Open .ai files in Gimp under MacOS

Do you know what a web designer is? A guy that wasn’t man enough to become a software developer yet not gay enough to become a fashion designer. Leaving the joke aside, design is an important part of web development. As with everything, looks do matter.

And you truly see the value of a designer when you don’t have one on the team. Like me now. I needed some graphical changes and didn’t have anyone to do them. Big problem. But I’m quite good at solving problems, and I’m not scared to try new things, so I dove in. I had some Photoshop and Illustrator files from the previous the previous designer and I thought it shouldn’t be too hard to change some colors.

The only problem was that I didn’t have Photoshop installed on my laptop. Given that Photoshop is quite pricey and I don’t want to spend money on a piece of software I use once every 6 months, I started looking for alternatives to Photoshop that work under MacOS. And the first one that popped into my mind was GIMP. Which is a good piece of software, but it comes with X11, so all MacOS shortcuts don’t work – CMD + C / CMD + V have to be replaced with CTRL + C / CTRL + V and so on, which is a bit annoying, but hey, it’s free and it does the job. Or not.

I had to open an .ai file – Adobe Illustrator – which GIMP does not support. I know that this might sound stupid, but I never used image editing software. After some googling around, I found out that GIMP is not supposed to open .ai images as these are vectorial. So I needed something that can open vectorial image formats, was free or extremely cheap. And I did: Inkscape.

So, for all developers out there, if you want to open an .ai file and don’t have Photoshop / Illustrator, install GIMP and Inkscape, open the file in Inkscape and then import it in GIMP. Maybe it will save you several hours of googling around.

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  • Martins

    Appreciate! You saved me a lot of hours. 🙂

  • R Ian Davis

    Somebody that has the balls to open with a joke like that in the current era of pathological political correctness has my undying respect… 🙂

    • SmokeyTBear

      well 2012 was about fifty years ago now..

      • trjokeoll

        … 6 years ago exactly.

  • Thanks man! I’m in the exact same situation.

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