Inkscape Beginner’s Guide Beginner's Hiitola, Bethany 4984

User Manual:

Open the PDF directly: View PDF PDF.
Page Count: 298 [warning: Documents this large are best viewed by clicking the View PDF Link!]

Inkscape
Beginner's Guide
Create aracve layout designs, logos, brochures, icons,
and more using the Inkscape vector graphics editor
Bethany Hiitola
BIRMINGHAM - MUMBAI
Inkscape
Beginner's Guide
Copyright © 2012 Packt Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,
or transmied in any form or by any means, without the prior wrien permission of the
publisher, except in the case of brief quotaons embedded in crical arcles or reviews.
Every eort has been made in the preparaon of this book to ensure the accuracy of the
informaon presented. However, the informaon contained in this book is sold without
warranty, either express or implied. Neither the author, nor Packt Publishing, and its dealers
and distributors will be held liable for any damages caused or alleged to be caused directly
or indirectly by this book.
Packt Publishing has endeavored to provide trademark informaon about all of the
companies and products menoned in this book by the appropriate use of capitals.
However, Packt Publishing cannot guarantee the accuracy of this informaon.
First published: May 2012
Producon Reference: 1170512
Published by Packt Publishing Ltd.
Livery Place
35 Livery Street
Birmingham B3 2PB, UK.
ISBN 978-1-84951-720-1
www.packtpub.com
Cover Image by Asher Wishkerman (a.wishkerman@mpic.de)
Credits
Author
Bethany Hiitola
Reviewers
Mark Bystry
Jose Olarte III
Richard Querin
Sylvia Slokker
Acquision Editor
Sarah Cullington
Lead Technical Editor
Hithesh Uchil
Technical Editors
Ankita Shashi
Manali Mehta
Manasi Poonthoam
Copy Editors
Leonard D'Silva
Laxmi Subramanian
Project Coordinator
Joel Goveya
Proofreader
Chris Brown
Indexer
Monica Ajmera Mehta
Graphics
Manu Joseph
Valenna D'Souza
Producon Coordinator
Melwyn D'Sa
Cover Work
Melwyn D'Sa
About the Author
Bethany Hiitola is a working writer. She has worked as a technical writer and mulmedia
developer for over 12 years. She spends the rest of her me as a wife, mother, and caretaker
to pets. She has wrien more user manuals than she can count, essays, short stories,
academic papers, press releases, and feature arcles. More details about her wring and life
are at her website: www.bethanyhiitola.com
Without you Ma, this book wouldn't have been possible. You are
my everything.
About the Reviewers
Mark Bystry is a design engineer by trade. He is also an open source soware enthusiast
with a penchant for graphic art. Drawing and illustraon, 3D modeling, desktop publishing,
photography, and videography are just a few of his many interests. Those things also spill
into his daily work dues. Mark has come to rely on Inkscape as well as several other leading
open source applicaons to achieve a full range of graphic tasks.
Several years ago Mark teamed up with his online pal, Richard Querin, when they recognized
a void within the Inkscape user community, specically the lack of educaonal informaon
dedicated to the use of Inkscape. Their vision was of a series of instruconal videos geared
towards beginners.
Since that me Richard and Mark have made over one hundred videos demonstrang various
funcons within the applicaon. Though their video series has tapered o, mainly due to their
insaable need to explore all that the technological world has to oer, they sll remain avid
users of Inkscape and connue to guide novice users in the achievement of their goals.
Jose Olarte III is a graphic designer and photographer from Baguio City, Philippines. He
specializes in: user interface design for web, mobile and desktop plaorms; print design for
magazines and other publicaons; logo and icon design. When he's not busy pushing pixels
and stretching ems, he gets his social x by tweeng away his thoughts: twitter.com/
brownspank
I would like to thank my wife Vanessa for pung up with my extended
hours and sharing my passion for work, without which I wouldn't have the
strength and movaon to move forward with my creave endeavors.
Richard Querin is a praccing structural engineer with a passion for graphic design,
photography, and other creave pursuits. He has contributed graphic design work to several
dierent free and open source projects including websites, mobile and desktop applicaons,
conference graphics, and print adversements. He has also done numerous Inkscape video
tutorials as a co-contributor to the screencasters.heathenx.org website.
I would like to thank my family for pung up with my creave ancs and
providing me the me and space to take on creave pursuits such as
these. Thanks also go to my friend and Inkscape compatriot Mark Bystry
for his help throughout the years and to Joel Goveya for his paence when
it came to geng my reviews back. And nally, a special thanks to my
wonderful daughter Emily for making fatherhood an absolute delight.
Sylvia Slokker is a graphics freelancer and IT professional. She started her career in web
design and development in 2001, abandoning the career path of process engineer aer
almost 10 years.
Sylvia moved connents to chase a dream and currently works as a web developer in
Australia. She has been creang vector designs since 1994, using both commercial as
well as open source soware. Nowadays, she uses Inkscape almost exclusively for all
her vector work. Sylvia writes tutorials for the web under the nickname Syllie and runs:
verysimpledesigns.com as a tutorial site for the novice Inkscape arst.
www.PacktPub.com
Support les, eBooks, discount offers and more
You might want to visit www.PacktPub.com for support les and downloads related to
your book.
Did you know that Packt oers eBook versions of every book published, with PDF and ePub
les available? You can upgrade to the eBook version at www.PacktPub.com and as a print
book customer, you are entled to a discount on the eBook copy. Get in touch with us at
service@packtpub.com for more details.
At www.PacktPub.com, you can also read a collecon of free technical arcles, sign up
for a range of free newsleers and receive exclusive discounts and oers on Packt books
and eBooks.
http://PacktLib.PacktPub.com
Do you need instant soluons to your IT quesons? PacktLib is Packt's online digital book
library. Here, you can access, read and search across Packt's enre library of books.
Why Subscribe?
Fully searchable across every book published by Packt
Copy and paste, print and bookmark content
On demand and accessible via web browser
Free Access for Packt account holders
If you have an account with Packt at www.PacktPub.com, you can use this to access
PacktLib today and view nine enrely free books. Simply use your login credenals for
immediate access.
Table of Contents
Preface 1
Chapter 1: Geng Started with Vector Graphics 7
What are vector graphics? 8
Programs that use vector graphics 8
Vector formats 9
Scalable Vector Graphics 9
Advantages of an open-standard vector format 10
Addional advantages of SVG vector images over proprietary formats 10
Disadvantages of vector graphics over non-vector formats 11
Determining when to use vector or rasterized graphics 11
Time for acon – basic design 12
Time for acon – vector versus rasterized images 13
Time for acon – building brochure les 14
Summary 16
Chapter 2: Installing and Opening Inkscape 17
Inkscape's features 17
Installing Inkscape 18
Time for acon – downloading Inkscape 19
Troubleshoong installaon 20
The basics of the soware 21
Time for acon – geng started with Inkscape 22
Understanding a new document 28
Time for acon – learning more about the main screen 28
Summary 34
Chapter 3: How to Manage Files 35
Creang new les 35
Using predened-sized document dimensions 36
Table of Contents
[ ii ]
Time for acon – creang a new CD cover 37
Custom document dimensions 39
Time for acon – creang a new custom le size for a postcard 39
Saving Inkscape les 44
Saving in Inkscape SVG 44
Time for acon – saving an Inkscape SVG 45
Exporng les 47
Time for acon – exporng to PNG 47
Creang a customized default document 49
Time for acon – creang a new default document 50
How to structure project les 51
Managing mulple le projects 52
Time for acon – exporng a batch of images 52
Renaming object IDs 54
Imporng non-nave Inkscape les 55
Time for acon – imporng a PDF into Inkscape 56
Embedding and linking image les 58
Embedding les in Inkscape 59
Time for acon – embedding a logo into your design 59
Linking external les in Inkscape 61
Time for acon – linking a photograph into a brochure design 61
Summary 63
Chapter 4: Creang your First Graphics 65
Paths 65
Creang your rst vector graphic 67
Creang a polygon 67
Time for acon – opening a new document 67
Time for acon – creang a star 69
Time for acon – saving your graphic 72
Creang ellipses and arcs 74
Time for acon – creang the Ellipse 74
Time for acon – making an arc 75
Complex Shapes 78
Time for acon – combining shapes 78
Freehand objects (Paths) 82
Time for acon – creang a freehand object 82
Using grids and guidelines 84
Time for acon – viewing the Grid 84
Time for acon – making guides 87
Summary 88
Table of Contents
[ iii ]
Chapter 5: How to Work with Layers 89
Dening layers and how to create them 90
Time for acon – creang a layer 91
Using Layers in an example drawing 93
Time for acon – using Layers in web design 93
Locking layers 98
Time for acon – locking a layer 98
Hiding layers 99
Time for acon – hiding layers 100
Duplicang layers 104
Time for acon – duplicang layers 104
Arranging layers 105
Time for acon – moving layers 105
Time for acon – nesng layers 108
Renaming layers 109
Time for acon – renaming a layer 109
Deleng layers 110
Time for acon – deleng a layer 110
Blend mode 112
Time for acon – using Blend mode 112
Summary 114
Chapter 6: Building Objects 115
Working with objects 115
Time for acon – creang a simple object 116
Fill and Stroke 121
Fill and Stroke dialog 121
Time for acon – using the Fill and Stroke dialog 121
Color palee bar 126
Time for acon – using the color palee 126
Dropper 127
Time for acon – using the dropper tool 128
Grouping 129
Time for acon – grouping objects 129
Clipping and masking 133
Time for acon – clipping objects 133
Time for acon – masking objects 142
Summary 144
Table of Contents
[ iv ]
Chapter 7: Using Paths 145
Working with paths 145
Time for acon – using the Bezier tool 146
Transforming objects into paths 155
Stroke to paths 155
Time for acon – creang spiros and swirls 155
Object to Path 163
Time for acon – Object to Path 164
Path opons 166
Time for acon – creang an icon 167
Summary 170
Chapter 8: How to Style Text 171
Text and Font editor 171
Time for acon – opening and using the Text and Font editor 172
Kerning 173
Time for acon – kerning text 174
Text styling keyboard shortcuts 176
Using paths and text 177
Time for acon – using a path for text 177
Placing text within a closed shape 179
Time for acon – placing text in a closed shape 180
Spell check and nd/replace 181
Time for acon – performing a nd and replace 182
Text eects 182
Time for acon – using text eects 183
Creang text reecons 184
Time for acon – creang a reecon 185
Summary 189
Chapter 9: Using Filters 191
What are lters? 191
Using the Filter editor 192
Time for acon – using lters 193
Using lters with text 197
Time for acon – using lters with text 197
Images and eects 198
Time for acon – using lters with images 199
Tracing images 201
Time for acon – using Potrace 202
Time for acon – using SIOX 205
Summary 207
Table of Contents
[ v ]
Chapter 10: Extensions in Inkscape 209
Templates 210
Installing and using new templates 210
Time for acon – installing Inkscape templates 211
Creang your own custom templates 212
Time for acon – modifying an exisng Inkscape template 212
Time for acon – creang a custom template 213
What are extensions? 213
Examples of extension tutorials 214
Installaon extensions 215
Summary 215
Chapter 11: Working with Images 217
Imporng from the Open Clip Art Library (Linux and Mac users) 217
Time for acon – using the Open Clip Art Library (Mac users only) 218
Basics about photo manipulaon 219
Time for acon – blurring the background of a photograph 220
Converng raster logos to vector-based logos 228
Time for acon – converng a logo to a vector-based image 228
Summary 229
Chapter 12: Using the XML Editor 231
Inkscape's XML Editor 231
Time for acon – accessing the XML Editor 232
XML Editor basics 234
SVG basics 237
Aribute types 237
Basic aributes 238
Paths 239
Shapes 239
Images 245
Text 245
Using the XML Editor to change characteriscs 246
Time for acon – using the XML Editor to change object characteriscs 246
Using XML and graphics with programmers 248
Summary 248
Appendix A: Where to Find More Informaon 249
Ocial sites 249
Arcles and tutorials 249
Community 250
Blogs 250
Twier 251
Table of Contents
[ vi ]
Appendix B: Keyboard Shortcuts 253
Appendix C: Glossary of Terms 257
Appendix D: Pop Quiz Answers 261
Index 269
Preface
Are you ready to jump into the world of graphic design and illustraon? Or have you just begun
to explore new tools that can broaden your skill set in these speciales? Inkscape Beginner's
Guide is the perfect book to start this journey into the world of vector graphics. This book
starts at the very basics of a complex, open source tool on the market today – Inkscape 0.48
(current version as of the publicaon of this book). Learn everything you need to know from
seng up a document le to compleng your rst illustraon.
The Inkscape graphics editor can be daunng when just learning the tool. There are so many
features one may not know where to start. Inkscape Beginner's Guide can help to alleviate
these fears; it takes a simple step-by-step approach to learning the soware. It starts at the
very beginning, unlocking the secret to the soware's interface, explaining menus and the
overall areas of the user interface, and then jumps into real projects that illustrate some
simple graphic-building concepts.
Expect to learn everything from using paths, text styles, lters, and images—while building
a brochure, logo, icons, illustraon, and more—all in the context of real graphic design,
illustraon, or web projects. Using an informave but simple approach, learning Inkscape
becomes a fun and interacve process.
Welcome to the world of Inkscape 0.48 and vector graphics! This book is an informaonal
step-by-step beginner's book for someone just starng their journey in using Inkscape 0.48
in the creaon of vector graphics. No previous experience using Inkscape 0.48 or other
previous vector graphics programs are required. The book will be chalked full of real-world
examples, detailed step-by-step instrucons and associated screen captures to keep the
informaon approachable yet easy to digest—and don't forget fun!
What this book covers
Chapter 1, Geng Started with Vector Graphics, starts before Inkscape, at the beginning
of vector graphics. We begin by dening vector graphics and how they are used online and
within print projects. Then we start digging into Inkcape learning about how the program
began and how it ts in the world of vector graphics today.
Preface
[ 2 ]
Chapter 2, Installing and Opening Inkscape, discusses where to download Inkscape 0.48, the
most recent version of the soware and its unique features, as well as detailed descripons
about how to install the soware. Included in this are screen captures that dene the
main areas of the program and menu items—all of which is very helpful when opening the
soware for the rst me.
Chapter 3, How to Manage Files, is all about les and managing them. Inkscape can import
a number of le formats and then edit them. Then, aer compleng a project Inkscape has
the ability to save and export graphics in a number of formats. We will discuss all of these
opons as well as the nave Inkscape SVG format and the benets of using project folders.
Chapter 4, Creang your First Graphics, starts by dening paths and shapes, a basis for all
projects going forward in Inkscape. Then it focuses on creang your very rst Inkscape object
– a star. Also discussed in this chapter are ellipses, complex shapes, freehand object, grids,
and guidelines.
Chapter 5, How to Work with Layers, is all about layers in Inkscape. You will learn the basics
like how to create new layers, delete, arrange, and blend layers, as well as hiding and
duplicang layers, all the while working on a sample blog header project.
Chapter 6, Building Objects, helps you learn about objects and how Inkscape interprets
them, how to change object features, change ll and stroke, grouping objects, combining
objects, and how to best use the masking and clipping features.
Chapter 7, Using Paths focuses, on using paths. Again we start with the basics: dening
paths, how to work with them in Inkscape, transforming, combining, and placing paths. The
bulk of this chapter will focus on an illustraon project that will assist you in learning all you
need to know about paths.
Chapter 8, How to Style Text, teaches how you can manipulate and style text for any design.
It is a praccal chapter that covers using paths and text to create visual appeal, text and
frames, the basics like spellcheck and nd/replace, text eects, and a simple project to show
how to create a text reecon.
Chapter 9, Using Filters, focuses on using lters with text and images to give a further
dimension to your vector graphics. Projects will focus on using images and text—including
a detailed example with step-by-step instrucons on using lters with text.
Chapter 10, Extensions in Inkscape, is as expected, about extensions or templates and
plugins that can assist in the design process for vector graphics. You will learn how to
install templates, extensions, and about the availability of certain extension or scripts that
might be useful.
Chapter 11, Working with Images, is all about imporng photographs or images into
Inkscape and manipulang them. Specically, you will be working on a few sample projects
that deal with photographs and lters.
Preface
[ 3 ]
Chapter 12, Using the XML Editor, teaches you about the XML editor that is included within
Inkscape. It covers the basic XML structure tree, as well as how you can manipulate this code
to change objects in your projects.
Appendix A, Where to Find More Informaon, provides web links to people and places that
can help you learn even more about Inkscape.
Appendix B, Keyboard Shortcuts, menons the basic keyboard shortcuts for Inkscape 0.48.
Appendix C, Glossary of Terms, is a glossary of Inkscape and basic design terms used
throughout the book.
What you need for this book
You'll need the latest version of Inkscape 0.48 and Internet access (to download some
example clip art and projects).
If you are using a Mac, then you may also need the X11 app on your system to run Inkscape
(this typically comes pre-installed on Leopard OSX).
Who this book is for
This book is intended for novice graphic and web designers who want to expand their
graphic soware experse. General familiarity with a graphics program is recommended,
but not required.
Conventions
In this book, you will nd several headings appearing frequently.
To give clear instrucons of how to complete a procedure or task, we use:
Time for action – heading
1. Acon 1
2. Acon 2
3. Acon 3
Instrucons oen need some extra explanaon so that they make sense, so they are
followed with:
Preface
[ 4 ]
What just happened?
This heading explains the working of tasks or instrucons that you have just completed.
You will also nd some other learning aids in the book, including:
Pop quiz – heading
These are short mulple-choice quesons intended to help you test your own understanding.
Have a go hero – heading
This sets praccal challenges and gives you ideas for experimenng with what you
have learned.
You will also nd a number of styles of text that disnguish between dierent kinds of
informaon. Here are some examples of these styles, and an explanaon of their meaning.
Code words in text are shown as follows: "Find the Inkscape icon in the Application or
Programs folder"
New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in
menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "Open Inkscape, and from
the main menu, select File | New | CD_cover_300dpi.".
Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.
Tips and tricks appear like this.
Reader feedback
Feedback from our readers is always welcome. Let us know what you think about this
book—what you liked or may have disliked. Reader feedback is important for us to
develop tles that you really get the most out of.
To send us general feedback, simply send an e-mail to feedback@packtpub.com,
and menon the book tle in the subject of your message.
If there is a topic that you have experse in and you are interested in either wring
or contribung to a book, see our author guide on www.packtpub.com/authors.
Preface
[ 5 ]
Customer support
Now that you are the proud owner of a Packt book, we have a number of things to help
you to get the most from your purchase.
Downloading the color images of this book
We also provide you a PDF le that has color images of the screenshots used in this
book. The color images will help you beer understand the changes in the output. You
can download this le from http://www.packtpub.com/sites/default/files/
downloads/images.pdf
Errata
Although we have taken every care to ensure the accuracy of our content, mistakes do
happen. If you nd a mistake in one of our books—maybe a mistake in the text or the
code—we would be grateful if you would report this to us. By doing so, you can save other
readers from frustraon and help us improve subsequent versions of this book. If you
nd any errata, please report them by vising http://www.packtpub.com/support,
selecng your book, clicking on the errata submission form link, and entering the details
of your errata. Once your errata are veried, your submission will be accepted and the
errata will be uploaded to our website, or added to any list of exisng errata, under the
Errata secon of that tle.
Piracy
Piracy of copyright material on the Internet is an ongoing problem across all media. At Packt,
we take the protecon of our copyright and licenses very seriously. If you come across any
illegal copies of our works, in any form, on the Internet, please provide us with the locaon
address or website name immediately so that we can pursue a remedy.
Please contact us at copyright@packtpub.com with a link to the suspected
pirated material.
We appreciate your help in protecng our authors, and our ability to bring you
valuable content.
Questions
You can contact us at questions@packtpub.com if you are having a problem with any
aspect of the book, and we will do our best to address it.
1
Getting Started with Vector Graphics
Inkscape is an open source, free program that creates vector-based graphics
that can be used in web and print design, in interface and logo creaon, and
in material cung. Its capabilies are similar to those of commercial products
such as Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, and CorelDraw and can be
used for any number of praccal purposes—creang vector graphics for use
in illustraons, business leerheads, computer and electronic wallpapers, and
designing web pages and the elements within them.
This is a beginner's guide to using Inkscape. This means you will learn all the ins
and outs of using this soware—including all the details about the interface,
menus, buons, as well as how to create graphics. We'll start with the very
basic parts of graphics and build up as we connue through the book to more
complex graphics projects poinng out how you would use these items in
everyday projects.
However, before learning the details on how to use Inkscape, let's take a step
back and dene vector graphics, how a computer displays them, how vector
graphics work together, and why we want to use them in design.
Specically, this chapter will teach you the following:
What vector graphics are
Scalable Vector Graphics and Inkscape
Reasons for using vector graphics over rasterized images
How vector graphics are used in design
Let's get started!
Geng Started with Vector Graphics
[ 8 ]
What are vector graphics?
A vector graphic is made up of points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygons, which are all
based on mathemacal equaons. Inkscape uses these objects and can convert them into
paths. A path is a line with a start and end, which are also calculated with a mathemacal
equaon. These paths are not limited to being straight—they can be of any shape, size, and
even encompass any number of curves. When you combine them, they create drawings,
diagrams, and can even help create certain fonts.
How does this all relate to vector-based graphics? Vector-based graphics aren't made up of
pixels. Since they are resoluon-independent, you can make them larger (by scaling) and
the image quality will stay the same, lines and edges stay clean, and the same images can be
used on items as small as leerheads or business cards, blown up to be billboards, or used
in high-denion animaon sequences. This exibility, oen accompanied by smaller le
sizes, makes vector graphics ideal—especially in the world of Internet, computer displays of
varying resoluon, and hosng services for web pages. Inkscape can help in the navigaon
of those waters of vector graphics and is a tool that can be invaluable when designing for the
digital world as well as print.
These characteriscs make vector graphics very dierent from JPEGs, GIFs, or BMP
images—all of which are considered raster or bitmap images, made up of ny squares
called pixels or bits. If you magnify these images, you will see that they are made up of
a grid (or bitmap), and if magnied further, they will become blurry and grainy as each
pixel with bitmap square's zoom level grows larger.
