FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

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FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:45 pm

Prior to being made redundant in 2013, I worked in the graphic design and print industry for 30 years - yawn! Rolling Eyes - and have used a variety of industry standard software packages on Apple Macs for the last 20 years. However, since leaving the industry and not being able to afford an Apple Mac at home, I was keen to see if my favourite vector drawing programme (Freehand) was available for the PC platform.

After quite a lot of digging about, I was thrilled to hear that it was indeed! bounce

As a bit of background for those of you who don't know anything about Freehand, it was first released by Aldus in the early 1990s, was a very straight forward and user friendly 2 dimensional vector programme to use, and was literally adopted by the vast majority of the industry. As it gradully evolved over the years, with increased features, including when Macromedia acquired Aldus, it seemed to be coming under increasing pressure from Adobe Illustrator - despite the fact that it still had it's hardy band of diehard users not wanting to adapt their skills and re-learn the alternative Illustrator package.

In more recent times, Adobe themselves acquired Macromedia in 2005, stripped Freehand of a few of it's features and incorporated them into Illustrator, and then the inevitable happened - development was first discontinued, and then the package was eventually withdrawn from sale altogether!

Well, the result of all that digging, has revealed that a FREE 30-Day Trial download of the last Freehand MX is still available, which can then be upgraded to a never-expiring full version with the addition of a fully legitimate Adobe-sanctioned Serial No and activation process! bounce

Here are the links if any of you fancy having a bash at using Freehand MX to draw, design, and layout your decal artwork to an industry standard...

FREE 30-Day Trial download - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Once it is installed you can then go to the following link, scroll down for the Serial No, enter it to make it a full version, and then activate it as instructed - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

There is also a dedicated forum here - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - giving you advice all about the package, problem solving, issues, etc. It might well be worth you joining up - I have as CODE343  Wink - although I haven't posted a great deal as yet.

Good Luck chaps! Rolling Eyes
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Ted Creedon on Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:23 am

Anything for free is usually good!  A free package like that is not to be sneezed at.  Nice one, David.

This basic introduction is on the Adobe site - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Juha on Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:05 pm

Just what I needed, thank you!
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  David Napier on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:42 pm

How does it compare to Inkscape David?

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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Zeus on Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:03 pm

Thanks mate, will have a go at the weekend Cool
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Juha on Sat Apr 16, 2016 1:39 pm

Do you need to install anything for this to work?

I click on the file and nothing happens.
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  RORY O CONNOR on Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:59 pm

I have never gotten around to trying to make decals by vectors-how hard is it to learn the software
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Juha on Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:01 pm

I couldn't get it to work so tried Inkscape instead... It's nice when it does what I want it to do, which isn't very often. It's a steep learning curve. Laughing
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  brian on Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:09 pm

RORY O CONNOR wrote:I have never gotten around to trying to make decals by vectors-how hard is it to learn the software

Have never played around with this software, but most vector based software is similiar.

There is a lot to learn, but in saying that, you would definatly reap the rewards as artwork will be far sharper. Once you get the hang of the basics, its pretty easy to work with. For me, sourcing images and getting the artwork printed are the hardest parts of any build. Designing/drawing it is the easy part

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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  David Napier on Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:51 pm

Juha, check out some of the Inkscape tutorials on youtube, I've grown used to the program but am by no means an expert, Bruno directed me to and and also helped me learn early on. I can't compare it to Cowleys program which very likely is better given his line of work.

Vector programs are really the only way to go IMO, once you get going, resizing etc is so simple I'm confident anyone who takes a couple of evenings to learn will be well pleased they did.

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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Juha on Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:23 pm

That's the plan. It takes a lot of time but so far I'm satisfied with what I have.
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:15 am

No problem at all chaps - if someone else can benefit from my discovery then I am a happy man! Very Happy
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:16 am

David Napier wrote:How does it compare to Inkscape David?
Sorry David, but I have absolutely no idea whatsoever as I have never used Inkscape mate? Rolling Eyes
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:17 am

Juha wrote:Do you need to install anything for this to work?

