Drawing Software Reviews

Drawing software covers a really huge range of disciplines, and consequently a very wide variety of programs and there are now a large number available as free downloads and also some which are cloud based. Many of these are ideal for the occasional user who doesn't want to make a significant financial investment in something only used from time to time.

The old dividing lines between types of drawing software have become blurred; whereas it was once okay to say that the two basic types are bitmap and vector, there are now lots of programs that combine these two technologies. However, for the most part, the software that we are focused on here is vector based.

I think its reasonable to further divide vector programs into 3 groups: CAD, 3D Modelling and Vector Graphics. Again, there are many examples of these with feet in 2 or more camps, so these categories are useful really so that we can describe the features and functions available through drawing software, rather than any hard and fast divisions.

CAD

CAD software is generally the most technical of the 3 types, and is typically used in areas like engineering and architecture, for producing scaled and highly accurate drawings. Identified by its primary function as a drafting tool for the production of 2D plans, elevations and sections, many high-end CAD programs also have 3D modelling capabilities.

3D Modelling

Designed to produce virtual models of anything from an elephant to a door, this software usually has the steepest learning curve, and is used for a wide variety of applications, from film and animation to aircraft design. Although most 3D programs have 2D scale drawing facilities similar to CAD programs, this is either to enable modelling, or as an add-on feature, and not the core function of the software.

Vector Graphics

Primarily confined to drawing shapes in 2D, vector graphics is used in industries like publishing for text manipulation, illustration and sophisticated page layout and design.

What about bitmap?

The first encounter many people have with drawing software is through a bitmap (pixel based) program like Paint. However, although its really flexible, its not designed to produce design drawings of potental or actual objects, as it can't really be made to draw to scale, and is therefore outside the scope of this website.