Programs that use vector graphics
As stated earlier in the chapter, many programs and applicaons are similar to Inkscape and
can open vector graphics. Some can only open these les for viewing purposes and others
can edit them.
Other applicaons typically used for page layout, but which can open and manipulate vector
graphics include Scribus, Quark Xpress, and Adobe InDesign. Scribus is unique in that it is also
open source (as Inkscape is) and can even import SVG les (the le type Inkscape uses) and
manipulate them. The other programs can open, import, place, scale, and distort .eps files,
a vector graphic le type, but unfortunately cannot create or otherwise modify vector graphics.
Chapter 1
[ 9 ]
To create vector graphics, you will use illustraon programs like Inkscape—which this book
is about—or other programs like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Freehand Corel Draw, Freehand,
XARA Xtreme, or Serif DrawPlus. These programs all have nave le formats, but allow
you to export your graphics as .eps or .svg les, as needed. What is dierent about these
applicaons than those for page layout is that you start with a completely blank document
that allows you to fully design or draw what you would like, whereas the page layout
applicaon focuses on full page layouts.
Vector formats
In the previous secon, it was noted that .eps, an Encapsulated Post Script le, is a
common vector graphic format—or open format—that can be read by most applicaons
that open and/or create vector graphics. However, there are other le formats that are
also considered vector-graphic compable. These include Inkscape's .svg format, Adobe
Illustrator (.ai), Adobe Freehand (.Fhx), and Adobe Flash les, which are mostly vector
data and are considered proprietary formats, ed more directly to the prospecve soware
that can open them.
There are a number of other proprietary graphic le formats which can include vector
graphics within them as well as rasterized (or bitmap) graphics. These include:
Adobe Photoshop (.psd): This includes vector layers such as text, shapes, and paths
Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (.pdf): This contains vector data
and bitmap images in dierent forms
The Encapsulated Post Script le (.eps): This, again, can hold both vector data
and bitmap images
Also note that .eps les are basically the same les a Post Script laser printer uses. Both le
types are developed by Adobe and are the foundaon of the Adobe PDF format.
Scalable Vector Graphics
What does Inkscape use? A completely dierent le format—one that is fairly complex in
nature, but works well for the exible nature of vector graphics. They can be edited within
Inkscape and can be opened in a text editor and edited at an XML code level. Inkscape uses
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a vector-based drawing format that incorporates some
basic principles:
A drawing can (and should) be scalable to any size without losing detail
A drawing can use an unlimited number of smaller drawings used in any number
of ways (and reused) and sll be a part of a larger whole
Geng Started with Vector Graphics
[ 10 ]
More specically, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML-based le format for describing
two-dimensional vector graphics. The specicaon denes an open standard that has been
in development with the World Wide Web Consorum (W3C) since 1999.
Inkscape was built with SVG and the W3C web standards in mind, which give it a number
of features, including a rich body of XML (Extensible Markup Language) with complete
descripons. Inkscape drawings can be reused in other SVG-compliant drawing programs and
can adapt to dierent presentaon methods. The .svg format has growing support across
most web browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer).
The SVG les then, which are inherently XML, can be searched, indexed, scripted, and
compressed within a text editor. In fact, they can be created and edited with a text editor if
required, but drawing programs like Inkscape can create the SVG les. In fact, Inkscape has an
XML editor feature which allows direct edits to the XML les; more informaon on this is in
Chapter 12, How you can use the XML Editor.
Advantages of an open-standard vector format
There are some slight dierences between tradional vector graphics and SVG. All vector
graphics are scalable, use smaller-sized les, and have the exibility to be resized when
needed. However, the vector graphic format of SVG has even more detailed advantages
than the vector graphic nave.
Additional advantages of SVG vector images over proprietary formats
SVG vector images, because they are based on XML, have some disnct advantages over
open standard vector formats. These are as follows:
They can be read and modied by a large range of tools (including browsers, text
editors, and other vector graphics soware, as described previously)
They are smaller and more compressible than JPEG and GIF images which are oen
used in web design
They are also scalable, like vector graphics
Text in SVG can be searched, edited, indexed, and more
SVG is an open-standard
SVG les are pure XML, which allows them to be opened in other programs (or even
a text editor) and edited in non-graphical UI ways (or by programmers directly)
Most modern browsers oer some support for SVG. Internet Explorer 8, however,
does not oer this support
Chapter 1
[ 11 ]
There are sll some limitaons in the Inkscape program, even though it aims to be fully
SVG-compliant. For example, as of version 0.48, it sll does not support animaon or use
SVG fonts within the soware for design—though there are plans to add these capabilies
into future versions.
Disadvantages of vector graphics over non-vector formats
The biggest drawback to vector graphic formats is that they are not ideally suited to working
with photographs. Sure, Inkscape and other vector graphic applicaons can open, import,
or place photographs into projects, but the colors and complexies of displaying the
photograph will essenally overwhelm the applicaon. Also, as stated earlier, as photographs
are very much rasterized images being imported into the vector-based applicaon, once you
re-size or scale the photograph, the integrity of the photograph can be lost.
This same complexity will appear for advanced coloring and lighng eects when using
vector graphics as well—the more you try to make it look like a photograph, the more
you might need to rasterize part of the vector graphic as well, essenally making it a
non-vector graphic.
Another known drawback for vector graphics is interoperability. If you want to share les
between vector graphic applicaons, you might run into some issues, even when you use .eps
les which are more universally accepted as a vector graphic format. Vector informaon can be
lost during the conversion. All fonts, elements, and objects need to be embedded (not linked)
and tested thoroughly—however, this sharing is not impossible and enrely depends on the
applicaons being used. Using Inkscape across teams as the development tool can help solve
this problem as the applicaon is open source and free to download.
If you are new to design, you might be surprised to learn that even when you are using a
word processing program, you are using vector graphics all the me—fonts! Fonts illustrate
two common properes of vector graphics:
An enre font, with all its leers, numbers, and symbols, has a very small le size
Fonts can be set to any size without losing quality
Some vector-based applicaons, including Inkscape, allow you to convert text to paths so
you can modify the shapes of the leers themselves.
Determining when to use vector or rasterized graphics
We've spent a lot of me discussing vector graphics and how they dier from rasterized
bitmap images. In doing so, it is also important to know when it is best to use each type,
because there are instances when it does make sense to use one over the other.
Geng Started with Vector Graphics
[ 12 ]
Let's say we're doing a project that will get printed; a brochure—and for best results, we'll
use both vector and bitmap graphics. We'll look at the most basic steps of how to put this
brochure together in the following secon.
Time for action – basic design
For this example, let's look at the design elements and determine how we would put them
together in a design:
1. Determine the exact size of the brochure. For our example, we'll focus on creang
the outside of an 8.5 x 11 tri-fold brochure. Specically, the cover design of this
brochure is as follows:
Chapter 1
[ 13 ]
2. Design a basic front cover layout. We'll use the following one for the cover:
3. Decide on the elements we will use for the design. For ours, we'll have a
photograph, company logo, brochure tle, and some addional copy.
What just happened?
We just did the basic planning required to create a brochure in any graphics program.
We determined the physical size of the document, the basic layout, as well as the elements
we have available for use in the design.
Time for action – vector versus rasterized images
Now we need to gure out what elements go where and which graphic types will work best.
Determine what type of graphics each of our design elements should be to best suit our
needs (and the design) and make sure we have the les in that format.
1. Photographs naturally have a lot of colors and gradients, and are oen taken in a
xed size from a digital camera. That said, the les are rasterized bitmaps and can be
in any number of le formats—including .tif, .jpg, .gif, or .png, and are larger
in size. Photographs don't lend themselves to being vector graphics.
Geng Started with Vector Graphics
[ 14 ]
2. Logos should be portable, so that they can look clean at any size and resoluon.
The graphics themselves are oen simple with less color variaon and therefore
lend themselves to being vector graphics as opposed to bitmaps. We'll use a
graphic-based on one in the Openclipart.org collecon, which will be
explained later, as an example for a company logo. You can use les of the
SVG, AI, or EPS format.
3. The company name/tle and copy will be text, which is a font and vector graphic.
It can sll be scaled to accommodate both the boldness of the company name and
also be a body copy for the brochure:
What just happened?
We took each piece of the design puzzle and determined the best le types for each
element. We collected our les and got them ready for the design phase, which is up next.
Time for action – building brochure les
Take all of the elements we dened—both bitmaps and vector graphics—and create the
outside design of the brochure as follows:
Chapter 1
[ 15 ]
What just happened?
We looked at a full brochure design to determine which elements should be rasterized
bitmaps and which should be vector graphics. When done correctly, the graphics seamlessly
work together in a design.
Pop quiz – understanding vector graphics
What are the advantages of scalable vector graphics?
a. Smaller le sizes which can be compressed
b. Projects can be printed at any resoluon
c. Can be searched, edited, and indexed with a text editor
d. All of the above
Geng Started with Vector Graphics
[ 16 ]
Summary
This chapter was dedicated to teaching you the basics about vector graphics and how they
dier from bitmap images. We learned how vector graphics are resoluon-independent and
why we might want to use them in design, how Inkscape supports Scalable Vector Graphics
(SVG), which is an open format, and the advantages of using these types of open graphics
instead of proprietary. We also took some praccal me learning to disnguish when it is
best to use vector graphics and when raster images are needed.
Now it is me to learn how to install Inkscape 0.48 and begin creang vector graphics of
our own!
2
Installing and Opening Inkscape
To start using Inkscape, you must install it rst! This chapter starts by explaining
where to download Inkscape from, the most recent version and its features, as
well as detailed descripons about how to install the soware. It also includes
a brief rundown of the applicaon window and the main areas of where to nd
items when opening it for the rst me.
In this chapter, we will learn:
Inkscape 0.48's features
Where to download Inkscape
How to install Inkscape (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Potenal troubleshoong items when installing
Basics of the Inkscape soware
Opening your rst document
Let's get started and start downloading!
Inkscape's features
Inkscape is a free, open source program developed by a group of volunteers under the GNU
General Public License (GPL). You not only get a free download but can use the program to
create items with it and freely distribute them, modify the program itself, and share that
modied program with others.
Installing and Opening Inkscape
[ 18 ]
Inkscape uses Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a vector-based drawing language, as
described in Chapter 1, Geng Started with Vector Graphics. The basic principles that
apply to SVG graphics apply to Inkscape principles as well:
A drawing can (and should) be scalable to any size without losing detail
A drawing can use an unlimited number of smaller drawings that can be used
in any number of ways (and reused) and be a part of a larger whole
The current Inkscape version at the me of this book being printed is 0.48.2.1 and the 0.48.3
version will be available before Inkscape 0.49 is released.
Installing Inkscape
Inkscape is available for download for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or Solaris operang
systems. Before you install Inkscape, you will need to check that you have all of the required
elements, listed as follows:
Operang system: Windows XP, Vista, 7, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, 10.5 Leopard or 10.6
Snow Leopard, or higher. Most Linux distribuons are supported. Note: Windows
98/ME and 2000 are no longer supported.
To run on the Mac OS X operang system, Inkscape typically runs under X11—an
implementaon of the X Window System soware that makes it possible to run
X11-based applicaons in Mac OS X. The X11 applicaon has shipped with the Mac
OS X since version 10.5. Snow Leopard requires Apple X11/XQuartz 2.3.4 or higher.
Leopard requires Apple X11 2.1.6 or XQuartz. Tiger requires Apple X11 1.1.3.
When you open Inkscape on a Mac, it will rst open X11 and run
Inkscape within that program. Loss of some shortcut key opons
will occur, but all funconality is present using menus and toolbars.
Disk space: A minimum of 190 MB free. More free space is required to store your
graphics projects. You can, however, run a portable version of Inkscape on some
operang systems (like Windows 7). These installaons can run on a portable USB
drive and only require 80 MB of space.
Inkscape requires an Internet connecon if you plan to use the Open Clip
Art Library.
Open Clip Art Library is only available on a Macintosh installaon.
Chapter 2
[ 19 ]
Time for action – downloading Inkscape
In a few simple steps, you will be able to download Inkscape 0.48 from the Internet and
install it on your computer:
1. Go to the ocial Inkscape website at http://www.inkscape.org/ and download
the appropriate version of the soware for your computer.
2. Double-click the downloaded Inkscape installaon package to start the installaon.
For the Mac OS, a DMG le is downloaded. Double-click it and then
drag-and-drop the Inkscape package to the Application folder. For
any Windows device, a .exe le is downloaded. Double-click that le
to start and and connue to complete the installaon. For Linux-based
computers, there are a number of distribuons available. Be sure to
download and install the correct installaon package for your system.
3. Find the Inkscape icon in the Application or Programs folder. It should look like
the following icon:
4. If you see this icon, you have a successful installaon. Now it is me to open
Inkscape for the rst me.
5. Double-click the Inkscape icon and the program will automacally open to the
main screen.
If you are using a Macintosh computer, Inkscape opens within
the X11 applicaon and may take slightly longer to load.
Installing and Opening Inkscape
[ 20 ]
What just happened?
In a few simple steps, you downloaded the Inkscape installaon package and installed it on
your system. When Inkscape opens for the rst me, you will see the main screen, as shown
in the following screenshot, with a new blank document ready to go:
In this book, the screenshots will be specic to the Mac OS X soware. Don't
be concerned if this is not your computer operang system of choice; the
soware itself is very similar between them and notable dierences in the
Inkscape soware screens will be highlighted.
Troubleshooting installation
Installing Inkscape is generally prey simple to do. However, if you run into any issues, take
note of the following ps:
Make a note of your computer's manufacturer, operang system type, and version
and make sure you downloaded the appropriate installaon package.
Also remember once the installaon has occurred, the Inkscape icon to launch the
soware will be in the Application or Programs folder on your computer
Chapter 2
[ 21 ]
If you are sll having issues, there are a number of useful arcles, tutorials, forums, and
more that can help you in all maers of Inkscape—including installaon. Here's the most
common and useful one:
The ocial Inkscape Homepage: http://inkscape.org/. It will provide you with
all the manuals, current download release informaon, forums, and every bit of
informaon about Inkscape you want to know.
Other important links from the ocial homepage are as follows:
Manual and documentaon: http://tavmjong.free.fr/INKSCAPE/MANUAL/
html/index.html
Wiki: http://wiki.inkscape.org/
Forums: http://www.inkscapeforum.com/
Mailing list: http://inkscape.org
Blog: http://planet.inkscape.org/
For developers: https://launchpad.net/inkscape
Clip Art: http://www.openclipart.org/
Galleries: http://wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/Galleries
From forums to direct installaon instrucons, Inkscape.org is the
best place to nd informaon about Inkscape as it compiles all of the
latest informaon about Inkscape from the developers to the users. The
mailing lists provide detailed informaon as well as numerous resources for
troubleshoong.
The basics of the software
The Inkscape interface is based on the GNOME UI standard, which uses visual cues and
feedback for any icons. For example:
Hovering your mouse over any icon displays a pop-up descripon of the icon.
If an icon has a dark gray border, it is acve and can be used.
If an icon is grayed out, it is not currently available to use with the current selecon.
All icons that are in execuon mode (or busy) are covered by a dark shadow. This
signies that the applicaon is busy and won't respond to any edit request.
There is a Nocaon region in the status bar on the main screen that displays
dynamic help messages. These messages display key shortcuts and basic informaon
on how to use the Inkscape soware based on which objects and tools are selected.
Installing and Opening Inkscape
[ 22 ]
Time for action – getting started with Inkscape
In order to feel completely comfortable using the Inkscape soware, let's learn the basics of
the Inkscape interface. This will include menus, toolbars, and dialog boxes. Let's get started!
Find the Inkscape icon in the Application or Programs folder and double-click it to open
the program.
You will see the main window of the Inkscape soware, as follows, with dierent areas of
the screen highlighted. Within the main screen, there is the main menu, command, snap
and status bar, tool controls, and a color palee, as shown in the following screenshot:
On some external resources, canvas and page are used almost interchangeably
in terms of the Inkscape interface. Technically, however, a canvas is the enre
editable area, whereas the page area is the area within the page borders.
Chapter 2
[ 23 ]
1. You will use the main menu frequently when working on your projects. This is the
central locaon to nd every tool and menu item in the program—even those found
in the visual-based toolbars below it on the screen. When you select a main menu
item in Inkscape, you see a menu drop-down with a text descripon and shortcut
key combinaon for the feature. This can be helpful when rst learning the program
as it provides you with easier and oen faster ways to use the most commonly-used
funcons of the program.
Let's take a general tour of the toolbars seen on this main screen. We'll pay close
aenon to the tools we'll use most frequently.
2. The command bar toolbar contains the most frequently-used commands
in Inkscape.
As seen in the previous image, you can create a new document, open an exisng
one, save, print, cut, paste, zoom, add text, and much more. Hover your mouse over
each icon for details about its funcon. By default, when you open Inkscape, this
toolbar is on the top of the main screen:
3. Found vercally on the right-hand side of the main screen, the snap bar toolbar is
designed to help with the snap to features of Inkscape.
It lets you easily align items (snap to guides), force objects to align to paths
(snap to paths), or snap to bounding boxes and edges. More on alignment and
snap to bounding boxes will be explained in later chapters of the book when we
start building example projects.
Installing and Opening Inkscape
[ 24 ]
The tool controls opons change depending on which tool you have selected in the
toolbox (described in the next secon). When you are creang objects, it provides
you with all the detailed opons—size, posion, angles, and aributes—specic
to the tool you are currently using. With the Select tool acve, it looks like the
following image:
The tool controls bar is located on the top of the main window, just below the
command bar.
You have opons to select/deselect objects within a layer, rotate or mirror objects,
adjust object locaons on the canvas and scaling opons, and much more. Use it to
dene object properes when they are selected on the canvas.
4. You'll use the toolbox frequently. It is located on the le-hand side of the screen and
contains all of the main tools for creang objects, selecng and modifying objects,
and drawing. To select a tool, click the icon. If you double-click a tool, you can see
that tool's preferences (and change them).
Chapter 2
[ 25 ]
5. The palee bar of the Inkscape screen controls ll and stroke color opons. Fill is
the color that lls the object or shape. Alternavely, stroke is the outline around the
object or shape.
Using the palee bar, there are a few ways you can set the ll and stroke
in Inkscape:
From the palee bar, click a color and drag it from the palee onto objects
to change their ll. If you hold the Shi key and drag a color box onto an
object, it will set the stroke color.
Select an object on your canvas by clicking it and then right-click a color
box in the palee. A pop-up menu appears with opons to set the ll
and stroke.
Select an object on your canvas and then le-click a color box in the palee
to immediately set the ll of an object. Press Shi and le-click a color box
to immediately set the stroke color.
There are a large number of color boxes to choose from. Use the palee bar scroll
bar along the boom to see more choices to the right of those displaying on the
screen. You can also click the small caret at the right end of the toolbar to allow
for a greater selecon of colors—even customizable color palees as well.
6. The status bar contains informaon relang to a selected object within the canvas
or page of your document. You can also use it to modify canvas sengs:
Here are the details:
Style Indicator focuses a bit more on the selected object. If you select any
object on your canvas, you can change its ll (overall color of the object)
or stroke (border color). Drag a color from the palee to this secon for
easy color changes. Right-clicking the Style Indicators provides a pop-up
menu, leng you make quick and easy coloring edits. Double-clicking the
Installing and Opening Inkscape
[ 26 ]
Style Indicators will launch the Fill & Stroke dialog box. If you right-click the
number next to the Stroke Style Indicator, you will get a choice of Stroke
thicknesses to choose from.
The Opacity Seng is the drop-down box near the Style Indicators.
Right-click the drop-down box to change the opacity (or transparency)
percentage (%) value (the default is 100%). A pop-up menu displays a
set of preset values to choose from. If you le-click the drop-down box,
it allows direct entry of a value or a change of the value with the
up/down arrows.
Layer informaon: Within Inkscape, when you create documents, you
can have many layers of objects. This gives great exibility when creang
graphics of any kind. You can move groups of objects at once (placing a
group of them on a layer) and separate objects by layer to manipulate and
aect how they interact with one another when stacked, re-ordered, or
hidden. You can also set certain sengs by layer. You can even create dras
or dierent versions of mockups and keep all of this in one le.
The layer informaon lets you choose which layer you are currently using
and placing objects to—this is called the drawing layer. You can then
set whether this layer is visible or locked. Somemes you can use your
documents as a working dra and decide to hide certain layers while
developing others. You might also lock layers when you have specied
the exact posioning that you require and you don't want it accidentally
changed while manipulang other layers. Changing the visibility of layers
can also speed up eding when working on large or very detailed objects.
Nocaon area: This contains hints or tricks about the objects or area you
currently have selected in your document. Keep an eye on this area because
it guides you with helpful informaon as you work within the layer. This
feature is unique to Inkscape and the help messages change and update as
you use the soware to reect your available opons.
Chapter 2
[ 27 ]
Pointer or cursor posion: When designing any space— either for print or
web—it is oen important to get the precise placement of objects. To help
do this, somemes you want to see when/where your cursor or pointer is
placed on the screen. This is the area on the Inkscape main screen where
you can always see the exact x (horizontal) and y (vercal) placement of
your cursor within the document. The given X and Y coordinates are relave
to the boom-le corner of the document area.
Zoom: Use the zoom tools to magnify your canvas for super close-up work
or to zoom out to see the whole canvas in one shot. If you right-click the
zoom eld, a pop-up menu with commonly-used preset zoom levels is
displayed from which you can select one to immediately adjust the canvas
to. This is parcularly useful with illustraons containing lots of details
because you can customize your viewable magnicaon at any me
and to whatever level you would like.
Window resize: By default, Inkscape opens to a default window size. With
this resize window opon in the lower-right side of this area, you can click,
hold, and drag the window to an appropriate size for your computer screen.
Alternavely, you can choose to make the window full-screen by going to
the main menu and choosing View and then Full Screen (press F11 on a
Windows or Linux-based system). When re-opening a .svg le, Inkscape
will resize itself to the size that the window was when the le was saved.
The window size informaon is stored in the Inkscape .svg le itself.
