Episode 105

Episode 105 – Chrome Filter

by heathenx

In this episode I will take another stab at illustrating chrome using a pre-defined filter effect found in Inkscape 0.47.

I recommend checking out other chrome effect tutorials for Gimp and Inkscape. MeetTheGimp Episode 065 and Troy Sobotka’s Inkscape tutorial. Of course those two are not the only ones found on the Net but they are rather inspirational.

Incidentally, there is a little video glitch at about the 1:50 mark. It’s only there for a few seconds. 😉

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44 Responses to “Episode 105”

  1. nisse Says:

    hmm error 404

  2. Daniel Veazey Says:

    I got the same thing.

  3. Don W Says:

    @ nisse & Daniel
    Try this.


    Right click on episode 105 then (Save link as)
    Worked for me.

  4. Daniel Veazey Says:

    Thanks, Don!

  5. heathenx Says:

    Sorry everyone. Had a typo in the filename. Fixed now.

  6. cb2k Says:

    Thanks Hx Great tutorial : ]

    Filter Adjustment was exactly what I was looking for…

  7. John LeMasney Says:

    You were thinking of a DYMO label maker, or at least that’s one of the makers. I still have the gun and reels in a drawer somewhere. http://blog.craftygoat.com/images/p4_punching-label.jpg Great tutorial, as usual!

  8. heathenx Says:

    @John LeMasney

    Ah! That’s it Dymo. My sister and pasted labels all over our stuff back then. 🙂

  9. irimi Says:

    Hi, first comment on this blog. I’m sorry for my english, it’s not my mother tongue…

    First, thanks heathenx for this wonderful blog. I’m not a graphic artist (I’m a web developer) but your screencasts helped me a lot, and now I use Inkscape very often, I can draw and render quite whatever I want (I have simple needs). So thank you again to give me such a tool, in a way !

    In this screencast you’re talking about color reflections that can be added in the chromium effect, but you say it’s the background that should be reflected… In my opinion, it should be what’s in front of the chromium object instead, because the polished metal simply reflects what’s in front of it…

    Your example in meet the gimp shows a shiny car with a chromium label. We see a tree on the surface, only because the car body reflects its environment too. So the chromium label catches the color of the objects in front of it, not the objects in the background (as the car body does) !

    For your screencast, if the dark background isn’t a looking glass, the chromuim letters don’t have any reason to reflect black too (even if the main chromium effect has to be black, I agree). If there’s a colored object in front of them, the letters can have a colored shade…

  10. heathenx Says:


    You are correct. 🙂

  11. Label-maker filter « Chrisdesign blog Says:

    […] by chrisdesign on April 9, 2010 Inspired by Heathenx chromium-tutorial (episode 104),  i have created a label-maker filter (4 […]

  12. Chrisdesign Says:

    Hehe…inspired by reading the comments: http://chrisdesign.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/label-maker-filter/

  13. flm Says:

    Hi guys! Thank you very much for screencasts and other stuff!

    I’m subscribed to you blog (http://screencasters.heathenx.org/blog/) via rss. Earlier, there allways been new blog post when new screencast came out, but not recently. So the question is – should i subscribe to episodes separately or you plan to continue blog posts for each new episode?

    p.s.: sorry for my bad english. 🙁

  14. heathenx Says:


    I have stopped double-posting episodes on our blog page so yes, you should subscribe to both the episode and the blog feed as they provide different content. We also have a third feed for microsodes. May want to subscribe to that as well. 🙂

  15. flm Says:


    Ok. Thanks.

  16. foniz Says:

    I completed it. ^_^


  17. Don W Says:

    OK guys, it’s been over a month sense 105 and we’re having WITHDRAW . (:-}

  18. heathenx Says:

    @Don W

    Hang in there. Episode 106 has required a lot of research which sent me in a few directions. Unfortunately, I have discovered a bug in Inkscape in Ubuntu 9.10 that brought things to a crawl. I was hoping I could fix it before recording but I’ll probably have to work around it.

