"". Cut Two Pieces: 07/06/09 - 14/06/09

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Inkscape -Thickening a Line

Thickening a line.
Do you find when you draw a spiral or open shape with the bezier tool that the shape closes and fills when trying to make the line thicker, like the example below? If you wish to have the line remain the same, Path>Stroke to Path, keeps the path open and does not fill with colour.
Download full article in pdf format here.

- Draw spiral or any open shape with the bezier tool.
- ensure object is selected.
- Path>Stroke to Path.
- Path>Outset. Repeat offset until it reaches the desired thickness.

Selecting multiple objects in Inkscape

Selecting multiple objects.
I use three different methods to select multiple objects. Once the objects are selected they can be edited as normal, for example grouped, combined, resized, rotated or deleted.

1. Hold down Shift key and use the mouse to click on each object to be selected.
2. Select by colour.
-Shift F for a new menu panel.
-drag colour selection from lower colour bar and drop into Style in the new menu panel.
- click on Find.
- All items of the selected colour are now highlighted. You may notice the colour is now a number in the style box. It changes automatically to a number when you drop the colour there from the lower colour bar.

3. Hold down the Alt key and drag mouse through items to be selected.
When Alt is held down a red line will be visible, making it easier to select the chosen path.

Undo History in Inkscape

Undo/ redo history
To undo or redo a few steps I use the undo and redo buttons on the top menu panel.
If I wish to undo further back I use the following method:
-Hold down the Shift Ctrl H keys to open the history panel.
-Scroll through history to select how far back to undo.
I find this very quick to go back to a certain point in editing.
The feature is great if you are trying something new and cannot remember the steps, you can go back and make a note of the steps. Or go through the steps one by one.

Close up - Undo History

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Thickening a Font for Digital Cutting

Do you have the perfect font but find it is too thin to be cut on a digital die cutter?

When selecting a font check first to see if bold is available, as it is often sufficient for making a font thicker. If bold is not available or is unsuitable I use three different methods depending on the font chosen. I will briefly explain each method.
Path>Outset. I use this method for square or angular fonts as it maintains sharp corners.
Path>Dynamic Offset. I use this method for curvy fonts.
Path>Linked Offset. I use this method for curvy fonts and when I want to kern text after thickening the font. This method is also great for making mats for text.

The following instructions are based on the reader having some prior knowledge using Inkscape. Experiment with each method. The following examples are only a guideline to help you learn how to thicken fonts. Click on any image below to view a larger image.

1. Path>Outset
The following example shows how to use Path>Outset. You may notice by the example the offset is dependent on the font size. If I wish to use this method I enlarge the text first, as it gives a better result. If this method is used all kerning has to be completed prior to Path>Outset.
- type text.
- enlarge font size.
- kern text (text cannot be kerned after the next step).
- Path>Outset.
- repeat Path>Outset until font is required thickness.
- resize font smaller if required.
- save file.

2. Path>Dynamic Offset
The following example shows the results using Path>Dynamic Offset.
- type text
- kern text (text cannot be kerned after the next step).
- Path>Dynamic Offset. One node will now be visible on top of the text, see image below. Very slowly drag the node upward to thicken the font. If you make the font too thick, just drag the node lower. Adjust until the font is the required thickness.
- Path>Object to Path. Alternatively Path>Union will achieve the same result.
- Save file.

Font used above is Angelina from dafont.com

3. Path>Linked Offset.
Basic instructions for Path>Linked Offset.
- type text
- Path>Linked Offset

-after Path>Linked Offset I select a contrasting colour to see the changes. This step does not have to be done. I just like to have the changes more visible and it makes it easier to kern the text in the next step.
- slowly move the node upwards. I find this is very slow on my computer. If you move the node too high it can be moved lower again. Keep adjusting the node location slowly until the font is the thickness required.

- after adjusting the thickness of the font the text can be kerned.
- ensure the text and not the offset is selected. Zoom in close to select the text only.
The linked path will move with any letter that is moved. More instructions on kerning here.

- using this method gives two objects, text and linked offset.
- select both.

-Path>Union. The linked offset and text will now be welded together.
- Save file.
Below is a screenshot of the finished text.
Font is Riesling from dafont.com