What just happened?
You opened the Inkscape applicaon and familiarized yourself with the main
applicaon window.
In Inkscape, we learned that the interface itself can be a tool to help us create beer designs.
We reviewed:
The main menu and what each opon allows us to do
Each of the toolbars: command, snap, tool controls, palee, and status bar and what
they oer us in Inkscape
Installing and Opening Inkscape
[ 28 ]
Pop quiz – using Tools
Which toolbar is the most used in Inkscape?
a. Palee bar
b. Snap to bar
c. Command bar
d. Toolbox toolbar
Understanding a new document
Now that we have learned all the menus and toolbars, let's dig into what you can do with
your rst open document.
Time for action – learning more about the main screen
When you open Inkscape for the rst me, it opens a blank document automacally and you
are ready to roll. However, you can just as easily open another new document by going to
the main menu and selecng File | New.
You will be oered a number of choices of canvas sizes. Let's discuss the details of the canvas
and some addional properes of the interface that you will use when opening documents.
The terms 'canvas' and 'page' are used interchangeably within the Inkscape interface.
For simplicity, we'll refer to the canvas as the enre poron of the open document screen.
A page is the poron of the canvas that is contained within the printable area—seen as a
black-bordered box in the following screenshot:
With the main screen sll open in Inkscape, let's discuss this poron of the applicaon screen:
Chapter 2
[ 29 ]
1. You can always adjust the page—or printable area—size. Go to the main menu,
select File, and then select Document Properes. In the Document Properes
window Page tab, look in the Format eld. You can select any number of
pre-dened sizes or change the Custom Size eld measurements to your liking.
The pre-dened sizes are specic to print media, while those found in
the main menu, File | New path, give common web design, logo, or web
banner-sized templates.
As soon as you make changes to these properes, you can see them reected
on your screen:
Installing and Opening Inkscape
[ 30 ]
2. Dockable dialogs are a great feature in Inkscape 0.48. They give you more freedom
in your screen layout. You can show (or hide) dialog boxes on the right-hand side of
your screen:
Useful dialogs that can be docked on the right-hand side of the screen are:
Layers
Transform
Path Eect
SVG Font Editor
Filter Editor
Chapter 2
[ 31 ]
The docked dialogs can be minimized, rearranged, stacked, and undocked into a
separate window on your desktop. Here's how to do some of the basics:
Showing dialog boxes: To show these dialog boxes, on the main menu,
select View and select Show/Hide Dialogs. Then go to the Layer, Object,
Path, or Text menus and choose the Editor, Layer, or Property opons to
show the correlang dialog box.
Displaying more than one dialog box: If you open more than one dialog
box, they will stack in the order they were opened in the dialog area of the
main screen. Use the scroll bar to see those below the rst viewable dialog.
Minimizing dialog boxes: You can minimize a dialog so it appears as an icon.
To do this, press the right arrow buon, along the right-hand side of the
tle bar of each dialog box. This places a shortcut along the right side of
the Inkscape screen. To re-open it, just click the text/icon and the dialog
re-opens to the large state on the screen.
Floang dialog boxes: Dialogs can also be dragged o the main window
into their own window. Each dialog can have its own window or they can be
grouped in oang docks.
Closing dialog boxes: To close the dialog window, you can click the X on the
tle bar for that box. It immediately closes.
For inial designs of any kind, these Dockable dialogs can be extremely
useful. Having the Layers Dockable dialog visible is parcularly useful,
as it lets you select layers and re-order them quickly:
Installing and Opening Inkscape
[ 32 ]
3. There are several ways to view your canvas or page in an open document.
Panning means moving le and right, or up and down on the main screen.
The easiest way to pan to the le or right is to use the horizontal scroll bar along the
boom of your Inkscape screen. Panning up and down can be done with the vercal
scroll bar on the right-hand side of the screen. If you have a mouse with a scroll
wheel you can use it to pan as well. Just scrolling with the wheel moves the canvas
up and down. Pressing Shi on the keyboard and then using the scroll wheel moves
it sideways.
As discussed in the status bar overview, you can use the zoom tool to magnify your
canvas, so that you can see a lot of detail (zoomed in) or the enre canvas at a
glance (zoomed out). By default, Inkscape will open documents at about 35%. You
can also use the zoom tool on the toolbox [inline graphic], a mouse with a scroll
wheel and the Ctrl key, or use your keypad (= or + zoom in and - zooms out).
Chapter 2
[ 33 ]
For easy access to the Zoom to t selecon, Zoom to t drawing, and Zoom to t
page in the window opons, see opons in the command bar. These opons can
also be set from the main menu by selecng View | Zoom.
What just happened?
The canvas or page in your Inkscape document can be a useful space, especially if you know
how to use it best. We learned that 'canvas' and 'page' are interchangeable terms, as well
as how to use scrollbars and all the intricacies of panning, zooming, and using Dockable
dialogs—which will be a common item that you will return to again and again as you work
on Inkscape projects.
Have a go hero – oating Dockable dialogs
Much like with the toolbars, you can move Dockable dialogs to be oang windows on your
screen as well:
To move any of the Dockable dialogs from their docking point on the le-hand side,
click-and-drag the tle bar out of the window
To close the Dockable dialog, click the close buon (outer-right) or click the dialog
close buon (on the tle bar, next to icon)
To re-dock the dialog, you must click-and-drag the tle bar into the Dockable area
Pop quiz – new documents
What is the easiest way to open a new document within Inkscape?
a. Close down the program and re-open it
b. There isn't a way to do this via Inkscape
c. Click the new document icon on the command bar
d. From the main menu, choose File | New
e. Open Document Properes from the File menu.
Installing and Opening Inkscape
[ 34 ]
Summary
We started this chapter by talking at a high level about Inkscape 0.48 and what you can do
with it. We then jumped right into learning how to download Inkscape, detailed descripons
about how to install the soware, and discussed all the main areas of the screen when
opening it for the rst me. We even talked a lile bit about how to troubleshoot the
Inkscape installaon and where to nd the best informaon about the soware—no maer
what your issue.
Aer opening our rst document, we talked about changing the document properes
and the value of scrolling, panning, and zooming. We even jumped into learning the basics
of the soware that will be key in starng our very own project. This is where we will start
with Chapter 3, How to Manage your Files. Get ready to learn how to set up a project and
get started!
3
How to Manage Files
This chapter is all about les and managing them. Inkscape can import a
number of le formats, edit them, and save them in a number of formats.
We will discuss all of that as well as the nave Inkscape SVG format, benets
of using projects folder, and embedding versus linking image les.
The following topics will be discussed in this chapter:
Creang new les
Saving Inkscape les
Creang a customized default document
How to structure project les
Imporng non-nave Inkscape les
Embedding and linking image les
Creating new les
As previously, stated when you rst open Inkscape, a new document is opened and ready to
start. However, it uses a default size of A4. You will likely need a whole array of other sizes for
print, web design, or even custom sizes. Here's how to access all of the predened document
dimensions Inkscape oers and details on how to adjust them manually for your needs.
How to Manage Files
[ 36 ]
Using predened-sized document dimensions
To see all predened document dimensions Inkscape has to oer, go the main menu and
choose File and then New.
Inkscape has many predened sizes already generated for you.
For web design, you can choose from the following:
Desktops with sizes 1024 x 768, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480, or 800 x 600
Web banners with sizes 468 x 60 or 728 x 90
Icon sizes ranging from 16 x 16, 32 x 32, and 48 x 48
For print, there are many sizes you can choose from:
Leers: Standard US, A4
Business card sizes: 84 x 54mm, 90 X 50mm
CD Cover_300dpi: 343 X 340
CD label: 120x120
DVD covers: Regular, slim, super slim, and ultra slim
However, you can always change document dimensions to a custom size whenever you
like. Just go to the main menu and select File and then Document Properes. You'll see the
Document Properes window displayed with a number of opons for customizing your
canvas and printable page.
Chapter 3
[ 37 ]
As shown in the preceding screenshot, within the Format eld, you can choose any of the
predened values for Page size. Alternavely, you can use the Custom size eld to dene
the size directly.
Time for action – creating a new CD cover
Imagine that you would like to use Inkscape to design and create a simple CD cover for
a new music compilaon you created. Here's how to get started and open a predened
template in Inkscape:
1. Open Inkscape, and from the main menu, select File | New | CD_cover_300dpi.
How to Manage Files
[ 38 ]
2. A new document opens to the correct dimensions.
What just happened?
Quite simply, these steps just opened up a new le in Inkscape to the exact dimensions
of a CD cover.
With the autodened templates, it takes the guesswork out of dimensions and lets you jump
right into the design. We'll get back to this CD cover and design in Chapter 4, How to build
your rst graphic.
Pop quiz – how do you change the dimensions of a predened graphic?
1. Once you open a predened template and start working, what do you do if you need
to change the dimensions?
a. Start the design all over in a new document (from the main menu,
select File | New).
b. Copy and paste the design into another le.
c. Go to the document properes (from the main menu, select File |
Document Properes) and adjust the dimensions and t the design.
Chapter 3
[ 39 ]
Custom document dimensions
In the last secon, we discussed creang a document that uses a predened size already
provided in Inkscape, but what if you need to create a le that is custom or not listed in the
template list?
It's easy. You start with the default page size in Inkscape and then use the Document
Properes window to adjust to the exact size you need.
Time for action – creating a new custom le size for a postcard
We're going to create a le that will be the exact size for a postcard.
1. From the Inkscape main menu, select File | New | Default. This opens a le with the
default dimensions of A4.
2. Now we want to customize those document dimensions. To do this, go to the main
menu and choose File | Document Properes. You'll see the Document Properes
window displayed with a number of opons for customizing your canvas and
printable page, as shown in the following screenshot:
How to Manage Files
[ 40 ]
3. To change to the custom postcard size of 7 x 5 inches, we need to change the
following elds in the following order: Units to in (Inches), Width to 7, and Height
to 5. The changes on the Document Properes window should look similar to the
following screenshot:
Remember to change the Units rst; otherwise the Width and Height elds
will adjust to the new unit of measure and you will have to readjust them.
Changing page orientaon
Also note that you can change the Page Orientaon from Portrait
to Landscape (or vice versa) from the Document Properes screen.
Change the eld from below the Page Size selecon box. When
you do this, Inkscape automacally changes the Width and Height
values already entered in the Custom Size secon.
4. Close the Document Properes window/dock by clicking the X at the
upper-right corner.
5. Your page will be resized to the new postcard custom dimensions, as shown in the
following screenshot:
Chapter 3
[ 41 ]
6. Keep this le open, as we will connue to manipulate it in the next secon, Have a
go hero – adding a print-safe border.
What just happened?
In a nutshell, we opened a new Inkscape le and then adjusted the document properes so
that the page dimensions were set for our 7 x 5 postcard project. Now we are ready to start
designing the layout of the postcard.
Have a go hero – adding a print-safe border
So now you have the page dimensions set accurately. What about seng up the le for
the design? You'll need to create guides around the page edges—about one-eighth of an
inch—to accommodate for prinng and then cung o the paper to size. Any and all design
would need to stay within that border to be considered print-safe.
Here's how to set this up:
1. Open your 7 X 5 postcard le again (if it is not already open from the last exercise).
2. From the main menu, choose File | Document Properes.
How to Manage Files
[ 42 ]
3. In the Document Properes window, in the General secon, change the Default
units to in (inches), as shown in the following screenshot:
4. Now the ruler on the Inkscape screen will display units of inches.
5. Now it's me to create guides. Guides are lines on the screen that you will use for
aligning, that is, guiding objects. These lines are only seen while you are working
in Inkscape. To create a guide, make sure the Select Tool is selected, click inside
the ruler area on your main screen and drag towards your page, as shown in the
following screenshot. A red line represents the guide unl you let go of the guide
and place it on the page. Then the line turns blue.
Chapter 3
[ 43 ]
6. To make sure you posion a right, le, top, and boom guide one-eighth of an inch
from each of the edges of the document, as shown in the following screenshot, you
can hover over the guide line; when it turns red, double-click to bring up the dialog
box to make sure the measurement is set at one-eighth of an inch. Now all of the
space in the box is considered safe for design and will not be cut o during the print
producon of the postcards.
Again, we will connue to work with this le in the following exercise. Keep it open and
ready for us to connue manipulang the le.
Have a go hero – adding a print bleed
What if you needed to adjust the postcard size to accommodate a bleed of the margins?
A bleed means when an image or element on a page touches the edge of the page, oen
extending beyond the trim edge so there is no margin. Bleeds can extend o one or more
sides of a page.
Let's begin with our print-ready postcard le from the previous secon.
1. Open our 7 X 5 postcard le with the guides in place (if it is not already open from
the last exercise).
2. From the main menu, choose Extensions | Render | Prinng Marks. This will add
crop and bleed marks with a specied bleed area to our canvas.
3. Create new guides (while leaving our previously created print-safe guides as is)
that match the distance of the bleed marks (doed marks).
How to Manage Files
[ 44 ]
4. Now when you design, they can bleed past the Print Safe Area, so they bleed to the
edge of the paper when cut.
Saving Inkscape les
As you begin working on your projects, it is always good pracce to save les oen. Inkscape
has a number of save opons, in a number of formats, as well as ways to export into other
common le formats.
By default, Inkscape typically saves les to your main documents folder. However, you are
given an opon to change this during the saving process each and every me you save a le.
Saving in Inkscape SVG
By default, Inkscape les are saved as SVG les. The nave Inkscape SVG format allows
eding at a later me. If le size is a concern, you can also save in the Inkscape-compressed
format of SVGZ and you will have no issues eding the le and resaving it for future use.
Inkscape can save as SVG, SVGZ, PDF, PostScript/EPS/EPSi, Adobe Illustrator (*.ai), LaTex
(*.tex), POVRay (*.pov), HPGL, and others. This is important because you can share les
with others, which they are able to then open and manipulate.
If you work in web design, note that it is possible that you can use the SVG les directly in
the HTML/XML code. However, you should work with your programming team to conrm
that they can use the SVG format. (Not all browsers or plaorms support this).
Saving a le in any other non-Inkscape-SVG-format could potenally make it uneditable to
the extent of the original. So, always save the nave Inkscape document and then export
bitmaps and other graphics and/or use File | Save Copy As to save it in another format.
Chapter 3
[ 45 ]
Time for action – saving an Inkscape SVG
Since you have just started using Inkscape, let's use an example le to learn about the save
features of Inkscape. Open your browser and go to the following link:
http://www.openclipart.org/people/kuba/LGM_poster2.svg
Right-click on the image and select Save As. When prompted, save the le to a locaon on
your computer (for example, your desktop). We will use this OpenClip Art Inkscape le for
this exercise:
1. Open the example le in Inkscape.
2. Once open, from the main menu, select File | Save.
3. In the Select le to save to window, type a new name for your le (for example,
drawing.svg).
4. Choose a folder to save the le to—including choosing Browse for other folders
if you'd like to choose another locaon.
How to Manage Files
[ 46 ]
5. Again, note, by default the le will be saved as Inkscape SVG (*.svg), but there are a
number of other formats to choose from in this menu. However, as stated, you may
lose editability of the le once saved in another non-SVG format.
6. Click Save.
What just happened?
We just saved our current working le as an Inkscape (editable) SVG le—the nave le
format of Inkscape—to a specied locaon on our computer for future use.
Pop quiz – editable Inkscape le formats
1. What is the nave or default Inkscape le format?
a. VGS
b. SVG
c. PNG
d. PDF
Chapter 3
[ 47 ]
Exporting les
Inkscape's Export Bitmap opon only allows you to export to Portable Network Graphics
(PNG). This is an image format that uses lossless data compression.
However, there are a number of exporng opons that are available.
Exporng a page: Exporng the page (the bordered area) in PNG format is useful
when the client wants to see a mockup of the nal design for review comments or
approvals—especially in web design. Mockups or wireframes allow someone to see
a layout without having a need to interact with a live website.
Exporng a drawing: This will export all objects in a drawing, including those placed
outside the page (bordered area).
Exporng a selecon: If you have an object selected on or o the canvas, and
choose this opon, it will be saved as a PNG le. This is most useful for elements
of a web design such as logos, wordmarks, and various other web graphics.
Time for action – exporting to PNG
Let's give this Export funconality a try. We'll use the postcard le we created in the previous
secon with a very simple design added to show how this is done.
1. With the postcard le open from the previous secon, from the main menu, select
File | Export Bitmap.
How to Manage Files
[ 48 ]
2. The Export Window is displayed, as shown in the following screenshot:
3. On this window, you will see a number of opons along the top that detail how you
might want to export the screen contents.
4. If you want to export the enre document, as shown in one bitmap image, then
select Page.
5. If you want to export all objects in a drawing, including those placed outside the
canvas/page, select Drawing.
6. If you want to export only a selected object (which you would see with an outline
and nodes on the screen), select Selecon. However, this opon is only available if
items are selected in the drawing before you start the export process.
7. Click Browse to change the default lename and/or the locaon where you want the
le to be saved.
8. Click Export.
Your new PNG le is saved. Remember the PNG you exported from these steps won't be
editable in Inkscape and the layers will not be intact, but you should be able to import it for
use in another SVG le.
What just happened?
You took a project le and exported it as a PNG le type. This le type is a bitmap or rasterized
graphic le type that is not editable in Inkscape, but can be imported into Inkscape to be used
as part of another project.
Chapter 3
[ 49 ]
Pop quiz – Export versus Save As
1. If you want to save a le as a PDF in Inkscape, what would you need to do?
a. Use the File | Export Bitmap feature.
b. Find another program that can open SVG les to do it for you.
c. Use File | Save or File| Save As.
Have a go hero – saving your Inkscape le as a PDF
Since we have discussed PDF les and their importance for mockups as well as transferability
between compable soware, let's learn how to save an Inkscape le as a PDF for this same
purpose. PDF le sizes can typically be small and they can be opened by many programs
(that are not graphics-based). In fact, you can even use PDFs for print projects or simple
review les.
1. With Inkscape open and the postcard le acve, from the main menu, select
File | Save.
2. In the Select le to save to window, choose Portable Document Format (*pdf)
as the le format.
3. In the Name eld, type a name for your le (for example, postcard.pdf).
4. Choose a folder to save the le to—including choosing Browse for other folders,
if you'd like to choose another locaon.
5. Click Save.
Creating a customized default document
When working in print design, oen you might need to create a parcular size document
again and again. Perhaps, Inkscape does not oer this as a default size. You can then create
a custom document and force Inkscape to use it as the default document size.
How to Manage Files
[ 50 ]
Time for action – creating a new default document
We're going to create a new default document with a custom size.
1. From the Inkscape main menu, select File | New | Default. This opens a le with the
default dimensions of A4, as shown in the following screenshot:
2. Now customize those document dimensions. From the main menu, choose File |
Document Properes. You'll see the Document Properes window displayed, as
shown in the following screenshot:
Chapter 3
[ 51 ]
3. Change the Units to in (Inches), Width to 7, and Height to 5. The changes on the
Document Properes window should look similar to the following screenshot:
Remember to change the Units rst; otherwise the Width and Height elds will
adjust to the new unit of measurement and you will have to readjust them.
4. Close the Document Properes window/dock by clicking the X at the
upper-right corner.
5. From the main menu, select File | Save As. Choose the following directories to save
as a new default:
For Windows, save to the share directory within the Inkscape directory.
C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\default.svg
For Mac and Linux users, save the le to: /usr/share/inkscape/templates/
default.svg
6. Once saved, when you open a new Inkscape document and choose File | New |
Default, a document with your specic dimensions will be opened.
What just happened?
We created a new default document in Inkscape and then saved it so that it will
automacally open when you choose Default from the new le menu.
How to structure project les
The last secon was about saving individual les. However, you may nd yourself designing
enre web pages or large projects that require more than one Inkscape le. To do this, it
requires some basic organizaon of les within directories or folders to make nding (and
using) the Inkscape les easier to use—specically when saving enre pages of content as
individual graphic les. The following secon details how best to manage mulple le projects.
How to Manage Files
[ 52 ]
Managing multiple le projects
Simply put, if you create one directory or folder where you store all of the les for one
project, you can minimize mismanagement of les. Within that directory, you will have
more control over how you structure your les for revisions and dras for work.
As stated, it starts with a project folder placed on your computer in an easy-to-access
locaon. Whenever you create a new le in Inkscape for this project, you can save those
source Inkscape les in a folder named Source. Then you can also create a Deployment
folder (or another intuive name) where you export all the les in the various formats you
need to hand o to a developer for website integraon or as print-ready les for a printer.
This can get a bit complicated when you decide to save all selected les on a page as individual
images. Inkscape allows you to do what is called a batch save process. This means you save all
the les with just one buon press. Where it gets tricky is the save locaon and thus it is good
pracce to have directories in which to save les. Let's see how this is done.
Time for action – exporting a batch of images
We're going to look in detail at how to save an enre page or canvas of images as separate
graphic les. This pracce is common in web design when each image needs to be called to
acon in the HTML code. It can also be useful if you have developed a print design and want
to save a logo, a block of text, and some graphical elements for use in another piece of the
same client.
Chapter 3
[ 53 ]
1. We will use the sample le from the previous secon again for this exercise. If you
have not downloaded the le, open your browser and go to the following link:
http://www.openclipart.org/people/kuba/LGM_poster2.svg
Right-click the image and save to a locaon on your computer.
2. Open the example le in Inkscape.
3. On the main menu, select Edit | Select All in All Layers. Now all the objects
within this example le will be selected. You should see dashed borders around
each object.
We will discuss Layers in detail in Chapter 5, Working with
Layers.
4. It's me to export. From the main menu, select File | Export Bitmap.
The Export Bitmap window displays.
5. This me, we want to choose Selecon from the top bar.
6. In the Filename eld, type the directory folder that you want all object images to be
saved to. If you choose to browse to a directory, you may need to select a le for the
path to be accepted in this eld.
How to Manage Files
[ 54 ]
7. Enable the Batch export 8 selected objects checkbox.
8. Click Export.
What just happened?
With a few simple steps in the Export Bitmap window, you were able to save eight objects
as separate PNG les in a specied directory.
