Best drafting/illustration software for OS X?
March 6, 2009 10:38 PM   Subscribe

My favourite drawing application that I've used is Ashlar's Graphite, but it is extremely overpriced. I'm looking for a tool that is both intuitive and accurate, snaps are very important. My problem is that many architecture/drafting applications are mired in extended functionality that I'm not interested in BUT most illustration software doesn't (seem to) have the precision I'm looking for. Is there a middle ground between architectural drafting software and illustration applications? What are my options on a Mac?

A good tool is great, one with a fantastic interface is even better. The only thing I've found thus far is Inkscape. What else is out there?
posted by serial_consign to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What are you using it for?
posted by xammerboy at 10:49 PM on March 6, 2009

I've been a big fan of Canvas for a while. I'm not in design, but science, and currently use Canvas X for making figures. It is easy to use and does indeed have snap options (not that I use them, I had to check).
posted by kisch mokusch at 10:54 PM on March 6, 2009

posted by beige at 2:09 AM on March 7, 2009

Response by poster: What am I using it for? Semi technical drawings. I have an architecture background, but most of the Mac architecture applications have pretty bad UI to begin with AND are production oriented.. to much shit going on.

I've used sketchup extensively and while it is handy for quick 3D models it is horrendous for 2D work.

There has to be a middle ground between say Vectorworks and Graphite! Kish Mokusch - Canvas looks quite promising except that it is on Windows and I was hoping for a Mac based silver bullet. I guess if I decide to run a virtual machine this could be the solution (I'd really rather not though).

Any other suggestions?
posted by serial_consign at 5:26 AM on March 7, 2009

What makes SketchUp horrendous for 2D work? I'm not clear on what you mean by 2D work - are you talking about creating 3D models based on 2D sketches, or adding textures to 3D models, or incorporating a 3D model into a 2D illustration? I'm assuming you know that you can import images into SketchUp, and turn off perspective. I would like to understand why SketchUp isn't a good fit here.
posted by oulipian at 7:17 AM on March 7, 2009

Best answer: "Canvas looks quite promising except that it is on Windows and I was hoping for a Mac based silver bullet."

Say what? There's a Macintosh version of Canvas, called Canvas X. "Semi-technical drawings" is almost a perfect description of the kind of work Canvas X is ideal for, and "middle ground between drafting... and illustration" almost perfectly describes it.
posted by majick at 7:20 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hi Oulipan,

I've used sketchup for a few years now. I don't like it. My love for that program ended when I modeled a curtain wall with it. Nowhere in my original question did I say anything about 3D modeling. What I'm looking for is a program that sits somewhere between technical drawing and illustration.. I don't think Sketchup is very capable in either of those realms. If you are using it in a way that could prove me wrong, more power to you.
posted by serial_consign at 7:51 AM on March 7, 2009

Response by poster: @majick

That is great! I didn't notice that while perusing the Canvas site. This might be the solution to my problem. If anybody else has any solutions, I'd love to hear them.
posted by serial_consign at 7:53 AM on March 7, 2009

You might also consider OmniGraffle. It has a slick interface and support for grids, snaps, magnets, etc. It's probably more towards the illustration side of the architectural drafting vs. illustration scale than Canvas, but it is much less expensive.
posted by RichardP at 10:15 AM on March 7, 2009

I use Canvas on a Mac, for what it's worth.
posted by kisch mokusch at 2:38 PM on March 7, 2009

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