Om­niGraf­fle 6.1

A pow­er­ful vec­tor tool for tech­ni­cal draw­ing and lay­outs

Mac Format - - RATED - De­vel­oper The Omni Group, om­n­i­group.com Re­quires Easy, flex­i­ble draw­ing tools Some ob­vi­ous sten­cils miss­ing

Om­niGraf­fle works with vec­tors rather than pix­els, so your draw­ing stays crisp, how­ever far you scale it up and down. This up­date – from 6 to 6.1 – sports a revamped in­ter­face, new in­spec­tors and styling tools, and support for Vi­sio 2013 files.

Its in­spec­tors can now be floated or bro­ken out into dis­crete panes, sev­eral of which can re­main in view at once – which is great if you’re adding pre-de­fined sten­cils from one and styling them on another.

The sten­cils are real time-savers if you’re build­ing a web­site wire­frame or de­sign­ing soft­ware. Where they’re lack­ing, though, is in space-plan­ning. There are out­lines for beds and even grand pi­anos, but some ob­vi­ous ob­jects such as show­ers and ta­bles are con­spic­u­ous by their ab­sence.

Each doc­u­ment can han­dle mul­ti­ple can­vases (pages), each with lay­ers that can grow as re­quired. The lay­ers panel is very well thought out, dis­play­ing your doc­u­ment con­tents as de­scrip­tive thumb­nails or a grid of naked icons. We pre­fer the lat­ter, but things can start to get con­fus­ing if you’ve placed a lot of text; the de­scrip­tions are out for ‘Aa’, in each in­stance.

The text pal­ette lacks a live font pre­view and it feels like a ret­ro­grade step go­ing back to an un­styled list of type­face names. It main­tains your Font Book groups, but the fonts inside them aren’t or­gan­ised by name the way they are in the over­ar­ch­ing All Fonts group, so find­ing the one you want can take some time if you have a large li­brary.

That’s our only grum­ble, though. Ev­ery­thing you place on the can­vas can be styled in­de­pen­dently – with fills, gra­di­ents and dif­fer­ent stroke types. The fills them­selves have Pho­to­shop-like blend modes such as screen and darken, and if you up­grade to Pro ($199) you can blur and pixel­late un­der­ly­ing ob­jects.

The or­gan­i­sa­tional chart tools are a high­light and easy to use; se­lect­ing a par­ent node be­fore click­ing the tool drops a new off­spring onto the can­vas where it will be al­ready con­nected to its par­ent and ready for repo­si­tion­ing.

The scal­ing tools are in­tel­li­gent too, although Adobe Il­lus­tra­tor just edges it. Om­niGraf­fle lets you change the size of an ob­ject with mul­ti­ple cor­ners and curves so you can main­tain its ex­ist­ing proportions and avoid dis­tended shapes, but it doesn’t have Il­lus­tra­tor’s nine-slice scal­ing fea­ture that lets you mark out dis­crete ar­eas whose proportions should be main­tained while oth­ers are stretched.

But Om­niGraf­fle is great value at £70 (con­sider that Il­lus­tra­tor alone costs be­tween £211 and £328 a year, de­pend­ing on how you choose to pay). Up­grad­ing to Om­niGraf­fle Pro adds in shared styles, a pre­sen­ta­tion mode, and a wider range of ex­port for­mats among other fea­tures, but for most users, the £70 op­tion will suf­fice. Nik Rawl­in­son

At just £70, Om­niGraf­fle is a great value and flex­i­ble tool for de­sign­ing pix­elper­fect vec­tors and charts Om­niGraf­fle takes some learn­ing to get the best out of it, but ul­ti­mately, the re­sults are worth the ef­fort.

The built-in sten­cils save time when build­ing app and web­site wire­frames, or plan­ning room lay­outs.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion/chart­ing tools are sim­ple and au­to­mat­i­cally build node con­nec­tions.

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