Episode 087

Episode 087 – Paint Splatter on Textured Background

by Richard Querin

In this tutorial I show a quick way of creating a fairly realistic looking paint splatter on a textured background. This technique is useful not only for paint splatters but wherever you want to place a text, logo or other graphic on top of a textured background like fabric, concrete, wood etc. and have it look somewhat realistic.

Note that this is a blatant rip-off of Heathenx’s episode 059. But if you the viewer have no problem with that, then neither do I. Whether Heathenx really get’s upset or not is another matter. But is that of utmost importance to me? Not so much. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Note also that in the midst of doing this screencast, I also show a little technique tip for the Gimp related to converting images from colour to Black and White. This tip is likely even more useful for those trying to achieve nice conversions of colour photos to black and white. It gives you much more control than just doing a single click greyscale conversion.

Apologies for any background hum you might hear. I did this one on the new laptop and there is something to do with my Logitech USB headset and the laptop which is causing the humming to kind of go in and out at times. I hope it’s not too annoying.

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26 Responses to “Episode 087”

  1. screencasters.heathenx.org/blog » Blog Archive » Episode 087 - Paint Splatter on a Textured Background Says:

    […] Episode 087 is now up. It’s been a while since I’ve done a screencast. This one is the first I’ve done on the new laptop. There are a few glitches, but all in all it came out okay. […]

  2. heathenx Says:

    Excellent work, Mr. Querin. You showed some techniques that I didn’t show. Nevertheless, please hand deliver my royalty checks for this episode…unless you tell me to p@#$-off…then I’ll forget the whole thing. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. cb2k Says:

    Thanks again guys first class.

  4. Richard Querin Says:

    @heathenx – p@#$-off! ๐Ÿ˜›

    @cb2k – the cheque is in the mail. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Johny Says:

    Thanks for yet another great tutorial!
    Allways a pleasure to watch your tuts.

    I like the dark theme you have, what Linix dist do you use to get it?
    What screenrecording app do you use?
    I currently don’t use Linux, i mostly use OS X and try avoiding Windows as much as possible, but i thought i’d give Linux another try via VirtualBox in OS X.

    Best regards ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Richard Querin Says:


    This was done on my new laptop on which I installed Crunchbang Linux (crunchbanglinux.org). The dark theme is the default one in Crunchbang. It’s a good distro which is kinda-sorta a lightweight distro, but it’s based on Ubuntu (so it’s relatively stable) and comes with all the good stuff pre-installed (codecs, Inkscape, Gimp, Firefox, etc..). I recommend it. I actually run it in a virtual machine on my XP box at work. It runs quite nicely in a VM.

    Note that it uses the Openbox window manager instead of Gnome or KDE, so you have to right-click to get to your app menus etc.

    Both heathenx and I use RecordMyDesktop on Linux to record our screencasts. This produces an ogg or ogv file. We then use some tweaked mencoder scripts to turn those into avi files and flash files.

    We’ve really got to do a good screencast on ‘how we screencast’. We’re getting asked that more and more these days.

  7. Johny Says:


    Thank you for the fast and informative answer!
    A screencast howto in Linux will probably be highly apreciated.

    I just installed Ubuntu in VB and just get a tiny 800×600 window on my Dell 30″
    How do you reconfigure the monitor resolution? i only see 800×600 and 640×480 in the monitor config panel.
    I know this was the reason i never continued with testing Linux the last time… never found out how to set the right monitor res ๐Ÿ™

    I will download and test the Crunchbang aswell just for fun.


  8. Richard Querin Says:


    I had the same resolution problems running crunchbang in VirtualBox to start with. I’ll check the details at work tomorrow, but I do know you have to install the “extras” or Virtual Box “additions” or something to get those extra resolutions I think (plus a slight modification to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. Like I said, I’ll check into it sometime tomorrow and let you know.

  9. Johny Says:


    Thank you for helping!

    I now installed Crunchbanglinux on my office iMac 24 in VB and after some googeling i found out how to get the right res ๐Ÿ™‚
    I had to install the GuestAdditions, after that the screen runs perfect in full screen.
    I added the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso as CD/DVD.ROM and in Linux from terminal did:
    sudo /media/cdrom/VBoxLinuxAdditions-x86.run

    Next mission… upgrade Inkscape to latest build, how do you do that in Linux?

    Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Richard Querin Says:


    Glad to hear you got it going. That sounds exactly what I had to do to get it going in VBox, but I think I also edited the xorg.conf file to give me a specific resolution I think…

    Anyway, with regards to getting the absolutely latest version of Inkscape (if you’re not satisfied with 0.46 from the repositories which is what I use), you might want to check out heathenx’s post on our blog from a while back and give him a shout via our the contact page on our website. His post about compiling Inkscape (and he’s got one or two others I believe on how to make a .deb package for it) can be found at: http://screencasters.heathenx.org/blog/2008/07/02/compiling-inkscape-update/

  11. heathenx Says:


    To compile Inkscape on Ubuntu (CrunchBang) follows these steps:

    1. sudo apt-get build-dep inkscape
    2. install “libgsl*-dev” package.
    3. download a recent SVN release from: http://inkscape.modevia.com/svn-snap/?M=D
    4. unpack and open a terminal from that directory
    5. ./autogen.sh
    6. mkdir build
    7. cd build
    8. ../configure –prefix=`pwd`/../install
    9. make install (< - this will take a while...watch a screencast while you wait) 10. run inkscape from /install/bin/inkscape
    11. Thump your chest and yell, “I just compiled Inkscape!”

    The above method is a method that I got from Ted Gould on the Inkscape mailing list. It allows one to have the stable release (0.46) installed system wide and a devel version that can be run from a certain directory without interfering with the stable release. In other words you have run both versions. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Johny Says:


    Wonderful… i will try it later at home thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    I just got shared folders working OS X Crunchbang

    I wish it was that easy (well.. it seems easy) compiling for OS X aswell ๐Ÿ™
    Not many builds have been made for OS X since 0.46

    Again.. thanks for all help guys ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. heathenx Says:

    testing captcha…

  14. instantlx Says:

    Your tutorial helps me a lot ,thank you so much. I am Chinese, and I am using inkscape both on windows XP and ubuntu.

  15. Pam Water Says:

    What advantage to doing the mask verses just making the ink bolt transparent?

  16. Richard Querin Says:


    When you use a mask it will give different parts of the ink blot different levels of transparency. This usually gives a more realistic look than just decreasing the whole object’s transparency uniformly. Of course the results will vary depending on the object, mask and background.

  17. Ignacio Says:

    I Love U (K)

  18. Aqua Says:

    Nice tutorial you got there. But I am just wondering if you guys knew any sort of way get rid of the background at an image that has a black or any other color as background.

  19. heathenx Says:

    Do you mean like I did in episode 033?


  20. Aqua Says:

    Not really, but that would be one way. I meant to do the same thing like Querin did in this episode but remove a background like is only black or any other color instead of white so you don’t have to draw a line all around it like you did in episode 033.

  21. heathenx Says:

    It might be easier/quicker to do that in Gimp before using the image in Inkscape.

  22. Richard Querin Says:

    @aqua – it was easy in this screencast to do a trace bitmap because the image was basically one colour with a nice uniform background of another. It’s much more difficult to get good results if you’re working with something like a person on a complicated landscape background.
    What I’ve tried in the past is to use the ‘multiple scans’ option in trace bitmap and set it to ‘colors’ and then choose something like 12 scans. Then I ungroup the resulting object into all these layers and try deleting the ones I don’t want until I’m left with something decent. Then I union what’s left into one path. Again, this doesn’t always yield very good results.
    I was thinking about doing a tutorial on this very thing to create silhouettes. Give it a try. But heathenx is correct in saying that something like the Gimp is much better at doing this sort of thing.

  23. Paint Splatter « Serenblip's Blog Says:

    […] Posted in Uncategorized Episode 087 โ€“ Paint Splatter on Textured Background by Richard Querin screencasters.heathenx.org ยป Blog Archive ยป Episode 087. […]

  24. sankar Says:

    Nice tutorial. How did you get that Tiza font. My font options seem to be different from yours

  25. Mandi Says:

    Hello guys
    Sorry to bother you but I just discovered these tutorials and I love how they always come out.
    The only problem is for this tutorial is about 5 minutes in when you try to put in the text, it doesn’t work for me.
    I get the text, Object to path then select the splatter then text with the shift key and chose Difference but nothing happens for me. Is there anything I’m doing wrong? The text is completely within the black paint spot and doesn’t stick out or touch any white

  26. Mandi Says:

    My bad It seems the newer version of Inkscape requires a different aproach
    I got it now thanks!