Inkscape uses object IDs when automacally assigning lenames during an export.
The object IDs, by default, aren't descripve and are oen a basic descripon of the
object with a number. However, you can rename the object ID on your canvas easily.
Renaming object IDs
In an open Inkscape document, select the object you want to rename. From the main menu,
select Object | Object Properes (or use the Shi + Ctrl + O keyboard shortcut key). The
Object Properes window is displayed. Change the Id eld to be a descripve lename.
Chapter 3
[ 55 ]
Now when you export, the lename will be pulled from this Id eld and thus be descripve
in nature for your project.
Importing non-native Inkscape les
In the previous secon, we imported a previously-created Inkscape SVG le into the program.
Inkscape supports a number of other graphic formats too. It can open or import SVG, SVGZ
(gzipped SVG), PDF, and AI (Adobe Illustrator) formats. In parcular, it can import bitmap-based
graphic formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF, but it can only export PNG bitmaps.
With the help of extensions and plugins, Inkscape can also open a number of other vector
formats. The following are some examples:
For imporng PostScript or EPS, install Ghostscript (http://pages.cs.wisc.
edu/~ghost/)
For formats of Dia, XFig, or Sketch, you need to have those programs installed on
your computer
For CorelDraw, CGM, and SK1 les, install Uniconverter (http://sk1project.
org/). For Windows users, Uniconvertor is pre-installed with Inkscape and no
addional installaon is needed.
See this version of the Inkscape manual for the fully-supported formats and the caveats of
imporng each: http://tavmjong.free.fr/INKSCAPE/MANUAL/html/File-Import.
html.
Remember, if you import and open a non-nave Inkscape le, you may not be able edit
all of the elements. Inkscape imports non-nave les as aened graphic les, so you
can't edit anything within the graphic, but you can manipulate or use the aened image
within Inkscape.
The recommended format for transferring non-nave Inkscape les is to use
the original source program and les to create a PDF. Then open the PDF in
Inkscape. PDF les, when imported into Inkscape, allow for editability to remain
with vector-based objects.
How to Manage Files
[ 56 ]
Time for action – importing a PDF into Inkscape
Let's import a non-nave Inkscape SVG le into Inkscape—as you may need to do this for
client logos, photographs, and any number of other real-world examples. Open a browser
and go to this link: http://db.tt/xR0ZlBRL
A PDF will be downloaded and saved to your computer. It will be our sample le to work
with during this exercise.
1. Open a document in Inkscape. This can be any in-progress le that we have used
previously in this chapter, or a new document.
2. From the main menu, select File | Import.
The Select le to import window displays, as shown in the following screenshot:
Chapter 3
[ 57 ]
3. Locate and select the sample PDF le you just downloaded and select Open.
4. When the PDF Import Sengs screen displays, adjust sengs as needed
and click OK.
5. Within Page sengs, you can choose whether you want all pages of the PDF to be
imported or just a specic page number. The Clip to eld has various opons (media
box, crop box, trim box, bleed box, art box, and so on), allowing you to determine
how the le is imported into your current canvas.
6. Within Import sengs, you can set the Precision of Gradient Meshes. Any gradients
seen on your objects are converted to ny boxes. The higher the precision, the more
boxes will be used to illustrate the gradient (also, the larger the le size, the slower
the load me in Inkscape).
7. Depending on the source applicaon that created the PDF, you can adjust Text
handling. If you choose Import text as text, all the text objects will be brought
in as such in Inkscape and then become editable.
8. The checkboxes on the screen allow for you to replace fonts to the closest match
(checked) and to embed images (checked).
9. In a few moments, the PDF le you selected will display within the page of your
Inkscape project.
How to Manage Files
[ 58 ]
Note that this imported PDF is fully editable if the objects are vector-based. Rasterized
images are more limited to the following:
Moving the object: Click to select it and move it to where you want it to be on
the canvas.
Making the image smaller: Double-click the object to select and click-and-drag an
arrowed corner to shrink it.
Any detailed edits such as changing color or moving lines within the PDF are not permissible.
However, the object is fully usable within the Inkscape le for design purposes. Photographs
and similar rasterized images can all be used in this fashion.
Edit text blocks
To edit an imported block of text like a typewriter, select the text block
and Remove Manual Kerns from the Text Menu.
What just happened?
We imported a sample PDF le into Inkscape to demonstrate the exibility of this le format.
If objects are vector-based, they maintain editability. If rasterized images are included, then
they have more limited eding capabilies.
Pop quiz – le format portability
1. What is the ideal format for transferring non-nave Inkscape les to Inkscape?
a. SVG
b. JPG
c. GIF
d. PDF
Embedding and linking image les
When you import les into Inkscape, you are prompted about linking or embedding them.
Linking a le means that the le is essenally displayed within your Inkscape document and
there are associated properes (locaon, size, and so on) to that linked object. The original le
must remain in the exact locaon on your computer or you will not be able to view it in the
Inkscape le and any changes you make to the original le will be seen in the Inkscape le.
Chapter 3
[ 59 ]
Embedding a le means that the le itself is brought into the Inkscape document and it
resides there. All changes made to that le within your project stay within your project
and the original source le can be moved to any locaon on your computer.
The advantage to embedding images is that they are not ed to the original source.
You can move the source le or the Inkscape le anywhere on your computer or even
send a co-worker the Inkscape le and there is no need to worry about the linked le.
However, this also means your le sizes will be larger.
There are some limitaons to embedding images into the Inkscape SVG les. They are
as follows:
For SVG les used directly on the web, increasing the le size increases bandwidth
usage on the server or host.
Embedded images can't be shared across documents. For example, if you have one
PNG image as a background le, you can't share it across SVG les.
Sharing copyrighted fonts or images in a document could be illegal (depending on
how extensive the rights you have purchased to use these items are to begin with).
This is parcularly important when working on commercial or widely-used projects.
If there is extensive text eding within the SVG les themselves, this can be
complicated and me-intensive.
Linking keeps le sizes small, but you must remember to send all addional les along with
your Inkscape SVG les when you go to producon or create print-ready PDFs; otherwise all
linked objects will not display.
Embedding les in Inkscape
The best examples for embedding les in Inkscape are when you want one all-inclusive le
that can be sent or posted individually without worrying about addional source les or
directory structures. Another example could be when you know that you will change the
locaon of the linked or Inkscape le frequently, as you work with dierent versions.
Time for action – embedding a logo into your design
Let's learn how to embed a logo le into a design. We'll start by downloading a sample logo.
Open a browser and go to this Open Clipart sample logo at the following URL:
http://www.openclipart.org/image/800px/svg_to_png/vetlogo.png
How to Manage Files
[ 60 ]
Right-click on the logo and save it to your computer.
1. Open a document in Inkscape.
2. From the main menu, select File | Import. Alternavely, you can drag-and-drop a le
from your desktop onto an open Inkscape le.
The Select le to import window displays.
3. Locate and select the Sample logo le you just downloaded and select Open.
4. When the input screen displays, select Embed.
5. Click OK.
6. In a few moments, the logo you selected displays and is embedded within the page
of your Inkscape project.
What just happened?
In the preceding steps, you embedded a logo image into your current Inkscape document.
Chapter 3
[ 61 ]
Linking external les in Inkscape
Linking certain les can be useful—parcularly if the source le you want to link to is a large,
high-resoluon photograph.
Time for action – linking a photograph into a brochure design
Now let's try to link external les into an Inkscape project. For this example, we will just use
the same logo as the previous example. If you did not download it yet, open a browser and
go to the following Open Clipart sample logo:
http://www.openclipart.org/image/800px/svg_to_png/vetlogo.png
Right-click on the logo and save it to your computer.
1. Open a document in Inkscape.
2. From the main menu, select File | Import.
The Select le to import window is displayed.
3. Locate and select the Sample logo le you just downloaded and select Open.
4. When the input screen displays, this me select Link.
5. Click OK.
6. In a few moments, the logo you selected displays and is embedded within the page
of your Inkscape project.
You moved your source le and now need to change the link path to
your le?
Right-click on your linked object in your Inkscape le and select Image
Properes. Change the URL eld to match the new path to the le.
What just happened?
You linked an image le into your current open Inkscape project and learned a special p for
xing a broken image link in any of your old les.
How to Manage Files
[ 62 ]
Pop quiz – linking versus embedding images
1. Why would you want to link an external le instead of an embedded one?
a. A large image size
b. The image will be constantly changing and you want the changes to be
reected instantly in your Inkscape le
c. Project le structure will remain the same and there are a limited number
of images
d. All of the above
Have a go hero – changing your mind, embedding les after the fact
What if you inially linked all les and then decide that you would rather embed them all?
The following are the steps to take to make this happen:
1. Open an Inkscape document.
2. From the main menu, select Extensions, then Images, and Embed Images....
3. Do not check the Embed only selected images box.
Chapter 3
[ 63 ]
If you want to embed only certain images in the document, then you
must select those images rst. You should then go to the main menu,
select Extensions | Images | Embed Images..., and check the Embed
only selected images box.
4. Click Apply.
Summary
We spent the majority of this chapter discussing how to create new les in Inkscape. You
learned how to use predened page/canvas sizes in Inkscape, how to customize the le size,
and even how to create print bleeds and the setup for print-safe space on your documents.
Then we jumped into saving Inkscape les—paying close aenon to discuss the advantages
of keeping a source version of all documents in Inkscape's nave le format of SVG, so you
can connue to edit your les. Along with that topic, we jumped into managing mulple
le projects and best pracces, the details regarding which formats in which Inkscape can
save, as well as imporng le types. Finally, we talked about embedding and linking les
and images in your Inkscape les. We detailed the advantages and disadvantages of each
approach as well as how to work with both in your les for the best experience.
All of this is leading up to the next chapter, which deals with starng your very rst Inkscape
project. We've done a lot of preparaon; now it is me to start designing!
4
Creating your First Graphics
We're now ready to create some graphics. We'll start with some basic shapes
and then move on to freehand objects, using grids and guidelines to help to
create beer graphics beer create graphics.
The following are the specics about what we will learn:
Paths and Shapes
Creang your rst vector graphic
Ellipses and Arcs
Complex Shapes
Freehand Objects
Using Grids and Guidelines
Paths
Vector graphics are made up of what are called geometrical primives such as points, lines,
curves, and shapes. These primives then have a start and end point, curves, angles, and
points that are calculated with a mathemacal equaon. These paths are not limited to being
straight—they can be of any shape, size, and even encompass any number of curves. When
you combine them, they create drawings, diagrams, and can even help create certain fonts.
Creang your First Graphics
[ 66 ]
Inkscape uses both paths and a series of pre-determined shapes when creang graphics.
Paths have no predened lengths or widths. They are arbitrary in nature and come in three
basic types:
Open paths (have two ends)
Closed paths (have no ends, like a circle)
Compound paths (use a combinaon of two or more open and/or closed paths)
ClosedOpen Compound
In Inkscape, there are a few ways we can make paths such as with the Pencil (Freehand),
Bezier (Pen) , and Calligraphy tools—all of which are found in the toolbox located at the le
side of your screen.
You can also convert a regular shape or text object into a path.
Chapter 4
[ 67 ]
In general, we use paths to build unique objects that aren't part of the SVG standard shapes
in Inkscape. Since we can combine paths and make them closed objects—they again can be
resized, manipulated, and then exported in a number of formats.
Creating your rst vector graphic
In this secon, we will show you how to create some basic vector graphics with shapes and
paths in Inkscape (which thankfully doesn't require you to do any mathemacal equaons
when using it) and export them in a couple of dierent formats.
Here are the standard shapes that are part of the SVG standard:
Rectangles, squares, and 3D boxes
Circles, ellipses, and arcs
Stars and polygons
Spirals
Creating a polygon
Let's break down creang our rst graphic—a star—into many smaller substeps just to get
started. We will do the following:
Open a new document
Create the polygon object
Change the object properes
Save our graphic
Let's get started!
Time for action – opening a new document
When you rst open Inkscape, a new document is opened and you are ready to start.
However, it uses a default canvas size of A4 and you may need to change the orientaon
and size for the graphic you are creang, as follows:
1. Open Inkscape.
2. If you need to create a new document, go to File | New. A menu appears with the
predened sizes Inkscape has for you.
Creang your First Graphics
[ 68 ]
3. If you want to manually change your document properes, just go to the main
menu and select File | Document Properes. You will see the Document Properes
window displayed with a number of opons for customizing your canvas size.
4. If you want to change the default background color (default in Inkscape is a
transparent background), you change it in the General, Background secon.
Click the color swatch to change it.
5. If you want to adjust any Border sengs, check the appropriate checkboxes.
The opons include:
Showing a page border
Showing the border on top of any objects on the canvas
Showing a border shadow
6. When complete, close the Document Properes window by clicking the X in the
upper-le corner and your changes will be reected in the main window.
Chapter 4
[ 69 ]
What just happened?
We opened Inkscape and adjusted the canvas size for your graphic. We also discussed
addional document properes that can be changed such as background color, page
border opons, and border shadows.
Pop quiz – displaying borders
1. Why might it be important to have borders show on top of your drawing objects?
a. If you are using page borders as cropping/print guidelines, you know where
the nal paper will be cut
b. It isn't important at all
c. Gives great arsc are to the graphic
Time for action – creating a star
Now, we will create a shape that is a part of the SVG standard that is inherent in Inkscape.
These standard shapes include rectangles/squares, circles/ellipses/arcs, stars, polygons,
and spirals. We will create a star. Here's what you need to do:
1. Select (click) the shape tool icon (A) and the polygon icon (B) in the toolbox,
as highlighted in the following screenshot.
2. Then draw the shape on the canvas by clicking, holding, and then dragging the
shape to the size you want on the canvas:
Creang your First Graphics
[ 70 ]
3. To switch between creang stars and polygons, select the star/polygon icon in the
toolbox on the le-hand side of your screen, and then select either the polygon or
the star icon in the Tool controls (just above the canvas).
4. You can also change the number of corners this polygon has by changing the
number in the Corners eld in the Tool controls.
If you had wanted to draw a circle, square, or cube—you would have selected those icons on
the toolbox.
It is possible that your star doesn't match the one shown in the preceding screenshot.
Maybe your color or border is dierent. That is because, when you opened Inkscape, your
color palee sengs were set to the last used style. The Have a go Hero – changing the unit
of measure, secon explains how to change those sengs—Fill and Stroke—so your star can
look similar to the example.
What just happened?
You created a star object on your blank canvas.
Pop quiz – switching shapes
1. What if you decided instead of a star, you would like to draw a cube. In which screen
toolbar would you look for the correct tool?
a. Palee bar
b. Tool controls
c. Toolbox
d. Object dialog
Have a go hero – changing shape options
Shapes have a number of aributes or opons. By default those aributes will be the
last-used style (for example, color). In Inkscape, the user interface gives you easy-to-use
tools to change opons such as ll color, stroke color, size, and placement of the shape.
Chapter 4
[ 71 ]
1. Change the ll color of the shape by selecng a color in the color palee.
2. Change the stroke or border color by pressing and holding the Shi key and then
selecng that color from the color palee.
3. Change the posion of the shape on the canvas by choosing the Select tool in the
toolbox, clicking and holding the shape, and moving it to where you need it to be.
4. Change the size of the shape by also choosing the Select tool from the toolbox,
clicking and holding the edge of the shape at the handles (small black square or
circles at the edges), and dragging it outwards to make it larger or inwards to shrink
unl the shape is of the desired size.
The shape is sll fully editable and the number of ps in the star is adjusted through
the tool controls bar. You can also switch between polygon and stars.
Creang your First Graphics
[ 72 ]
Time for action – saving your graphic
Aer you have created an inial version of your graphic, it is best pracce to save your le so
that you don't lose any work. This is a simple example graphic, so you may not want to save
the le, but for any future work, this step is crical.
1. With your latest project open, from the main menu select File | Save. Inkscape will,
by default, give opons to save projects in its default format, SVG. Choose a le
locaon and click Save.
2. However, you might also want to export in a bitmap graphic format such as PNG.
To do this, choose File | Export Bitmap.
Chapter 4
[ 73 ]
3. In the Export Bitmap window, you can choose to save the Page (all objects within
the page/black border, the Drawing (all objects), the Selecon (only the object you
have selected), or customize it.
4. Choose the Export area, the graphic size you want (will select predened size by
default), and click Browse to choose the same locaon.
5. Verify the lename in the textbox and click Export.
6. To save in another format besides PNG, go to File | Save As and choose the le
format of your choice. Inkscape allows you to save in a number of formats such as
PDF, EPS, ODG, WMF, among others. However, remember that if you want to save
the le in a format that will allow you to edit in the future, you need to save it in
Inkscape SVG.
What just happened?
You saved your graphics le as a nave Inkscape SVG le so you can edit it later, and then
exported it into another format (as needed).
Creang your First Graphics
[ 74 ]
Pop quiz – image formats
1. What is the only bitmap format that Inkscape can export to?
a. JPG
b. GIF
c. BMP
d. PNG
Creating ellipses and arcs
Now, we're going to get a bit fancier and create ellipses and arcs. Ellipses are of oval shape.
To start, we will create an ellipse and explain how to make perfect circles and then details
about creang an arc.
Time for action – creating the Ellipse
Let's start by creang an ellipse.
1. With a new document open in Inkscape, select the circle tool or ellipse tool.
2. On the canvas, press the Ctrl key, click, hold, and drag the shape to the size you want
on the canvas.
Chapter 4
[ 75 ]
What just happened?
You created a circle on your canvas.
Pop quiz – circles
1. How can you make a perfect circle in Inkscape?
a. Freehand it with the freehand tool.
b. Use a star and clipping masks.
c. Use the circle tool in the toolbox and press the Ctrl key while resizing it.
d. None of the above.
Time for action – making an arc
Now, we will take our circle and convert it into an arc.
1. Make sure that the Circle/Ellipse tool is sll selected and you can see the handles on
the shape on the canvas.
Noce, there are three handles which are top (square), le (square), and right
(circle). To control the horizontal and vercal dimensions, you use the top
(horizontal) and le (vercal) handles.
Dragging the right circle handle of a whole ellipse creates an arc or segment.
To switch between an arc or pie segment, drag the handle inside or outside of the
ellipse. Let's give it a try.
Creang your First Graphics
[ 76 ]
2. Drag an arc handle (the circle one) to set one end of the arc. Once you pull or drag
one of the arc handles, you will see that there are actually two overlapping arc
handles for you to manipulate. (as shown in the following screenshot, this is
now a closed path).
Drag the second arc handle (in the original posion) to the other end of the arc,
The arc will be closed and a pie shape will be created (an open path).
3. Hold the Ctrl key while dragging an arc handle to force the angle of the arc to begin
or end at a mulple of the rotaon snap angle (15 degrees by default). To precisely
place objects on the canvas, an object is made to snap to a target that is an object,
guide, grid, or in this case an angle. Drag one of the arc handles outside the curve
of the original ellipse (outside the dashed box); the arc handle icon turns blue and
a wedge is created at the center of the shape (again, a closed path).
Chapter 4
[ 77 ]
4. If the arc handle is dragged with the cursor inside the curve, the segment dening
the arc starts and stops at the two arc handles, as shown in the following screenshot
(now an open path).
5. Once the arc is created and selected on the canvas, you can use the Tool controls
bar to set specic locaons (in degrees) for the start and stop arc handles.
Creang your First Graphics
[ 78 ]
Also, note in the toolbar, the buons that can quickly change an ellipse into a
closed path or an open path. The one selected in the preceding screenshot is an
open path; whereas the one to the le is a closed path.
The full circle buon resets the ellipse to whole. When creang ellipses, the
next one you create will use the last used style (for example, aer this exercise it
would be an arc). The Reset ellipse buon will then become handy to start anew.
What just happened?
You took a simple circle and created a number of arcs—essenally learning the skills that you
need to manipulate arcs in Inkscape.
Complex Shapes
As a designer you will oen want to create logos or shapes that are outside the standard
ones provided in the soware. Since Inkscape is vector-based, you can combine simple
shapes, masking, hiding, and layering them to create more complex shapes. Let's perform
a simple example to see how this can be done.
Time for action – combining shapes
One of the simplest ways to create complex shapes in Inkscape is to combine other shapes
into one or merge the shapes. Let's learn how we can do this by creang an arrow with
a polygon and rectangle shape.
1. Open a new document (any size will do, since we are just praccing).
2. Select the Polygon tool from the toolbox.
3. Create a polygon shape.
Chapter 4
[ 79 ]
4. From the Tool controls, change Corners to 3, as shown in the following screenshot:
The octagon polygon shape changes to a triangle.
5. From the toolbox, choose the Select tool and click the triangle object twice.
The handles turn to curved arrows so you can rotate the triangle as shown
in the following screenshot:
Creang your First Graphics
[ 80 ]
Rotang an object
While drawing the polygon on the canvas, you can swivel it up, down,
le, and right. Use the Ctrl key while performing the following acons
and it will make rotaons snap in 15 degree increments.
It is okay if you don't do this while drawing it inially, you can always
choose the Select tool from the toolbox, and click the polygon unl
the handles turn to arrows with curves (this might require you to click
the polygon object a couple of mes). When you see the curved arrow
handles, click-and-drag on a corner node to rotate the object unl it is
posioned correctly.
6. From the toolbox, select the rectangle tool and draw a rectangle just below the
triangle on the canvas.
7. Now, choose the Select tool from the toolbox, and drag the rectangle so it creates
the stem of the arrow as follows:
Chapter 4
[ 81 ]
8. To readjust the size of the rectangle, make sure the Select tool is acve, and click
the rectangle. The resize handles appear. Click the handle on a side that needs to be
adjusted and drag it to resize.
9. With the rectangle sll selected, press and hold the Shi key, and click the triangle
so that all objects are selected.
10. From the main menu select Path | Union:
This merges the two shapes into one... and voila, it's an arrow!
Creang your First Graphics
[ 82 ]
What just happened?
You created a polygon, changed the number of corners, created a rectangle and combined
them—or joined them—into a union to create an arrow object. Technically, the shapes were
transformed into a path. The shape tools no longer work on this object and it is its own
object in Inkscape that can be resized and manipulated like any other object.
