Layout/Draw app suggestions

Hi friends,

I’m looking for recommendations for an MacOS or iOS drawing/design app that will allow me to make basic shapes (rectangles, squares, circles, etc.) to exact sizes (for instance, a 1.5" x 1/4" rectangle), and rotate the various shapes to precise angles (30º, 45º, 90º, etc.). I’m wanting to layout/design a stick figure that I have in mind, and adjust the exact placement of the arms and legs, before I actually build it out of wood. Nothing too complicated or difficult.

Thanks in advance!

In the past I have use to make shapes, and text, and rotate and move them around.

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That’s a great idea! I didn’t even think about that! Thanks!

I like OmniGraffle. Through work I can get the edu discount. I consider $90 a steal for an app as powerful as this. I think $150 is the regular price.

Canvas Draw for macOS is the Swiss Army Knife of graphics programs. Support of shapes, dimensions, and angles is all there.

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While I don’t use it much these days I enjoy Canvas DRAW 6 for macOS. $249 perpetual license or $89/year. I use it mostly for lightweight architectural stuff, such as my house’s floor plans and furniture planning. I find that it is in the spirit of the original MacDraw (easy to use) while offering much power. You can size any object by entering measurements and rotate by entering degrees. Canvas was a long time Mac program that disappeared from the Mac for a few years and then returned. Unfortunately technical illustrators in certain disciplines might prefer the more powerful Windows editions.

However, you might find less expensive solutions that meet your needs.

@james.cutler, but at $249 it’s very cost prohibitive. Especially for such a minor little project that I’m working on. But I do appreciate the suggestion. :+1:t5:

I’ve used an app which I think used to be called iDraw and is now called Graphic. $30. and the App Store.


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I’ve long used Intaglio. $89

Nathan Duke wrote: “I’ve long used Intaglio. $89”

I like Intaglio too though I don’t use it much anymore. I originally got it because it could import MacDraw Pro files, which it did pretty well. But it’s worth noting that it hasn’t had an update for two years and their iOS version which was also nice) is no longer on the app store. The current version does at least open on Catalina. Whether all of the features are still intact is an exercise for others. They have a 30 day demo.

Powerpoint, especially if you would like to do 3D. There’s even a perspective preset. You can rotate directly in 2D or 3D. You can combine or merge shapes, and move them around. You can do one or two point perspectives, and you can also bevel. What might be a plus for you is the ability to animate. And it’s no biggie to scale something and print it out in Powerpoint or import it into Word. It will also import data about sizes, etc. from Excel or Word.

I don’t know anything about Pages. If you have Powerpoint and Pages, check out which one suits your needs. At least for Powerpoint, there are tons of excellent tutorials out there and at the Microsoft site. IMHO, it’s the next best thing to Illustrator or a CAD application, all of which can deplete your bank account. And you can get up and running quickly.

SketchUp would certainly do everything you want to do, and much more.
It’s not as simple as some of the other choices being mentioned, but you would be spared the frustration of trying to make lesser options do something they cannot do. SketchUp can and will do what you’re looking for.
You would find that there’s some amount of “learning curve” with using it, but there are plenty of tutorials and online help.
There is a free version for personal use, and even the free version is very capable.
It’s now a cloud-based app, which I haven’t tried – I still use the older downloaded app. I’ve been using it for years, for doing 3D furniture and woodworking designs.
Go to www dot sketchup dot com.

Pages. Keynote. Affinity Designer. Affinity Publisher. Pixelmator. PowerPoint. SketchUp. There are dozens upon dozens of inexpensive (or free) apps—particularly for the Mac.

Pages will let you do this. It’s very precise down to pixel level or 0.1mm. You simply need to switch into Page Layout mode to make it easiest to use (turn off Header, Footer, Body from the Document panel). Only thing to watch out for, is if you add a text area for keeping working notes or anything, switch to the Styles/Arrange panel and set Text Wrap to ‘None’ for each text element you add.

I like GrowlyDraw. It’s free and quite capable for drawing measured vector graphics.

A little outside the box (sorry!), you can use something like OpenSCAD. Mostly I use it for 3D, but I have used it for precision 2D as well. It is a text based language, so you get complete precision of everything, as well as variables and such to allow related sizes, at the expense of having to do some maths instead of dragging things around. But for precision, it is great.

I used it to create a SVG to cut out a bunch of shapes on my ScanNCut, and it was great for that.

I wish there was a version that used JavaScript instead of their kind of weird functional language, but it works.