Episode 060

Episode 060 – Live Envelope Effect

by heathenx

In this tutorial I’m going to have a look at a bit of node sculpting to simulate a live envelope effect in Inkscape 0.46.

Check out this YouTube link to see where the inspiration for this screencast came from.

Thank-you Don Waters and Richard Querin for providing insight into this nifty effect. 🙂

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24 Responses to “Episode 060”

  1. screencasters.heathenx.org/blog » Blog Archive » Episode 060 - Live Envelope Effect Says:

    […] Episode 060 is up. I demonstrate how to achieve a dirty live envelope effect by manipulating the nodes of two combined objects. It works pretty well with text and is supposed to be similar to Xara’s Mold Tool, although not as flexible. […]

  2. mwuk Says:

    I just wanted to point out that you can make less steps of manually refining nodes by adding more nodes to the letters before. A good number of nodes is where you can’t really see lines due to the diamonds being over them. Just make sure that you leave the first & last letters as they start (otherwise almost impossible to refine them).

  3. heathenx Says:


    Excellent! I’ll keep that in mind the next time that I use this effect.

    Thank-you. 🙂

  4. Richard Querin Says:

    @mwuk and @heathenx,

    This probably works but I always seem to try and avoid too many nodes since I’m working on a P4.. things tend to slow down. I’m wary of using blur as well for that same reason.

    I guess I should just shut up and buy a faster pc though. 😉

  5. heathenx Says:


    When Inkscape starts to chug then use outline mode. Use the hotkey Ctrl+KP_5 to toggle it on and off. I noticed that the more nodes you add to the rectangle and the text the better the results.

  6. Alpha13 Says:

    Try it on a AMD K7! When I “select all nodes” I can go mow the lawn and take a shower while I’m waiting! 🙂

  7. Cuong Says:

    Thanks, i’ve learned Combine and Break Apart command via this episode.
    My output: http://www.imageox.com/image/266687-resultofep.png

    Is that bad ?
    Ah, Inkscape doesnt accpet me type special characters. I cant type vietnamese characters in this episode.

    By the way: do you know any site or free ebook that teach Inkscape for novice, Heathenx ? I need to learn base knowledge of Inkscape

  8. Richard Querin Says:


    I really suggest using the built-in tutorials to learn the basics. That’s how I learned and it really helped me out.

    If you go to the menus in Inkscape, Help->Tutorials, you’ll find several different options from basic to more advanced topics. The tutorials are svg files that open up in Inkscape. You read along but can interact with them to better illustrate different concepts. I haven’t seen basic tutorials so well done in any other app I’ve used.

    Of course if you have already tried them and don’t like them, I’m sure heathenx might be able to suggest something else.

  9. heathenx Says:


    Well, I would have to suggest what Richard has already written. The best manual out right now is Tav’s “Inkscape: Guide to a Vector Drawing Program”. You can get to it by going to the Help menu and selecting “Inkscape Manual” in v0.46 or by heading over to http://tavmjong.free.fr/INKSCAPE/MANUAL/html/index.php. Tav explains things in detail and it’s a wonderful reference. If you have $15 to burn/donate then I would buy his pdf of the same manual. Award him for his hard work. He deserves it.

    Other than that there isn’t a whole lot of documentation out there. There are many little tutorials and screencasts. I try to keep up on as many as I can.

    There is a new resource that was posted on the Inkscape Forum(http://www.inkscapeforum.com) a few weeks ago. (http://www.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2FView%3Fdocid%3Ddhs3vfzq_499fsbh2gr6&langpair=es|en&hl=en&ie=UTF8) It’s in Spanish and I use Google Translate to convert to English. THat has some pretty good inforation too.

  10. Cuong Says:

    Thanks for the Tav’s book. I already read the built-in tutorials of Inkscape, but i feel it isnt enough

  11. Cetautomatix Says:


    I realy like your screencast. That give some ideas to do similar things but in portuguese. Don’t worry you will be refered, because I believe that work, spectialy when it’s good deserve respect and credit.

    Jus’t one note: Why don’t you use the 3 zoom tools under help menu option and keep going to the zoom tool. Is faster to ajust zoom to one selection, objects or page.
    I’m just telling you this because I think that teaching eficient ways to work is also important.

    Thanks for the screencast.

  12. heathenx Says:


    Great! I am glad that you enjoyed it. Please, record away. If you wish to screencast in your native language then don’t let us stop you. The more the merrier. 🙂

    Why don’t I use some of the zoom tools? Well, force of habit I guess. I get used to drawing a certain way and I usually stick to it. I even learn new ways of doing things when I watch other Inkscape screencasts. When Richard makes screencasts I study them pretty closely so I can try to pick up ways to use tools differently from the way that I’m used to. I’m just a user like you guys remember. Thanks for the tip though. 🙂

  13. kumarasiri Says:

    I love your tutorials, but I encountered a problem here with my computer,
    each time when i play your viceo it stops befor compleat the tutorial.
    why is that and do I supposed to pay any .

  14. heathenx Says:


    Well there’s your problem. You’re supposed to give us ALL of your money first. Just kidding of course. 😛

    Our videos are free to download or watch online. The only money that is involved is if you feel like making a donation.

    I’m not sure why our videos are stopping mid-stream. If you are watching the streaming version (by clicking on the lcd image) then you might need to let the video buffer before playing. Usually you need to stay at least about 10% ahead on the download in order for the video to play continuously.

    If the video is dying on the AVI version then that’s a total mystery to me. Not sure why it would start out playing and then stop. That doesn’t make sense to me. What media player are you using to watch our videos?

  15. reseeding yard alejandra monchy y Says:


  16. Evol Jenius Says:

    Does anyone know why this won’t work on a macbook? When I hold the alt key, before or after selecting the node, all the nodes move and there is no deformation. I’ve tried different keys and key combinations, but nothing works.

  17. heathenx Says:

    Nope. We’re not Mac users. Perhaps hit the mailing lists or the forums and see if someone can help there.

    I’ve read various things regarding the Alt key on the Mac but I’ll be damned if I can remember any of it. Sorry. 🙁

  18. heathenx Says:

    @Evol Jenius
    Does this help you any?

    HOW-TO: Get the ALT key to function properly under Mac OS X

  19. Evol Jenius Says:

    Yes!! Thank you. That seems to have worked quite nicely. A little scary using xterm, though.:^)

  20. coatit Says:

    When I combine the text and rectangle it turns the rectangle solid black. It doesn’t remove the text fill and outline at all. Just a big black rectangle. If I select the node tool it will highlight the text but if I remove the fill on the rectangle I lose it all.
    Am I missing a setting?

    ubuntu karmic
    inkscape .47

  21. heathenx Says:


    Again, things in 0.47 are slightly different now. Just before you combine the text and the rectangle paths, make sure your text in NOT filled first. Add a stroke to the text and un-fill it. Combine it to the rectangle path and it should work from there.

  22. coatit Says:

    Once again, YOU ROCK “X” (heathenx). I will try this and see. And again thank you for the quick and helpful advise.
    – Coatit

  23. coatit Says:

    YUP!! As usual it worked like a charm.


  24. Xbody Says:

    A great idea! Sometimes my effects doesn’t work. So a great alternative….