Pop quiz – joining objects
1. How do you join more than one shape in Inkscape?
a. Select all the objects you want to join together and then on the main menu
select Path | Union.
b. You can't.
c. You have to draw an object freehand.
Freehand objects (Paths)
You can also use the Bezier (Pen) or Freehand Tool to create objects in a bit more freehand
form. This tool allows you to create straight lines and curves and connect them to create a
freehand object.
Time for action – creating a freehand object
Here's an example of how to create a lightning bolt.
1. From a new document, choose the Bezier tool from the Tool Box.
2. Click somewhere on the canvas to start drawing a straight line, click to establish a
node, click again to change direcon of the straight line to create an angle in our
lightning bolt, as shown in the following screenshots:
Chapter 4
[ 83 ]
3. Connue to create the lightning bolt object by creang the shape segment
by segment.
Don't worry if you stop a line and realize you need to extend its
length, just click and move a straight line to add on to the original
to make it as long as you need. Click again when you are ready to
change direcon. If you made a mistake, press the Backspace or
Delete key and it removes the last line segment.
4. To close the lightning bolt, just create a line segment and join it to the starng point
with a nal click. The start node will glow red in color when the mouse is hovered
over it for easy idencaon. This is helpful to make sure that the close of the object
is done correctly. You will see that all the lines are combined into one connuous
closed path—a lightning bolt.
Creang your First Graphics
[ 84 ]
When you select the lightning bolt, the enre object is selected. You can resize it, ll
it with a color (select it and choose a color from the color palee), and move it to
another locaon on the canvas. It has become a unique object for you to work with.
The Bezier tool also allows you to create controlled curves to create even more
complex and unique objects. Try creang objects on your own and experimenng.
These complex objects can be used for icons, banners, and for unique logo designs.
What just happened?
You used the Bezier tool and created, in mulple small steps, a lightning bolt.
Pop quiz – deleting
1. What are the important keys to remember if you want to delete the last line you
drew with the Bezier Tool?
a. D key
b. Shi key
c. Enter key
d. Backspace or Delete key
Using grids and guidelines
When designing, we oen need to align objects for a clean look. To do this, grids can be used
to help in alignment. We will start this secon by learning how to turn the canvas grid on, set
up snap to alignment, and then how to set up guidelines.
Time for action – viewing the Grid
We will start with the easiest task, turning the Grid on (or making it viewable).
1. With your new document sll open on your computer, on the Inkscape main menu
select View | Grid:
Chapter 4
[ 85 ]
What just happened?
You'll see that a blue grid will appear across the enre canvas area. We will use these
grids to create basic areas of our layout and then create guides to begin creang our
actual layout elements.
Creang your First Graphics
[ 86 ]
Have a go hero – changing the unit of measure
By default, Inkscape keeps all dimensions—even the unit of measure—in pixels. Do you want
your grid to be in inches? There is an easy way to do this.
1. Go to the main menu, choose File | Document Properes. You'll see the Document
Properes window displayed.
2. Change the Units eld to in (Inches). This will change the grid, the canvas
dimensions, and all units of measure to inches in this document.
Chapter 4
[ 87 ]
Pop quiz – viewable grid
1. What is the shortcut key for making Grids viewable in Inkscape?
a. The G key
b. F1
c. #
d. Enter
Time for action – making guides
Now it's me to create guides. Guides are lines on the screen that you will use for aligning,
that is, guiding objects. These lines are only visible while you are working in Inkscape and we
can set objects to snap to them when we are designing. Both of these simple tools (guides
and the Snap to feature) will give you automac alignment for the basic areas of your web
page layout—which in turn will help make the design process much easier.
1. To create a guide in any open document, drag from the le or top ruler toward your
page as in the following screenshot. A red line represents the guide unl you let go
of the guide and place it on the page. Then the line turns blue.
Creang your First Graphics
[ 88 ]
You can move the guides aer placing them on the page by using the Select tool and
clicking-and-dragging the circle node on the guide. Also, double-clicking directly on a
guide will bring up a dialog box which lets you change the guide posions and angle
very accurately.
What just happened?
You created two guidelines on your current canvas: one from the right ruler and one from
the top.
One note here, if you want to make mulple guidelines, even on the right
side of the canvas, it is easy. Just drag from the le ruler onto the canvas
over other guidelines and all rulers currently placed on the page and
drop it where you need it on the page. There is no maximum number of
guidelines that you can create.
Summary
We created our very rst graphics from polygons, ellipses, circles, arcs, and even an arrow
by combining shapes. To do all of this, we used the basic shapes available to us through
Inkscape but also worked with the Bezier Tool to create freehand shapes (such as the
lightning bolt).
We also took some me to turn on grids and to learn how to create guides for beer aligning
and designing. Next up, we shall be learning all we can about layers.
5
How to Work with Layers
If you have used any other graphics program, you are likely to be familiar with
layers. Layers are like stacks of transparent paper with drawings on them. Each
layer stacks, and thus objects on each of the layers also stack on top of one
another. Of course when using layers in Inkscape, you can manipulate all of the
objects in one layer the same way.
This chapter will cover:
Dening layers and how to create them
Using layers in an example drawing
Locking layers
Hiding layers
Dockable Layer dialog
Duplicang layers
Arranging layers
Renaming layers
Deleng layers
Blend mode
How to Work with Layers
[ 90 ]
Dening layers and how to create them
Within Inkscape when you create documents you can have layers of objects. This gives great
exibility when creang any Inkscape project. You can place groups of objects on a layer
based on funcon or placement on the design. Then you can separate the objects by layer,
and stack or reorder, or hide layers. A seng can be adjusted on each layer, so you can save
dras or dierent versions of mockups and keep all of this in one le.
The layer you are currently using is called the drawing layer. It is selected in the Layer dialog
and shown in a darker color.
Also note, you can view Inkscape layers in the Layer dialog or in a drop-down menu in the
status bar:
Chapter 5
[ 91 ]
Time for action – creating a layer
Let's start by creang a customized layer. We'll call it Basic Layout.
1. First, let's make the Layers dockable dialog viewable. From the main menu, select
Layer and then select Layers. The Layers dialog is displayed on the right-hand side
of your screen as follows:
You can also press Shi + Ctrl + L on your keyboard or click the Layers
icon in the command bar (as shown in the following screenshot) to
display the Layers dialog.
How to Work with Layers
[ 92 ]
2. In the Layers dialog, press the + buon to create a new layer or use the Shi + Ctrl
+ N shortcut keys. The default layer is called Layer 1. However, you can rename it,
move it up and down in the stack, and it is treated no dierent than any other layer
you create in your projects.
3. In the Layer name eld, type the name: Basic Layout and click Add:
You will noce the new layer is added above the exisng one in the Layers dialog
as follows:
What just happened?
You created a new layer in an open document in Inkscape called Basic Layout. You will need
to repeat the steps menoned earlier every me you want to create a new layer.
Pop quiz – Layers dialog
1. How do you close the Layers dialog?
a. From the main menu, select Layer and then select Layers.
b. Press the X on the upper-right side of the Layers dialog window.
Chapter 5
[ 93 ]
c. Once it is open, you cannot close the Layers dialog window.
d. Close Inkscape all together and re-open it.
Using Layers in an example drawing
Let's create the basic links for a blog. Some common parts of many blog sites are the blog
header or banner, a sidebar with recent posts (or archives), an about secon, recent posts,
blog roll and/or a Links secon, and a main content secon that will contain all of the blog
posts. Of course, you can get as fancy as you like here, or as simple, but let's design a site
based on these simple secons so we can demonstrate how to use layers to create a design
layout mockup.
Time for action – using Layers in web design
To start, we will create the very start of a website, or more specically a blog, and create
three layers in the design:
1. Open Inkscape, and create a new document. From the le menu, select File | New |
Desktop_800x600.
2. From the main menu, choose File | Document Properes.
3. Click on Background. The Background color dialog will be displayed.
4. Change RGBA from 00 to . This will change the background color of this
screen mockup to white.
How to Work with Layers
[ 94 ]
5. In the Layer dialog, click the + sign to create a new layer (or use Shi + Ctrl + N)
and call it Header.
6. Click the Create and Edit Objects tool and enter the header tle for the blog.
You could try creang something similar to the following screenshot:
7. Highlight the text with the Create and Edit Objects tool and use the control
bar located above the canvas area and adjust the font type and size. In the
previous example, the font type is Arial and it is 36 points in size, as shown
in the following screemshot:
8. Then, sll using the Create and Edit tool, type the subtle as shown in the example.
Remember to use the control bar to adjust the font type and size. In the same
(previous) example, the font for the subtle is Apple Chancery with an 18 point font.
9. Next, we want to center both of these tles on the vercal axis of this document.
Use the Select tool, press the Shi key on the keyboard, and click both tles
(this will allow you to select both objects).
10. Click the Align and Distribute Objects icon on the command bar to display the
Align and Distribute dialog, as shown in the following screenshot:
Chapter 5
[ 95 ]
11. Click the Center on Vercal Axis icon. This will center both tle objects on the page:
12. Now we will add a new layer yet again. Create the new layer by using the Layer
dialog, + sign, or the Shi + Ctrl + N shortcut keys. Let's call the layer Navigaon.
13. For the navigaonal elements, we will import some ready-made icons.
First download the icons to your hard drive from http://dl.dropbox.
com/u/565455/iconpack.zip.
How to Work with Layers
[ 96 ]
14. Unzip these icons to your hard drive, preferably on your desktop. From the desktop
then drag-and-drop your icon les onto the Inkscape canvas. Repeat this unl you
have all ve icons on the canvas. See the following sample screenshot:
15. To make sure you have everything evenly spaced, we need to align them. Click the
Align and Distribute Objects icon on the command bar to display the Align and
Distribute dialog if it is sll not displayed.
16. Choose the Select tool, press the Shi key and click on all icons.
17. In the Align and Distribute dialog, click the Distribute Centers Equidistantly
Horizontally buon.
This will make sure all of the icons are spaced equally apart from one another
to make a clean design.
What just happened?
In the small example menoned earlier, you created three layers: Background, Header,
and Navigaon, each with the object associated with them. If you connue this process,
you can build something similar to what is given in the following screenshot that has
addional layers side content, body content, and footer, for example. To see this project
in its complete form, you can download it from http://dl.dropbox.com/u/565455/
exampleprojectlayout.svg.
Chapter 5
[ 97 ]
Now, let's dig a bit deeper into how you can manipulate layers to help you design. Make each
layer behave independently of the others and therefore, manipulate what your nal design
will look like.
How to Work with Layers
[ 98 ]
Locking layers
The idea of locking a layer—making it not editable—can be valuable when designing
backgrounds, footers, or headers.
Time for action – locking a layer
Let's look at how you can lock a layer in Inkscape using the same design used previously.
You can download the full project from http://dl.dropbox.com/u/565455/
exampleprojectlayout.svg.
1. With the blog mockup from the pervious exercise open in Inkscape, open the Layer
dialog. From the main menu, select Layer and then Layers. On the right side of your
screen, the Layers dialog will be displayed and it will look something similar to the
following screenshot:
Chapter 5
[ 99 ]
2. You will noce that each layer has icons to the le of the layer name. Go to the
Background layer and click the Lock icon. You will see that once you click that icon,
the lock now looks closed or locked, shown as follows:
This means that the Background layer can no longer be selected from the canvas,
nor will any objects on this layer be able to be moved or edited.
3. For example, go to your canvas and try to select the Background objects. You will
not be able to move this layer unl you unlock it in the Layer dialog.
4. To unlock an item, click the Lock icon. Again, you will see the icon change to the
unlock state, opening the layer objects for manipulaon again.
What just happened?
In the previous example, we locked the header layer in the working document. This means
we can't edit any objects on that layer, or move them to a new locaon on the canvas.
Essenally, all items are locked into place.
This helps keep items that are "in place," stay in place while you work on the rest of the
design. This can be especially handy when working in a series of designs where certain
items will always stay in the same locaon.
Hiding layers
Another great feature when working with layers is to hide them. This means that while
working with interim dras of projects, you could create a layer for the rst dra, and then
another for the second—or you could even use layers for certain design elements that you
want to turn on or o. All these are benecial because the layer will hold objects' locaons,
but all you need to do is click a buon to turn them on or o.
How to Work with Layers
[ 100 ]
Time for action – hiding layers
To really show how powerful a feature hiding layers can be, let's walk through this example.
We're going to change the design of the blog that we have been featuring in this enre chapter.
In fact, we will change the navigaon icons so that we can make two dierent designs:
1. With the blog mockup from the previous exercise open in Inkscape, reopen the
Layer dialog if it is not open.
2. Select the Navigaon layer.
3. Click the Eye icon to the le of the layer name.
4. The eye will close and essenally hide all objects on that layer—as shown in the
previous screenshot.
Chapter 5
[ 101 ]
5. Now, you can create a new layer with the dierent navigaon elements and make
that viewable. This creates another design opon to choose from. To do this, create
the new layer by using the Layer dialog and the + sign or the Shi + Ctrl + N shortcut
keys. Let's name the layer Navigaon Opon 2:
6. Make sure this layer remains selected and import some new navigaonal
elements. Download the new icons from http://dl.dropbox.com/u/565455/
Newnavbuttons.zip.
How to Work with Layers
[ 102 ]
7. Unzip the new icons to your desktop and drag-and-drop the les to your canvas
(again, making sure the Navigaon Opon 2 layer is acve). You'll noce that since
the original Navigaon is sll hidden, you don't see the icons:
This is an ideal way to give certain design opons to a client.
8. You can now save a PDF with the new navigaon design. From the main menu,
select File | Save As | *.Portable Document Format. You can leave all default values
on in the PDF dialog to save the le.
9. Hide the layer Navigaon Opon 2 (click the eye) and unhide the layer Navigaon
(click closed eye) to see the original design. Then save this version also as a PDF.
From the main menu, select File | Save As | *.Portable Document Format. Of
course, remember to give this new version a dierent PDF lename:
10. Also, saving this project as an Inkscsape SVG le would be benecial, so all objects
and this overall design can be edited later. From the main menu, select File and then
select Save.
Chapter 5
[ 103 ]
What just happened?
You hid one layer, created another layer, made a new design element, and learned how to
switch between the two layers to show o two dierent designs.
In Inkscape, layer selecon happens automacally when you select an object. This is
dierent in comparison to many bitmap editors in the market, where you rst have to select
a layer to work on and then the object. With Inkscape, you can select any object and it will
be immediately set as the current layer by Inkscape.
Have a go hero – show all but current layer
You can also hide or show all layers other than the current.
The following points explain how it is done:
1. Open the sample le that we created previously.
2. In the Layer dialog, right-click the layer name and choose Show/hide other layers.
3. If the current layer is viewable (not hidden) it will hide all others except your
working layer giving you access to that layer's content in isolaon.
4. If the current layer is hidden, selecng the Show/hide other layers eld, will unhide
the current layer and then hide all others. Again, allowing you to work in only that
layer with no other layers and their objects viewable.
How to Work with Layers
[ 104 ]
Duplicating layers
Much like hiding layers, it can be very useful to duplicate certain layers so you can keep some
of the same object aributes as the original (for example, opacity) or for the use of creang
design mockups of mulple pages of a website, which have common elements. Also note
that when you duplicate a layer it will duplicate all objects, including hidden or locked ones
on any sub-layers as well. More informaon is given in the secon Time for acon—nesng
layers later in this chapter in regard to sub-layers.
Time for action – duplicating layers
Here are the simple steps for duplicang a layer. We'll use the same example blog page as we
have throughout this chapter.
1. Open the blog mockup from the previous exercises.
2. If your Layer dialog is open, you can right-click any layer and choose Duplicate
Current Layer.
3. Alternavely, make sure the layer you want to duplicate is selected and from the
main menu, choose Layer and then Duplicate Current Layer.
Chapter 5
[ 105 ]
What just happened?
You have just created a literal duplicate of the layer on your screen to edit.
Note, however, that the duplicate layer is also right above the exisng layer, so you may
not be able to see which is selected. Look at the Layer dialog. It renames the duplicate layer:
<original layer name> copy.
All objects on that layer are duplicated as well and will be placed on the canvas in the exact
locaon of the original. If you move an object, you will see the other one below it.
Now you can move and/or edit objects as needed on this new layer without disturbing
the original.
Arranging layers
You can also rearrange layers. Let's learn how to re-order the stack of layers, and move
a layer to the top or boom.
Time for action – moving layers
We're again going to use our blog design mockup le as an example. As the current screen
stands, the layers don't overlap much—as all objects have a place. However, if we add a layer
for a swirled background, it automacally places this layer on top, shown as follows:
How to Work with Layers
[ 106 ]
The following steps explain how to move it down to place it behind the main design:
1. Download a sample of the swirl background here: hp://dl.dropbox.co/u/565455/
swirlbackground.svg.zip
2. In inkscape, in the layer dialog, add a new layer called Swirl Background.
3. Select the Swirl Background layer, and from the main menu choose File | Import.
Select the Swirl Background SVG le.
4. Once the image is imported, select Swirl Background in the Layer dialog and use the
arrow icon to move this layer just above the Background layer.
5. You could also use the move to boom icon (just to the right of the move down
icon)—since our background was set to white in the document properes.
Now your canvas should look something similar to the following screenshot.
Note, how the swirls are now behind the navigaonal buons:
Chapter 5
[ 107 ]
6. Make sure the Swirl Background layer is selected and move the Opacity bar at
the boom of the Layer dialog to 15% (or type 15 in the Opacity eld box). The
opacity of the Swirl Background will change and you will now have a paern-type
background for this blog:
What just happened?
We took an addional design element, swirl objects, and made them part of the background
in our blog design. We did this by creang a new Swirl Background layer and then moving
that layer lower in the layer stack.
Then we decreased the opacity of that layer to 15 percent, so that it could be subtler in
the design.
Pop quiz – background colors
1. What is the default background color of an Inkscape le?
a. White
b. Red
c. Transparent
d. Black
How to Work with Layers
[ 108 ]
Time for action – nesting layers
You also have the opon of nesng layers in Inkscape. Nesng is the idea of creang
sublayers in Inkscape. You might want to do this if you want all sublayers to be virtually
grouped with a parent layer and carry some of the parent layer's aributes.
Here's how we can create sublayers within the Header layer in our current project:
1. With the example project open, go to the Layer dialog (from the main menu,
select Layer and then Layers or use the Shi + Ctrl + L keyboard shortcut to open it).
2. Right-click the Header layer and choose Add Layer....
The Add Layer dialog is displayed.
3. Type a new layer name into the Layer name eld and then select Posion:
As sublayer of current.
4. Click on Add.
5. The new sublayer displays as a nested layer beneath Header.
Chapter 5
[ 109 ]
Unfortunately, at this me, there is no way to convert an exisng Inkscape
layer into a sublayer in the graphical interface. You can, however, go into the
XML editor and make this change directly if needed. More informaon about
sublayers can be seen in this online tutorial at http://tavmjong.free.
fr/INKSCAPE/MANUAL/html/XML.html.
Also note, a sublayer cannot be moved outside of the parent layer it is under.
Again, advanced use of the XML editor is needed to do this funconality.
What just happened?
We learned how to create nested sublayers in Inkscape.
Have a go hero – moving objects from one layer to another
Now that you have layers created—and objects on each layer—what if you want to move an
object from one layer to another? Here's how it is done:
1. In an open Inkscape document with mulple layers, select an object.
2. If you want to move this object to the layer above the current layer, use Layer |
Move Selecon to Layer Above or the Shi + PageUp keyboard shortcut
(for Macintosh users the keyboard shortcut is Shi + Fn + Arrow up).
3. If you want to move this object to the layer below the current layer, use Layer |
Move Selecon to Layer Below or the Shi + PageDown keyboard shortcut
(for Macintosh users the keyboard shortcut is Shi + Fn + Arrow down).
Renaming layers
Somemes while working within a document, you might nd the need to rename a layer to a
more descripve name to the layer's contents.
Time for action – renaming a layer
The following steps explain how you would rename an exisng layer in Inkscape:
1. Open an Inkscape document from previous exercises.
How to Work with Layers
[ 110 ]
2. If your Layer dialog is open, you can right-click any layer and choose Rename Layer.
Alternavely, from the main menu, select Layer | Rename Layer....
The Rename Layer dialog is displayed.
3. Type a new name for the layer and click Rename, as shown in the
following screenshot:
What just happened?
We renamed an exisng layer in Inkscape to the new name body copy.
Deleting layers
There are also mes you might want to delete a layer. Just note that when you delete a layer
if there are any objects on that layer, they will also be deleted.
Time for action – deleting a layer
1. Open an Inkscape document from a previous exercise.
2. If your Layer dialog is open, select the Swirl Background layer.
3. Then click the icon as follows:
Chapter 5
[ 111 ]
The selected layer is deleted.
4. If you decide you don't want to delete that layer, go to the main menu and
select Edit | Undo: Delete Layer or use the Ctrl + Z keyboard shortcut to undo
the last acon:
What just happened?
We deleted the layer named Swirl Background in our Inkscape document. We also learned
that if we want to undo any acon, we can use the Undo funconality in Inkscape.
Pop quiz – undo last action
1. What is the shortcut key combinaon to undo the last acon in Inkscape?
a. Ctrl + Z
b. Shi + Z
c. Fn + Z
d. None of the above
How to Work with Layers
[ 112 ]
Blend mode
In the Layers dialog, you may have noced the Blend mode eld, shown as follows:
This eld is a shortcut to apply the Blend lter to an enre layer. This means that if any
objects overlap on the selected layers, Inkscape will do a pixel-by-pixel blend of the two
objects. Here's what each Blend mode opon means:
Normal: No lter added to the layer
Mulply: Objects on the top layer lter the light from the objects on the
boom-most layer. (or from the background if a boom object does not exist)
Screen: The top objects add light to the boom object
Darken: The objects on top darken the boom objects
Lighten: The top objects lighten the boom objects
If at any me you return the Blend mode back to Normal, the blend lter disappears.
