CAD programs for geometric art, design, mandalas, etc.

I recently received this inquiry: “Please suggest a suitable CAD software that I can use to create my own sacred geometry designs. Thanks!” I thought the question was general enough to post a reply as a blog post.

Over the years, I have used a handful of CAD programs. Sacred Geometry Design Sourcebook was made using mostly ClarisCAD (a now obsolete MacOS program) with a little bit of PhotoShop (front cover and adjusting Nancy’s illustration of a sphere), Excel (for the tables in the back) and a stereogram app (GraphX, I think it was) for the stereogram in the back of the book. If was to do that book over, I’d definitely consider using Adobe Illustrator or a similar app.

The few illustrations in the 2nd book The Geometry Code: Universal Symbolic Mirrors of Natural Laws Within Us; Friendly Reminders of Inclusion to Forgive the Dreamer of Separation were done using Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop primarily, with the cover artwork also incorporating a ray-traced mandala made with POVray. POVray for the Mac has been updated in recent years by MegaPOV.

The website has incorporated artwork from all these and more, when one includes imagery and animation from other artists. Among the most notable of these contributions are some superb animations done by Dave Van Dyke of Z-axis Graphics, using 3DStudioMax (Windows only).

In general, I prefer using a vector art program for making mandalas, logos and line art that can be scaled to any resolution, such as Adobe Illustrator.
Once the line art has been fine tuned, it can be imported into PhotoShop (or other raster/bit-map oriented applications) for adjustment, sizing, etc. and adding other graphics elements and details.

The ability to step and repeat in x and y axes (translation) is a key ability for making tessellations, grids and tiling patterns.
The ability to step and repeat around a point by a specified angle (rotation) is a key ability for making mandalas.
The ability to step and repeat scaled copies by a specified percentage (scaling) is a key ability for making fractals.
(Adobe) Illustrator does all these, and there are other programs that do this as well. There are too many graphics programs to mentions, but these are some of the ones I’ve used.