Episode 058

Episode 058 – Filter Effects

by heathenx

In this screencast I take an initial look at the new filter effects in the recently released Inkscape 0.46. I demonstrate three effects: Drop shadows, Embossing, and Turbulence. There are many things that you can achieve with filters so play around with them and see what you come up with.

Please reference these two web sites for further reader on the effects that I used.

Tavmjong Bah’s Guide to Inkscape – Draft Filters Chapter for Inkscape 0.46


chrisdesign blog – Creating Real Fire Tutorial

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32 Responses to “Episode 058”

  1. screencasters.heathenx.org/blog » Blog Archive » Episode 058 - Filter Effects Says:

    […] Episode 058 is now posted. In it I demonstrate how to use a few filters in the newest Inkscape 0.46. […]

  2. chrisdesign Says:

    Yeah ! I like it. Thanks for your screencasts !

  3. joeda Says:

    pretty awesome…

    this filter stuff will help inkscape becoming swiss army knife in graphics design.

    love to see more of that!

    greetz joe

  4. HeavensRevenge Says:

    This Filter-Fu is pretty enjoyable to see in action, the filter feature didn’t seem like it was of any real importance or use to me until I seen it in action here. IT ROCKS, so definitely some showcasing of filter creating and effects would be nice for another few episodes, but it would be really awesome to see the filters used in a real-use scenario for integration into existing/future works. 0.46 is a really awesome improvement and the works created it will have that much more to them.

    Thanks and can’t wait for the next episode of the most useful vidcast ever!

  5. Serge Gielkens Says:

    That was a very interesting show and the most complicated one. You tackled probably the most difficult new feature of 0.46. I think it would be worthwhile to explain why a certain filter is created the way it is. For me at least, I can understand and remember things more easily if I see the connection between what I want to achieve creatively and how to do that technically. Now it is something out of the blue.
    When I looked the second time I could understand the embossing filter but the fire is still a mystery to me. I checked Tavmjong Bah’s site (thanks for that link by the way; it is very instructive) and I can understand what is going on mathematically with the colour matrix. But to be honest, if I am after a certain effect, I will have great difficulties to translate that into values of the matrix. But then, the Matrix is supposed to be a mystery, is not it?

    Thanks for the show, I really appreciate your efforts in explaining the new features of 0.46 and I am looking forward for new material to come!

  6. heathenx Says:


    I totally agree with you. Except for the drop shadow they do make you feel like you easily run out and write something up in Python or C++. Ok, maybe that’s stretching it a bit but you get the picture. The process seems very “mechanical”.

    From a users point of view, I would rather have a bunch of predefined filters all ready to go. Then if we wish too, we could tweak them to get something different. Perhaps the developers could start us off. Give us several like drop shadows, embosses, and chrome, to name some. Then give us instructions for saving others in a filter directory so that they too would be readily available for new projects. I could see filters passed around in the community like mp3’s or doobies at a frat party. 🙂

  7. Alpha13 Says:

    ….or perhaps import filters from an “open clip art/filter gallery”. I take more of a “pen on paper” or “shape on screen” aproach. I would rather tweak a shape than try to “imagine” what woulf happen if I moved a bunch of “menu sliders”

    Good show though, Heathenx.


  8. Serge Gielkens Says:

    Good point about predefined filters. It’s something very common in fact now that I think about it. Passing around should not be difficult: just publish a SVG file with a primitive (or primitives if the filter demands it) to which the filter is applied.
    And I would not be surprised if filter repositories will get setup just as is the case for other applications. Time will tell.

  9. Mark W Says:

    I was wondering if anyone knew if it was possible to save filters so that they’re available across all document?


    P.S. Your shows have taught me most of what i know about inkscape, thanks!

  10. heathenx Says:

    @Mark W

    Not that I know of. When I create a filter I just save it out as “filter_filterdescription.svg” to a filters directory that I created. Then all I have to do is drag and drop that svg into Inkscape and the filter is ready for use. That method works very well so far.

  11. Richard Querin Says:

    As always I learned something new about Inkscape watching your screencast. Although I think (er.. know) I’ll have to do some of that recommended reading to come to grips with Filters. The concept is simple, but when you joined up the effects with the different objects using those dragged arrows I felt like I was back in Calculus class.. nothing made sense to me.

    That said, for the general user, I think building a public user repository of effect filters would be great. No sense reinventing the wheel each time. And while something specialized like the fire effect wouldn’t likely be of use to me, things like the embossed highlighting and modifiable drop shadows that are cloned to objects would be completely useful to lots of people like me.

    Maybe you could make reflected web 2.0 style text out of filters.. thus making the bulk of my inkscape work obsolete!! 🙂

  12. Alpha13 Says:

    That emboss filter looks real good on text. I uploaded the drop shadow filter to openclipart.org (fe-drop_shadow.svg) I will upload the emboss also. I had to tweak the emboss a little. It seems to apply diferently depending on the size of the object….or it could be my imagination., dunno.


