How Do You Draw Schematics Like This?

Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by K-Young, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. K-Young

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 22, 2009
    Alright, I've been wondering for the last little while how to draw more "vibrant" schematics for my projects. I use TinyCAD right now, which gets the job done, but I'm not really satisfied. When I read various magazines or look in various articles online I see schematics that are in color and have a very nice layout. For example:

    I'm thinking you would have to use an image editing software like Photoshop to do something like this, because I can't find anything.

    Any Suggestions?
  2. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    I generally dislike seeing schematics colored in such a manner.
    The coloration does not convey useful information; it only makes the schematic look more "busy" and "glitzy". And generally, it also makes it harder to read.

    What it DOES do is make it somewhat more difficult for people to make legible copies of it using a typical office copier.

    What you're seeing in the magazines is someone getting paid for adding color to what might seem to a layperson as a boring black & white schematic. I don't begrudge the magazine layout people; they work hard for their money.

    Color and texture is best reserved for board layouts, where those two items do convey vital information.
  3. kkazem

    Active Member

    Jul 23, 2009
    Hi K-Young,
    If you really want to have colorized schematic symbols and other fancy graphics, you need a vector graphic package and not a bit-mapped package like Photoshop. Yes, you probably could do it in Photoshop, but it really isn't the best tool for it. It will certainly take a lot longer to do the job that way as well. You need AutoCAD or possibly Adobe Illustrator. AutoCAD is the better tool for this as they already have a set of tools for drawing schematics and it's easy to colorize blocks and lines, etc. I agree with the Sarge, the color can make it harder to interpret, but if done sparingly it cam make certain parts stand out and can make it easier to read. With AutoCAD, you can take the vector graphic file from most schematic capture programs and export it to either a .DXF or a .DWG, which are both AutoCAD native file formats. Once in AutoCAD, the editing is easy and no different that drawing a bracket or other mechanical things. Then, you can add extra text in AutoCAD and print from it as well.

    Good luck,
    Kamran Kazem,
  4. Gustav180


    Aug 25, 2009
    Hello K-Young

    There is a lot to do if you want to presentate a schematic like this. I have done it a lot of times and can give you some tips.

    At first you must have a good drawing program such Corel (I use Corel X3). This program can import a lot of types of drawing and convert them to vectorbased files you can edit.

    If you have a schematic drawn in its own format, normally you can convert it into a pdf and then import it to Corel. But sometimes it will not work.

    If dont can convert it, you have to redraw it in Corel. It´s not hard, but take a lot of time.

    Drawings done in AutoCad can be directly converted to Corel. I usually use this. I draw the basic in the CAD and give it the finishing touch in Corel. They can bee very pretty.

  5. GetDeviceInfo

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 7, 2009
    I agree with SgtWookie. If your writing an article for a magazine, great, the prettier the better. But if your presenting information, keep it simple, flowing from left to right.
  6. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    You can get simple template's I use with M/S Paint, I call the package PaintCAD. It is extremely unsophisticated, but it works.

    You can get it at my blog here.

    Introduction and PaintCAD

    You can see some of the work I've done with it here.

    Bill's Albums

    I suspect Bill Bowden uses something similar, since his graphics does resemble a bit. He's been doing this on the web longer than I, so in no way am I say he has used my work.
  7. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    The problem with AutoCAD is that a) not everyone has access to it, and b) to obtain access requires paying a small fortune for the right. Btw, I do like AutoCAD and have used it extensively since the '97 days.

    I agree with the Wooks comments on readability. On suggestion of cumesoftware I recently started playing around with Visio for creating a quick and clean schematic and I must say I'm pretty impressed - sadly it suffers from the aforementioned problems that AutoCAD suffers!

  8. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    Tony van Roon uses a lot of color in his schematics.
    His new website location is here:
    On this page:
    Tony indicates that his drawings were created using Paint Shop Pro.

    Paint Shop Pro is a commercial software program by Corel. You can download a 30-day evaluation program here:
    It costs $99 to register the program.

    I don't see any advantage in using a graphics editing program for the generation of schematics (particularly if you have to pay for it), and there are certainly a number of downsides to the practice.

    Cadsoft's Eagle Layout Editor is available as freeware with certain restrictions, such as only 1 page per schematic, only 2 board layers, and a maximum board size of 3" x 4". However, hobbyists can still do most (if not all) of their projects with this software.