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I've been using Inkscape to generate PNG's from various SVG files. This works fine for larger images, but for smaller images (like icons), bitmaps appear grainy and extremely anti-aliased at the edges. Is there a better tool - one that can generate crisp edges, even at low resolutions? Mac or Linux, freeware or commercial (hopefully not too commercial) would do.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

No.

The issue is the resolution you are trying to export as. A low resolution image, such as an icon, simply doesn't have a whole lot of pixels to work with.

Typically, icons are either tweaked by hand, or drawn by hand in a raster format from the start. Software just can't make the aesthetic calls on a level like that.

That said, though not SVG based, you could use something like Fireworks which has robust vector tools, but lets you live-preview the raster version. That would get you a bit closer to what you are trying to achieve.

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Thanks for the explanation. Is this generally how icon-sized graphics are done? Are they always tweaked by hand? Sorry if this sounds basic - I'm a programmer, but I've been doing random vector stuff here and there. –  Melllvar Feb 21 '13 at 6:43
    
Yes, they're typically tweaked by hand--often for each size individually. For instance, you may have a 24x24px and a 48x48px version of the same icon, both might be customized differently by hand to optimize various details for each size. –  DA01 Feb 21 '13 at 7:24
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Heres a crash course in pixel hinting, you can use this technique in any vector app that gives you a pixel preview of your work.

http://methodandcraft.com/videos/pixel-hinting-vectors-in-photoshop

It does require manual manipulation of your vector file.

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Thanks for the link! –  Melllvar Feb 24 '13 at 8:46
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