    UPDATE: They are both uploaded there now. fe-emboss.svg and fe-drop_shadow.svg

  13. Serge Gielkens Says:

    @Alpha13. Good initiative. I forgot about Openclipart but indeed, that seems the logical repository for Inkscape filters.

    The download was a bit peculiar. When you right click and use “Save Link As”, Firefox adds default the extension html to the number of the file (e.g. 16358). You have to change that extension into svg manually. If you use “Copy Link Location” and then use Wget, it works better because it follows the redirect of that number and then saves the file with the proper name (dhartman_fe-drop_shadow.svg). Weird.

  14. Alpha13 Says:

    That is weird. I think The way the site is set up you are supposed to rip the images from your browser. I guess its not really set up for filter effects. By the way firefox will not render the effects properly, but they are there. I was hoping when I uploaded them that they would show up in the built in Imkscape “import from open clip art” menu item. Perhaps eventually they will show up when they update their database.


  15. Alpha13 Says:


    I have made a little discovery while reading fedev.blogspot.com. If you look in /usr/share/inkscape/examples, there are some example images WITH preconfigured filters. 🙂 K00l !


  16. Serge Gielkens Says:

    @Alpha13. Good tip. Even a whole bunch with turbulence effects. Thanks.

  17. heathenx Says:

    Thanks for posting your effects Alpha13.

    I was noodling with the emboss style effect. Chocolate anyone?

  18. Richard Querin Says:

    Wow heathenx – that’s sweet.. and .. umm … sweet.

    Now do something useful and make one with nougat. 😉

  19. Alpha13 Says:

    UPDATE: If you have set up an account @ openclipart.org you can import fe-emboss.svg and fe-drop shadow.svg . Just search the database for inkscape_filter_effect, and they both show up.


  20. heathenx Says:


  21. Rikaix Says:

    thanks to you heatenx for all these cool screencasts, tips , tricks and discoveries, filter effects was really what i am waiting with Inkscape.

    PS : Good surprise in the share/example svn repository (inkscape_filters.svg)(drop shadow, snow, leopard fur, jelly bean, metallic, jigsaw piece, cutout, frost, fire , ink bleed etc, etc …. 24 great effects, and … wow ! must be mathematician to understand how to reproduce and understand all these effects) just one thing to say : wow … (ouch for my head ;o) )

  22. heathenx Says:

    Ah. I have been to the svn repo but I’m not sure which dir that you are talking about. I see inkscape_filters.svg. Are all of those effects rolled up into that one svg file?

    If there are indeed 24 effects in that file then I would hope that someone would post that to openclipart.org so that the community could easily get to it.

  23. Rikaix Says:

    😉 click download and, with firefox –> save as –> put some ” between and .svg(sorry for my bad english don’t know how to translate ” ), anyway, write : “inkscape_filters.svg” (don’t forget the “) and you got the magic file … I hope it was clear, if someone understand that, translate in good english …

  24. Jaws Says:

    HeathenX said:
    “Are all of those effects rolled up into that one svg file?”

    Indeed they are rolled into one .svg file. Got ’em.

    Thanks Rikaix

  25. heathenx Says:

    Got it! Thanks for the link.

  26. jaims Says:

    Hi HeathenX

    I’ve been following several of the screencasts, all I can say is that I really like them.
    I’d also like to thank you for making them, Inkscape is such a nice tool and your screencasts are a nice way to get into stuff.

    I’d also like to say that I’ve found your site from meetthegimp.org, and I think that you and Rolf make a fantastic tamdem, I think you are great.

    Keep the good work 🙂

  27. heathenx Says:

    Thank-you jaims. I cannot take all the credit though. Without Richard none of this would exist.

  28. jaims Says:

    Well, then I’ll have to thank you both. Is Richard who made the screencasts with images and effects like scrapbooking and stuff? I really enjoyed them.
    There’s a girl friend of my wife that has twins aged 2 or 3, and prepared a couple of pictures of their daughters with this wonderful scrapbooking effect. She really like them!

    All the credit yo you guys 🙂


  29. javalive Says:

    Very interesting screenCast, but it impossible to watch it properly, because the link is failed.

    Thanks again

  30. bimbo Says:

    wonderful tutorial!

    Is there a way to save this filter and import it to another project? Saving filters and allowing others to copy / import in their project will make a strong feature into inkscape.

    more power.

  31. heathenx Says:

    Yup. Set up your filter then save your document out as an SVG. Start a new session of Inkscape and drag-n-drop that SVG onto your canvas. Voila! Filter will be there. You can set up a master filters file this way if you choose to do so. I like to save my filter SVG’s separately in a filters directory and name them appropriately. Once you take the time to set up a filter properly, you don’t want to have to do it again. 😉

  32. Xbody Says:

    Some problems to create the second effect with the circle . But I try it out again.
    Nice tutorial….