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Inkscape: Vector Graphics For Linux - page 2

Raster vs. Vector

  • February 22, 2005
  • By Rob Reilly

If you can use The Gimp, you can use Inkscape.

Just remember that you are now dealing with objects...not pixels. Pushing vector objects around has it's advantages over raster. Here are several examples:

  • You can grab an object and move it around on the screen.
  • You can rotate or stretch objects to your hearts content.
  • You can highlight a group of objects and perform some task on the whole lot.

If Inkscape needs to be installed, Windows users can find a downloadable version at http://www.inkscape.org/win32-snap/. Likewise, Linux users can download binaries from Soureforge at http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=93438. Debian (and Debian based distribution) users can simply use their package management system to find and install the application.

Once I had it installed I could call it up from my KDE main menu (See Figure 1). I could also run it from the command line with:

     $ inkscape

After the program started up, a new document appeared in the window ready for action. My object shape and text choices were on the left side. Flipping and rotating entities were handled by the icons just above the horizonal scale line. I clicked the magnifying glass with the piece of paper in it to expand the document to fill the window. It makes it easier to work with.

Adding a basic shape was easy.

I could choose filled squares, circles, stars and spirals by clicking on the shape and then clicking where the shape should go in the document window. When I clicked on the drawing, I continued to hold the left mouse button down to change the size dynamically. Release the button when it's the size you want.

Lines were created the same way, although there are three different line buttons. It's possible to draw freehand, Bezier curves/straight lines, and calligraphic lines, as well. Unlike raster drawings, you can move or stretch the lines using the handles, once they're positioned on the screen. To make handles appear on an object, click on an object followed by the handles button (right below the arrow button, left side).

Text worked as you would guess, although the default 12 point font, on the standard 8.5 x 11.0 inch document sheet needed to be enlarged. I reset the default font size to 40 points under the Text, Text and Font tabs. That gave a nicely proportioned font without need of arbitrary resizing.

To show how easy it is to get started with Inkscape and vector graphics, I drew my new logo using the package. The process was relatively straightforward.


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