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Computer design program for a Mac


I am looking for a computer design program for a Mac. I want to be
able to take a drawing, reduce or enlarge it in size, stretch it
vertically or horizontally, overlap one design onto another, etc. I
don’t need a program to control a mill for wax carving. My design
work is mainly two dimensional. Any suggestions?

Best wishes,
Ed Smith

I would imagine illustrator/photoshop would do…as long as it is
two dimensional. Illustrator for designing with drawing/lines/curves
etc. Photoshop is more manipulation. Unfortunately, since Adobe ate
up Macromedia a few years back, they are now more expensive than
ever! Photoshop elements is an options…it’s a stripped down version
of photoshop. There is also Gimp for mac, which is free, though I’m
not sure how well it works…it’s considered a photoshop ‘work a

Otherwise, I’d suggest searching under under mac for
drawing/graphics programs.


Hi Ed,

If you have one of the newer, Intel Macs you can load a
windows/parallels os onto your mac and run a pc program…


I am looking for a computer design program for a Mac. I want to be
able to take a drawing, reduce or enlarge it in size, stretch it
vertically or horizontally, overlap one design onto another, etc.
I don't need a program to control a mill for wax carving. My design
work is mainly two dimensional. Any suggestions? 

Ed, go to, and look at Dimage Arts
"Color It" program. That’s a venerable paint program for the mac.
Rather a subset of many of the features found in Photoshop and the
like, for much less cash (60 bucks). It should do what you want for a
price you can afford.

If you’ve got an older mac, running a pre-OSX operating system, you
might also consider their “enhance”. A little more money, it adds
layers and a few other useful things, including ability to use many
of the photoshop add ons. But it doesn’t run directly under OS-X,
except in legacy mode or something like that. I’d guess the simpler
Color It program would do what you wish. Documentation is a bit
light in some areas. Some commands and tools you’ll have to
experiment with a bit to fully understand, or read up on the
photoshop equivalents, most of which operate identically, and you can
find a lot more detailed instruction on photoshop or illustrator if
the Color It manual isn’t quite enough. As with any graphics
software, don’t expect to fully learn it well in a half hour…


I want to be able to take a drawing, reduce or enlarge it in size,
stretch it 

Ed, from your question I’m going to gather that you are new at the
computer graphics thing - new-ish, maybe. First thing is the 50-50
decision - ra= ster or vector. Read this:

maybe this:

and maybe this:

If you don’t want shading and tonality, and you do want scaling and
largelyworking with shapes, you’ll likely want a vector graphics
program. 3D programs are largely offshoots of vector graphics, BTW.
As to which exactprogram, I personally don’t do Mac, and it’s the
usual price/features/look-and-feel decision. As another said,
Photoshop is the industry standard raster graphics program,
Illustrator the same for vector graphics…


Just thought of another thing. I often use to evaluate
software - whether it is the right program to use to achieve what I
want done. I would suggest taking a month’s membership and then go
through the training on Illustrator, Photoshop, or other programs,
and evaluate what works best for you. Software is costly so it really
makes sense to be sure that it will do the job before you buy it.
And $25 for a month’s membership is a cheap way to do this.

Also consider downloading the trial software from Adobe to play
around - that way you can really test it out while using

Finally, if cost is an issue, and isn’t it usually :slight_smile: - you could
consider purchasing slightly outdated software such as Illustrator
CS3. Although Adobe have released CS4 I haven’t upgraded yet as I
still find I can do everything I need on the older suite. Sure, the
functionality and the interface have likely improved, and if I was a
graphic designer/web designer then that would be an big deal. But I’m
using it to play around with stuff for jewelry design, so I don’t
need the absolutely latest bells and whistles. Plus, it usually
takes a year or so after the latest major release for the upgrade
prices to drop a bit - that’s usually when I consider upgrading.

Nicole Taylor

Hi Ed,

I think Adobe Illustrator would do the job… I use it quite a bit.
Here’s the link.

Also, if you need help with learning the program I would highly
recommend For a small monthly fee ($25) you have access
to online video training for a heap of different programs. The
training is nicely broken down into short topic specific videos that
get you up and going fast. I have learnt quite a few design and
business related programs effectively using this tool.