Time for action – using Blend mode
Let's add in a Mulply blend lter to two simple objects as an example:
1. Open a new document in Inkscape.
2. Use the Circle/Ellipse tool and create one red circle and one yellow circle,
shown as follows:
Chapter 5
[ 113 ]
3. Now move the yellow circle so it overlaps the red circle:
4. Open the Layers dialog and go to the Blend mode drop-down menu. Select Mulply
as follows:
The two objects combine as if light were shining through both. The red and yellow
objects—where they overlap—display orange, shown as follows:
5. If you now change the Blend mode back to Normal, the two objects now go back to
being normal, or just simply overlapping.
How to Work with Layers
[ 114 ]
What just happened?
We learned how to adjust the Blend mode between layers. We took two example objects
(circles in this case) and gave them the Mulply blend. Then we learned how to turn the
blend back to Normal mode.
Summary
We learned essenally everything there is to know about Layers in this chapter. We
discussed how to create new layers, lock them, hide them, nest sublayers, and even how to
duplicate and arrange layers. We even spent a bit of me discussing the Blend mode feature
when using layers—which can be a helpful tool to get text or object eects. Up next, we are
going to learn about building objects.
6
Building Objects
This chapter is all about objects. We'll learn about what objects are and how
Inkscape interprets them, how to change object features, change ll and stroke,
grouping objects, combining objects, and how to best use the masking and
clipping features.
Details in this chapter include:
Working with objects
Fill and Stroke
Grouping
Clipping and masking
Working with objects
Objects in Inkscape are any shapes that make up your overall drawing. This means that any
text, path, or shape that you create is essenally an object.
Let's start by making a simple object and then changing some of its aributes.
Building Objects
[ 116 ]
Time for action – creating a simple object
Inkscape can create predened shapes that are part of the SVG standard. These include
rectangles/squares, circles/ellipses/arcs, stars, polygons, and spirals. To create any of these
shapes, you can select items from the toolbar:
However, you can also create more freehand-based objects as well. Let's look at how we can
create a simple freehand triangle:
1. Select the Bezier tool:
2. Click once where you want the rst corner and then move the mouse/pointer to the
next corner. A node appears with the click and then a freehand line:
Chapter 6
[ 117 ]
3. When you have the length of the rst side of the triangle esmated, click for the
second corner:
4. Move the mouse to form the second side and click for the third corner:
Building Objects
[ 118 ]
5. Move the mouse back to the rst corner node and click it to form the triangle,
shown as follows:
6. Now save the le. From the main menu, select File and then Save. We will use this
triangle to build a graphic later in this book, so choose a locaon to save so that you
will know where to nd the le.
7. Now that the basic triangle is saved, let's also experiment with how we can
manipulate the shape itself and/or the shape's posion on the canvas. Let's start
with manipulang the triangle.
8. Select the triangle and drag a handle to a new locaon. You have essenally skewed
the triangle, as shown in the following diagram:
9. To change the overall shape of the triangle, select the triangle, then click the Edit
path by Nodes tool (or press F2):
Chapter 6
[ 119 ]
10. Now the nodes of the triangle are displayed as follows:
11. Nodes are points on a path that dene the path's shape. Click a node and you can
drag it to another locaon to manipulate the triangle's overall shape as follows:
Building Objects
[ 120 ]
12. Double-click between two nodes to add another node and change the shape:
13. If you decide that you don't want the extra node, click it (the node turns red),
press Delete on your keyboard and it disappears.
14. You can also use the control bar to add, delete, or manipulate the path/shape
and nodes:
15. If you want to change the posion of the shape on the canvas by choosing the Select
tool in the toolbox, click and drag the shape and move it where you need it to be.
16. Change the size of the shape by also choosing the Select tool from the toolbox,
clicking and holding the edge of the shape at the handle (small square or circles at
edges), and dragging it outward to grow larger or inward to shrink unl the shape is
of the desired size.
17. You can also rotate an object. Choose the Select tool from the toolbox and
single-click the shape unl the nodes turn to arrows with curves (this might
require you to click the object a couple of mes). When you see the curved
arrow nodes, click-and-drag on a corner node to rotate the object unl it is
rotated and posioned correctly.
Chapter 6
[ 121 ]
18. No need to save this le again aer we have manipulated it—unless you want to
reference this new version of the triangle for future projects. But we will revisit the
original triangle shape in Chapter 7, Using Paths.
What just happened?
We created a free-form triangle and saved it for a future project. We also manipulated
the shape in a number of ways—used the nodes to change the skew of the overall shape,
added nodes to change the shape completely, and also how to move the shape around on
the canvas.
Fill and Stroke
As you've already noced, when creang objects in Inkscape they have color associated with
them. You can ll an object with a color as well as give the object an outline or stroke. This
secon will explain how to change these characteriscs of an object in Inkscape.
Fill and Stroke dialog
You can use the Fill and Stroke dialog from the main menu to change the ll colors of
an object.
Time for action – using the Fill and Stroke dialog
Let's open the dialog and get started:
1. Open your triangle Inkscape le again and select the triangle.
2. From the main menu, choose Object | Fill and Stroke (or use the Shi + Ctrl + F
keyboard shortcut).
Building Objects
[ 122 ]
3. The Fill and Stroke dialog appears on the right-hand side of your screen.
Noce it has three tabs: Fill, Stroke paint, and Stroke style, as shown in
the following screenshot:
4. Select the Fill tab (if not already selected). Here are the opons for ll:
Type of ll: The buons below the Fill tab allow you to select the type of
ll you would like to use. No ll (the buon with the X), at color, linear or
radial gradients. In the previous example screenshot, the at ll buon
is selected.
Color picker: Another set of tabs below the type of the ll area are
presented; RGB, CMYK, HSL, and Wheel. You can use any of these to choose
a color. The most intuive opon is Wheel as it allows you to visually see all
the colors and rotate a triangle to the color of your choice, as shown in the
following screenshot:
Chapter 6
[ 123 ]
'
Once a color is chosen, then the exact color can be seen in various values on
the other color picker tabs.
Blur: Below the color area, you also have an opon to blur the object's ll.
This means that if you move the sliding lever to the right, the blur of the
ll will move outward. See the following diagram for examples of an object
without and with blur:
Opacity: Lastly, there is the opacity slider. By moving this slider to the right
you will give the object an alpha of opacity seng making it a bit more
transparent. The following diagram demonstrates opacity:
Building Objects
[ 124 ]
5. In the Fill and Stroke dialog, if you select the Stroke paint tab, you will noce it
looks very much like the Fill tab. You can remove the stroke (outline) of the object,
set the color, and determine if it is a at color or gradient:
6. In the last tab, Stroke style is where you can most notably set the width
of the stroke:
Chapter 6
[ 125 ]
7. You can also use this tab to determine what types of corners or joins an object
has (round or square corners) and how the end caps of the border look like.
8. The Dashes eld gives opons for the stroke line type, as shown in the
following screenshot:
9. Start, Mid, and End Markers allow you to add end points to your strokes, as follows:
Building Objects
[ 126 ]
10. For our triangle object, use the Fill tab and choose a green color, no stroke, and 100
percent opacity:
What just happened?
You learned where to open the Fill and Stroke dialog, adjust the ll of an object, use blur
and opacity, and how to change the stroke color and weights of the stroke line.
Next, let's learn other ways to change the ll and stroke opons.
Color palette bar
You can also use the color palee bar to change ll color:
Time for action – using the color palette
Let's learn all the ps and tricks for using the color palee bar:
1. From the palee bar, click a color and drag it from the palee onto the object to
change its ll, as shown in the following diagram:
Chapter 6
[ 127 ]
2. You can also change an object and the stroke color in a number of other ways:
Select an object on the canvas and then click a color box in the palee to
immediately set the ll of an object.
Select an object on the canvas and then right-click a color box in the palee.
A popup menu appears with opons to set the ll (and stroke).
If you hold the Shi key and drag a color box onto an object, it changes the
stroke color.
Shi + le-click a color box to immediately set the stroke color.
Note, you can use the scroll bar just below the viewable color swatches
on the color palee to scroll right to see even more color choices.
What just happened?
You learned how to change the ll and stroke color of an object by using the color swatches
on the color palee bar on the main screen of Inkscape.
Dropper
Yet another way to change the ll or stroke of an object is to use the dropper:
Building Objects
[ 128 ]
Let's learn how to use it.
Time for action – using the dropper tool
Open an Inkscape le with objects on the canvas or create a quick object to try this out:
1. Select an object on the canvas.
2. Select the dropper tool from the toolbar or use the shortcut key F7.
3. Then click anywhere in the drawing with that tool that has the color you want to
choose. The chosen color will be assigned to the selected object's ll. Alternavely,
use Shi + click to set the stroke color.
4. Be aware of the tool control bar and the dropper tool controls, shown as follows:
5. The two buons aect the opacity of the object, especially if it is dierent than the
100% seng.
If Pick is disabled, then the color as chosen by the dropper looks exactly like
it is on screen
If Pick is enabled and Assign is disabled, then the color picked by the
dropper is one that the object would have if its opacity was 100%
If Pick is enabled and Assign is enabled, then the color and opacity
are both copied from the picked object
What just happened?
By using the dropper tool, you learned how to change a color of another object
on the screen.
Chapter 6
[ 129 ]
Pop quiz – changing Fill and Stroke
TRUE OR FALSE: No maer what way you use to change ll and stroke of an object in
Inkscape, it all has the same outcome for the object on your canvas.
Grouping
You can combine several objects into what we call a group. The group then, can be moved or
transformed (made larger/smaller) as if it were one object.
Time for action – grouping objects
When grouping objects, there is no limit to the number of objects that can be grouped
together. You can also take mulple groups and group them together as well. Let's start with
a simple example of how to group objects:
1. Open an Inkscape document and draw separate objects to create the shape of a sun
as follows:
Building Objects
[ 130 ]
2. Now select all the objects on your screen. Click the select tool and then click and
drag a bounding box around all objects that you want in the group or press the
Ctrl + A key and select all objects on the canvas:
3. Once all the objects are selected, from the main menu select Object | Group or use
the Ctrl + G shortcut keys, as shown in the following screenshot:
You'll noce the bounding box that was once around each individual object has now
bound around the enre group of objects. You'll also noce in the status bar that a
group is selected and the number of objects it contains (group of <x> objects in layer
<layer name>).
Chapter 6
[ 131 ]
4. Now you can select the group and move it on the canvas. Noce, all of the objects
move as one:
Building Objects
[ 132 ]
5. You can also transform the object by dragging any corner node to make the group of
objects smaller or bigger. You can even drag those handles and skew and rotate the
group of objects as follows:
6. To add addional objects to this group, double-click the group itself then draw
or paste the new object to be included.
To ungroup, select the group and then from the main menu select Object | Ungroup
(or use the shortcut keys Ctrl + U). If you have grouped more than one group,
ungrouping will only "disconnect" the topmost level of grouping; you'll need to
ungroup repeatedly to keep ungrouping objects.
7. If you want to edit an object within a group, you don't have to ungroup it. Just press
the Ctrl key and click that object and it will be selected and editable. Alternavely,
select the node tool and click the individual object within a group for eding.
What just happened?
You were able to group several objects and then manipulate that group of objects as
one—moving, transforming, and eding it. We even discussed a lile trick about eding
individual objects within a group.
Chapter 6
[ 133 ]
Pop quiz – shortcut keys to quickly ungroup items
1. What is the shortcut key combinaon for quickly ungrouping items?
a. Shi + G + U
b. Ctrl + G
c. Shi + G
d. Ctrl + U
Clipping and masking
Another way of joining objects is to use clips and masks. These features are used to
determine which parts of an object are visible. Clips dene what areas of another object
are fully visible. Technically speaking, Inkscape takes the top object's path in and clips all
the paths below it (in the selecon) to the shape of the top path.
When you use a mask it visually crops objects with transparent areas to become fully
transparent in the masked object, white areas become fully opaque, and all other colors
translate into dierent levels of opacity in the masked object. To make sure this is clear,
we'll do a few exercises.
Time for action – clipping objects
Let's build out our triangle object and create a tree that has a paern of leaves in it:
1. Open your triangle Inkscape le.
2. Use the Bezier tool and create a rectangular shape below your triangle, as shown
in the following diagram:
3. Remember if you don't get the lines exactly right the rst me, select the Edit Paths
by Nodes tool and adjust by dragging the nodes to the appropriate locaons.
Building Objects
[ 134 ]
4. Draw another rectangular object below the previous one, as shown in the
following diagram:
5. And draw the nal rectangle below the last one as follows:
6. Now we are going to focus on making the le sides of the three rectangular objects
more rounded and smooth. Select the rst rectangle and choose the Edit Paths by
Nodes tool.
7. Add a node on the le side of that rectangular object:
Chapter 6
[ 135 ]
8. Select the smooth node opon from the control bar:
9. Your le side will now become a curve, as shown in the following diagram:
10. Repeat, adding a node and smoothing the le side of each of the remaining two
rectangles as follows:
11. On the boom rectangle, add another node in the middle of the boom side and
smooth it so it has a more rounded side to it, as shown in the following diagram:
Building Objects
[ 136 ]
12. Now it is me to adjust the color and stroke of each of the objects on the
canvas. Move the color palee bar scroll bar to the right to get to a set of
green colors as follows:
13. Select the top triangle and choose a light color green for it:
14. Select each of the rectangles and give an increasingly darker green color to
them as follows:
15. Now select all objects on the canvas (Ctrl + A) and remove the stroke:
Chapter 6
[ 137 ]
16. With all of the objects sll selected on the canvas, create a duplicate of them.
From the main menu select File | Duplicate (or use the Ctrl + D shortcut keys).
17. Click the ip horizontally buon:
Building Objects
[ 138 ]
18. Move the objects so they mirror the original shapes, as shown in the
following diagram:
19. Add a long vercal rectangle at the boom for the leaf stem:
20. Again, select all objects on the screen by pressing Ctrl + A and group them so they
become one object. From the main menu select Object | Group or use the Ctrl + G
shortcut keys. You have created one leaf!
21. Select your leaf, press the Shi key, and then drag the handle of the bounding box
inward to scale your leaf smaller.
22. With the leaf sll selected, from the main menu choose, Edit | Clone | Create Tiled
Clones... as shown in the following screenshot:
Chapter 6
[ 139 ]
23. From the Clone dialog, for Rows, columns: adjust to 10 x 10 and click Create,
as shown in the following screenshot:
Building Objects
[ 140 ]
24. Your canvas will now have a paern/grid of leaves on it:
25. Press Ctrl + A to select all of the leaves and then use the Ctrl + G shortcut keys
to group them.
26. Use the Bezier tool and create a simple triangle tree shape, as shown in the
following diagram:
Chapter 6
[ 141 ]
27. Make sure that the basic tree you just created (that will be used as a clip or mask)
overlaps the others. You can use the Ctrl + Page Up keys to ensure an object is the
topmost object.
28. Press Ctrl + A to select all objects on your canvas.
29. In the main menu select Object | Clip | Set, as shown in the following screenshot:
30. You can see how the top object becomes the shape of the object with the boom
object peeking through. Note, if you select three objects (instead of grouping) and
perform a clip, you'll end up with two separate clipped objects:
Just like in a group, if you double-click a clip, you will be
able to select and edit the objects within it.
31. To edit the actual clip (or mask), you will have to release it rst. From the main menu
select Object | Clip | Release.
Building Objects
[ 142 ]
What just happened?
We took some objects, built a leaf object, cloned it to make a paern, and used that to
create a clipping mask. We even learned a few details about how to edit objects within the
clip as well as releasing.
Time for action – masking objects
Here are some quick steps to see what a mask will look like:
1. Use the same objects in an open Inkscape document as in the previous example.
This me, however, let's make the background leaves black and the tree in front
a grayscale color as follows:
2. Press Ctrl + A to select all objects on your canvas.
3. In the main menu select Object | Mask | Set.
Chapter 6
[ 143 ]
4. In this result, the top object also becomes the overall shape, while the boom
peeks through. However, you will noce the degrees of grayscale seng over
the enre object now. Masking depends only on grayscale. Thus, when using white,
the objects below will be fully visible; when using black, the objects below will be
fully blocked; and any gray level in between, the objects will be parally masked as
in our example:
Building Objects
[ 144 ]
Just like in a group, if you double-click a clip, you will be able
to select and edit the objects within it.
5. One other item to note here is that the resulng masked object will have a bounding
box that will be as large as the largest object, which will make it hard to scale and
align in some design situaons.
6. To edit the actual clip (or mask), you will have to release it rst. From the main
menu, select Object | Mask | Release.
What just happened?
This me we created a mask and learned how to edit and release it in Inkscape.
Summary
You should be ready to move forward and learn even more about creang paths into
complex shapes. We spent most of this chapter learning about the nuances of objects in
Inkscape; how to build the predened shapes and then how to combine and alter them
using lls, strokes, clips, masks, and more. Now, we will learn about paths and how to
manipulate them.
7
Using Paths
This chapter will focus on using paths. Paths are a crical element to Inkscape.
We will focus on learning what paths are, working with them in Inkscape, and
transforming, combining, and placing paths.
The following will be covered in the chapter:
Working with paths
Transforming objects into paths
Using stroke to paths
Path opons
Combining and breaking paths
Path placement
Working with paths
As stated previously, vector graphics themselves are made up of paths. Paths can be used to
create unique text styling when tracing other images like photographs, and when building
icons, buons, and logos. By adding and manipulang nodes, you can transform simple paths
into elaborate illustraons.
The most common tool used to create paths in Inkscape is the Bezier tool and this is
what will be used in most of the examples seen throughout this chapter. You can also
use the Pencil (Freehand) and Calligraphy tools to create paths. All of these tools are
found in the toolbox.
Using Paths
[ 146 ]
Before we get started, here are some key items to remember when using the Bezier tool
when creang paths:
To start creang a path with the Bezier tool, click each spot you want a node to
appear in
A single click creates a straight line and a sharp node creates a "corner"
To create a smooth node or a curve--click, hold and drag your cursor to create
the curved/smooth node
Double-click to nish the path (for an open object)
To "close" a path, double-click on the starng node
Also, when you are drawing lines, the green lines are the completed segments and
the red lines are those that you are sll making
Let's jump in and start by learning how to build mulple paths into an interesng object. In
the following examples, we will build a caricature of a woman's face. Each exercise will build
on the next unl we have a full image.
Time for action – using the Bezier tool
To begin, we will use the Bezier tool to create a woman's face shape:
1. Open a new document in Inkscape.
2. Now select the Bezier tool from the toolbox bar:
3. Using a series of straight paths, using single-clicks to create nodes, create a head
shape, similar to the one shown in the following image:
Chapter 7
[ 147 ]
4. Make sure to close the path by double-clicking on the rst node when complete.
5. Select the head object and choose the Edit Paths by Nodes tool:
All nodes on the object appear in a gray color.
From the main menu, choose Edit | Select All or use the Ctrl + A keyboard shortcut
to select all nodes.
6. From the control bar, select the make selected nodes smooth icon:
All of the "angles" on your head shape will become smooth and have
rounded corners:
Using Paths
[ 148 ]
7. Double-click a node to adjust its posion (if needed). The node turns into a red square
when it is "acve" for you to edit its locaon. Now click-and-drag it to a new locaon.
As shown in the following image, the lower or chin poron of the head was adjusted
to make it a bit more rounded. All of this is done by double-clicking the lower two
nodes and moving their posions:
If, for any reason, you move a node and an undesired eect results,
you can always undo the last node movement by using the keyboard
shortcut Ctrl + Z or from the main menu, select Edit | Undo.
8. You can also adjust the curves of each node/path by moving the circular
handles on each node. Select the node you would like to adjust, and instead
of clicking-and-dragging the node, click-and-drag a handle (it will also turn red
when acve) to a new locaon.
You can also adjust the curve placement by moving the node along the path
in either direcon.
On the example, the node and its respecve handles on the le side of the face
were adjusted to make the face shape a bit more round:
Chapter 7
[ 149 ]
The shape of the face should now look similar to the following image:
9. Select the face object and choose a white ll from the color palee.
10. To work more easily with the facial features, let's lock this layer and create a new
one. Press the shortcut keys: Shi + Ctrl + L to open the Layers dialog.
11. Press the lock key for Layer 1.
12. Create a new layer for the eyes. Press the + buon in the Layers dialog. Name the
layer Features and click Add.
13. Within the new layer, select the Bezier tool and create a diamond-like eye shape
to start. In the following example, use four nodes (four clicks) to create this shape:
Using Paths
[ 150 ]
14. Again, click the Edit Paths by Nodes tool to edit the nodes of the eye object.
15. Select the top and boom nodes of the eye object (use the Shi + click to
select both nodes) and click the make selected nodes smooth icon to smooth
the node angles:
16. To stylize the eye, let's pull the le node out to create a point as follows:
17. From the main menu, select Edit | Duplicate (or use the Ctrl + D keyboard shortcut).
18. Click the ip object horizontally buon on the control bar:
Chapter 7
[ 151 ]
19. Place the right eye so that the middle edges are along the same horizontal plane.
However, note, this horizontal line will be at a slight angle to accommodate for the
lng of the face:
20. Select the face object from Layer 1 (if you locked Layer 1, remember to unlock it rst
from the Layers dialog).
21. From the main menu, select Edit | Duplicate (or use the Ctrl + D keyboard shortcut).
22. Press Shi + Page Up (for Mac computers, press Shi + Fn + up arrow) to move
the face object to the Features layer. Your screen should look similar to the
following image:
Using Paths
[ 152 ]
23. Hold the Shi key and also select the "tail" of the eye that is seen from underneath
the duplicate face object.
24. From the main menu, select Object | Clip | Set:
25. Hold the Shi key and select the other eye object. From the color palee, click black
to ll both objects' color to black:
26. Click the Bezier tool and create a diamond shape, similar to what is shown in the
following image, for the lips:
Chapter 7
[ 153 ]
Noce, this shape has six nodes. These were created with six clicks (double-click at
the end to close the object).
If you had missed adding a node to form the lips, there is no need to
delete the object and start over. You can double-click on any path to
add a new node. Also, if you added too many nodes, you can always
select the extra nodes and press the Delete key to erase them.
27. Select the lips and click the Edit Paths by Nodes tool to edit the nodes of the
lip object.