  19. Nick B Says:

    Heathenx, I’m not sure if this is where you take requests, but I’ve been watching your screencasts for a long time. I have been trying to create one of those trendy web backgrounds with the thin diagonal lines that add some texture to a gradient but can’t make it look right. Is this a tutorial idea you’ve considered?

  20. Gabor Says:

    I’ve found your site quite recently and enjoyed it very much.
    I’m personally interested in GUI design (dialogs, buttons, toolbars, edges, etc)
    and could borrow ( steal;) ) quite a few of your trick/idea.
    Hope to see more of those in the future.
    Great tutorial really.
    Thank you.

  21. cb2k Says:

    It’s been a long lonely wait – hope all is ok….

    On a side-note I’ve been playing with the dev version and it’s fantastic.

  22. heathenx Says:


    Sorry for missing my April deadline. A few things got in the way. Episode 106 has been planned for a month and a half now. Just got to find some time to record it.

  23. Richard Querin Says:

    @cb2k – Apologies for my lack of participation lately. Some side projects and a whole heap of extra work during the days are killin’ me right now. Don’t give up hope on me yet though. 😉

  24. Johny Says:

    Heathenx… we’re getting used to get our monthly dose of your great tutorials, it’s been quite addictive and now we’re like junkies without drugs all nervous and shaky.
    I’d like a new one each week…. at least 🙂

    Seriously… you guys make great tuts and inspire me to investigate and try out new things.

  25. junapp Says:

    Another junkie in withdrawal here. In the meantime, I’ve become fascinated with Gimp tutorials over at gimpusers.com, and trying to duplicate a Glow effect in Inkscape (http://www.gimpusers.com/tutorials/glow-fx-extreme-en.html) without success. Any pointers from anybody?

  26. Johny Says:


    I think we can manage to do this in Inkscape pretty good.
    Look at this picture, a quick test i made in Inkscape to look like the example found in your Gimp link.

    Make the thin lines, then make a wider version of it, i think the key is to not have them exactly the same so they appear a bit irregular.
    Make the bigger one blurred and placed behind the thin line.
    Maybe make a circular gradient on the thin lines from very bright version of a color (from center) and down to the main color (maybe with some opacity towards the outer ends)
    Even add some white shapes in the middle where you want it to really shine, add more lines in different colors, play around with where they should be and in which order they should appear.

    I think if you spend some time with it you can get it to look very nice. 🙂

  27. heathenx Says:


    I think Johny has you on the right track. There is also a neon filter in the bevel group. Perhaps that might help.

  28. Johny Says:

    By the way… does anyone know why thin lines get jagged like this when exporting as PNG?

    It doesn’t get jagged when saving as PDF with “Rasterize Filter Effects set to 300 DPI”
    So it seems to be Export/PNG related only.

    Any clues?

  29. Richard Querin Says:

    @Johny – I’m not sure. Do you get the same thing if you export a larger png file (up the resolution) and then resize afterwards with something else?

  30. heathenx Says:


    Some things to try:

    1. Export Bitmap at 90dpi and Save Copy as Cairo PNG. Compare results. Any Change?

    2. Convert your shape to a path or stroke to a path (whatever you have there). Add more nodes and use the Pixel Snap extension (http://code.google.com/p/pixelsnap/). Export back out as 300dpi PNG. Better?

    3. If none of the above works then throw in the towel, shut your computer off and go outside and play. 😛

  31. Johny Says:

    Exported as PNG at 90 DPI the lines are quite jagged, at 300 DPI it’s less but still visible.
    Saved as Cairo PNG the lines are still jagged.
    Saved as PDF (Rasterized filter effects 300 DPI) lines are still visible jagged

    Feel free to test my SVG and see if you get better results.


