Freedom of Expression

One of Adobe‘s many dirty little secrets is that they literally invented SVG, but then somehow screwed it up in their own apps. SVGs from Illustrator are often barely usable because their internal structure is so odd, neither Photoshop nor After Effects can read them natively and there are all sorts of other annoyances. For that reason alone I always have Inkscape handy to clean up files that you can find on the Internet or that people generate from specialized statistics and analytical software so I can at least use them as a template when I need to get a working *.ai file for a project. Another nice little app that can produce SVGs is Microsoft’s Expression Design, which you might be pleased to hear is now available for free. Compared to other programs it may appear a bit sparse in features, but it offers a few things that you might find useful like drawing with B-splines rather than Bèziers or even such trivial stuff as having rectangles with adjustable rounded corners without needing an extra effect. Which brings me back to my point – it makes a wonderful alternative for starting to lay out some basic concepts, export them as SVGs and then refine in Illustrator. If you are a web or UI designer you might also enjoy the ability to freely slice up your images, including multiple states and overlapping slices, which will put a satisfied grin on your face and make you forget Adobe‘s clunky Save for Web. So grab it while it’s hot.

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