28. Select the top two nodes and boom node of the lip object (use Shi + click to
select all three nodes) and click the make selected nodes smooth icon to smooth
the node angles as follows:
29. Now move the nodes accordingly to adjust the lips to the right size and proporon.
Noce, in the following example, the le and right nodes were pulled outward
to broaden the lips. Also the two top rounded nodes were pulled le and right
respecvely to move the curve of the lips outward and the handles of both curves
were used to get the appropriate curves of the lips:
30. Select red color from the color palee to ll the lip objects with color.
Using Paths
[ 154 ]
31. Right-click the stroke color from the status bar and choose none to remove the
stroke from the lip object as well:
32. If you made it this far, save your le so we can move on to the next step in the
process—creang the hair. From the main menu, select File | Save.
What just happened?
We started a new project: a stylized image of a woman's face. This project, so far, was
created mostly using the Bezier tool. In fact, we used that as the base tool for creang
every object on this canvas so far.
We learned the Bezier tool basics—what a single-click versus a double-click accomplishes
(creang nodes on a path versus closing/ending a path), how to make a straight versus
curved node, how to adjust node placements, add new nodes, and how to delete nodes.
We created the very basics of a face at this point in the project. Now we will move into
the second part of the project where we will add hair to this project. In doing so, we will
connue to use the Bezier tool, but also add in the use of spiros and swirls.
Pop quiz – remove the last node movement
1. If, for any reason, you move a node and an undesired eect results—what can you
do to "undo" it?
a. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Z
b. From the main menu select Edit and Undo
c. Delete the enre path
d. Both a and b
Chapter 7
[ 155 ]
Transforming objects into paths
In Inkscape, any shape, text, or object that you created can be converted to a shape. Don't
be fooled when it doesn't look like anything has happened because any capabilies that you
had before (dragging corner nodes to scale larger, eding text, rounding corners on a square)
can be lost, but now, you would be able to edit the object's nodes just like any other path
(such as in our previous example).
Stroke to paths
You can convert the outline or stroke of any object and convert that to a path. Select an
object with a stroke set—then from the main menu, select Path | Stroke to Path.
Again, the overall appearance on the canvas does not change, but how you can manipulate
the object. Take a look at the number of nodes before this spiro was converted into a path,
versus aer:
After
Before
Time for action – creating spiros and swirls
Let's open our previous project of the woman's face and give her some hair. In doing so, we
will use the Bezier tool and the spiral object in Inkscape (as shown previously), convert it to
a path, and manipulate it to create curls as follows:
1. Open the woman's face project we've been working on.
2. Press the shortcut keys: Shi + Ctrl + L to open the Layers dialog.
3. Create a new layer for the hair object(s). Press the + buon in the Layers dialog.
Name the layer Hair and click Add.
Using Paths
[ 156 ]
4. Select the Bezier tool and create a general shape for her hair, as shown in the
following image:
A few items to remember here are that you can add nodes, delete them, move
and adjust them, so that you get a general hair shape that you like.
5. Now let's work some more with the nodes on the hair. You can select specic nodes
(use Shi + click to select mulple nodes at the same me) and click the make
selected nodes smooth icon to smooth the node angles. Also, just as in the previous
exercise, feel free to move nodes and handles as needed for your desired eect.
6. You can also work with a number of smaller paths and then combine them as you
need to. Important tools to remember are the join selected nodes, break path at
selected nodes, join selected end nodes with segment, and delete segment between
two non-endpoint nodes tools—all found on the control bar:
These buons allow you to connect (or disconnect) two separate paths you have
created with the Bezier tool.
7. For example let's break apart nodes near the neckline area and combine them so
it looks like she has full owing hair across her neck. Use Shi + click to select the
nodes you want to break apart and then click the break paths and selected node
buon on the control bar as follows:
Chapter 7
[ 157 ]
8. Perform the same steps for two nodes on the right-hand side hair as well:
9. Now select the top node from the le-hand side and the top node from the right
and click the join selected end nodes with segment buon. The nodes are joined,
as shown in the following image:
Using Paths
[ 158 ]
10. Repeat the process for the remaining two "open" nodes.
11. Give the hair some color as we work the shape a bit more. From the boom color
palee, choose black to ll this object with color and to give a more realisc view
of the nal project, as shown in the following image:
12. Connue to delete, move, and adjust nodes again to get a look of full hair at the
neck because next we will be adding in some curls:
Chapter 7
[ 159 ]
13. Select the spiral tool icon from the toolbox bar:
14. In the control bar, change the Turns, Divergence, and Inner radius sengs to your
liking. For our purposes, we'll change them, as shown in the following screenshot,
to create a smooth curve:
15. Now, draw the spiral on your canvas outside of your face objects for now:
16. If you want to adjust the spiral, select the end nodes tool and start changing it to
your liking:
Using Paths
[ 160 ]
17. Click twice unl you see the rotaon handles. Float your mouse pointer over the ny
cross hair (center of rotaon) in the center of the object. Now use Shi + drag to
place the center of rotaon above the locaon where the inner path ends, as shown
in the following image:
18. Now we need to change the spiral object to a path. From the main menu, select
Path and then Object to Path.
19. Next, from the main menu, select Edit and then Duplicate. We now have two spirals
(one on top of another).
20. Choose the selector tool and then double-click the top duplicated spiral so the
rotaon handles appear, and rotate it just a bit as follows:
Chapter 7
[ 161 ]
21. Now click the original spiral, so that it is selected and scale it to a size that makes the
swirl interesng. It might look something like the following image:
22. Now sll with the selector tool, select both spirals (hold the Shi key and
click-and-drag a bounding box over both spirals).
23. From the main menu, select Path and then combine.
24. Press the F2 key to switch to the Edit Path by Nodes tool and then select both
outer end nodes and click the join selected end nodes with a new segment buon
as follows:
This joins the two nodes.
Using Paths
[ 162 ]
25. Do this with any other end nodes that aren't joined, smooth out any areas of the
spiral to make it look more appealing, and delete any overlapping or crossovers of
the lines:
26. Click white on the color palee bar to add a ll color to this spiral and remove
the stroke.
27. Now drag it onto the hair of your image as follows:
28. Scale, rotate, skew, mode/delete nodes, and/or duplicate the swirls or other similar
objects to use them as other "curls" and "highlights" in the hair object.
29. Again, adjust nodes in the hair as needed to achieve a pleasing eect for your image.
See the following image for a version of this project. Note, all highlights and curls in
the hair were adjusted, duplicated versions of the rst. Nodes were deleted, added,
and moved to create the others:
Chapter 7
[ 163 ]
30. From the main menu, select File | Save to save this project for future use
and reference.
What just happened?
We spent even more me using paths. This me we started again with a Bezier tool and
created a shape for the hair, but we then joined nodes with addional segments. Then we
used a spiral object and converted it into a path to manipulate it and use it as curls within
our project's hair.
Next up, we will work with text and convert it to a path.
Object to Path
To convert an object, we just select it and then from the main menu, choose Path | Object
to Path or the Shi + Ctrl + C keyboard shortcut.
Note the following when you convert any text to a path:
The text becomes non-editable as a normal object.
The result will be a group of paths (one path for each leer). Then you
can manipulate each leer by dragging nodes and eding the shape of each
one individually.
You can always ungroup the leers. On the main menu, select Object | Ungroup.
Let's convert an object to a path and then demonstrate how we can edit it dierently now
that it is a path.
Using Paths
[ 164 ]
Time for action – Object to Path
We'll add stylized text to our current project of the woman's face to illustrate how to use
the Object to Path funconality and how we can further manipulate the text when we
use this feature:
1. Open your previous Inkscape project.
2. Press the shortcut keys: Shi + Ctrl + L to open the Layers dialog if it is not
already open.
3. Create a new layer for the hair object(s). Press the + buon in the Layers dialog.
Name the layer: Text and click Add.
Locking layers
To prevent accidentally selecng other objects, lock all other layers
except the one you are currently working on. In this case, lock all
layers except the Text layer.
4. In the Add Layer, select the create and edit text buon from the toolbox:
5. Click on the canvas and type the word: SMILE:
SMILE
6. Now we are going to convert the text to a path. From the main menu, choose
Path | Object to path.
Now when you select the word, the bounding box has changed and you can only
select individual leers as follows:
Chapter 7
[ 165 ]
SMILE
SMILE
7. You can manipulate or add eects to individual leers, or scale and transform each
leer dierently.
In the following example for the S and E, the outside nodes were "pulled" into
a smile.
The leers MIL were stretched to larger sizes based on the placement. For the M
and I, we also moved the outside nodes to make the leers wider. The leer I also
had its ll color changed to red and a drop shadow added (Filters | Shadows and
Glows | Drop Shadow):
8. From the main menu, select File | Save to save this project for future use
and reference.
Using Paths
[ 166 ]
What just happened?
We created some sample text within our current project and then converted the text
into paths. Once converted into paths, there were examples given on what you can do
to each leer.
Pop quiz – paths
1. What can you convert to paths?
a. Text
b. Shapes
c. Objects
d. All of the above
Path options
Paths can be combined in a number of ways:
Here's what each of these joining opons mean:
Union: When you make a union of one or more paths, a new path is created that
contains all areas of other parts. For example, the arrow we created earlier in this
book joined all paths into one object.
Dierence: When you complete the dierence between two paths or objects—the
top path is removed from that of the boom one.
Intersecon: When you perform an intersecon of two paths, all that will remain is
the area that was overlapping in both paths.
Exclusion: When two paths are combined using the exclusion funcon, the resulng
path keeps everything except the porons of the paths that were shared.
Division: The rst path as "drawn" will be split by the second and the outcome will
be two or more paths.
Chapter 7
[ 167 ]
Cut Path: The rst path is cut by the second drawn path, but the new paths have no
ll, so the second path is a "cut out" of the rst.
Time for action – creating an icon
We'll create an icon that has a border and star cut out. Let's get started:
1. Open a new document in Inkscape.
2. Select the create circles, ellipses, and arcs tool and draw a simple circle on the
canvas. Hold the Ctrl key as you draw the circle to make it a perfect circle as follows:
3. Use the Fill and Stroke dialog to remove the stroke and add an orange ll, as shown
in the following image:
Using Paths
[ 168 ]
4. Select the star tool from the toolbox:
Make sure that you have the star opon selected in the control bar as well:
5. Draw a star in the middle of the circle. This star can have any color ll and stroke,
as shown in the following image:
6. Select the circle and the star. From the main menu, select Object | Align
and Distribute.
In the Align and Distribute dialog, click center on the vercal axis and then click
on the horizontal axis as follows:
Chapter 7
[ 169 ]
7. From the main menu, select Path | Exclusion.
You should then see that the circle has a "cut out" of a star in the middle as follows:
8. Select the create circles, ellipses, and arcs tool again and draw a simple circle just
smaller than the rst and overlap it on the circle/star icon. Make this circle have no
ll, but a white stroke that is 1px in weight:
9. From the main menu, choose File | Save to save this project for future use.
Using Paths
[ 170 ]
What just happened?
We created a simple icon that used the exclusion feature for paths.
There is also an Icon View opon in Inkscape. If you want to see how your project would
look as an icon, select all objects on all layers (Ctrl + Alt + A keyboard shortcut), and from
the menu, choose View | Icon Preview. Check the selecon box. A preview of your icon is
displayed in the most common size.
Summary
We learned a lot about paths in this chapter. We rst just learned the basics about using
them and the Bezier tool. Then we learned about transforming paths and how to convert
shapes and strokes into paths so we could adjust them using nodes. We explored all path
opons, combining and breaking paths, as well as path placement and how it transforms
shapes. Next up is styling text.
8
How to Style Text
The idea of text styling is to manipulate text so that it creates a certain feel
when seen in an overall design. In the graphic design world, text styling is called
typography and is a form of typeseng. Compare the look and feel (or design)
of your local newspaper with that of children's magazines or start comparing
web designs of the same—a newspaper site or a children's television network
and compare it to a sports website. As seen, text is an important element
in design.
Let's use this chapter to learn more about how we can manipulate and style text for any
design. Here's what we will cover:
Text and font editor
Using paths and text
Text and frames
Spell check and nd/replace
Text eects
Using text reecons
Text and Font editor
The Text and Font editor allows you to create text on your canvas and format it with the
right font, size, and even kern. Let's open the editor and get started.
How to Style Text
[ 172 ]
Time for action – opening and using the Text and Font editor
Creang text in a project is simple—select the Create and Edit Text tool in the toolbox, click
at the inseron point within an open project, and start typing.
The text is immediately displayed on the canvas.
The text tool (A icon) in the toolbox is the only way of creang new text on
the canvas. The T icon shown in the command bar is used only when eding
text that already exists on the canvas.
Then you can use the Text and Font menu to change everything from the font, style, size,
and juscaon. To open this window, from the main menu, select Text and then Text and
Font (or use the shortcut keys and press Shi+Ctrl+T, or the T icon in the command bar).
This window dialog also has a useful feature where you can edit your text directly. Click the
Text tab and select the text you want to change or add/delete.
Chapter 8
[ 173 ]
Back in the Font tab, you can change the font itself, the point size, alignment, line spacing,
and even change from a horizontal to vercal text layout. But note, even though there are
opons for Bold, Italics, and Bold Italics, there is no opon for underline. You can, however,
use the Bezier or line tool to give you the same eect as the underline feature.
Spacing shortcut keys
You can also change the spacing of selected text by using shortcut keys. Use
the Alt + > or Alt + < keys to try it out. For more informaon about keyboard
shortcuts, see Appendix A, Keyboard Shortcuts.
What just happened?
You opened the Text and Font editor and added some text to your canvas. We also saw
how you can change the font, point size, alignment, line spacing, and even how to adjust
horizontal and vercal text layout.
Pop quiz – font options
1. What font opons do you have available in Inkscape?
a. Bold
b. Bold Italics
c. Underline
d. Italics
e. A, B, and D
Kerning
One of the more important items in typography and working with text that you will want to
learn about is kerning—or the ability to adjust the spacing between leers.
There is no menu path to perform this in Inkscape. Instead, you can use handy shortcut keys.
For more informaon about keyboard shortcuts, see Appendix A, Keyboard Shortcuts.
How to Style Text
[ 174 ]
Time for action – kerning text
Here's how to kern text that already exists on your canvas:
1. First, double-click some text you have already entered in an open project.
This will take you into the Create and Edit Text tool, allowing you to edit the
text leer-by-leer.
2. Using the arrow keys, move the cursor between the two leers you want to add
or diminish space between.
3. Then, press the Alt + right arrow key to add space between the leers. Alternavely,
press the Alt + le arrow key to lessen the space between those two leers. Keep an
eye on the kerning value in the Tool control bar A | A. It is set in pixels and displays
fracons of the value of space between the leers.
4. Alternavely, if you want to move individual (or mulple) characters up and
down—just move your cursor near the leer (or leers) you want to move vercally.
5. Select the leer(s) by using the Shi key and the right/le arrows or drag your
mouse over the character(s) you want to edit.
6. Then press Alt + up key to move the leer(s) up from the horizontal baseline.
Again, see the Tools control bar seng A|A for the specic spacing.
Chapter 8
[ 175 ]
7. Alternavely, you can use the Alt + down key combinaon to move a leer down
from the horizontal baseline.
8. You can even rotate leers. Select a leer you want to rotate le or right and then
use the Alt + [ or ] key to start moving it. The Tools control bar can, again, help you
with exact spacing informaon.
9. Feel free to save the le now if you think you might want to use this going forward.
Baseline shi and leer rotaon funcons are only
available to text that is not inside a owed text frame.
What just happened?
You created some text on your canvas and then adjusted the kerning (or spacing) of
leers. We even rotated and dropped lengs below (and above) the horizontal baseline
for a dierent sort of text styling technique.
When adjusng kerning in Inkscape, it is convenient to leave the leers as text—instead
of the alternave of converng the text to paths—as the text remains editable. You can
easily switch fonts, change font sizes and styles, all without removing the kerning and
spacing informaon that you have already set. One small disadvantage to this approach is
that when you reopen (or deliver) an SVG le, you must have the original font used in this
le's creaon on the computer. Just remember when providing and saving the SVG le to
keep all graphics and fonts used in the creaon of the web design or graphic together and
available for any future use.
You can also create a duplicate layer (File | Layer | Duplicate) and then hide it to
preserve text styling for future rework of the document and text informaon.
How to Style Text
[ 176 ]
Text styling keyboard shortcuts
Since not all text styling opons are available via a menu item, here's an overview of most
text opons available via keyboard shortcuts. Also refer to Appendix A, Keyboard Shortcuts
for all key combinaon shortcuts available for Inkscape.
Text Selecon Shortcut Keys
Ctrl + le/right arrows Cursor moves word-by-word
Shi + le/right arrows Selects/deselects leer-by-leer
Ctrl + Shi + le/right arrows Selects/deselects word-by-word
Double-click on leers Selects the word
Triple-click Selects the enre line of text
Shi + Home
For Mac OS: Shi + Fn + le arrow
Selects from the beginning of the line up to the cursor
posion
Shi + End
For Mac OS: Shi + Fn + right arrow
Selects from the cursor to the end of the line
Ctrl + Shi + Home
For Mac OS: Ctrl + Shi + Fn + le arrow
Selects from the beginning of the text up to the cursor
posion
Ctrl + Shi + End
For Mac OS: Ctrl + Shi + Fn + right arrow
Selects from the cursor posion up to the end of the text
Hot Keys
Ctrl + BApplies bold style to the selected text
Ctrl + IApplies italic style to the selected text
Alt + right or le arrows Increase or decrease the space between characters
(kerning)
Alt + > or < keys Changes the overall leer spacing within a text box
Alt + [ or ] keys Rotates leers
Alt + up or down arrows Changes the vercal posion of the selected text,
relave to the baseline
Alt + Shi + arrows Moves posion by 10 pixel steps
Ctrl + [ or ] Rotates 90°
Chapter 8
[ 177 ]
Using paths and text
Using paths with text is a great combinaon to make unique designs for banners, logos, and
headings or footers, on various business documents. They work together and allow you to
have complete control over how the text will look. Let's review how we can make them
work together.
Time for action – using a path for text
In Inkscape, you can put text onto a path and have it follow its shape—and when you do this,
the text and the path remain editable, which means you can sll change the text, the shape
of the path, kerning, and spacing elements in the text. Let's look at an example:
1. To start, draw a path with the Bezier tool or in the case of the following example,
the spiral tool.
2. Then use the text tool and type the text that you would like to place on the path.
How to Style Text
[ 178 ]
3. Select both the text and path.
4. Then, from the main menu, select Text and then Put on Path. You'll see that the text
then is literally placed on the path of the line you had drawn.
5. You can now move the original path and the text moves along with it. Alternavely,
you can move the text away from the path, edit the text, or transform the text using
kerning, text size, rotang leers, or moving them from the baseline—but it will sll
hold the shape of the path.
Chapter 8
[ 179 ]
6. If you need to remove the shape from the text, from the main menu, select
Text and then Remove from Path. You'll see that the text will turn back to
a regular text object.
7. If you want the text to maintain the shape of the path, but hide the actual shape,
select the path and change its opacity to 0, in essence, hiding the path.
What just happened?
You placed some text on a path of an object or shape. You also learned how to manipulate
the text while it is placed on the page, as well as how to remove the text from the shape and
hide the path itself so that you keep the text shape.
Placing text within a closed shape
Another unique form of text styling can be done by placing text within a shape. Words will
automacally wrap so that the text ts as best as possible within the shape. You can, of
course, sll edit the text aer this, and even change some of its features.
How to Style Text
[ 180 ]
Time for action – placing text in a closed shape
Let's walk through an example of how to place the words "Twinkle, twinkle lile star" into
a star object:
1. First create a star in a new Inkscape document.
2. Select the Create and Edit Text tool from the toolbox and type the text onto
the canvas.
3. Select both the text and the star. Then from the main menu, choose Text and then
Flow into Frame. Instantly, you'll see that the text is placed, as best as it can be,
within the connes of the shape.
Chapter 8
[ 181 ]
4. Feel free to manipulate the text to make it look just right, even changing color,
kerning, and spacing if needed. Similarly you can change the color, stroke, and
posion of the shape to see how the text reacts as well as the impact on the
overall design.
5. If you ever want to remove the text from the shape, from the main menu,
choose Text and then Unow.
6. Save the le in the Inkscape SVG format if you plan to use this le in any
future projects!
What just happened?
We took some simple text and then placed it within a shape. Then we took that text and
manipulated it so that it would take the shape of another object. Lastly, we rotated and
manipulated the container shape to have the best impact on the design.
Spell check and nd/replace
Just like in a word processing program, you can nd and replace a word (or term) in the text
box of an Inkscape document.
How to Style Text
[ 182 ]
Time for action – performing a nd and replace
We will perform a simple nd and replace in the following example. To do this:
1. In an open project, choose the Create and Edit Text tool and select an
already-created text box with content residing in it.
2. From the main menu, select Extensions and then Text and Replace Text.
3. In the Replace text dialog box, place the word you want to replace in the rst
eld and the new word in the second eld.
4. Click Apply and every instance of the old word will be replaced within the selected
text box.
Remember, using this process will replace every single instance of a word
in the selected text. If you only want to replace certain instances of the
word, this process might be superseded by some careful proofreading of
the content.
What just happened?
We found the menu opons in order to perform a search and replace for words within a text
frame in Inkscape.
Text effects
Inkscape gives a variety of opons for manipulang text within its extensions. Let's go
through a few examples.
Chapter 8
[ 183 ]
Time for action – using text effects
We will perform a number of text eects that are available in Inkscape. Let's get started:
1. Sentence case: This simply means using capital leers as you would in sentences—it
replaces lowercase characters with capitals at the beginning of every sentence.
To use this in Inkscape:
In an open project, choose the Create and Edit Text tool and select an
already-created text box with content residing in it.
From the main menu, select Extensions and then Text and Sentence Case.
All capitalizaon rules will change to sentence case.
2. Title case: Instead of capitalizing the rst word in every sentence like the previous
example, this text eect capitalizes the rst leer of every word in the text box.