  32. nisse Says:

    Something is wrong with export bitmap in the windows version at least in Vista or is it Vista 🙂
    I saw a note that the svg file wasn’t exported right and the remedy was to use Imagemagick
    i.e use Imagemagick on the svg file and save as png. Haven’t had the possibility to try it out
    since I haven’t found any precompiled Imagemagick for Windows and I got tired reading how to.

  33. Johny Says:

    @nisse (=från Sverige?)
    Strange, export bitmap works fine on a Win7, haven’t tried in XP yet though… could it really be Vista?
    I’m usually in OS X 🙂
    I think Inkscape is the only program that can export things made in Inkscape with blur and effects.
    Have you tried saving as PDF (check “Rasterize Filter Effects set to 300 DPI”) and the blur effect should look great even in the PDF.

  34. nisse Says:

    @johny (japp från sverige)
    No I haven’t tried saving as PDF, then I need razer sharp edges I import it in CS4 Illustrator even though CS4 doesn’t import svg files very well. Mostly I need illustrations for Indesign at work and I use Inkscape at home so PDF in PDF maybe works great but isn’t something I have tried. For some reason I don’t get along with Illustrator but I know how to do my crappy illustrations in Inkscape thanx Screencasters 🙂 I tested your svg file and got the best result with PDF unchecked Rasterize Filter Effects and 100 DPI with other settings it would look great at 300% zoom. For png the best result was export at 300 dpi but wasn’t able to resize without jagged lines. Maybe it looks different on others computers. I’m not sure that Adobe Reader renders everything right, at least on my computer.

  35. junapp Says:

    @Johny – thanks, looks good. Probably a no brainer, but I’m having difficulty getting my lines to taper to a point at their ends. I was drawing with bezier curve tool. Perhaps I’ll go back through some basic tuts before officially asking the best way to do that.

  36. Gustavo Reis Says:

    Hello Richard and heathenx

    Good evning!

    I’m design and typography student. I’ve already finishied studying the Inkscape course, but I began to learn with your videos for advancing the Inkscape and dominating design’s area and experience and I’ll study Gimp too. I would like to thank you a lot for teaching me this fantastic and fabulous video. Congratulations for your work, your etachings and your tips!

    I continue to learn each one video by day.

    See you!
    Have nice weekend!

    Gustavo Reis

  37. Carol Says:

    When I take a “rounded font” and apply the stock “chrome filter” is looks *NOTHING* like yours.

    Looks like I have some “how much chrome value” set 100x too high.

    Any idea why?

  38. heathenx Says:


    That could be. I just tried Arial Rounded (of all things) in 0.48 with the stock chrome filter and it looked pretty good. What font are you using?, what size is it?, what version of Inkscape?

  39. Carol Says:

    Inkscape v0.47 on a Windows XP box.
    Not sure why everyone recommends a “rounded” font… so I’m using JuneGill.
    31 point size.

    No blurring… or anything else turned on. Just a blank screen… and 1 word… black… in JuneGill font.

    Do you know how text looks if you turn BLUR up *WAY* too much… and it becomes unusable?
    My “chrome text” looks like “chrome” was turned up *WAY* too much.

  40. heathenx Says:


    Ah! I think I have duplicated what you have. A big blurry mess.

    The problem is that the font is too small (36pt) for the filter. So in that case, you would have to adjust the filter. Perhaps try this:

    1. Apply chrome filter as is
    2. Go to Filter>Filters Editor and select the chrome filter to adjust the settings.
    3. Change blur to 1.3
    4. Displacement map to 20.0
    5. Fist composte: 4.93, 0.00, -0.50, -0.30

    That will clean it up. Modify the settings further if needed.

  41. Pappy Says:

    Hey guys, Just thought I’d say thanks for all the videos. They have been a great help in learning how to use InkScape. I just started using it, I also posted a link to heathenx on my forum.

  42. Locação de ônibus em Foz Says:

    Very cool this post! Thank for help me!

  43. Justin Says:

    Great tutorial – thanks for taking the time to put it up.

  44. Van Says:

    Very good! Thanks