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Mac Software Review: Lineform

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Sketching out artwork, at least on my computer, has never seemed to be a viable way for me to get my ideas to travel from my imagination onto my monitor.

Even with my graphic tablet, which at least gives me a fighting chance at making such things happen, I’ve found it best if I sketch out my ideas on paper and then get them onto my computer through the use of my scanner.

Photoshop and Illustrator have allowed me to create many beautiful and fascinating graphics over the few years that I’ve been working with it.

However, I’d always begin my work with a pencil and pen. Line-work, you see, was my bane. Sure I could grab an electronic pen and scribble about with a graphic-tablet, but I was never able to really get in there and make sense of what I was drawing. It was just easier to work the pencil and eraser than it was to work with the pen tool and the “undo” button. No question.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I loaded up Freeverse’s line-art drawing program, Lineform, onto my iMac and subsequently found myself reaching less and less for my pencils.

Winner of a 2006 Apple Design Award, Lineform is a new vector drawing program from Freeverse.

Programmed as a universal OS X application, the first thing that made me sit up and take notice was how fast Lineform launches. Once I’ve clicked on it, the icon in my toolbar barely has time to bounce two times before I’m ready to get to work.

Lineform is just as fun as it is useful. Whether you are planning to simply draw for the sake of drawing or design a flier, poster, logo, floor plan, web site, t-shirt, or magazine layout, it’s all right at your finger-mouse, or electronic pen-tips.

Simple and direct, each type of tool (be it selection, editing, brush, pen, etc.) or effect is broken down into smaller windows, which can easily be hidden to make the display as simple (or complex) as you desire.

Grabbing a hold of your mouse or graphic pen, you are instantly able to begin sketching out any idea that you might have in your imagination.

Draw something too small and want to make it larger? Select it and you are instantly able, with intuitive markers, to push or pull your line work into whatever shape it was meant to be in.

Everything is perfect except the loop in the middle isn’t the right size or shape? Click on it and change just that loop. In fact, every segment is editable.

Sure, I’m trying to keep it fairly simple as I’m a simpleton, but you can see where this program can come in handy with detailed projects.

Lineform supports many features you have come to expect in Photoshop and Illustrator, such as layers, Boolean operations, and Bézier editing.

Freeverse has also been hard at work updating Lineform, now at 1.2.5. One thing they will be adding is advanced PDF support. Not only can you open and view a PDF in Lineform — with this upgrade, scheduled for Spring — but you are able to pull the PDF's pieces apart and edit away to your heart's content.

Of course, you can't edit the PDF's text other than resizing it, but you can always clear out the text and replace it. Everything else, though, is fair game. It is a very cool feature, and I hope it will be included shortly.

What is most astonishing is the price, only $80 – though it looks like you can save another $20 if you buy it through Amazon.

I’m actually singing the praises of a graphic design program that cost me less than the graphic tablet I’m using it with! Oh, how I wish that there were always such a wonderful meshing of performance and price when it came to software like this.

While it may not allow me to throw away all of my other graphic design software, Lineform certainly has become the first tool that I use, especially when I’m working on something that will ultimately take shape from sketched out line-art.

Lineform is well worth the price and well worth your time to check it out if you’re a Mac user that is interested at all in working with vector art on your computer.

Freeverse has a movie showing the program in action. They also have a demo to try.

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About Michael Jones

  • http://aracatac.wordpress.com/ Yari

    But it only works with OS 10.4, my OS is 10.3.9

    Rats!