Episode 093

Episode 093 – Circular Arrows

by Richard Querin

In this tutorial I demonstrate one way of creating a set of circular arrows using Inkscape 0.46. This method is applicable to all sorts of paths (not just circles).

Viewer Stefan Timm emailed in a question a couple of weeks back inquiring how to accomplish this. And while not all emailed questions get answered with a screencast episode, this one ended up being quick, useful and likely valuable for illustrating the more general concept of placing objects on a path in Inkscape.

Seeing as how heathenx has figured our way out of the video format mess for the moment (see this), note that Firefox 3.5 users should get a nice streaming ogg file, while others will see a streaming flash version. Of course everybody can download the ogg and view offline. But by all means, if you have problems, let us know in the comments to this post, we want to make sure our viewers are happy (or at least not too miffed!) 😉

ps. The sound on this one should be significantly better than my last episode (091). I went back to my older Logitech headset which got rid of most of the hum and leaned a little less on noise reduction in Audacity. It’s far from perfect but definitely better I think.

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21 Responses to “Episode 093”

  1. Richard Querin (rfquerin) 's status on Sunday, 12-Jul-09 14:00:10 UTC - Identi.ca Says:

    […] http://screencasters.heathenx.org/episode-093/ […]

  2. Tony Says:

    Again a very nice one.
    May be usefull for little maps to describe a way between to places. (e.g. with gnome-feet)

    Thanks from Germany


  3. Huss Says:

    Great episode as usual.. I learned alot from you.. Thanks

  4. Morgan Says:

    Thanks again for this new tutorial! 🙂

  5. Don W. Says:

    Very useful, as expected.

  6. ted Says:

    .ogv works great too with VLC. Thanks.

  7. JimR Says:

    Great ‘cast, thanks for that!

    This is a good trick and the little perspective stunt you pulled at the end is great, it made me smile (again) because it made it look so cool!

    Sound is, well, different now. The hum is gone but the sound is more harsh and treblish, harder on the ear (don’t listen to me, I’m a musician with a home studio…)


  8. Richard Querin Says:

    @JimR – Thanks for the feedback. When in doubt, perspectiv-ize it. 🙂 As far as the sound goes, I’m still puzzled as to why my old headset (both are Logitechs) doesn’t have the hum, but that was my main concern. I only did a light noise reduction in Audacity, but my knowledge in that area is very limited. I’ve got to learn more.

    I’m still very puzzled why Heathenx’s sound is significantly better, maybe it’s just down to the headset he’s using.. I mean he’s still a goof, so I put he onus of sound quality down to his equipment, not him. 😉

    ps. If anyone out there is more capable at sound editing, I have no problem making the original audio track of the main screencast available for someone to have a crack at and show me what’s possible as far as improving it with post-processing. I’d be interested in getting some good processing advice.

  9. JimR Says:

    I would like to give it a try, just send me the file


  10. Richard Querin Says:

    Okay JimR. Email me at rfquerin AT gmail DOT com and I’ll send you the audio file tonight when I get home. Thanks dude!

  11. manuee Says:

    Another great screencast by the masters!

    I love the way you always look for the fastest way to get the desired result, very good practice!

    video format working awesome here btw =)

  12. Jon Gustavson Says:


    I think the videos are great, but I think the format choce should have been Sliverlight (yes, I know it is from Microsoft, but it actually is good).




  13. Sebastian Says:

    How could objects be spread evenly along a circle (e.g. stars for the European flag)?

  14. rfquerin Says:

    @Jon – what is it about Silverlight that would make it better than a free format like OggTheora?

    @Sebastian – you could tweak the spacing with the live preview option checked and get nice even spacing of objects on the circular path. Would it be much different than what I showed? You would just generate a series of stars along the path and then delete the path.

  15. Aldi Says:

    Great tutorial!

    But I was just wondering… why don’t you just create an arrow and align it to the path??

  16. rfquerin Says:

    @Aldi – Doing it this way gives the tail of the arrow a curve. If you just create an arrow and align it, you would have to manually modify the body of the arrow to make it match the curve of the path. This is why I used the path as the body of the arrow (by chopping it up), so that the shape of each arrow matches the path all the way along.

    All that said though, if you have an easier/quicker method of creating these and achieving the same effect, by all means let us know. I always try to say “here’s ONE method” instead of “here’s THE method” because more often than not, someone (many times it’s Heathenx) shows me a quicker/better way to accomplish what I’m doing. 🙂

  17. Aldi Says:

    I did an experiment using an arrow as the original path to be aligned. The more nodes on the tail the better it curves.

    Well, this is just “ONE other method”, I guess.

    Just thought I should share.

    ( Image link here : http://www.zumodrive.com/share/pqaZTMyNW )

  18. rfquerin Says:

    See there you go! I never thought of adding additional nodes to the tail of the arrow object. Nicely done! Thanks for the input and the link. 🙂

  19. Don W. Says:

    @Aldi– Great additional tip, works simply, simply 😉

  20. Newby Says:

    Hi, the video is great and it looks very easy. As I am new to Inkscape and I need a circle of arrows in which I can write a text, I thought this might be a good way to do it. Unfortunately I create the circle, create an arrow and change both to a path. Then I bring the arrow to the front, go to effects and click on “pattern along path” and follow the rest of your instructions.

    The problem is that the arrow is duplicated many times and the alignment is top, left, right, bottom and not along the path…. I watched the video multiple times and I think that my English is not that bad at all… I do not know what else I shall do. Perhaps you can give me some help.

    Thanks in advance. Best regards. Newby

  21. Kevin Says:

    In Inkscape 0.47 the menus have changed a little and I think this effect needs to be done with the path effect editor now under the path menu. I don’t think I can explain it clearly so could someone post the method for those starting off in Inkscape 0.47?