I click on the file and nothing happens.
You have to download and install Freehand MX, Juha. Did you do that? I'm not sure what file you are clicking on to be honest.
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:23 am

RORY O CONNOR wrote:I have never gotten around to trying to make decals by vectors-how hard is it to learn the software
It's difficult to remember Rory - I taught myself about 24 years ago, and have been gradully honing my skills and picking up the odd new tip or technique as the years have progressed. Maybe I know it so well that I take it for granted that it is user friendly? Rolling Eyes

As Juha and Brian stated - it does take a bit of time and work to get fairly confident with it, and know straight away how you actually want to create the shape that you want to end up with.

Not sure if you all know - so please don't take offence if you do! Rolling Eyes - but the beauty of 'vector' software is that it is infinitely scaleable without ANY loss of quality. For example, if you drew a master logo file at 1mm width, you could easily scale it to fit the side of the Houses of Parliament and there would be zero loss of quality - try dong that with a 'raster' (Photoshop, or any equivalent) package.

Likewise, I'm not teaching Grandma to suck eggs lol, but... ...'vector' software is based around drawing a line to define the outline of each block, whereas 'raster' is based around a dot matrix, or series of pixels (small blocks) that change colour gradually between each main colour block. Enlarge one of the latter and between those black and white areas you will see a few mid geys ares at the point of change, but enklarge a 'vector' file and there will be nothing apart from the sharp change from black to white. Wink


Last edited by Cowley on Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:28 am

David Napier wrote:Vector programs are really the only way to go IMO, once you get going, resizing etc is so simple I'm confident anyone who takes a couple of evenings to learn will be well pleased they did.
Agree completely, David. Wink Over time you will build up a library of logo masters than you can simply copy & paste into your latest artwork file, confident that it can be scaled or changed in colour, without any issues at all. Imagine the work to enlarge a 'raster' image from a smaller master, or even change a 'raster' image from full colour to black & white?
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:35 am

brian wrote:
RORY O CONNOR wrote:I have never gotten around to trying to make decals by vectors-how hard is it to learn the software

Have never played around with this software, but most vector based software is similiar.

There is a lot to learn, but in saying that, you would definatly reap the rewards as artwork will be far sharper. Once you get the hang of the basics, its pretty easy to work with. For me, sourcing images and getting the artwork printed are the hardest parts of any build. Designing/drawing it is the easy part
Agree completely, Brian. Wink
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:49 am

In most 'vector' illustration programmes - well, I assume 'most' as I've never used anything but Freehand or Illustrator? - you can...

- Edit the colour of any block with one click on the colour.
- Scale an image by simply clicking and dragging a corner away - with 'Shift' pressed if you want to maintain the proprtions.
- Type your text in a specific font, convert it to outlines, and modifiy it if required.
- Draw a rectangular box, draw an overlapping circle, triangle, etc, and then merge them together to create one single outlined block of colour.
- Trace logo scans using the 'Trace' tool, and then tidy it up if required - usually a simple trace of a larger logo is perfect once reduced down to 1/43 scale.
- Mix and edit colours with ease using the CMYK colour mixer, or specify Pantone Colours from a swatch.
- Draw a random straight sided shape using individual points, and then convert each point to a smooth Bezier curve by clicking on the point, changing the type, and then dragging the 'handles' around.
- Cut any object out of another object, say if you have a black block on the side of a red car, and wanted the text in the middle to match the colour of the red that you have just sprayed. Simply cut out your text image from the black block which will give you a clear 'window' to see the bodty colour paint to show 'through'.

...I could go on... Rolling Eyes
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  brian on Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:31 am

Cowley wrote:In most 'vector' illustration programmes - well, I assume 'most' as I've never used anything but Freehand or Illustrator? - you can...