Nicole Taylor

Photoshop will do all those things. I’ve been designing jewelry in
Photoshop for years, and it’s the greatest thing ever, IMHO.

Besides the less expensive Photoshop Elements, you can also find
older full versions of Photoshop available on the web for much less.
I found this out recently when I wanted to upgrade my Photoshop. I’d
been happily using my version for years, and when I looked to
upgrade, I found I could only upgrade from three versions back (mine
was four). But a little searching turned up a slightly older version
for cheap that I could upgrade to.

Janet Kofoed

Colorit! 4.5 by Digimage Arts is the design program used by
Waxcutter. It is used with Mac OS10.4 or 10.5, is about $60 and has
all of the tools needed to design jewelry with. Their website is:

John Winters


if you want to literally “draw” on your computer, I think the best
(and quite cheap) choice is to buy a wacom tablet… It comes with a
soft called “corel painter” if you go in the Intuos products…

Works great with Mac.

Have fun,

Photoshop Elements is a basic program with less of a learning curve
than Photoshop. It’s not expensive and it’s interface is actually
pretty elegant. For CAD drafting, I’ve been using VectorWorks for
many years, but it’s probably way more than you need. It is,
however, vector-based and does 3D modeling on the fly.

Pam Lund

There is a pretty good program called Canvas, its produced by ACD
systems. This software was originally produced by Deneba and was
exclusively for Macs. Their latest version no longer supports Macs
but their version 10 does. Version 10 is a little buggy but the
earlier versions are not If you can find and earlier version (7 to
9) they are great and very versatile.

John Bowling

I use GIMP on the mac a lot for image manipulation and creation. For
a free program it’s very good, and has most of the function that
Photoshop has. To be sure Photoshop is superior, but is also very
expensive. Last I checked GIMP doesn’t support CMYK, so it prints in
color average to poor, depending on your set up, but is excellent
for display on a monitor or black and white printing.

There is a free illustrator like program called Inkscape
( which is supposed to be very good as well.


I am looking for a computer design program for a Mac. I want to be
able to take a drawing, reduce or enlarge it in size, stretch it
vertically or horizontally, overlap one design onto another, etc. I
don't need a program to control a mill for wax carving. My design
work is mainly two dimensional. Any suggestions? 

I work on Macs and use Parallels to run PC (.exe) programs. Bootcamp
by itself works but difficultly. Parallels is very close to running
the same as PC but not quite. You’ll have to tweak your keystrokes
and maybe printer setups etc…

I use Inkscape a great deal. I used to use Freehand (Macromedia
which now parts of Adobe and replaced by Illustrator) and switched to
Inkscape when it was much younger, and I liked it then, and even
more so now. Now Inkscape is very good and also easy to install.
using it for many hundreds, if not thousands, of hours I wouldn’t
look anywhere else. Try it it’s free. I believe you will have to
install the developer tools from your OS install disc to run
Inkscape. The website will guide you. It has been sometime since I
had to, but Inkscape outputs.svg, so I think you can import to a CAM
program without any trouble; or very little. My daughter uses
Inkscape and Illustrator (she has to in school) and she prefers

Gimp works well for photos but it just as tedious to draw with, as
Photoshop. My son used to draw in Gimp all the time because it was
very good for shading, very subtle if you are patient enough.

Hope this helps,
Dan Culver

Hi Ed,

You might try these, most have free trials:

Photoshop Elements 6



Google’s SketchUp


Bev Ludlow

I do a lot of graphic design when I’m not making jewelry and metal
art. If you’re interested in doing 3d rendering. Google has an
application that is pretty nice Called ScetchUp. I believe it is
compatible with rapid prototyping machines. They have a free trial

If you’re just doing 2d stuff Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop are
your best bet.

Good Luck,


Ok. I am a serious Mac user and though I have not used it for
developing designs for any of the jewelry that I have made so far.
Here are some thoughts.

First, there is OmniGraffle, which is free and works GREAT! It is
simple to use and I have had great luck in using it for a variety of
applications demanding design work.

Then there is OpenOffice ( It has a program for
doing drawings and I have found it to also do a pretty decent job.

