I was encouraged to try Inkscape (again). Now the last time I tried Inkscape (about two years ago), it just wasn't even close to powerful enough for my needs. I'd get supremely frustrated if I tried to use it for anything big too; it was missing a large number of the features (especially PowerClip) that I (ab)use heavily to create drawings like this.

So I played around with it, and it's improved a lot over the last couple of years, but it's still incredibly weak in its handling of clipping objects, which are pretty much essential to all of my shading. Its clipping support has gone from a usability grade of F to a grade of D+; that's an improvement, but it has a long way to go. Overall, it went from a D- to B-; there's a lot to like there, but it feels very incomplete compared to its commercial competitors. Much of what it improves over CorelDRAW 11 is stuff that CorelDRAW X4 or even CorelDRAW 12 has, if I ever get around to upgrading; and there's a lot that CorelDRAW does that it doesn't.

So if you ever talk to the Inkscape people, this is what I'd need to see them change (at a minimum) for me to consider switching to it:
  • A clipping system (like PowerClip) that (A) doesn't destroy or hide the clipping object, (B) lets me readily alter the clipping object's shape, (C) lets me easily add multiple objects to the clipping object or remove them on a whim, and (D) lets me go inside the clipping object and alter its contents without removing them first. Their clipping system does none of these.
  • An objects docker that shows the entire document tree. Maybe Inkscape has such a thing, but I couldn't find it, and I looked all over. This is an incredibly useful tool, and I refer to it frequently.  It has other dockers (right-side tool panels); there's no reason it can't have this one too.
  • Direct import of CorelDRAW .cdr files; I won't switch if I can't bring my artwork with me.  Having a dubiously-supported third-party tool doesn't really cut the mustard.
  • Object blend. I use this a lot, and while their path thing can do this (I think), it seems very cumbersome compared to simply selecting two objects and clicking "Blend."
  • Right-click zoom-out. When you have the zoom tool selected, the right mouse button should zoom back to the previous zoom level, not pop up a menu. There is not even a button anywhere in the interface that I can click on to perform this same simple task right now, which makes navigating around the picture a real chore.
  • An actual useful right-click menu for the node tool. I expect node-related operations to be on its menu, not object-related operations.  Having to move the mouse up to the toolbar for every node operation involves a lot of wasteful mouse motion.
This doesn't even get into printing support, color management, paragraph text, or any of a hundred little niceties that are missing. About the only thing it gives me over CorelDRAW is bug fixes for some features, and I'm willing to place bets those bugs have been long since fixed in newer versions of CorelDRAW.

On the plus side, some features I did like in Inkscape were its nice handling of alpha on all objects and its ability to easily gaussian-blur objects.  Those are really neat features, great for performing really sophisticated shading, and I'd love to have them be a part of my standard toolset; but things like PowerClip and blend and other tools I use daily are more critical to me.

So, well, good try, guys, and keep it up; you'll be competitive eventually, but for now, Inkscape is still a little too weak for me to use regularly; but, unlike two years ago, I can at least now see myself potentially using it in the future, if the feature set becomes capable enough for my needs.


Uh, oops, didn't sign in when I posted that ^^;