Creative Inkscape effects in practice

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Blazing Words

If you add a Filter Effect to the text (in the example, Bevels | Neon ), the text is modified further (Figure 3, bottom diagram). You can then add a fiery bitmap background (Figure 5) in the next step.

Figure 5: A transparency mask applies the fiery background to the text.

Here is where Inkscape's powerful masking function comes into play (Object | Mask | Set ). Whereas an edited path simply trims the background image, a mask brings the background image forward within the contours of the superimposed object bases the opacity on the lightness or darkness of the mask.

Dark parts of the mask yield a total transparency, while white parts remain opaque. Thus, you see the textured effect that the Dark glass filter adds to the Ubuntu User text in Figure 5. To do this, first import a fiery red bitmap into the Inkscape document. This image serves as the text background. Place the text over the background, select both, and use Object | Mask | Set . To have the text clearly visible (because the mask renders it semitransparent), you can also back it up with an effectless wine-red copy of the text.

Non-Identical Clone

The last example is based on the Inkscape tool Edit | Clone | Create Tiled Clones . By default, this tool generates a palette of simple evenly spaced objects (Figure 6, top).

Figure 6: The tiled clone tool creates multiple objects and varies many clone properties.

However, you can vary many Inkscape parameters as desired, such as shift, color, scale, rotation, blur, and sharpness progressively in x and y directions (Figure 6, second diagram). The changes can be linear or exponential and even random (Figure 6, third diagram).

You can use the clone function to rotate and mirror the objects with every cloning step (Figure 6, bottom). As Wikipedia clearly explains [5], the tool offers 17 possible ways to create repeating patterns through transformation, rotation, and mirroring. Inkscape uses all these symmetry methods, and they can accessed from the Symmetry tab in the toolbox dialog.

Cloning even works for backgrounds. Figure 7 shows a grid effect based on the brightness of a stored bitmap. Horizontal and vertical color and saturation changes in the small squares add a little color to the black-and-white photo.

Figure 7: Because the tiled clone tool responds to the brightness curve of the bitmap, you can create many visually interesting grid effects.

The random generator rotates the objects at a maximum 10 percent and varies their intervals up to 20 percent so that the distribution is less uniform and looks more handmade. The opacity and size of the squares are determined by the brightness in the photo.

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