Archive for May, 2009

Some Insight into “Those” Drums! :)

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Anybody who has checked out the Screencaster’s Flickr Group will see a lot of great stuff posted there by a lot of great people – it’s up to almost 400 images with over 120 members!. Recently there was a really remarkable piece created by Gilles Pinard who has posted several other awe-inspiring works done in Inkscape. I commented to him on Flickr, but he chose (quite rightly) to respond via email since his reply was fairly lengthy.

I thought the reply might actually be very interesting for others to read, so with Gilles’ permission, I’m posting my Flickr comment along with his response right here. Thanks Gilles for such inspiring Inkscape work even if the bar is set so sky-high! 🙂

My Comment:

I can’t help but imagine you worked from a photo as reference for this. I just examined the svg file and the detail is staggering. There are so many objects just for the reflection on the chrome pieces for example. It looks like you used trace bitmap functionality for some of it and free-drawing for other parts. Care to share?

Gilles’ Reply:

Thank you for your kind comments on the Drums illustration. Yes, I do work from photographs to produce pretty much all of my drawings, often compositing elements from different pictures, and making alterations or modifications whenever it suits me. And, no, I do not use the automatic tracing feature of Inkscape. I have tried it a few times in the past, and it simply does not work to my satisfaction. First, because the tracer is unable to interpret the different parts making up an object, I end up having to manually break apart pretty much all of the objects, split their paths at selected nodes, join those endnodes with new segments, and recombine all the objects differently. This process is so cumbersome that it is simpler and faster to do things manually right from the start. Second, since the outlines are traced as “strokes converted to paths”, they are hardly usable when the time to alter their shape comes.

In fact, the method I use to replicate the contours of a photographic element should be no mystery to you, Mr. Querin, since you are the one who kindly taught us that technique in the Screencasters’ episode number sixty-nine. I learned it from you, and I have been using it ever since. Be assured that, every time I use it, a kind thought goes your way. As for the text placed on the metallic plates of the different drums, episode number eighty-eight, showing how to use the new extension to bend a path over a curved surface, arrived in a timely fashion for me and, naturally, kind thoughts were going HeathenX’s way as I was using that new feature. No, really, all the techniques used in my drawings have been learned from you two. And if I ever venture to develop some new technique of my own, I then create a short tutorial to fill the gap, so that other people could replicate the same thing, assuming they have learned what you teach in your video tutorials.

One should not be impressed by the apparent complexity of the shapes making up the miscellaneous reflections on the chromed parts of the drum set. Since those reflections are all distorted in the first place, small variations in their contours is of little consequence. So I simply draw loosely with the mouse and, voilà! I usually use {Ctrl-L} to simplify the shapes and, at times, manually adjust a few critical nodes here and there, but, by and large, the process is uncomplicated.

Episode 089 – All That and A Bowl of Soup

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Episode 089 is now up. This one is kinda fun and just makes some new things with what seems like the five or six tools I have in my Inkscape toolbox. 😉

I’m almost resigned to the fact that Heathenx will be the one who seems to break new ground with more advanced Inkscape features. Hey.. if he can’t get all the fame, girls and glory, I might as well leave him something! 🙂

The Inkscape 0.47 About Screen Contest

Monday, May 4th, 2009

With Inkscape 0.47 hopefully arriving soon, it was only a matter of time before they announced the Inkscape About Screen contest to go along with the new version. If you’re interested in showing off your mad Inkscape skillz, then head on over to ( for the rules and regs. You have to register on DeviantArt to post your entries, but it’s free.

Of course I will try to put in an entry or two, fully expecting to lose out as I have consistently done in the past. 😉

Episode 088 – Wrap Text Around a Globe

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

I got Episode 088 uploaded. It’s a whopper too. This was the first time that I recorded in Ubuntu using 26fps instead of my typical 15fps. The quality of the video was much nicer but at a cost of a larger file size (215MB).  Fortunately, the FLV was smaller so if you would like to download the FLV instead of the AVI then you can grab that from our video repo at Unless I can figure something out I’ll be moving back to 15fps with my future screencasts. I expected the file size to be a bit larger but not nearly twice as big. Of course, this was a pretty long screencast – close to 50 minutes long.

I would like to extend some thanks to Stefan for giving us the idea for this screencast and Richard for a tip on the curved text. 😉 Also, I saved myself a lot of time by using the Bezier Envelope extension written by Gerrit Karius. If you long for a better envelope effect in Inkscape then give this thing a try. It works rather well.