Study in blue

Today I have given Real Draw Pro a testdrive, and it is a program with a lot of good and unique things. Unfortunately, there are some things that irritate me utterly in this program too.

What I like:

  • Creating 3D-like elements with ease.
  • Built-in library with styles, click and apply
  • Boolean operators to make complex shapes from primitives
  • Natural Paint styles (NPR).. applying illustration styles with ease.
  • Push-back option: easy weave one object through another, such as a paperclip over a piece of paper.

What I hate:

  • No align and distribute option. Aligning objects is possible but quirky. Group 2 objects and try to align that group with another object… oops.. objects in group got treated as ungrouped items. Equal distribution of objects, for example equal spaces between 3 objects: not possible. The grid brings some relieve but this is a major missing item in my book.
  • No snapping to objects. Very hard to make objects the same size, or stretch to a specific edge of another object. Exact dimensions can be inputted in a dimension box, but that is slow. Only way to work around it is to make use of grid or guidlines, but I find that method quite restricting.
  • Follow path. Great function, allows objects and text to follow path. I do not like the deformation of the orginal object to ‘fit the path’. It would be way better to have a setting that either allows or disallows it. Example: a sphere to follow a square to get a nice pearly edging. What happened: in the corners the sphere became oval or deformed.
  • Gradients: I have thus far been unsuccessful in applying a gradient area vertically. Horizontally is done with ease, but applying such fill rotated 90 deg seems to be impossible. I use heaps of gradients in my vectors, and having the option to apply direction is a dire miss.

The creators of Real Draw Pro are very well aware of the limitations of the product, and in their FAQ they clearly write that Real Draw Pro is not aimed to be a replacement of any other vector or bitmap editor program out there, but that it complements such programs very well. Real Draw Pro offers some unique solutions and approaches to creating graphics intended mainly for the web. And this is exactly what I believe it should be, an addition to my toolbox. Real Draw Pro is VERY cheap, and a trial version is available for a test drive.

Example of a simple vector pencil created with RealDraw Pro, and 3 NPR styles applied to it.
Vector Pencil made in RealDraw Pro and 3 NPR styles applied