On the art and science of algorithmic line drawings.
Gallery of concept visualisation: gallery of methods for explaining complex ideas; everything from exotic 3d stuff to crayon drawing and sticks.
See also interactive visualisations.
The tedious details of making awesome examples
Sketching vector diagrams for your reports. More painful than it should be.
Here’s the stackexchange list.
Here’s my list, in descending order of priority
ipe has, if not a completely intuitive interface, the closest I have seen to an intuitive scientific sketch program interface. It’s simple to learn, although has some oddities - e.g. you change the page size by creating and importing an XML stylesheet. Riiiight.
Also, it can’t export SVG, merely PDF and EPS, each of which are not so much vector graphics standards, as the battleground beneath the standards behind which various graphics companies do battle. See pdf2svg.
Anyway, push through; it’s worth it.
Ipe’s main features are:
- Entry of text as LaTeX source code. This makes it easy to enter mathematical expressions, and to reuse the LaTeX-macros of the main document. …
- Produces pure Postscript/PDF, including the text…
- It is easy to align objects with respect to each other (for instance, to place a point on the intersection of two lines, or to draw a circle through three given points) using various snapping modes…
That last point sounds minor, but it is ingenious. Anyone who has every spent 90 minutes on doing trigonometry to get a pstricks diagram right, and wondered what happened to the thing where computers eliminated drudge work, you will weep upon the sight of it, guaranteed.
Built-in Lua scripting, like everything on the planet.
Handy user contributions by Stefan Huber.
- there is a python graphviz wrapper
- Aaaaaand it renders in jupyter. (see also other jupyter options)
- and traditional style using Rgraphviz
- You probably want it to work mathematically; there is a TeX backend, called dot2tex.
pencil is a fashionable tool for GUI design that happens to be good for lots of tricky things, notably flow charts. It’s built as a browser app so has good compatibility with export and presumably good hackability.
Dia has some neat features; and many confusing ones I can’t imagine the use-case for. if you need to produce specialised diagram types for your project manager, Dia probably has the function. That’s not my area, but it’s nice that it exists.
Dia supports more than 30 different diagram types like flowcharts, network diagrams, database models. More than a thousand readymade objects help to draw professional diagrams. Dia can read and write a number of different raster and vector image formats. […] Dia can be scripted and extended using Python.
Crashes on my recent OSX, though, and I can’t be arsed working out why.
Inkscape can do everything, although I find its Adobe Illustrator pretensions (perhaps unfairly) grating. Aimed at general graphic design, which makes it awkward for sciency stuff.
Asymptote “Asymptote is a powerful descriptive vector graphics language that provides a natural coordinate-based framework for technical drawing. Labels and equations are typeset with LaTeX, for high-quality PostScript output.”
Might be good; haven’t used it. Has a jupyter extension
pstricks/tikz. The classic type-your-diagram-in-then-work-out-what-went-wrong option. I like the idea, but the practice, no. Elegant, powerful, and unless you happen to be doing exactly the right kind of diagram, tedious.
latexdraw Java pstricks GUI. Might be good, but I couldn’t install the damn thing.
xfig combines the imprecision of drawing through GUIs, with the abstruseness and fragility of drawing through code. Listed here for the surpassing beauty of its manual page.
pdf2svg is handy used in conjunction with (almost) any of the above programs to convert between formats.
left-field: See the animation options under presentations
Notice there are no commercial entrants in this race?
I’m too poor for any Autodesk product, and unconvinced of their utility unless I wish to build some kind of major concrete structure.
I did buy Omnigraffle, the much-touted diagram editor for OSX. What a disaster; expensive, unintuitive, over-engineered. Like they ripped of xfig, took out the API and compensated for it by putting bezels on the icons. If you want to waste hours with horribly inscrutable drafting products, there are many open-source options available that can give your that experience for free.
The default matplotlib stylesheet aspires to look like 80s spreadsheet defaults, but if you are not a retrofuturist, you want to change the stylesheet. some of the built-in stylesheets are OK.