Need Drawing Application Recommendations

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Richard Serkes
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Need Drawing Application Recommendations

Post by Richard Serkes » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:47 am

Preferably a FREE application would be nice but I'd pay up to $25 for one that was user friendly and did what I wanted to do. Here's the situation...

I'll take a public domain map in the form of a .JPEG file and try to draw a hiking trail on it. Preview only lets me draw straight lines which isn't a good option. I want to be able to put the cursor on a place on the map and then draw "free hand" along a proposed route. This means straight lines just won't do the trick.

Can anyone recommend an easy-to-use drawing program that will let me import .JPEG files and then draw over the image?

Now let me amend that question. I just remembered I have a copy of Photoshop Elements (v11). It's been years since I used Photoshop Elements. Before I load it on my hard drive, waste space, and have to fight all the Adobe nonsense would Photoshop Elements work?
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Stephen Hart
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Re: Need Drawing Application Recommendations

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:11 am

I've never used Elements, but Photoshop works for this task (see image*), so I think Elements should work well. I believe I've read that Elements can still work as a standalone application, so you might even be able to upgrade.

Other possibilities (I haven't used any of these for this purpose):
Sketchup
Gimp
Pages?

Just about anything with a freehand tool and layers will work. If you want neat dotted or dashed lines, that might take a bit more searching.

If you want to do this on an iPad, SketchBook has a fee version, and there are several other layer-based drawing apps for iOS.

* BTW, that's pre-dam-removal. Much of the area highlighted is underwater or buried in mud now.
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Ray Bentsen
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Re: Need Drawing Application Recommendations

Post by Ray Bentsen » Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:50 am

Another FREE option is the Draw module of Apache OpenOffice. https://www.openoffice.org

Bezier curves can easily be superimposed over a background map, and then curve nodes can be edited to improve curvatures. (see screenshot)

;)
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Richard Serkes
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Re: Need Drawing Application Recommendations

Post by Richard Serkes » Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:53 am

Thank you Stephen and Ray. I looked at Pages but it doesn't do what I want. I'd forgotten about GIMP and it's downloading right now. OpenOffice is a large program and I'd rather not clutter up my hard drive with it for just one small component. I'll try GIMP and report back.
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Re: Need Drawing Application Recommendations

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:29 pm

My experience with Bezier curves is that there's an, er, learning curve.
Just to sketch a trail on a map, you probably want a bitmap painting tool, not a real drawing tool.
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Richard Serkes
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Re: Need Drawing Application Recommendations

Post by Richard Serkes » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:31 pm

GIMP is obviously a Windows program ported over to OS X. It has all the quirks of a Windows program. It has a tool that will do what I want to do but I couldn't figure out how to change the thickness and color of the line. You probably can but it isn't easily found.

Then I downloaded a trial version of Pixelmator. It also had the tool I needed and made it easy to change the width and color of the line. For $15.99 this is probably my best option. I can remember when Pixelmator was first released at $39.99 with the occasional sale price of $29.99. The current price is a bargain.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Stephen Hart
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Re: Need Drawing Application Recommendations

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:29 pm

Richard Serkes wrote:Then I downloaded a trial version of Pixelmator.
Pixelmator has been mentioned on Macintouch a few times.
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Bob Wiswell
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Re: Need Drawing Application Recommendations

Post by Bob Wiswell » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:56 pm

I use Excel. I take a screenshot (shift>cmd>4) of a map and drag/insert it onto an excel worksheet and use insert>shapes>freehand line to draw route lines on the map. I also circle or add an ellipse around cities/features I want to draw attention to or highlight for some reason.

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Re: Need Drawing Application Recommendations

Post by Richard Serkes » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:35 pm

Bob Wiswell wrote:I use Excel. I take a screenshot (shift>cmd>4) of a map and drag/insert it onto an excel worksheet and use insert>shapes>freehand line to draw route lines on the map. I also circle or add an ellipse around cities/features I want to draw attention to or highlight for some reason.
That's a good idea if you have Excel. I settled on Pixelmator. It works just fine and it only cost $15.99.
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Stephen Hart
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Re: Need Drawing Application Recommendations

Post by Stephen Hart » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:07 pm

Richard Serkes wrote:That's a good idea if you have Excel. I settled on Pixelmator. It works just fine and it only cost $15.99.
When you've used it a bit, a mini review here might help other smugglers.
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