Many people make posters with Powerpoint and get trouble with the color schemes and how to make them look nice, true it works but there are better tools out there. For 3D there are two purposes in this group: Drawing for animation and illustration, and drawing for construction and building. While some software is absolutely speciallised on one of the two categories, most can do both. Key to any kind of artwork is the rendering and some of the best of this can be achieved with raytracing. There are many tools for this out there. One that has developed very far is Povray.
Inkscape is a open source vector graphic program (like Illustrator, or corel draw) http://www.inkscape.org/ is the tool for any serious picture. I import every graph and photo i use in it and export with the same settings into PDF or PNG for publications and presentations. Then I know it will look good.
interesting exta tool to inkscape is jessyink it alows to export layerd svg and with each click a new layer is reveiled (nice for presentations or tutorials) http://code.google.com/p/jessyink/
I’ve now run on several computer in a startup problem of inkscape. It seems like “Demeter” from the “Ifeffit” programm rewrites the fontconfig file and this can create problems. Test in a commandline if after “”set FONTCONFIG_FILE=” you can start inkscape. If yes delete this entry in the environment variables (shortcut) “%windir%\System32\rundll32.exe sysdm.cpl,EditEnvironmentVariables”
The draw module in Openoffice/Libreoffice (see office section) can make surprisingly nice poster
Posterrazor is a interesting tool for printing posters is posterazor I allows very nice to print pictures on multiple pages http://posterazor.sourceforge.net/
Sometimes one needs pictures in the cmyk format. This online editor helps converting: https://www.rgb2cmyk.org/ another way would be to use scribus (see book writing)
Posters from pictures (To print a large picture on a small paper is easy but the other way around not so)
Freeware and cutting lines but need installation http://gdsoftware.dk/downloads.aspx (choose easy poster printer)
opensource but at the moment without cutting lines, no installation needed! http://posterazor.sourceforge.net/
2d construction openoffice draw works fine otherwise there are a variaty of free 2d construction programs:
freecad (in developing phase) is able to draw 3d too (like solid works) http://www.ar-cad.com/
a tool for generating circuit boards and circuit layouts is the layouteditor http://www.layouteditor.net/
FreeCAD has developed into an surprisingly powerful tool over the years. While it is formally still in the developing phase and there might be a few bugs in its behaviour it is definitely mature enough for serious designing. https://www.freecadweb.org/
One important thing to do here is to add a few functions to the base install. The easiest is to use a macro for this. This macro allows the installation of e.g. the assembly workbench. https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/How_to_install_additional_workbenches extra things that I can highly recommend to add. “Assembly workbench”, “Work features” and “Bolts”. “Fastener” and exploded _animation” seems usefull too.
To check your stl file (for 3d printing) you can use this online stl viewer: http://www.viewstl.com/
3d cad pure construction (never used but looks great) http://brlcad.org/
3d graphics/animation Blender is great for painting and animating by “mouse”hand no construction http://www.blender.org/
3d graphics animation which is a combination of constructing and drawing Art of Illusion here you can construct and draw and animate. I would say this is a “Maya” clone http://www.artofillusion.org/
Interesting, there is a plugin that allows to export an object as “.stl” file, that is usually needed for 3d printers. There is also a nice hints for making this that can be found here: http://reprap.org/wiki/Art_of_illusion
most universities and work places have their own color schemes In Openoffice an Inkscape it is easy to create them and then use only the university colors
For inkscape under windows simply copy the file with the color information (palette) into the folder with the palettes: Recommended: c:\Users"username”\AppData\Roaming\inkscape\palettes\ Here “username” stands for your local name as user,
or as administrator %/Inkscape/share/palettes the % is the folder in which your programs are installed. This works for Mac too. Nearly all programs have under the preferences the possibility to change the standard colors.
Lund university changed their profile a few years ago but i do like the old colors better (these are the once i used on my posters) and i attach the the Inkscape and the openoffice color profile files to this site. In openoffice the profile can be imported in the color module http://www.jensuhlig.de/software/Lund_university_inkscape.gpl http://www.jensuhlig.de/software/Lund_university_new_profil.gpl http://www.jensuhlig.de/software/Lund_university_libre_office.soc