Opacity review

Opacity is a vector drawing tool optimised for interface components. Sounds pretty dry, we realise. But Opacity, and its budget cousin Opacity Express, are tools that have far more going for them than first appears.

It looks great. That should be a no-brainer for a drawing program, but it’s not always the case. And though there are hidden depths under the flawless surface, your introduction to these is gentle – on a strictly need-to-use basis.

The opening screen gives you an immediate idea of the capabilities. You’re offered a choice of templates including icons, desktop images, web and iOS. Clicking between them offers a smooth animated transition. Pick a template and you’re taken to a basic drawing screen, with shape and line tools, a main drawing area and a sidebar showing the position of objects in layers. It doesn’t take much of an intuitive leap to start creating your own images.

But our favourite features lurk a little deeper.  Select an image and click Inspector. You’re able to tweak the metadata inside icons and system image here. And if you click on the Factories tab, you’ll find a feature unique to Opacity. Leave Build set to File then choose Source Code as the format. Finally, select Web as the language and Opacity is ready to save images in HTML5 Canvas format.  It’s a big deal because canvas is the new interactive application layout interface for HTML. At the time of writing, Opacity is the only drawing tool we know that’s capable of doing this.

OUR VERDICT

Opacity won’t appeal to everyone, but program developers and web designers should download the trial version sharpish.

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