GIMP, ( which I also use, is excellent. I have not had
the issues that have been described…but that may be because of what
I will mention next in my X11 environment. I have found GIMP to work
much better than Photoshop. I have Photoshop, but I hardly use it
because the tools are all located in different areas and I am now
used to GIMP. For a simple-seeming program you can dig and find
things that you have to buy extra extensions for to get to work with
Photoshop. But, I have a background in computer/systems
administration and have that as an advantage. I know that some Pros
have it in their head that GIMP is inferior is some ways, but running
under X11 I have had a GRRREAT time! It just does everything! And,
there are thousands of add-ons that you can load in that do all
kinds of things. Interestingly a number of developers for Adobe have
had input into GIMP (the same ones, I think, that at one point had a
port of it for Solaris and SunOS).

There is more available, too, for the purposes you may seek.

Ok, I am a UNIX guy from way back, so my first thing on my Mac was
to load up a better set of tools for the X11 application (on the
install CD) and all of the development tools. Then I went to and got the ‘ports’ setup. There are thousands,
literally, of very, very cool apps that work only inside of this X11
environment. What I describe is not for the faint of heart as it
takes some manipulation by a REAL systems administrator (like
myself). But, the effort is even better than you could believe.

I have Windows, yeah, in one window. But, I rarely use it. Too many
viruses and it runs Soooo SLlllow. I then have a desktop that is
devoted to X11. I run Gnome with Enlightenment and WindowMaker, with
KDE apps added in for fun. The list of actual apps that I have that
do some type of graphic manipulation is rather large, plus it gives
me all of my favorite play tools (Krecipe my recipe program, plus
Xfig, KLatin/Kverbos for my language studies, plus all of the other
nifty free programs that come with KDE and Gnome.

If the last of this sounds complex, well it was a little bit. But,
after being set up I have an entire set of tools that Linux users
have…and which are really, really cool. It is not for everyone, but
I have to say that my Mac is the best tool I have in my shop for
doing anything electronic.

The other way to get all these tools is to use VMWare, or something,
and load up a copy of Ubuntu (Studio Edition), which is free and
contains everything I mentioned, without any effort at installing, as
it is easier to install than even Windows…and you won’t get any
viruses while you download the OS updates, either. You could then run
Windows, when you need it, in a free copy of the VMWare Player

If anyone wants more you can ping me offline. I am happy
to help support folks if I can, especially if there is a deal to work
out to help me make my own ends meet. :wink:

That’s my $.02.



It comes with a soft called "corel painter" 

Ced is right - Wacom tablets are the coolest thing there is. Corel
Painter is the nearest thing to a paint studio on a computer that I
know of. IMO it’s not any kind of choice for design work, though. Oil
painting with brush strokes, yes. Very rudimentary drawing tools -
nothing at all like Photoshop has. State of the art painting tools,
though. If one wants to PAINT on a computer, it’s the program of
choice. Very cool for that…

I've been designing jewelry in Photoshop for years, and it's the
greatest thing ever, IMHO. 

I’m a software buff - I love to see what is out there, so I go and
look at everybody’s recommendations, just for my own education. So
especially after doing that, today…

Janet is correct, and even more correct than she says. For a raster
graphics program, Photoshop is the very best. It’s also the industry
standard, which is part of why it’s the best. Virtually all
commercial graphics from ad agencies to film to animation to
mom-and-pop print shops use Photoshop. If you get truly qualified on
Photoshop (no small feat) then you can also get work elsewhere, if
it comes to that. Me, I’d look at Macromedia Freehand for a vector
graphics program, if that’s what’s called for -it’s pretty nice…

Photoshop is 1) Far from cheap, 2) Feature rich with a fair learning
curve to use to it’s potential (buy a book at least…)
But…If you want the best, that’s it. Not just another graphics
program, it’s head and shoulders above the rest. Just the color
system will take a month to explore…

For a budget program I like Paint Shop Pro quite a lot - it’s as old
as photoshop…But Photoshop isn’t just reputation or marketing, it
really has the stuff. Plus ALL other graphics programs from CAD to
Rhino recognize Photoshop compatability - it’s the elephant in the

FYI regarding Macromedia Freehand…this product, like all of
Macromedia, was bought up by Adobe. Adobe is no longer updating
Freehand, thought they still sell it, apparently.

You can probably find earlier copies of freehand on ebay…just be
aware that it’s now a dead end product that will no longer be