Suggestions for a simple sw to draw electronic circuits?

I need to draw 4-5 images similar to this one. Do I need to do all the work manually on photoshop or you know there is by chance an automatic software to draw digital circuits boards?

Thanks for any help.

P.S. Images are for background purposes only, I do not need to draw a real functioning circuit

If they don’t need to be original art, check out Shutterstock or iStockphoto or similar royalty free image sites. You should be able to find images like this or b/w images that you can colorize.

There is probably some industrial design program that automates circuit board design – but none that I know of that are commonly used in graphic design.

If you’re goal is to use software common in graphic design, use Illustrator rather than Photoshop.

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Thanks @Steve_O for your reply.
I need 4-5 images with the same style but each one with very specific characteristics (i.e. different arrangements of spaces in which to add text). That’s why I’ve been searching in stock images without finding anything that fits.
I also found a codepen that generates random circuit board like designs (sorry I can’t add the link, I suppose because I’m a newbie on the forum) which is particularly awesome, but you can’t specify where you want the spaces.

I really think I’ll need to draw the images myself :worried: but without any electronical knowledge I’m afraid they won’t look much real.

I don’t have Illustrator… Would you suggest to download Inkscape?

I am not familiar with Inkscape, but a quick search describes it as a vector graphics editor. Based on that, yes, download it and try to do the work there. The goal is to do the work in a vector format rather than a bitmap format – this really will make this kind of illustration much easier and a more pleasant experience. You can still look on stock photo sites for b/w vector art that you can use as the base of your work. Once you have them opened up in Inkscape, you should be able to pretty easily manipulate the elements to accommodate places for text. There might be some learning curve in working with vector over bitmap, but that’s really the way to go. I’d bet there are a bunch of Inkscape tutorials on YT. One is bound to cover the basics of vector illustration. If you’re familiar with using Photoshop’s pen tools to make clipping paths or masks with bezier curves, you’ll have a leg up.

I just boosted your newbie status up by a notch. You should be able to post links now.

Inkscape is free, but it can be difficult to use and lacks polish. Illustrator would be my choice for something like this. Adobe has a 7-day trial version, but after that it’s $21 (U.S.) per month (if I remember right).

I agree with Steve that Photoshop is the wrong software. Photoshop is great for editing photos, but you need a vector drawing application for what you’re attempting to do (like Illustrator, CorelDRAW or Inkscape). Unfortunately, if you’ve never used a vector drawing app, you’re in for a steep learning curve that might not seem especially intuitive (at least for some people). Even so, it’s really the only choice for something like this.

For what it’s worth, long ago, I worked as a technical illustrator for a big computer company. My desk was next to the department that drew the circuitry for the chips and boards. This was before there were any software drawing applications, so these people would laboriously hand-draw these amazingly complex circuits using technical pens on big sheets of acetate that were dozens of layers deep. I don’t know how it’s done today, but I’m certain it’s mostly handled by software.

Illustrator does have an auto feature under Stroke>Arrowheads that will end a line with a circle. It’s inelegant, like a lot of things Illustrator, as the dot is filled white, and if you remove the fill, the stroke carries to the center of the dot. There are ways to clean that mess up, if you expand just enough to knock the white circle thru the line using Pathfinder > Minus Front. Annoying but can be done.
It doesn’t matter if you change the Cap.

Wow everybody, thanks a lot for all your suggestions!!

That’s a very good suggestion

Thanks. I’ll post the link because it’s nice and maybe somebody may find it usefull

Unfortunately I don’t have a budget for this work, I’m afraid I can’t afford Illustrator but learning a vector graphic application is indeed important for me. I know AutoCAD quite well – I am (was?) an architect and know perfectly well what @Just-B means with “big sheets of acetate dozens of layers deep”!-- That is a vector software… maybe I’ll learn Inkscape smoothly…

This is really interesting and makes everything look so easy!

Last question: with Inkscape will I be able at the end to add some animation every now and then (lights moving along the circuits) and save as a .gif? or should I use a different program for that?

I’m not especially familiar with the details of Inkscape, but I doubt it will make animated GIFs (although I could be wrong). You will likely need to move the finished illustration back into Photoshop while keeping the lights you mentioned on a separate Photoshop layer. It would be a matter of manually moving those lights in Photoshop to create the various frames for the GIF.

No. Inkscape is not capable of animation. You will need to use another program. You mentioned Photoshop, if you have a newer version, you would have to use what’s called the Timeline now. If it’s an older version it’s called Image Ready. You would have to export individual frames, probably best as png.s, from Inkscape and then use Photoshop and create the animation there. If for whatever reason you can’t created it in the Photoshop, you will have to get another program. GIMP is a free program and is animation capable. The same would apply. You will have to add each frame to it’s own layer in GIMP and then animate.

Hmmm… I suppose I’ll do all the job on Photoshop then. I know I should use vectors … but, since I already know the size my images need to be, I think I’ll stick to what I’m more familiar with.
Thank you anyway, this forum is amazingly valuable and people are friendly and helpful :+1: :+1: :+1:

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