In an open project, choose the Create and Edit Text tool and select an
already-created text box with content residing in it.
From the main menu, select Extensions, Text, and Title Case. All
capitalizaon rules will change to be tle case.
3. Uppercase and lowercase: These eects simply change the case of each leer in the
text box. The uppercase eect makes each leer a capital, whereas the lowercase
eect changes all leers to their lowercase form.
As with the other eects you do this as follows:
In an open project, choose the text tool and select an already-created text
box with content residing in it.
From the main menu, select Extensions, Text and then Uppercase
or Lowercase. All capitalizaon rules will change as specied.
How to Style Text
[ 184 ]
4. Flipcase: This is a fun eect for text. It reverses the wrien leer case, so all capitals
will become lowercase, and all lowercase leers become uppercase leers. It looks
like this:
Again, this is accessed from the Eect menu:
In an open project, choose the text tool and select an already-created text
box with content residing in it.
From the main menu, select Extensions and then Text and fLIP cASE.
5. Random case: This is also a fun text eect; it takes the text contained in a text box
and arbitrarily toggles the leer case throughout. To use it:
In an open project, choose the text tool and select an already-created text
box with content residing in it.
From the main menu, select Extensions and then Text and rANdOm CasE.
The result looks something like this:
What just happened?
We learned the basics of creang text and manipulang it in Inkscape with extensions.
Specically, we dived into text eects, learning the dierences between tle case, sentence
case, upper and lowercase, ip case, and random case in Inkscape. We even worked on
examples of each type for reference.
Creating text reections
One common eect seen with text elements is creang a reecon or shadow of the
leers in the word. This eect gives the words more presence without much addional
work (and doesn't overdo the text). We'll learn how to do both with some example text.
Chapter 8
[ 185 ]
Time for action – creating a reection
In this example, we're aiming to create a simple text heading that has a reecon below it
and then to add a lile something special (but very simple) to the text to make it stand apart
with very few addional eects. Here's what we'll create:
1. Open a new document in Inkscape, create a text box, and enter some text. In our
example, we'll use the word: REFLECTIONS.
2. Next, we are going to clone the image. From the main menu, select Edit, Clone,
and then Create Clone.
How to Style Text
[ 186 ]
3. Now we need to ip the cloned image vercally to create the basics for our
reecon. An easy way to do this is to press the V key (or from the main menu,
select Object and then Flip Vercally).
4. Move the ipped image below the original text.
5. From the toolbox, select the rectangle tool and create a rectangle that covers the
reected (or cloned) image.
6. Now we need to set a gradient on this rectangle. To start, make sure to set the
ll to black.
7. Click the gradient tool near the boom of the toolbox.
8. Click near the middle of the rectangle and drag upward to set gradient
(from dark on the boom to light on the top).
9. By default the Inkscape gradient applies an alpha seng of 0 to the stop gradient,
which will be fully transparent. This means, in the preceding image, the top side of
the rectangle and the gradient would be transparent. Click Edit in the control bar to
change this seng.
Chapter 8
[ 187 ]
10. Choose the transparent stop to edit.
11. Now change the R, G, and B values to 255, so that it is white.
How to Style Text
[ 188 ]
12. Select both the rectangle and the reected text behind. Use the select tool, and
drag a bounding box around the rectangle. You should see a doed line around
the rectangle and the text behind it. Alternavely, you can select the text below by
using Alt and clicking the text's approximate locaon and then pressing Shi and
clicking on the rectangle.
13. From the main menu, select Object, then Mask, and then Set. Essenally you are
masking the reecon (cloned) text with the gradient box. Thus the reecon text
takes on the levels of gray of the object in front of it. That is why it looks very much
like a reecon.
14. If the reecon sll seems a bit dark for your taste, change the opacity from the
Fill and Stroke dialog box.
15. But let's spice up this text just a lile bit more. Select the rst leer and let's change
the color and also increase the point size of that leer by at least 8 points—voila!
Since you cloned the image, any change you make to original text will also be
changed in the reecon automacally.
16. Feel free to save this le for future reference or to use in your current projects.
Chapter 8
[ 189 ]
What just happened?
We created a reecon of text in Inkscape. We did this by creang text, using a clone, and
then using a mask in order to create the actual reecon text. There are a number of other
ways to create a reecon—that involve just creang a gradient on the cloned/ipped text
itself. However, the process described in the preceding secon allows you to sll edit the text
directly and the reecon will update as well.
Pop Quiz – transparency
1. In Inkscape, by default, the Alpha seng or Stop of gradients is white.
a. True
b. False
Summary
You've learned a lot about text eding and styling in this chapter. Specically, there were details
about the text editor, methods of using and manipulang text such as kerning, rotang, and
moving leers from the baseline. You even learned how to have text follow a path and create
text frames for larger blocks of text and nally create a reecon with the text. We will expand
upon what we have learned and do more of this in the next chapter, Using Filters.
9
Using Filters
This chapter will focus on using lters with text and images to give a further
dimension to your vector graphics. We will start by explaining what lters
are, how to nd them in Inkscape, and then dive into specic lter examples
with both images and texext, including a detailed example of step-by-step
instrucons on using lters with text.
Here are the details of what we will discuss in the chapter:
What are lters?
Using the lter editor
Using lters with text
Images and eects
What are lters?
In Inkscape, think of a lter as something superimposed on top of a vector object giving
it features that are much like a raster-based image. Examples of lters or lter eects are
blurring, shadows, and glows. These eects are only an overlay—so can be turned on/o
at any me and modied whenever needed, in essence, giving the vector-object properes
most commonly seen on other graphic types.
Using Filters
[ 192 ]
Using the Filter editor
To view all the lters that Inkscape has to oer (there are hundreds of them installed
by default), on the main menu, select Filters:
There are two categories of lters: the ones that work with normal objects (such as a created
vector object in Inkscape) and the others that work with bitmaps (such as images or PNG les
you have imported into Inkscape). Watch the nocaon area along the boom of the screen
when you use the lter menu for which lters will work on your selected objects as follows:
Since there are many lters to use with Inkscape, it may seem overwhelming to know
which one to use. You should explore and test to see which ones work best for your
design or drawing.
Let's work through an example about how to use one of the lters in Inkscape.
Chapter 9
[ 193 ]
Time for action – using lters
In this example, let's create an icon, such as the example shown as follows:
Let's give it a drop shadow, which is one of the more common lter eects used in Inkscape
and almost all image eding soware as it is an essenal lter for creang a sense of realism:
1. Open a new Inkscape document.
2. From the main menu, select File, New, and then icon_64x64.
Icon sizes can vary depending on your design (or what operang
system you might be creang them for), so feel free to change
your canvas sizes accordingly.
3. From the main menu, select View and then Grid. Having the grid viewable will help
us with the spacing of all the objects.
4. Let's again set the grid properes. From the main menu, select File and then
Document Properes.
5. Select the Grid tab and verify that Spacing X and Spacing Y are both set to 1.0
and that Major Grid Lines is set to every 4 pixels.
6. Close the Document Properes dialog by clicking the red X in the upper-le corner.
7. Make sure the snap bounding box corners icon is selected.
Using Filters
[ 194 ]
8. Let's start by creang the main part of the icon. Use the rectangle tool to draw
a rectangle in the center of the canvas (there will be one box grid around the
rectangle) as follows:
9. Double-click the square, so the handles change to corner nodes:
10. Drag the upper-right circle handle inward. You will see that the corners of the
rectangle now become rounded, as shown in the following image:
Chapter 9
[ 195 ]
11. Use the Fill and Stroke dialog to give the rectangle a bright ll color.
This will keep the edges of the icon clean and crisp.
12. Next we'll add our rst lter. Select the rectangle object and select
Filter | Blur | Evanescent:
13. Select the star tool and draw one within the rectangle, as shown in the
following image:
14. Select all of the icon elements using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + A, then use the
keyboard shortcut Shi + Ctrl + A to open the Alignment menu. Choose the Page in
the Relave to: drop-down menu and then click the center of the vercal axis icon.
Using Filters
[ 196 ]
15. Now let's give the star a drop shadow. Select the star and then from the main menu,
select Filters, Shadows and Glows, and then Drop Shadow. Use sengs similar to
that shown in the following screenshot:
16. Let's give our overall rectangle object a drop shadow as well. Keeping the
Drop Shadow window displayed, select the rectangle.
17. Click Apply in the Drop Shadow window (to keep the same Drop Shadow sengs
as the star):
18. Save your le using a nomenclature that represents a collecon of icons that you
can create with these same document properes, color characteriscs, and similar
styles for future project use.
What just happened?
We created a simple icon, used an image lter, and the drop shadow lter eect—a complex
lter – to give the icon some depth.
Chapter 9
[ 197 ]
To preview this as an icon, select all objects on all layers (Ctrl + Alt + A is the keyboard
shortcut), and from the menu, choose View | Icon Preview. Check the selecon box.
A preview of your icon is displayed in the most common size.
Pop quiz – common icon sizes
1. What icon size below is NOT found in the icon preview opon in Inkscape?
a. 16 x 16
b. 40 x 40
c. 48 x 48
d. 32 x 32
e. 24 x 24
f. 128 x 128
Using lters with text
We created a reecon in Chapter 8 that used lters in Inkscape and you can use the same
principles for creang text shadows as well. Let's work through an example and see whether
other lters work well with text.
Time for action – using lters with text
We will create one example of how we can use lters with text to create a mood or feeling
with text in design:
1. Open a new document in Inkscape, create a text box, and enter some text. In our
example, we'll use the word: BOO!.
2. With the text selected, from the main menu, select Filters, Textures, and then
choose Ink Paint:
Using Filters
[ 198 ]
There are a lot more lters here that you can use that will give neat eects for your
text. These include Cutout, Cutout & Glow, Dark & Glow, Drop Glow, Fuzzy Glow,
Glow, In and Out, Inner Glow, Inner Shadow, and Inset. See the following graphic for
what each of these lters looks like when applied to our text examples. You can nd
these specic text lters on the main menu under Filters | Shadows and Glows:
The eects strongly depend on the objects and their colors in the background.
The examples were only rendered without objects in the background and thus
some of the lters may require some tweaking in the Filter editor for a more
rened look.
What just happened?
We added a simple Ink Paint lter to a set of words to add to the visual feeling we wanted
to achieve in a design. Then we learned about other lters that might work well with text.
Images and effects
Inkscape doesn't allow for extensive photo manipulaon. However, here are some basic
eects to use with photographic images:
Blurs
Bumps
Color
Distort
Image Eects
Chapter 9
[ 199 ]
Image Eects, Transparent
Transparency Ulies
Overlay lters
For some fun, try Scaer and Texture lters and Clip with photographs as well.
Let's walk through using one of these lters as an example.
Time for action – using lters with images
Let's work with a photograph of a couple and see if we can enchance it for use on
a cooking website:
1. Open a new Inkscape document and import a bitmap image. From the main menu,
select File and then Import.
2. Select the correct bitmap le and click Open. Make sure your imported bitmap le
is selected and then select File and then Document Properes. In the Custom Size
secon, click Resize page to content.
3. Click Resize page to drawing or selecon.
Using Filters
[ 200 ]
Your document page size will now be adjusted to match that of your imported
bitmap image, as shown in the following screenshot:
4. Select the image and then from the main menu, select Filters and then Image
Eects and So Focus Lens. This will create a "so" image and give a dreamy
eect as follows:
Chapter 9
[ 201 ]
5. Next, we will create a "torn edge" eect around the photo by making sure the photo
is selected and then from the main menu, choosing Filters and then Distort and
Torn edges as follows:
6. Now the photo can be saved as a PNG and placed in an overall design. To save this
le, from the main menu, select File and then Export. Give it a lename and save it
within the project le folders.
What just happened?
We imported a bitmap image (a photograph) and then added two lters to it—a blur and
distoron lter of torn edges.
Tracing images
Tracing essenally creates the paths (and nodes) it idenes within a bitmap image and then
uses those paths to create a vector-based image from the bitmap. Rendering in Inkscape
is always done using Potrace, but there is an extra opon called Simple Interacve Object
Extracon (SIOX) that allows separaon of an object from the background bitmap image.
The results of this tracing process depend heavily on the quality of the original images.
Potrace works best for black-and-white line drawings or black-and-white pictures with
high contrast. It can be used for screened color prints and color photography as well,
but it can require a bit more careful detail and work to make it happen. Let's go through
a couple of examples.
Using Filters
[ 202 ]
Time for action – using Potrace
We will start by imporng another photograph bitmap image and then using Potrace:
1. Open up the bitmap image you want to trace in Inkscape. You can drag-and-drop
an image onto the Inkscape window to import it.
2. Make sure the image is selected and then from the main menu, choose Path
and then Trace Bitmap. The Trace Bitmap dialog box appears.
3. The Mode tab denes characteriscs of the tracing mode as follows:
For this picture, we will set the following:
Single scan
Brightness cuto: Threshold 0.450
Chapter 9
[ 203 ]
4. Click the Opons tab to set some addional opons as follows:
These opons are used across either the single or mulple scan mode.
For this sample, we'll select the checkboxes for all opons (essenally turning them
on) with these sengs:
Suppress speckles: Size 2
Smooth corners: Threshold 1.00
Opmize paths: Tolerance 0.20
5. When all sengs are in place, click OK to perform the conversion.
6. Within a few moments, you will be able to see the results.
Using Filters
[ 204 ]
You'll noce your original image will sll be viewable on the canvas. Click to select
the traced paths and then drag it o of the original image (which is underneath).
Alternavely, from the main menu, select Object and then Lower—to lower the
new image below the original:
7. Select the original image and hide it in the Layers dialog. Your new vector image
should be viewable.
8. Save this new le (choose File and then Save As…) with a new descripve lename
and be sure that the le type in the boom-right is Inkscape SVG:
What just happened?
In this example, we kept the background in place and created a vector image from
a photograph.
However, another scenario is that you want to take one object from the picture and create
a vector object from that one object. That is where using the opon SIOX comes into play.
Let's learn how to use it in the next secon.
Chapter 9
[ 205 ]
Time for action – using SIOX
SIOX means Simple Interacve Object Extracon. It lets you separate an object from the
background in a bitmap image. If you paid close aenon to the steps performed to do a
trace in the previous secon, you'll noce that the opon to use this feature is within the
Tracing Bitmap dialog box.
Using SIOX depends on the characteriscs of the bitmap image. If you have a photograph
where an object is clearly disnguished in color from the background—you have a great
chance for success in recreang it with a trace using this feature. Here's how it's done:
1. Open up the bitmap image you want to trace in Inkscape.
2. Make sure the image is selected and then from the main menu, choose Path
and then Trace Bitmap. The Trace Bitmap dialog box appears.
3. Check the SIOX foreground selecon box to turn it on, as shown in the
following screenshot:
Using Filters
[ 206 ]
4. Now, use the freehand tool or a box, circle, or another object, and select an area
of the image that includes the enre object you want to extract, and some of the
background, as follows:
5. Give the path an opaque ll if it doesn't already have one.
6. Select both the bitmap image and the path and then perform a trace by clicking
OK in the Trace Bitmap dialog box:
7. Within a few moments, you'll see the background disappear from the canvas.
Select the opaque object used in the process and delete it to show your nal image:
Chapter 9
[ 207 ]
8. Save your new image in SVG format – it's now a vector graphic!
In the example, we used a rectangle object to select the main point of
interest and some of the background. However, you can use the freehand
Bezier tool as well to draw around irregular objects and do the same process.
What just happened?
We took a full photograph image and then essenally pulled an object from that photograph
and made it a vector graphic via the tracing eect.
Ulmately, tracing bitmap images so that they can be turned into vector graphics takes some
pracce and trial-and-error. However, if you can do this well, you will use it in a variety of
projects—anywhere from web design to helping to create and clean up logos and more.
Summary
We spent this enre chapter discussing lters and lter eects, learning where they
are used in Inkscape, and then how to create a lter eect for a vector object.
The last half of the chapter was dedicated to examples of using Potrace and SIOX.
The next chapter will be dedicated to extensions in Inkscape.
10
Extensions in Inkscape
In Inkscape there are a number of extensions—templates and plugins that can
assist in the design process for vector graphics. At the very least, they decrease
preparaon me when starng a new mockup.
This chapter will discuss templates in detail, and then plugins and scripts. Specically:
What templates are
Installing and using new templates
What extensions are
Available extensions and scripts
Installing and using extensions
Extensions in Inkscape
[ 210 ]
Templates
Inkscape has some pre-dened templates you can use to start your development.
To access these templates, go to the main menu and select File and then New. A pop-up
menu appears showing a number of default page (or canvas) sizes to choose from, as shown
in the following screenshot:
Installing and using new templates
Most templates are pre-loaded into the Inkscape release and installaon. However,
if you nd addional Inkscape templates you want to use, they can be easily installed.
Chapter 10
[ 211 ]
Time for action – installing Inkscape templates
To install a template in Inkscape, do the following:
1. Download the new template le. If it is in a compressed format (ZIP, RAR, and so
on), uncompress or extract the SVG template le. You can use applicaons such as
WinZip, WinRAR, or 7-Zip to extract les such as these.
2. Open the SVG le itself in Inkscape to view the template to make sure it ts
your needs.
3. From the main menu, select File and then Save As. Choose a save locaon in your
computer operang system's Inkscape template directory:
For Windows, that directory is the C:\Program Files\Inkscape\
share\templates folder
For Mac OS, the directory is /Applications/Inkscape/Contents/
Resources/Templates/
For Linux, the directory is typically /usr/local/share/inkscape/
templates or /home/user/.config/inkscape/templates
4. Click Save.
5. If you restart Inkscape and go to the main menu and select File and then New,
the new custom template should be in the submenu.
Extensions in Inkscape
[ 212 ]
What just happened?
With a few simple steps, you downloaded new templates for Inkscape, uncompressed those
les, and saved them to your hard drive. Then, aer restarng Inkscape, the new templates
were installed and available for use.
Creating your own custom templates
If you need to create your own template, or modify one of these exisng opons, there
are a few ways you can then save it for use in future projects. Let's see how to start a
custom template.
Time for action – modifying an existing Inkscape template
To modify an exisng template:
1. Open the template that most resembles the new one you would like to create.
2. Modify the Document Properes (choose File and then Document Properes
or use the Shi + Ctrl/Opon + D keyboard shortcut) or other sengs applicable
to the template you want to create, as shown in the following screenshot:
Chapter 10
[ 213 ]
3. From the main menu, choose File and then Save As, choosing to save the le to your
computer operang system's Inkscape template directory.
4. Once saved, restart Inkscape and go to the main menu. Select File and then
New—and the new custom template should be in the submenu.
What just happened?
We modied an exisng template in Inkscape to use as a base for others. We then saved the
template so we can use it for other projects.
Time for action – creating a custom template
If you want to create a new template from scratch, this is almost as easy:
1. Open a new Inkscape le.
2. From the main menu, choose File and then Document Properes or use the Shi +
Ctrl/Opon + D keyboard shortcut.
3. Adjust all sengs applicable to the template you want to create and save the le to
your computer operang system's Inkscape template directory.
4. Once saved, restart Inkscape and go to the main menu. Select File and then
New—and the new custom template should be in the submenu.
What just happened?
A template le of any kind (used from default, created for your use only, or modied
templates) contains the document sengs and normally does not contain SVG objects.
When saved in the template folder, you can select the template from the drop-down menu
for new documents.
In the previous steps, we created a custom template for Inkscape.
What are extensions?
Let's rst understand what extensions are in Inkscape. Extensions add new capabilies
to soware programs—thus customizing what you want them to do for you.
When you use scripts with Inkscape, you essenally add new features to the exisng
soware. A script takes control of the Inkscape soware to perform a certain feature.
Scripts themselves dier from extensions in that they are usually wrien in a dierent
programming language from the main program (Inkscape in this case) and can be modied
at any me—mostly by Inkscape developers.
Extensions in Inkscape
[ 214 ]
Extensions "extend" Inkscape's features or funconality .If you used an extension outside
of inkscape, it wouldn't work correctly. An example of an extension for Inkscape is one that
allows imporng and exporng of non-SVG le types into the program. Most extensions
require external programs, usually wrien in Perl or Python.
You can nd common extensions here: http://wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/
ExtensionsRepository#Extensions. Although they are not all-inclusive lists of what is
available, they give you a healthy start in your search for customizing Inkscape.
Inkscape also comes with some pre-installed extensions. You nd these in the main menu.
Click Extensions and the submenu appears as follows:
Examples of extension tutorials
There are many valuable extensions in Inkscape such as interpolate, scaer, and render.
Here's a quick look at some tutorials online that can help you understand some of
these extensions:
Inkscape tutorial: Interpolate
http://inkscape.org/doc/interpolate/tutorial-interpolate.
en.html
Inkscape 'Paern along Path and 'Scaer' scripts:
http://math.univ-lille1.fr/~barraud/Inkscape/pathdeform/
Chapter 10
[ 215 ]
Inkscape: Generate from path
http://tavmjong.free.fr/INKSCAPE/MANUAL/html/Extensions-
GenerateFromPath.html
Inkscape tutorial: Fancy Borders
http://verysimpledesigns.com/vectors/inkscape-tutorial-fancy-
borders.html
Installation extensions
The procedures for installing plugins vary because there are some dependencies on your
computer's operang system and on what soware you already have installed on your
computer. The best rule of thumb is to read the plugin installaon instrucons.
Script installaon is a bit easier—it requires the script code le itself and an INX le. It is as
simple as copying both les and placing them into the extension folder directly. In Windows,
this directory is C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\extensions. In the Mac OS and
Linux, this is typically in the home/.inkscape/extensions directory.
You should always be sure to read script installaon instrucons because they oen have
dependencies. For example, they may require addional programs to be installed before
they can work. If you don't know these dependencies up front, you can try an install and
then read the error message aer you run the script from a command-line interface.
Pop quiz – what are extensions?
True or false: Extensions add new capabilies to Inkscape and thus extend its features or
funconality and on their own, outside of their use in Inkscape, wouldn't work correctly.
Summary
We dug right in at the start of this chapter and reviewed how to access the pre-installed
templates in Inkscape. Then we took a look at how to install new te