I have some experience with CAD, inventor and things like that. I would really love if there were a graphics program that can draw with dimensioning so that I can get precise lines/angles etc. Then output to photoshop pen lines or something like that.

Does there exist anything like this?

  • 1
    Most CAD software will save dxf or dwf.. Illustrator can open those.
    – Scott
    Jul 1 '14 at 22:55
  • dont use dxf, unless you want to rebuild the look and feel from scratch. Make a pdf and use that as basis.
    – joojaa
    Jul 2 '14 at 6:42

I use illustrator and a plugin from Hotdoor called CADTools. It's a great plugin that ads many cad tools to illustrator. I use it for adding dimensions to dielines I've drawn, but there's a bunch of other stuff it does too. Check it out, it might do what you are looking for. https://www.hotdoor.com

  • You dont really need hotdoor for the measurements. Vanilla illustrator will do this fine.
    – joojaa
    Jul 2 '14 at 6:40
  • CADTools allows me a bit more in the way of dimensioning tools IMO. But it has been a while since I used the vanilla measurements tool Jul 2 '14 at 11:21
  • The primary reason to use something like illustrator is to get different looks and feels and the dimensioning tool of CADtools isn't ideal in this sense. Its also very overpriced for something that even a person with minimal aptitude in technology can make in a hour or so. Tough there are lots of these things ultimately the need is quite minimal for a toolset that gives you what cad was 10 years ago.
    – joojaa
    Jul 2 '14 at 13:19
  • To each their own I guess. That plugin saves me a ton of time when I have to add precise dimensions to a dieline I've created. I use it all the time. Jul 2 '14 at 14:00

A vector drawing tool like Illustrator, Inkscape, Xara etc.. is probably the best bet. They are much like CAD applications with a what you see is what you get like preview, so CAD for graphics design if you may.

Illustrator is better at certain things than corresponding engineering applications because it allows you to preview the look and feel. One should not discount this as engineering is about documentation and good pictures are definitely something that can make any documentation much more likely to be read. But mainly good pictures save time.

Traditional illustration

Image 1: More traditional line illustrations made with Illustrator

Then there's the possibility of actually working in tandem with your CAD/Math application. While the development of geometric constraints is easy in the cad its hard to get polished images out of the cad if your not looking for 3d renders.

Reworked style for cad drawing

Image 2: Reworked style for a simple 3d CAD drawing using Illustrator

Then last but not least the trip from Illustration software to Photoshop is short but not always easy. Tough certainly doable. Painting colors this way can be quite a good idea.

PS: All images scalped form my home machine and are on purpose chosen based on simplicity.


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