- Edit the colour of any block with one click on the colour.
- Scale an image by simply clicking and dragging a corner away - with 'Shift' pressed if you want to maintain the proprtions.
- Type your text in a specific font, convert it to outlines, and modifiy it if required.
- Draw a rectangular box, draw an overlapping circle, triangle, etc, and then merge them together to create one single outlined block of colour.
- Trace logo scans using the 'Trace' tool, and then tidy it up if required - usually a simple trace of a larger logo is perfect once reduced down to 1/43 scale.
- Mix and edit colours with ease using the CMYK colour mixer, or specify Pantone Colours from a swatch.
- Draw a random straight sided shape using individual points, and then convert each point to a smooth Bezier curve by clicking on the point, changing the type, and then dragging the 'handles' around.
- Cut any object out of another object, say if you have a black block on the side of a red car, and wanted the text in the middle to match the colour of the red that you have just sprayed. Simply cut out your text image from the black block which will give you a clear 'window' to see the bodty colour paint to show 'through'.

...I could go on... Rolling Eyes

Some of these may sound complicated, its difficult to write out these but David has done a great job explaining it. If you were to see someone doing it you would see how easy it is.

I have library of logo built up over the years, anything that I draw goes into that library and can be accessed any time I need that logo. If im drawing the artwork for a model, and I already have all the logos drawn, I could have put together and scaled within 2 hours start to finish. Of course if you have to search for logos/image etc it will take longer.

Can I just add a few more things to the thread since it will come in handy for anyone learning this software.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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These are two sites where vector images have been shared for you to download and use. Some will be .AI files, that can be opened in Adobe Illustrator, some will be .CDR file that opens in Corel Draw and some will be .EPS which is like a general format which can be opened in both (David can freehand open .eps)

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VectorMagic is a great resource that is similar to the trace option David mentioned above, however Ive found this program will produce better results. I have a standalone version of this but you can still use the online version and get the same results.
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This is basically what tracing an image is.
Top left is the original image
Top right scans the image and 'traces' over the outlines of the original image, like you would with tracing paper and using one long pen stroke.
Bottom Right removes the original image. What remains is the pen stroke, called Stroke in Illustrator, that can be edited to make it thicker/thinner, and the colour that fills that area inside the stroke, called Fill in Illustrator. Again this can be edited to be a solid colour or gradient.
Bottom Left shows how you can zoom in and the quality is sharp, not matter how far you zoom.

The beauty of tracing is great when it comes to those old logos that are impossible to find online. Im now trying to collect old rally programs as these are great for getting old sponsors etc. Scan the image from the rally program, trace it with either vector magic or inbuilt tracer, remove anything around the logo you done need, recolour it (a case of click the Fill, click to open colour drop down, click your new colour) Three clicks and you have it recoloured.



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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  newt5550 on Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:22 pm

I've found a much easier way to do decals.

Get someone else to do them Laughing .............................David Wink
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Zeus on Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:07 pm

newt5550 wrote:I've found a much easier way to do decals.

Get someone else to do them Laughing .............................David Wink

Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:35 pm

Many thanks Brian, and there's am excellent post that you have followed my post with as well - very informative, and very helpful.

It's strange really, as having used vector software for so long, it simply becomes second nature to create all of my artwork and logo files in such a manner. Freehand certainly wins the battle vs the much more popular Adobe Illustrator, although the former is incredibly much easier and nayural to use than the latter. Don't get me wrong - I can use Illustrator - but simply choose to use Freehand instead.
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:36 pm

newt5550 wrote:I've found a much easier way to do decals.

Get someone else to do them Laughing .............................David Wink
lol! Laughing lol! Laughing lol! Laughing

Ha ha ha ha ha ha, I like your style, Chris! Rolling Eyes
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Zeus on Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:42 pm

I realised a flaw with me downloading this programme.... I need to finish my 10x DZC002 first
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Re: FREE Freehand MX vector drawing programme

Post  Cowley on Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:34 pm

lol!
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